Ray Basset is talking dangerous balderdash

I’m reluctant in the mouth of Christmas to be lacking in goodwill to men, but in Ray Basset’s case I’ll make an exception. I was at an event where he was talking some months back and I drew to his attention  to his use of ‘Ireland’  when he really meant the southern state.  He accepted my point completely and said it was a lapse, sorry about that, etc. But now… Christmas Eve or no Christmas Eve, what former diplomat Basset has come up with is inane. 

He wants the backstop to be dropped.

“I think the backstop should be dropped because the backstop can never be put into effect… It’s not reality. There is no British government that could agree to that. There is complete silence from British politicians about this. I’ve heard nobody support the backstop.”

 Hold it right there, Ray.  You’ve heard nobody support the backstop? You can’t possibly have been listening. And no British government could agree to the backstop? They already have. Theresa may did so a year ago. The fact that she’s wriggled like a salmon with a hook in its gob since doesn’t change that: she agreed to it, on behalf of the British government.

And if the backstop could not or would not ever be implemented, what in God’s name does the British government or anyone else have to fear from it? On the contrary: for a whole lot of reasons, maintaining the backstop (the Germans call it a safety-net – in German, of course) simply ensures that the British border in Ireland remains as it is. That’s good for business, farmers – and it shows that when the British government sign up to something, they follow through.

Ray’s own argument – that the backstop would never be implemented – suggests that it would never come into use. But if I’m a trapeze artist, I  don’t plan to miss my footing or fumble my hand-grab. At the same time, I’d thank you to leave that safety-net precisely where it is. In case.

Ray, for a former diplomat, you’ve a funny idea of what makes sense and an even funnier idea about the need for governments to follow through, when they commit to something. Theresa May and Britain has mishandled the whole Brexit thing from start to this point. Please don’t encourage them to make bad even worse.


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