a-fisking we shall go. Liam Halligan in The Spectator

So, Liam is at it again. Sigh…. Maybe sales of the aul book are flagging coming up to Xmas?

How did we get into this Brexit mess? Why is it proving so difficult to leave the EU? Was it Theresa May’s botched 2017 election, which vaporised her Commons majority? Or perhaps her general incompetence and lack of vision?

All of the above.

How about the fierce determination of Europhile civil servants to save stupid Leave voters from themselves, cooking up a half-in-half-out withdrawal guaranteed to split the Tories?

Maybe Liam a chara this is the best they can do? And how do you know they are Europhiles? Maybe, just maybe, they are as split and conflicted as the rest of you?

Maybe it was the cynical ambivalence of HM’s Opposition, with Labour simultaneously backing both Brexit and a second referendum, having always intended to cause chaos and spark a general election by voting down the UK’s exit, contradicting its own manifesto?

Gosh. Man Who Meddles in Politics is SHOCKED at Politicians Being Politicians

Then there’s the relentless big business lobbying, with corporate vested interests

Economist discovers corporates have interests, p2

determined to keep Britain behind the EU’s protectionist wall

Economist discovers what a customs union entails

and smaller rivals ensnared in Brussels’s red tape.

What smaller rivals? Smaller than the EU? Huh? Wot?

I’d say all of the above.

You missed a puerile sense of exceptionalism and a cakeist attitude to negotiations

While the case for being outside the EU still stands, the process of Brexit has been crippled by a combination of home-grown shortcomings: weak leadership, venal party politics, anti–democratic mandarins and an overwhelmingly Remain-supporting media class.

The BBC and the mainstream media are overwhelmingly, rabidly, pro Brexit. But hey, facts .

This damaging Brexit impasse, though, has been caused not only by British incompetence. A mighty contribution has also come from Dublin.

BOO! Pawns. And powerful. Schrodinger’s Pawns.

When it comes to Brexit, the Republic of Ireland has much to lose. If the UK and EU fail to strike a withdrawal agreement, and Britain leaves with no deal, the Irish economy will suffer.

We will. But, we will ANYHOW. Economist forgets it’s about MARGINAL costs and benefits. A soft Brexit vs a hard one, it all costs Liam.

Yet by wildly over-playing his hand,

Overplaying implies a loss. Leo has….not lost.

teaming up with Brussels to adopt a maximalist, ultra-legalistic

Imagine the temerity of a rules-based organization wanting to have rules. Bloody foreigners eh.

approach to the Irish border, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made that outcome far more likely.

Meh. I refer you to Mr Churchill and references to steeples, dreary and otherwise. It was always about the border Liam. Always. Has been, will be until its no more.

Having grown up ‘London Irish’ in the 1970s and 1980s, I feel in my bones the fragility of relations between the two countries that define my ethnicity. As such, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and subsequent Anglo-Irish rapprochement have been a source of much personal relief to me and millions of other Irish exiles born and raised in Britain. I also fully understand Brexit is a serious irritation in the land of my fathers.

But, fuckit, enough of that. Lets kick the wasps nest. Coz, blue passports and sunlit uplands. Unicorns. You understand, maybe….but your actions seem to suggest you don’t care?

Being in the EU always meant far more to Ireland than the UK.

We know this, how?

Joining in 1973, along with Britain but on equal terms, was an enormous step. The Irish Republic,

Gods sake man, you claim to be London Irish (which is a rugby club…) but don’t even know the name, or the nomenclature. Its IRELAND. Look at Bunreacht Liam

a mere quarter-century on from formal independence,

Err wot? Ireland was formally independent from 1921. Your confusing and conflating the McBride declaration in 1948 with formal independence.

was finally able to represent itself on the world stage.

Thank you your honor sir and sure tis a pleasure to have been here.

It has been this escape from the stultifying ‘Brit’ dominance that makes EU membership central to modern Ireland’s identity.

It took until 1992, with the (tory inspired thatcher driven ) single market to really escape.

That’s why Brexit causes such Irish unease now. It renews the gnawing sense that Ireland is yet again set to suffer from the seemingly thoughtless, oppressive actions of its much bigger neighbour.

Glad you see the reality. You don’t CARE but, hey.

Economically, the Republic of Ireland remains closely linked to Britain. The UK accounts for €1 billion of Irish trade each week and one in ten jobs. Around 55 per cent of Irish exports of timber and construction materials are sold in Britain, along with 50 per cent of beef exports and 45 per cent of all food and drink sold abroad.

And yet, all that and more is 12% of goods exports. Another way to look at it (Economist fails to see that trade is two way) is that the UK exports more to Ireland than to China and is its 5th largest export market. “they need us more than we need them”

In purely practical terms, four-fifths of the Republic’s exports

Economist forgets that one can export SERVICES as well as goods. Honestly, Liam, have you gone full mercantilist…don’t answer.

use the UK as a ‘land bridge’, crossing the Irish Sea, then travelling by road across Britain before leaving southern and eastern ports, headed for the EU and global markets.

It is 53%, max. Not 80%. And exports of goods are 1/2 the total. So its 26.5% . Making up figures that suit one’s narrative is neither good journalism nor good economics. https://www.esri.ie/pubs/WP573.pdf

To say Brexit could be an inconvenience for the Republic if no UK-EU deal is signed is an understatement.

That’s a nice landbridge you have there. Shame if something happened it, Paddy”.

Yet Britain voted to leave. That’s why, after the 2016 referendum, the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny created joint committees of Irish and British civil servants to resolve cross-border issues. This was seen at the time as uncontroversial. In May’s Lancaster House speech, she said Britain was leaving the customs union and, for months afterwards, no one raised Irish border issues.

You know this, how?

It was only in June 2017, when May lost her majority, becoming reliant on the DUP, and Varadkar replaced Kenny, that the Irish border hit the headlines.

Gosh. Its almost like new events made for new events isn’t it. And, hitting the headlines doesn’t equate to “having been an issue behind the scenes” . And, hitting the headlines, where? Oh, the UK. Coz, this is one way negotiation, ammirtite?

Brussels then saw an opportunity to raise the political stakes by asserting the ‘impossibility’ of avoiding ‘a hard border’ unless Britain stayed in the customs union.

Economist fails to understand nature of customs unions

That prevents the UK signing trade deals with the rest of the world, of course, while compelling us to keep sending Brussels billions of pounds each year under the EU’s common external tariff.

Economist fails to understand nature of tarrifs.

Since then, Dublin has danced religiously to the EU’s tune.

Sure and begorrah, sor and doesn’t Paddy love an aul jig. Faith, if it isn’t hissonner on the fiddle, begod Helmuth has a lovely malojin.

Varadkar disbanded Kenny’s working groups

Imagine, a politician taking a decision that, a working group having found no solution to a problem, it needs to be disbanded.

and cranked up the rhetoric, claiming that Brexit threatened the Good Friday Agreement.

BOO. Evil Leo. Lets ignore the inconvenient fact that…it does.

Many of those responsible for that precious treaty robustly dismiss such claims.


‘This is scaremongering. I do not see a connection between this process and peace in Northern Ireland,’ said Lord Trimble, Northern Ireland’s former first minister, who won the Nobel prize for his efforts in securing peace in Ulster.

David Trimble is an arch brexiteer

‘EU negotiators have been rigid and intransigent to the point of being obstructive — and I’m sorry to say the government of the Republic has thrown itself in line with that,’ said Lord Carswell, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland when the 1998 agreement was signed.

Judge fails to notice that treaties exist. P3

Ray Bassett, a former senior Irish diplomat, agrees the question of the Irish border is ‘essentially political’ in nature. ‘This emotive issue has been used as a weapon by those wanting to thwart Brexit — not least Michel Barnier,’ he said. ‘But Varadkar, too, has pursued a high-risk strategy which could backfire badly, given that Britain is vital to Irish economic interests.’

Good old Bertie Basset. What would the Brexit media do withut Ray? Tell us Liam, any other retired ambassadors saying the same?

Varadkar leads a minority government in need of support from Irish nationalists.

Fianna Fail? Shane Ross?

He has an incentive to make the Brits sweat. But the fact is that the head of HMRC, and his Irish counterpart, have both said there is no need for any additional physical infrastructure on the Irish border.

Edit..Not so. H/t Cathy Barry points out Niall Cody didn’t say what that. He told the Dáil in 2017 that *traditional* posts would not be required.

In Nov 2018 he said a hard border would be needed for hard Brexit/no deal: “Mr Cody told the PAC that Revenue planned to have 600 staff in place by the end of the transition period. More than 3,000 people had applied for the new positions. He accepted that physical infrastructure would need to be put in place in the event of a hard or no-deal Brexit and reminded TDs that 92 per cent of imports into the Republic were “green-lighted”, which meant they were not subject to checks at border crossings.”

Just last week, two of the world’s leading customs experts told the Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee this, insisting we can rely on existing technology, trusted trader schemes and behind-the-border checks.

And yet, nobody has ever shown how this will work in the particular and peculiar borderland. Maybe the brexiteers should say “we dontcare about a massive increase in smuggling and criminality” and be honest? The reality is if this existed it would be pointed out. The other reality is it doesn’t. https://www.ft.com/content/34fcfce0-ecc9-11e8-8180-9cf212677a57

By changing the constitutional status of Northern Ireland without Ulster’s consent,

Soi-disant Irishman conflates ulster with NI. Ulster is 9 counties. 6 are in NI. Also, how do we know its without their consent. The demented negativity of the DUP may, just may, be unrepresentative.

it’s the EU’s ghastly withdrawal agreement

you mean “the agreement between the two parties to the negotiation” Liam?

that could upend the Good Friday Agreement, not minor changes to the administration of Ireland’s somewhat limited cross-border trade.

30% of NI exports are to Ireland. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/report-reveals-extent-of-north-s-dependence-on-trade-with-the-republic-1.3539430 and all the studies suggest that the degree of integration is deep. https://intertradeireland.com/news/cross-border-trade-supply-chain-linkages/?download=file&file=573

Britain’s political class has screwed up Brexit — yes. But its Irish counterpart, ironically, has forgotten the importance of sovereignty, democracy and self-determination.

No, we haven’t. We merely suggest that having achieved all these, at the point of a gun from the UK, we reserve the right to mitigate the effect of its actions on us.

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