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Irish ex-diplomats claim Britain does not engage very willingly with Ireland
"The British do not engage very willingly with or about Ireland, " Ó hUigínn says. "Burke said that the English have only one ambition in relation to Ireland, which is to hear no more about it. And that is still not a bad working maxim if you want to analyse British relations.

"When they have to focus on it, there is another mechanism which comes into play which I would call the Irish anomaly. Something that would be taken very seriously in another context can be disregarded if it comes with an Irish label. The Border is a classic example of this.

"Why didn't the British focus on the fact that they had an extensive land border with the European Union? The answer is that it was in Ireland. It wasn't serious."

An exhibit of this, he argues, were comments made by former UK Brexit secretary David Davis just days after the initial Brexit joint report first containing the backstop, the insurance policy to avoid a hard Border, was signed in December 2017.

Davis told the BBC the backstop was "much more a statement of intent than it was a legally enforceable thing".

"He gave a very broad wink to the British public," says Ó hUigínn. "This is Irish stuff. Don't take it too seriously. And I think there's a kind of psychological shock among the Tories that the Europeans don't seem to grasp this fundamental convention."

Michael Lillis, who was a diplomatic adviser to Garret Fitzgerald and was a negotiator of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, also says there have been "numerous very difficult moments" and "a lot of obdurate, of almost blind attitudes by the British".

What you hear in the public space is the bit of the iceberg that's above the water and there's a lot more to it underneath

While acknowledging the difficulties caused by Brexit, he says "it's been much more difficult several times in the past".

"People would find that surprising, but I've been through dealing with Northern Ireland in one way or another since the early 1970s. [Conservative UK prime minister Edward] Heath made it very clear that Northern Ireland was none of the business of Dublin.

"This was in the middle of the worst period of violence that we've had in the 30 years, mainly Provisional IRA violence of course, but also disastrous policies by the British like internment, other disasters like Bloody Sunday. And you know eventually, in both instances, we got over it."

Lillis believe Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, will lead the UK to a no-deal Brexit at the end of October, while Ó Uigínn says "they will crash out or they will leave, certainly".

"I think Boris Johnson is determined that there will be no issue between himself and Brexit as he goes toward an election," he adds. "And that's why he has to avoid the practical stuff which is messy and go for the Agincourt.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 11:14:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Why didn't the British focus on the fact that they had an extensive land border with the European Union? The answer is that it was in Ireland. It wasn't serious."

That's a really essential question.

I can't do better than the answer offered there. With just a quibble on the tense of the verb: should be "is" not "was". When you see Boris calling on "common sense" wrt the border, you just know neither he nor anyone else in power takes the problem seriously. Neither in its inter-Irish dimension, nor its European dimension.

Boris, tell us: what part of "extensive land border with the European Union" do you not understand?

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 11:30:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There has been absolutely no attempt to engage with either Ireland or the EU since Boris became PM. The British are still negotiating with themselves. I presume the game plan is to win a general election on a no deal platform, preferably after no deal has already happened. If there is one thing more pathetic than the performance of successive British governments since 2016, it has been the collective performance of those opposed to their policies...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 12:31:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me, naive American viewpoint, that the Irish question boils down to whether NI is worth supporting. It is a tiny part of the UK economy, it is politically reactionary, it is inhabited by extremists who refuse to cooperate or compromise on anything, the arguments are based on old grievances and obscure religious claim, etc. Just a pain in the neck every way you look at it.

If it were not for May and her election problems that led to needing DUP support, by far the easiest thing would be to toss NI overboard and let it merge with the rest of Ireland. If the DUP can't provide enough parliamentary votes to BoJo for him to maintain a Conservative majority, their power evaporates--and with it any English concern about NI.

by asdf on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 05:47:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So many diabolical options, so much time.

Have you considered a US-UK Chagos option for NI?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 06:00:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've got Keflavik in Iceland already, plus a few other sites in Europe. Why would we put up with the hassles of NI?
by asdf on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 12:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a bad idea. Buy the land, make everybody leave, turn it into a permanent US military outpost. Build some nuclear missile silos, build a giant wall, the best radar air defenses, etc. And, finally, Trump would have a source of "good" immigrants he doesn't hate, because they're white.
by Zwackus on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 02:26:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the IRA wouldn't want to go to the USA, far too violent

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 02:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't people use to go around collecting for the IRA in the Boston, MA, area?
There's a proud tradition of supporting Freedom Fighters!

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Aug 15th, 2019 at 10:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey. Trump is eyeing up Greenland, he could make an offer to the Orangepersons that might appeal to their settler spirit -- it may well be heading for a new climate optimum, after all.

The Catholics can just go back to whatever shithole Free State they came from.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 16th, 2019 at 08:47:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a pretty solid bet, I would say, that one of his casting couch generals showed him a picture similar to this one, and his response was something about how the US of A needed to be the biggest and best player in the Arctic. Obviously a sh*thole country like Denmark doesn't deserve such a huge presence up there in polar bear land.

by asdf on Fri Aug 16th, 2019 at 01:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris, tell us: what part of "extensive land border with the European Union" do you not understand?

For Boris and his ilk, the UK doesn't have an extensive land border with the EU; the EU has an extensive land border with the UK.  Hence it's the EU's issue to solve, not the UK's.

by rifek on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 11:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Multiple theories out there about cheap Chinese goods flooding English market, cheap Australian beef flooding English market, cheap counterfeit "made in UK" goods flooding English market, etc. Maybe the English would find it necessary to build a wall themselves...
by asdf on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 12:51:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An apologetic persosn who worked on VoteLeave says some interesting things, from 6:00



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 03:23:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After 7 min I turned it off .. confused and in search of an exit for someone to blame for a faulty decision ... a long winding mea culpa.

In a short version: "I was ignorant of the facts."

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 05:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well yes, I doubt you can really be a leaver and not be "ignorant of the facts". I thought it was more interesting to see how even people who were relatively well informed managed to put themselves into a campaign mindset where the news cycle was dominant and inconvenient facts were simply there to be dismissed rther than addressed in a debate about the UK's future.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 06:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also interesting to hear that Ireland just wasn't on anyone's thought agenda in the Leave campaign. No doubt some people at the top were aware it was a gnarly problem, and therefore to be dismissed, filed under Project Fear or Year 2K. Above all not addressed (still the case).

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 06:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the time of the election they'd really swallowed their Kool Aid that they were gonna have full tariff free access to EU markets as before, but with the ability to do their own trade deals.

So, Ulster's stuation wasn't going to change, so why worry?

It only became a problem when reality gnawed through their herd of unicorns

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 08:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"intelligent" but certainly NOT well informed in particular where you make mention of the "news cycle". First thing the blog community speaks of ... the MSM and lack of insight. Speaking of the "Union" but lacking knowledge of NI, Belfast and the "troubles" seems to me a contradiction. Certainly a studied person should be qualified to see through propaganda. The "Leave" movement campaign was purely build on propaganda feeding on nationalist feelings. For all clear to see ... emotions win elections, not rationale.

By chance a forewarning the states Trump would win ... supporting the #VoteLeave campaign. Alt-right support.



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 06:39:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh the "Union" is really an expression of Greater England. It's what Home counties Tories cleave to to make themselves seem rooted in our Imperial past.

Equally, in Ulter (and to a lessser extent in Scotland), it is a prop for politicians who fear irrelevance unless bolstered by the financial clout of Big Brother.

It's like the "Special Relationship", it's a confession of weakness rather than of strength

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 08:54:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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