a-fisking we shall go : Anthony Coughlan in Village Magazine

So Anthony Coughlan, who has opposed the EU since it was the EEC, has a go at arguing for an Irexit. Its in Village Magazine.

Herewith a fisking… 

As an Irish democrat and economist

Anthony Coughlan was a lecturer in social policy. He took economics as a minor part of his undergraduate degree, in the 1950s

 who would like to see Brexit succeed for the Republic of Ireland’s sake

this is an oxymoron.

as well as for the UK’s, may I make some points to you and to various other UK policy-makers about current Irish Government policy on Brexit.

Fire away

Since the Republic of Ireland became a net contributor to the EU Budget in 2014, having been a major net recipient of EU funds for decades, there are no good arguments for it remaining in the EU when the UK leaves.

Other than the good arguments that have been made repeatedly about trade, economics, and influence that is

 Indeed good arguments can be made that it is in the Republic’s best interest that Brexit should be accompanied by ‘Irexit’. The most obvious one is that this would avoid the addition of new dimensions to the North-South Border within Ireland.

Well. That is a side effect of an Irexit all right, in the same way as chopping off ones leg has a side effect of losing weight.

The main argument for the Republic of Ireland remaining in the EU when the UK leaves is the negative one that it has been foolish enough to adopt the euro-currency – despite doing two-thirds of its foreign trade outside the Eurozone.

Hold on. No, that’s not the main argument. The main argument is that a very large part of the economy is predicated on being in the EU.

Ireland joined the Eurozone in 1998 on the assumption that the UK would be doing the same and that we would show how ‘communautaire’ we were by going first!

This is not the case. It was well known that the UK would not be joining.

So leaving the EU would mean having to restore the Irish pound. However, Ireland is probably the only country that could leave the euro and go back to its national currency without causing a general crisis for the euro area as a whole.

This is a breathtaking assertion which shows a complete ignorance of the euro. Once one country leaves the whole thing breaks down. The argument about whether we should have joined is a valid one. But it’s a one way valve.

But it would need the support of the UK and Germany to take such a step with minimum disruption.

There is no such thing as minimum disruption. Massive capital flight, the crashing of the whole banking system and economy and roaring inflation is hardly minimum

Despite the absence of significant benefits for Ireland from remaining in the EU when the UK leaves,

Asserting one’s argument is not arguing ones assertion

 the current Irish Government, the Dáil Opposition parties and most of the Irish media are wedded to being part of ‘Team EU’. In this they are impelled by the momentum of decades of uncritical Euro-zealotry.

Coming from a man who has spent 50 years railing against the eruopean project, this is rich. Pot, meet kettle.

The Irish public is likely to be more sceptical, however, as shown by its rejection of the EU’s 2001 Nice Treaty and 2008 Lisbon Treaty in referendums – referendums that were then re-run by the Irish Government to obtain a different result, without any change being made to those treaties.

The Croatian Accession Treaty incorporated the changes desired by Ireland. So while the argument is technically correct it is substantively false.

You can take it that the Irish Government, to judge by its current stance, will be cooperating in this with Brussels and with Germany and France in every way it can, and doing everything possible to frustrate Brexit.The current belief in official circles in Dublin is that there is a good chance that a meaningful Brexit can be frustrated by cross-party resistance in the House of Commons and Lords, supported from outside.

Don’t you mean “the current belief in conspiracy circles…”?

It is understood that the German, French and other EU Governments believe the same and that for this reason the EU is likely to make things as difficult as possible for Britain in the EU/UK negotiations over the coming year.

Source? None exists of course. Because this is a fantasy.

The EU is expected to test to destruction the possibility of Brexit being reversed in Parliament. It is only if the EU and its supporters fail to overturn the Brexit referendum result – and recognise that they cannot – that the serious talking will start, probably quite late in the day.

One imagines that the talking by Barnier et al is rather serious no?

You can take it that the Irish Government, to judge by its current stance, will be cooperating in this with Brussels and with Germany and France in every way it can, and doing everything possible to frustrate Brexit.

Familiar Irish-EU grandees such as Peter Sutherland, Pat Cox, John Bruton and Alan Dukes will be working behind the scenes with the Irish Government to this end.

Id say they would if this was happening. Which it is not.

They will be systematically interacting with those anti-democratic ‘Remainers’ in British Labour and Conservative circles who refuse to accept last year’s democratic UK referendum vote.

So, the man who campaigned vociferously for  a referendum on the bailout now thinks that referenda are bad?

Presumably if Brexit is ultimately to be achieved it will boil down to a deal between Britain and Germany, mainly over money. The UK clearly has some good cards it can play in this. For example it might back Germany obtaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Whoa? What? The UN Security council?

Germany too might be willing to facilitate Ireland leaving the Eurozone, recognising that it is within Britain’s historic sphere of influence.

You mean “an ex-colony”.

Germany might see also that the aspirations of sections of the German elite to hegemony over the continental EU would be advanced if the two English-speaking island countries, not just one, should leave the EU together.

Now we are fully into conspiracy land.

Former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern implicitly criticised Dublin’s unthinking commitment to ‘Team EU’ when he stated that Ireland had “missed the boat” by failing to engage with London directly before the UK/EU negotiations began with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, using Strand Three of the Good Friday Agreement for that purpose. “For the next year it is left to trying to influence him and his team. That is the challenge we face as a country”, Ahern said. (Irish Times, 12 July 2017)

In considering the Irish aspect of the UK/EU negotiations it is important to bear in mind that the career federalism

the what/=?

amongst Irish policy-makers, supported by unthinking sections of the Irish media, which is the principal influence on current Dublin Government policy on Brexit, is fundamentally opposed to the interests of the Irish people themselves as well as to the interests of the UK.

Infamy, infamy, theyve all got it infamy…

There would be no problems over the North- South Irish Border if the Republic left the EU along with the UK, or if it were to join an Anglo- Irish rather than an EU customs union. Like the UK the Republic could thereby get back control of its law-making, its valuable fishing waters, its Budget policy, foreign policy and its own currency.

Because the Brits have historically been a fair partner for Ireland. Right? And, given that the UK is a small and declining part of our export markets, we should, of course, join with them. Right?

 It was the competitive character of that currency’s floating exchange-rate regime that underpinned the Republic’s ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom of 1994-2000.

The currency wasn’t floating. It was in the ERM. The Effective exchange rate index was 90 in 1994 and 94 in 2000.

Possible future security risks to Britain from the Republic becoming part of a German-dominated EU military bloc would not arise if Ireland left the EU too in tandem with the UK.

The Germans are going to invade the UK? What is this, 1940?

Britain is the most valuable single-country export market for domestically-owned Irish industry, which is particularly important for employment here, while the US is Ireland’s most valuable single-country market for its foreign-owned industry.

Nice use of “single country” there.

Two- thirds of the Republic’s freight trade with the continent goes through the UK.

Let me introduce you to the TIR convention.

 90 percent of the Republic’s oil and gas come from the UK.

This is bunkum. https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Energy-Security-in-Ireland-2015.pdf

There would be a popular revolt in the Republic if the policy commitment to ‘Team EU’ by the Republic’s political elite put the Anglo-Irish travel area in peril in any way.

The CTA is not an issue. Not in Brexit anyhow. Literally nobody is talking about it being scrapped.

These are relevant points for UK policy-makers to bear in mind when they are dealing with Dublin’s Euro-federalists in the period ahead.

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