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Blaming others for England's isolation [Update]

by Frank Schnittger Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 01:59:44 PM EST

Denis McShane (born Josef Denis Matyjaszek, 21 May 1948) is a British former politician, author and commentator who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Rotherham from 1994 to his resignation in 2012. A former member of the Labour Party, he was Minister of State for Europe from 2002 until 2005. He was convicted in 2012 of submitting false invoices for expenses and was sentenced to 6 Months in Prison. He was a supporter of the Iraq war and has been accused of dishonest behaviour on a number of other occasions.

Without noting this background, the Irish Times has given him space to expound his views on how British Irish relations should develop post Brexit, He is the latest in a long line of columnists in Irish papers warning Ireland to stay close to mother England in case those perfidious continentals should take advantage of us. Apparently he has detected a rise in Schadenfreude and Anglo-phobia amongst his Irish friends. I have responded in a draft letter to the Editor below and [Update] an edited version has been published here:


A Chara, - Denis McShane (Get ready for the Brexiternity, Opinion, 30th. December) makes much of his English heritage and Irish passport and accuses us of Schadenfreude and short-sightedness in failing to realise that "as the offshore western islands of Europe [we] are all part of a common whole, and if England or Britain loses so too will Ireland".


In many hours of discussions with both Leavers and Remainers in the UK and supporters and opponents of the EU elsewhere, I have failed to detect any great sense of Schadenfreude or a denial of the UK's right to leave the EU if it so wanted. To me these are red herring or straw man arguments of no great merit or benefit to either side.

What there has been is lots of debate about the advantages and disadvantages of Brexit from various points of view, and particularly on its impact on the peace process in N. Ireland and Scotland's long-term future. As far as I can see, most Leave supporters don't have a problem with an independent Scotland or a united Ireland either.

English nationalism is no more meritorious or wrong-headed than Irish nationalism or any other nationalism. It is a political choice citizen of a nation are entitled to make, just as it is a valid political choice to create a European Union of nations which has been spectacularly successful at reducing the wars and conflicts that had been endemic in the centuries prior to the creation of the Union.

It is clear to me that many in the UK never subscribed to the overarching peace-making ethos of the EU, and in that context, they are better off not being a member. What they shouldn't expect, however, is that the EU will now still have much time for the concerns of a non-member state. Whether the UK sinks, or swims is now its own business.

Contrary to Mr. McShane's assertion we are now no longer "part of a common whole, [with] England or Britain" and being a neighbouring island does not make it so. We are members of a European Union and our interests will be increasingly tied to that Union.

We have managed to hold on to the Good Friday Agreement, a common travel area with Britain, an open border with N. Ireland, and customs free trade in goods with N. Ireland. But other than that, our relationship with post Brexit Britain will be little different to that of Germany, France, or the Benelux countries, for example. Irish people will be, increasingly, living and working in the EU, just as in the past, many emigrated to Britain.

If Mr. McShane wants to honour his Irish citizenship he should be looking to support our interests, and not those of a greater England outside the EU. We didn't choose Brexit, they did, and in so doing chose to erect greater barriers with neighbouring states.


Denis McShane is the latest of a long line of commentators writing in Irish newspapers who may be said to have been afflicted by RABIES - Rejecting All Brexit's Inevitable Effects Syndrome, whereby others are blamed from the fall-out from Brexit - even by arch Remainers such as McShane. It is not Ireland which has insisted on greater barriers between Britain and Ireland and the rest of the EU, but the UK.  Yet daily we are accused of Anglo-phobia, Schadenfreude, and failing to realise that our interests lie with the UK.

If there is one thing which will drive a majority of the Irish electorate into the arms of Sinn Féin, it is British people trying to claim we are but an extension of Britain after all.

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by Oui on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 05:04:14 PM EST
"as the offshore western islands of Europe [we] are all part of a common whole, and if England or Britain loses so too will Ireland"

If geographical proximity is the main determinant to supposedly "being all part" of that so-called "common whole", then, surely, Northwestern France and Western Flanders can make that claim too: after all, the distance from Dover to Calais is about the same as the distance from Portpatrick to Bangor, and Ostende is almost as close to Ramsgate.

As it happens, the vast majority of nations in Europe have realized they are very much part of a common whole, and they decided to do something about that: it's called the European Union.

by Bernard on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 05:49:42 PM EST
Brexiteers have explicitly argued for Irexit, and even Remainers seem to think we should now throw in our lot with Britain because of "the historic ties between us". They seem utterly oblivious to the fact that those ties were over-archingly about involuntary dominance and submission, and that almost no one wants to go there again.

Their insensitivity to political feelings outside their immediate orbit is absolutely stunning. Just because we give them a warm welcome when they come here on holidays and many British expats have made their home here does not mean we want to have anything to do with British rule again, other than in the same way as European countries will maintain cordial relations with them.

For 40 odd years they did nothing but insult the EU and its members, and in N. Ireland they colluded with loyalist paramilitaries to kill innocent civilians and even set off bombs in Dublin and Monaghan and now were are supposed to be best buds. NOT going to happen.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 06:08:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, "the historic ties between us", that old chestnut.

Like the historic ties between Britain and the USA or between France and Algeria: the ties between a former colonial power and a colonized country that fought a bitter independence war for getting rid of such "ties".

by Bernard on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 06:33:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One might hypothesize that New Zealand is one of the most Anglophilic countries out there, so perhaps they would be pretty enthusiastic about the UK taking back control.

But reports on the Radio New Zealand site suggests that their agricultural exports will be damaged by the pre-defined quota split between EU and UK. Most of their trade is with Australia, China, the US, and Japan. And their main geopolitical concern seems to be trying to balance relations between China, Australia, and the US.

It appears that in New Zealand, whether the UK is in or out of the EU is of tertiary interest at best.

by asdf on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 07:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking from NZ: yes. Beyond a few English nationalist immigrants (or "expats" as they call themselves), the UK is an irrelevancy to us. Unimportant, overarmed, chiefly notable for the problems it causes, the sort of country we try and avoid. And as a country keen on free trade and free movement (when there's not a pandemic on), leaving the EU just seems like a colossal act of self-sabotage.
by IdiotSavant on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 09:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Out of curiosity, if the EU offered New Zealand full membership of the Single Market and Customs Union, would NZ be inclined to accept? I appreciate that has never been seen as a real possibility.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 11:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Relations

The EU is one of New Zealand's most important and active partners in the Pacific.

Wouldn't NZ a bit too Socialist to fit in present day capitalistic and populist driven E-27? Geez ... the Anglo-Saxon tribe wouldn't have it.

by Oui on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 12:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The anglo-saxon tribe where amongst the most marketista in the EU when they were in it! I'm asking about membership of the Single Market and Customs Union, not full political membership!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 01:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As in a trading relationship in which NZ farmers got to export all the milk and butter they wanted? Like a shot.

Obviously, there is more to it than that: regulations, common standards etc. But NZ is used to that sort of thing in its FTAs, and NZ farmers are awfully good at getting NZ politicians to swallow anything to give them a bigger market. And the broad alignment of values with the EU means the actual FTA we are negotiating has so far avoided the controversy such deals usually attract (probably because, thanks to the ECJ, there will be no ISDS clause. Thanks, ECJ!) (would being subject to the ECJ be an issue, given the hatred of ISDS clauses? Less so, I think, because its a real court, with a real and long established body of law, not just rich people going "wah wah government did something I don't like pay me all the imaginary money I thought I'd make if law and society didn't exist". Its not seen as undermining democracy or being opposed to the existence of legislatures in the same way that ISDS "tribunals" are).

by IdiotSavant on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 10:26:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Here come the Hercules.  Here come the submarines.  Sinking South Pacific dreams."
by rifek on Sun Jan 17th, 2021 at 04:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK politicians still haven't come to terms with the fact The Empire has fallen.  They think they can do whatever they want, to whomever, whenever, without repercussion.  

I see this in the US as well.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 06:46:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US is in for some major surprises. The list of areas where our system is failing is pretty long. Our completely lack of icebreaking ships is just one example. Our inability to make 5 micron semiconductors is another. We can't even run an election, due to our badly wordsmithed 18th Century constitution.
by asdf on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 07:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can't even run an election, due to our badly wordsmithed 18th Century constitution.

Is that a problem? China isn't any better.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 07:28:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we live under the impression that our system is great. I think it's a question of whether the US was successful in the 20th Century because of our system or in spite of our system.
by asdf on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 07:41:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just give us a few more years of exacerbating climate change, and we won't need icebreakers.  Checkmate, Russia!  Seriously though, you'd be hard-pressed to find a structural aspect of this country that isn't crumbling to dust.  Education, communication, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, R&D, name it.  We're in it deep.  As for our Constitution, yes we give it way too much credit (Hells, I live in Utah where 3/4 of the population believe the thing was divinely inspired.).  Unfortunately, it's now behaving once again as the Founders intended, namely ensuring governance and control by the Cracker Class.  Look at the presidents through the 1848 election.  Southerners with the following exceptions: 1) Adams from Massachusetts, one and done, driven out by a Virginian; 2) Adams from Massachusetts, one and done, driven out by a Tennesseean; 3) Van Buren from New York, who got there because he hitched his wagon to that Tennesseean but who was one and done at least in part because he was too much of a Yankee to keep the party unified behind him, so he was beaten by; 4) Harrison, ostensibly an Ohioan but really a War Hero candidate, and it doesn't matter anyway because he died immediately and was replaced by a...[checks notes]...Virginian.  After Taylor comes the losing of control and the Civil War (or as I call it, The Terrorism Campaigns of the Southern-Fried Sedition Monkeys, which I find more accurate), and then one sees a big change.  Except for Andrew "The Accident" Johnson and Woodrow "Political Cracker" Wilson, the South doesn't get a whiff of the White House until LBJ.  And then?  Two more Texans, a Georgian, and an Arkansasan.  And now Trump has fled to Florida because he knows which side of the Sedition Line his base is on.  Couple this with voter suppression and concentration of wealth, and the Founders would say the Constitution is getting back to something closer to what they had in mind.
by rifek on Sun Jan 17th, 2021 at 05:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Witness the 200 UK skiing tourists in Switzerland who were ordered to quarantine by the Swiss authorities and who promptly scarpered all over the continent because those pesky regulations did not apply to them.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 08:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Contrast the 48 French citizens who have been stopped at the border driving home from a ski holiday in Switzerland, and not being able to show a negative COVID test, obliged to go into quarantine. The typical excuse given is that they didn't want to pay for a test in Switzerland, given that it's free in France... National character eh?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Jan 3rd, 2021 at 10:44:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU irrelevant as trading partner?

China, US and EU are the largest economies in the world

by Oui on Sun Jan 3rd, 2021 at 05:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except there is ferry route from Portpatrick to Bangor!. Cairryan to Larne, on the other hand, is only 41 Miles by Ferry.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 11:55:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Ghostly atmosphere on one of last ferries to Britain before Brexit takes hold
Thursday's early morning ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, one of the last before the January 1st imposition of a European Union trade border between the island of Ireland and the United Kingdom, had a ghostly quality to it.

The Irish Ferries Ulysses has capacity for almost 2,000 passengers, together with 1,342 cars and 241 trucks. In the event, there were perhaps 50 cars, divided roughly even between Irish and UK registration plates.

Freight trailers were visible mainly by their absence. I saw just four.

The ship's cafe was empty for almost the entirety of the crossing. In Boylan's Restaurant, half the chairs were stacked on tables, such was the absence of demand. The freight driver's separate eating area was closed, apparently due to lack of clientele.

In the ship's shop, festooned with sweatshirts, tourist tat, perfumes and alcohol, the absence of customers allowed the crew member in charge to concentrate instead on stacking shelves for the expected onslaught of shoppers once January 1st has come - and duty free has returned.

A similar "calm before the storm" feeling attends the motorway standard A55 dual carriageway that leads from Holyhead, across Holy Island and slicing on through Anglesey to the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Strait.

For five miles outside the north Wales ferry terminal, the second busiest in the UK, one side of the A55 has been designated a lorry park, similar to the approach road to Dover in Kent.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 06:26:02 PM EST
by Bernard on Mon Jan 4th, 2021 at 07:29:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm trying, and failing, to understand why anyone in Ireland cares what McShane thinks.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 06:35:37 PM EST
I don't think many do, but my beef is with editors printing this stuff while not printing my letters!

I think the older generation is still living in the past where the ruling elite in Ireland still looked to the UK for the default way to deal with every problem. They don't seem to realise younger people have moved on and don't look to the UK for much any more.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 08:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile the Guardian has printed an editorial by Larry Elliot presenting Brexit as a glorious opportunity for the British Left.

You couldn't make it up. Except he just did - and presumably he got paid for it too.

Considering the "Well that's settled - time to move on" narrative that's being pushed by the Tories, the LibDems, Labour, and all the major papers - except for the extremists who still want No Deal - it's increasingly hard to wonder if these efforts aren't coordinated.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 10:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 10:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a round condemnation of the whores, morons, and combination thereof who are the news media in Anglophonia that on the one hand they can refuse to deplatform idiots like this and on the other hand they can wonder why everyone who is not demonstrably anencephalic views them as tools who are beneath contempt.
by rifek on Sun Jan 17th, 2021 at 05:40:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just received the Dutch version of a DFDS New Year wish ...

"Rediscover freedom with DFDS and its 4 ferry routes from the UK to Europe."

I assume it's meant directional 😊

by Oui on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 07:27:17 PM EST
So all of the Brexit slogans are now available for use in marketing? Great.

I bet there is somebody painting something about health insurance on the side of a bus right this very minute!

by asdf on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 07:43:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHS and Boris like this⁉️

Into the Wonderful World of off peak

Thx to all attention delaying the inevitable ...

by Oui on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 08:05:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Gibraltar to join EU Schengen border zone, Spain says

by Oui on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 09:07:01 PM EST
Either foreigners or immigrants, nothing 'tween.

by Oui on Sun Jan 3rd, 2021 at 01:34:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch border police has refused entry of ten British nationals to the EU.
by Oui on Sun Jan 3rd, 2021 at 08:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there cases of EU nationals not being allowed entry into England, or is it just EU countries who have taken back control?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 4th, 2021 at 08:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the latter ... communal sovereignty 🤣

Three days in and Brexit travel chaos is already a thing

by Oui on Mon Jan 4th, 2021 at 09:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems it's not those nasty Europeans who are trying to curb British Citizen's rights to travel wherever they want, whenever they want, but their own airline combined with some official ignorance, incompetence, and indifference. No doubt that is not the story you will read in a Mail or Telegraph...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 4th, 2021 at 11:57:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Jan 4th, 2021 at 05:56:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only Spanish nationals and legal residents of Spain are allowed to board flights from the UK until 19 January.

They can travel to France instead.

BA's decision wrongly to deny him boarding made him eligible for €400 in compensation under European air passengers' rights rules.

But the airline told him: "Hi, Stephen. I'm afraid we won't be able to offer you any compensation. I'm sorry to disappoint you."


Wot? No more EU air passengers rights?
by Bernard on Mon Jan 4th, 2021 at 06:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy New Year to All 🌎 🥇 🌈

Irish babies born on January 1st expected to live to 105 years of age - UN

Truly a hopeful headline for a new generation born in a rich economy of the Western World. A shame the State of their living environment planet Earth is a shambles due to lack of care and depletion of Nature.

by Oui on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 07:43:02 AM EST

Brexit becomes reality as Britain leaves its 48-year partnership with Europe | France24 |

by Oui on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 11:42:15 AM EST
Dismay and elation on first trading day in post-Brexit Holyhead
Radoslav Radev cut a lonely figure as he stood by the freight check-in cabin for the Stena Line ferry to Dublin, handed in his papers and waited.

After just a few moments, the woman inside the cabin pushed her arm through a small opening in the window and returned them. He craned his neck, listening to what she had to say.

He would not be permitted to enter the port area proper, she told him.

"You need a BPN number now after Brexit, " she says.

---<snip>--

By now, Radev has left the left port and driven to the truck stop. Later, I find him there, pacing about the hard stand, with a mobile phone to his ear.

I raise an inquiring thumbs up/thumbs down at him.

"No," he replies. "Not good. Problem. Brexit papers. Maybe wait three days here."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 04:54:12 PM EST
Brexiternity?
A chara, - Denis MacShane ("Get ready for the Brexiternity", Opinion & Analysis, December 30th) makes much of his feelings of Englishness and Irish passport and accuses us of schadenfreude and short-sightedness in failing to realise that "as the offshore western islands of Europe [we] are all part of a common whole, and if England or Britain loses so too will Ireland".

In many hours of discussions with both Leavers and Remainers in the UK and supporters and opponents of the EU elsewhere, I have failed to detect any great sense of schadenfreude or a denial of the UK's right to leave the EU if it so wanted.

As far as I can see, most Leave supporters do not have a problem with an independent Scotland, or a united Ireland either.

English nationalism is no more meritorious or wrong-headed than Irish nationalism or any other nationalism. It is a political choice citizen of a nation are entitled to make, just as it is a valid political choice to create a European Union of nations which has been spectacularly successful at reducing the wars and conflicts that had been endemic in the centuries prior to the creation of the union.

It is clear to me that many in the UK never subscribed to the overarching peace-making ethos of the EU, and in that context, they are better off not being a member. What they shouldn't expect, however, is that the EU will now still have much time for the concerns of a non-member. Whether the UK sinks, or swims, is now its own business.

Contrary to Mr MacShane's assertion, we are now no longer "part of a common whole, [with] England or Britain", and being a neighbouring island does not make it so. We are members of a European Union and our interests will be increasingly tied to that union.

We have managed to hold on to the Belfast Agreement, a common travel area with Britain, an open border with Northern Ireland, and customs-free trade in goods with the North.

But other than that, our relationship with post-Brexit Britain will be little different to that of Germany, France, or the Benelux countries, for example.

We didn't choose Brexit, the UK did, and in so doing it chose to erect greater barriers with neighbouring states. - Yours, etc,



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 12:20:55 AM EST
by Oui on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 11:12:59 AM EST
by Oui on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 05:11:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: UK fishermen halting exports to EU as `catastrophe' Brexit bureaucracy renders business unviable
Fishermen are halting exports to Europe because new border bureaucracy introduced by the government as part of Brexit is making their business unviable.

Exporters now have to deal with new health certificates, customs declarations and other paperwork if they want to sell to the EU, the largest market for much of the UK's catch.

Describing the situation as a "catastrophe", businesses said orders from Europe were also drying up because of Boris Johnson's new trade barriers.  

Seafood is highly perishable and relies on a seamless flow across borders, but small test consignments sent to France and Spain that would normally take one day are now taking three or more days, if they get through at all.

Who could possibly have predicted that leaving the common market and customs union and ending frictionless trade would have consequences? Especially for highly time-sensitive products? Who could possibly have imagined?

by IdiotSavant on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 11:26:40 AM EST
In a weird way this is actually good since the European fish stocks could use a hiatus to regenerate.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 06:02:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...take back control?


Who Could Have Predicted?
by Bernard on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 04:43:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scottish fishermen voted by 72% to stay in the Union and 93% voted to leave the EU.

They got what they want.  One hopes they are enjoying it.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 04:17:47 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 03:00:40 PM EST
The National
THE Tory leader of the House of Commons has claimed that Brexit has made fish "British fish and they're better and happier fish for it".
Happier because the Scots will stop fishing them once they figure out that they won't be able to sell them, letting the happy fish swim all the way to European waters.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 03:56:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
🤣
by Oui on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 04:52:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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