Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In fairness to Paul Bew, he is no PJ O'Rourke. He has a respectable body of academic work behind him and his influence on Trimble during the Good Friday Agreement was probably for the best. I was surprised at his recent intervention, but it is perhaps more an indicator of the parochial mind-set of most unionists. They still think the EU is going to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement! Not going to happen, as Ivan Rogers has so eloquently argued.

The choice for Boris now is between a no deal Brexit, and N. Ireland remaining within the Customs Union and Single Market while Great Britain goes off in search of better free trade deals and limiting EU immigration. The benefits of the latter are largely illusory, so N. Ireland is actually getting the better end of the bargain, though not being an economist, Paul Bew may not see that. But N. Ireland is now in the glorious position of being bailed out to the tune of £10 Billion p.a. by the British exchequer, and so retaining the link with the UK trumps all.

In that context, remaining within the UK and within the Customs Union and Single Market is actually the best of both worlds, from a N. Ireland perspective, not to mention it is an elegant political compromise between the majority who want to remain within the UK and the majority who want to remain within the EU. The sort of compromise which is at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement - the equal status guaranteed to those who identify as either (or both) British and Irish (and therefore European.

In the past I would have seen Paul Bew as someone who would have argued for such a compromise. Now he is adopting a hard-line Brexiteer/DUP position. Sad.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 25th, 2019 at 11:54:57 AM EST
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