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And what of that alternative for the RoI and Brexit? February 21, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Speaking of Irexit, Tom McGurk has modified his argument slightly this last weekend in the SBP. How so one may ask? Well, first up he writes that it is unwise to get rid of Enda Kenny now given Brexit and his long experience of the EU. Though isn’t that an argument for keeping him around for years? And perhaps it is at that. And no change in his inability to avoid putting forward the argument about Ireland (or rather this state) being ‘utterly dependent on other peoples decisions’ though curiously (and as the other piece posted this morning notes) as always these decisions are seemingly in these arguments only ever made by one group i.e. from his perspective the EU, which at least we have some input into, but never, no way, no siree, the UK which it would appear we have none.

And he throws in fluff about the Common Travel Area and the GFA/BA, mystifyingly arguing that;

…the EU Legal committee – in relation to the wider commitments of the GFA – is insisting that the agreement terms are and were dependent on both Britain and Ireland belonging in the EU. Post-Brexit with Britain gone what does that mean?

Here I think we face the true problems intrinsic to his arguments. It wasn’t just the EU pointing this out, the text of the agreement itself links in directly to the EU, and indeed in the recent court cases the argument was made directly by those challenging Brexit in Northern Ireland that continuing EU membership of both states or at least Northern Ireland and Ireland was a bedrock of the GFA. Yet he ignores all that to paint what… a malign EU attempting to put one over on this state?

Then he argues that Kenny et al fear telling the Irish people about how little power Ireland will have at the negotiations over these matters and were they to do so ‘it would unleash an anti-EU movement and a debate about Irexit would break out’. A boy can dream Tom, a boy can dream. I suspect the truth is a bit more prosaic than that and that people are fairly well aware both of how little leverage this state has and how little it can exert on the UK. Indeed what is surprising is that McGurk thinks it is a surprise. Anyhow he continues:

And what if we end up with a customs and tariff border and the ending of the CTA plus a whole series of other changes isolating us here on the very edge of Europe from both Britain and the EU? What then will be the value of remaining under an entirely different EU political jurisdiction?

Thing is though that the EU will be literally no further away, whereas Britain? That’s the rub. That’s the entity that is absenting itself in whole or part from the equation. But telling how he frames it.

As always, and there are others who from various different perspectives argue this, the focus appears to be not on Ireland but on London. That too is telling. Anyhow, finally, finally, he offers an option for this state… and what is it?

The obvious plan B is to replicate either a Norwegian or Swiss-type EU relationships and leave the EU, but like them, retain both EU single market membership and bilateral trade with Britain thereby circumventing much of the current Brexit crisis. We would also protect our common travel area, restore our fisheries and control of our borders, but that debate isn’t even live here at the moment.

What of a ‘new’ relationship with the EU where we in our effective EFTA/EEA position would have to take on board a very broad range of EU regulatory and other aspects while having no input whatsoever into their shape? Would gains in fisheries outweigh potential changes in agriculture? And would it wear with the EU?

And does this proposal, address the issues? Would that status secure a no-land border on this island? How would the interface, customs/economic/financial/otherwise operate in relation to the UK? Would that begin to address our trading relations with EU states other than Britain? How would that impact on our attractiveness in relation to inward investment (with all the caveats that that entails, almost needless to say)?

And even were all this to come to pass, would what would in effect be a massive shift in the nature of this state represent any real sovereign decision at all given that it was all done due to ‘other peoples decisions’? There might be a case, might be, if it were to salvage something from the smoking ruin of the GFA/BA as presently constituted in the wake of the actions and inactions of the British, but a more bitter outcome and object lesson in how we had had to bend our sovereignty to that of our nearest neighbour to satisfy their whims would be difficult to think of.

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Comments»

1. deiseach - February 21, 2017

“The obvious plan B is to replicate either a Norwegian or Swiss-type EU relationships and leave the EU, but like them, retain both EU single market membership and bilateral trade with Britain thereby circumventing much of the current Brexit crisis. We would also protect our common travel area, restore our fisheries and control of our borders, but that debate isn’t even live here at the moment.”

Let me get this straight. He wants to have Ireland to have a Norway or Switzerland-style relationship with the EU. Fine, I can understand that. But how does he see that working with a country that wants to have a Russia or Belarus-style relationship with the EU? Can you imagine the turmoil there would be in Norway if their old colonial masters in Sweden suddenly wanted out of the EU on the terms that the UK seems to want? His grumpy old man routine is wearing thin.

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2. EWI - February 21, 2017

The real emergency, as seen in D4 and its hinterlands of the mind, is in the ending of the CTA. Imagine if strapping young professionals (especially of the media/entertainment ilk) had to apply for visas to follow their dreams in the UK. Inconceivable!

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2017

Interesting, I’ve heard some partitionist stuff alright, people saying the don’t care about a hard border but not so happy about Brexit.

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Michael Carley - February 21, 2017

I think remainers in the UK have not still not worked out that the loss of Erasmus means very little to somebody on a zero hours contract who knows that neither they nor their children will ever go to university.

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FergusD - February 22, 2017

Exactly, the Remainers can come across as incredibly middle-class and advantaged. As you say, studying on the continent would just seem totally irrelevant and unimportant to many who voted for Brexit.

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FergusD - February 22, 2017

Not that I argued for or voted for Brexit. Basically bot were pretty shit but “red, white and blue Brexit” is the shittier and predictably has encouraged the right – as it was bound to do.

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sonofstan - February 21, 2017

TBF, while that may be true of D4, it’s also true of most of the rest of the country as well. There can’t be that many extended families in Ireland without someone who is working/ has worked in the UK and probably in areas far from media/ entertainment/ banking etc.

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CMK - February 21, 2017

Unrestricted emigration to the UK has been arguable the key political stabiliser for Independent Ireland post 1922. An end to that would be catastrophic for the establishment on a par with Intel, Apple, Facebook packing up and leaving over a short period of time.

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EWI - February 22, 2017

I’d argue that emigration to both Britain and the USA have been clear ‘stabilisers’ for the status quo in Ireland since the 1840s, and therefore encouraged by most of those in power over that period, a safety valve if you will.

Interesting to see what happens here when that’s no longer the case.

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Dr. X - February 22, 2017

Was emigration to the USA blocked, or made more difficult, during the 1916 – 1923 era?

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EWI - February 22, 2017

Yes, indeed. Irish people attempting to take ships to the US from England were also subject to attack from crowds roused up by their jingoistic press.

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EWI - February 22, 2017

The same here as well. But that’s being tempered by awareness of just how right-wing and hostile to ‘foreigners’ the UK (really, England here) is tilting.

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