Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
So what is really going on in the UK? Why are the Economist and Guardian heaping praise on our diplomatic prowess and calling us a diplomatic superpower with immense influence in Brussels?

Is it that they are going through an identity crisis, as Finn McRedmond asserts, or are their darker motives at play? (Praise for Ireland says more about the state of Britain, Opinion & Analysis, 23 July).

In Ireland we are used to insulting, malevolent, and utterly ignorant commentaries on our affairs in the British tabloids, but also in "respectable" broadsheets like the Telegraph, and supposedly sophisticated magazines like the Spectator.

"Lttle Leo" was portrayed as the EU's Lapdog doing their bidding at the behest of Macron or whoever was the EU bully-du-jour. He was running scared of Sinn Féin and adopting their policies. He was regularly told to shut up and stop interfering as Great Britain went about its Great Brexit business.

In the past week two articles in the British media have offered a startlingly different perspective. The Editorial in the Guardian "an enviable beauty is born", was the less surprising. The Guardian is often more sympathetic to Irish (and Remainer) views, and even features Irish Times columnist, Fintan O'Toole, on occasion to offer an Irish perspective.

But if anything, it was the Economist which was the more gushing this week, praising Ireland as a diplomatic superpower with immense influence in Brussels.

It is easy to make too much out of two very positive articles about Ireland's diplomatic achievements in a sea of red top abuse. But it may signal a change of tone.

The UK establishment's response to the border issue was to ignore it. Little Ireland really didn't matter all that much, and the Brexit deal would be made between the Big Boys in the UK, Germany and France.

The initial UK reaction to Ireland's diplomatic success in keeping the land border open was one of outrage. How dare little Ireland thwart Great Britain's Brexit dream. Little Leo was told to sod off.

Now I doubt Britain will make the same mistake again. The UK establishment respects power and was surprised Ireland could wield so much of it via its connections in Europe and the USA.

So should we accept this praise it the generous spirit in which it was given and move on to the very real litany of problems we face, ones that, collectively, would test the mettle of any political establishment to overcome?

Pride comes before the fall. We made that mistake in 2008 and don't need to make it again.

I am not given to conspiracy theories, but in my darker moments I also smell a rat. Such praise has to be either patronising or worse; we are being set-up to take the fall when the Brexit trade deal talks bread down.

Ireland will have used "its immense influence in Brussels" to stab Great Britain in the back. Then the enormous damage which will be done to the Irish Agricultural industry (over 50% of our Beef exports go to the UK) will be all our own fault, and a salutary lesson in what happens when you get too big for your boots.

And so the unaccustomed praise for Ireland may be as misleading as the usual savagery of ignorant insults. It is not Ireland which wants the Brexit trade deal talks to break down. Much of our agriculture and rural economy depends on there being a deal which averts the often 50%+ tariffs which would apply to our exports under WTO rules.

But those in Britain who would use Ireland as a Trojan horse to gain back-door access to the Single Market without the costs of EU membership also need to know that our influence in Brussels is ultimately very limited. If the German car industry can't force Angela Merkel to make a deal, there is little chance Ireland can.

Any deal will have to be in the best interests of the EU as a whole, and that doesn't include giving a non-member benefits continuing members, including Ireland, must pay dearly for.

The Guardian and the Economist may well be disappointed if they think Ireland can swing a good deal for them. And no, we are not going to let ourselves be set up to take the fall when Brexit dreams of "the easiest trade deal in history" come tumbling down.

That dear Boris, will be all your own doing.

Obviously too long, but the IT can use whatever bits they want...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 24th, 2020 at 10:33:21 AM EST

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