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One scenario I have been playing around with is the possibility that Sinn Fein might end their historic abstentionist policy and take their seats if only for a confidence vote. Their 7 MPs would effectively negate the DUP influence and destroy Boris' majority.

Of course the UK media would have a field day talking about Corbyn aligning himself with the IRA, but presumably only diehard Tory/Brexit Party supporters would take that anyway seriously. It was Sinn Fein who drove the peace process that led to the Good Friday Agreement, not the DUP, who opposed it.

Sinn Fein has come under a lot of pressure in Ireland since the death of Martin McGuinness and the retirement of Gerry Adams and did badly in the recent local and European elections, North and south. The main reason is, I think, their failure to do any of the heavy lifting required to oppose Brexit - leaving it all to Varadker and Coveney - and leaving the DUP, with c. 30% support, free to represent themselves as representing N. Ireland.

It would be a hugely historic move for them, though not without precedent. Fianna Fail abandoned abstentionism in the Republic in 1927 with their leader, De Valera, declaring required the oath of allegiance to be nothing but an empty formula. To some extent, abandoning abstentionism would erode their main point of difference with other parties, but at the same time it would put further distance between them and their historic support for the IRA.

There is a school of thought within Sinn Fein that allowing Brexit to happen - as hard as possible - would hasten the creation of a united Ireland by making N. Ireland unviable, but that would not be a widely held view in the south in particular. They risk marginalising themselves in the south if they don't oppose Brexit more effectively, and soon.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 10:12:19 AM EST

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