Compromise is vital. But which bits?

People who say ‘Compromise is a dirty word’  usually mean ‘My opponent considers compromise a dirty word, whereas I’m totally open to it.’

The obvious case in point is the ‘negotations’ going on at present between the EU and the UK. The DUP and the Tory party have, on several occasions, pointed to the difficulty posed by the backstop in Ireland, whereby a seamless border would continue when and until something better comes along.

“The EU just keeps repeating ‘The backstop is essential – they must learn that negotiations need compromise on all sides.’”  You get that ‘on all sides’ bit?  That’s where the DUP and its Tory chums were going to the table with open minds and hearts, willing the EU to end its intransigence over the backstop. In fact, of course, the EU has been flexible on the backstop. They originally planned to have it apply only to our grim little NE corner, but the DUP complained. So the EU transferred it to the whole UK, but that wasn’t satisfactory. Finally Theresa May’s deal said there’d be a backstop for the border in Ireland only, and that was that. Deanta – deal done.

Except now the Brits and the DUPers are insisting the EU show flexibility. And to show how flexible they are, they’ve said they’ll go along with a seamless border for animals   – no,  Virginia, they were not referring to any DUP representative.How about that for a massive concession, a compromise by the pliable Brexiteers?

But in negotiations, you mustn’t wish for the sun, moon and stars.  You must distinguish between the things that are capable of changing and those that are not. A seamless border for animals and animal products – sure, that’s good. But what about all the other stuff?  The companies which do all sorts of  cross-border co-operation on which their livelihood depends? And we haven’t even mentioned the importance of cross-border services.

The most vivid and accurate comparison I’ve heard is that of a pressurized aircraft.  To  say “I’m just going to punch this small, insignificant hole in the fuselage – you’ll hardly notice it.”  Except you will. It’s vital that all of the aircraft is sealed, and to punch even one hole is fatal.

Ditto with the EU and Ireland. If our twisted green NE territory is different from the rest of the EU – i.e., if it is dragged out of the EU by Britain – then there must be checks on the border.  If on the other hand if our twisted green NE territory effectively stays as it is, then it will have the double-joy of access to the EU market AND access to the UK market.

Except the DUP and the Tories just won’t have that. “Cut us some slack!” they yell. “Show a bit of flexibility!”

Sorry, guys. It’s like pregnancy and death: it’s all or nothing. You can’t be a bit pregenant – you are or you aren’t. Ditto death. So stop this absurd charade where the EU is to modify its stand, because Boris and Nigel/Arlene have been  so  reasonable and compromising in the talks.

Because of their imperial history, Boris and the Brits assume the south of Ireland is disposable, suitable material for under-a-bus in the interests of reaching a deal. For them,  Leo and Co have one helluva nerve , trying to stand in the way of the UK doing what it wants. Doesn’t it know its place?  Look at the map.Look at all the good things that Britain has done for Ireland down the centuries. Ireland naturally belongs in the same economic unit as Britain. Know your place, Varadkar, and start talking compromise. Enough with the macho stuff and no… What? No surrender has been copyrighted already? OK, I see. But we still need to see this inflexible collection of lesser breeds man up and start passing out concessions or else.

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