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Fintan O'Toole - Johnson and Hunt don't understand what it's like when a wall falls. In Ireland, we do
(so does Merkel, according to O'Toole)
On 4 April last, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, flew to Dublin. This was the moment the Brexiters had been waiting for: Britain had held its nerve and now Merkel (in their worldview the puppet master of Europe) was going to deliver the bad news to the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar - Germany had done its best to protect the Irish peace process and prevent a hard border on the island, but that game was up. Realpolitik was now the order of the day: bye-bye backstop.

That was the dreamworld. In reality, Merkel met Varadkar but made no demands for change to the withdrawal agreement. And then she spent time talking and listening to people who live and work and run businesses on both sides of the border. When she emerged from the meeting, she said: "For 34 years I lived behind the Iron Curtain so I know only too well what it means once borders vanish, once walls fall." She understood the border question more deeply, and had much more emotional investment in it, than the government that is actually responsible for it - the British cabinet. This is what is so bizarre - the German chancellor has spent more time listening to the UK citizens who live on the border than either Johnson or Hunt ever have. She understands what it's like when a wall falls; they don't.

by Bernard on Sun Jun 30th, 2019 at 04:54:26 PM EST

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