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In our DNA? July 31, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This really annoys me, Micheál Martin quoted as saying ‘In an interview a year ago, he cautioned against the temptation to get “one over” on the British saying “from Houghton’s goal on, it’s natural, it’s instinctive, it’s in our DNA”. 

Really? Does he think so little of the people of this island or state? It certainly isn’t characteristic of the interactions of the current government on the issue of Brexit. And it seems to me to be of a piece with a certain cultural cringe that some possess – an over sensitivity not to what is said but to what is not said but which they seem to assume is on the brink of being said or being thought.

But let’s consider by contrast what is being said by some British about the people and representatives of this state.

Indeed the whole thing reminds me of Arlene Foster’s complaint today that the Irish government should ‘dial down the rhetoric’. We’ve just endured a weeks long campaign by various Tory leaders whose rhetoric was so egregious in the attitudes and lack of knowledge on display in regard to Ireland and the backstop and so on that it bears no comparison to the rather measured words emanating from Dublin. And indeed the rhetoric from the new incumbent in Number 10 has hardly been conspicuous by its measured tones either.

Or what about this late addition from Bruce Arnold?

“This is tough right now, being a proud and loyal British subject who has lived in, and loved, Ireland for more than 60 years,” he wrote in the article, headlined “Bought by Brussels, little Ireland’s ridiculous leaders have landed it in a Brexit crisis”.


“Yet again we face a crisis of democracy, with little Ireland and the huge EU refusing to recognise the democratic decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. The ridiculous country in which I live is helping Europe in this abuse.”


An historic error… July 31, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Ellie Mae O’Hagan of the Guardian made an intriguing point on the Guardian politics podcast the other day about the Johnson premiership and British Labour. Speaking as the token Corbynista – as she described herself, on the panel, she argued that Labour had made a significant error in relation to Remain sentiment. That was that it “assumed that the Remain movement is dominated by people like Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, which it is at the top, but the Remain grassroots are people, particularly young people, who are frightened and horrified by what they see as a reactionary right-wing turn in this country, in terms of Boris Johnson himself (they see him as our Trump) and I think Labour because it has not really understood or engaged with the Remain movement they haven’t been talking to those people who are part of their coalition and part of their base.’

She may be right. And I’d agree that the BLP has taken a remarkably hard Brexit line – ruling out the CU and being rather rhetorical about the SM. How much of that is design rather than confusion or lack of knowledge is a different matter.

Sterling crash.. July 31, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Hey, what could possibly go wrong with a British government talking up the prospect, indeed almost making it the centre-piece of their strategy, of no-deal Brexit?

Just this. Entirely unpredictable of course. Who would have thought.

And just on the effects. Such crashes weaken the purchasing power of every British worker. Well done the Tories.

What you want to say – 31 July 2019 July 31, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Not the only one… July 30, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Telling that Timmy Dooley broke and run, briefly, with the line that:

…a “standoff” with the UK was a “direct result of Taoiseach Varadkars (sic ) failure to engage in basic diplomacy over the past 2 years”.

I think EWI has pointed to that sentiment abroad amongst a small tranche in this state over recent times, but that an FF TD would follow it says a lot about that party these days. In fairness M. Martin stamped on it pretty damn quick, as well he should given that it is so evidently untrue.

But then again, there are others who follow a not dissimilar line. For example, Nick Timothy’s tendentious article in the Daily Telegraph (behind a paywall, but some text will be found on Slugger) was lauded by someone this side of the Irish Sea.

Important article from yesterday’s Daily Telegraph forwarded by Anthony Coughlan for your information

“Varadkar is playing fast and loose with peace in Northern
Ireland”… Important article from yesterday’s Daily Telegraph
forwarded by Anthony Coughlan for your information

– Please copy and disseminate this article as widely as possible
because of its truthfulness, its authoritative source and its
political significance.

– The article is written by Nick Timothy, who was Prime Minister
Theresa May’s principal policy adviser until he resigned in 2017
following her failed general election bid.

– NB. Taoiseach Varadkar’s intransigence on the Irish backstop is not
out of concern for the Good Friday Agreement. There is nothing in that
agreement that requires the UK to be in or to remain a member of the
EU. Taoiseach Varadkar’s objective, supported by Brussels, is to use
the Irish backstop to keep the UK effectively trapped in the EU
customs union and single market when a meaningful Brexit requires that
it must leave these. (A.C.)

Strange to see the tropes of the British hard and ultra-free market right imported directly into Irish political discourse and then used as a stick to beat the government of this state which has, at least (and I’m in a way amazed to be saying this given it is an FG government) recognised the seriousness of the situation in regard to the Border and the situation of Northern nationalists and republicans.

Thought experiment… July 30, 2019

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Good piece here on The Brexit Blog which suggests:

Imagine that, the WA completed, the UK had been all geared up to ratify it and it was the EU-27 that had fallen into disarray and could not do so because of internal divisions. And so it was they who were seeking renegotiation of something that the UK regarded as having been agreed. It’s not very difficult to see that the UK, and Brexiters in particular, would be outraged. And, no doubt, would be saying that, in that case, let the EU-27 accept the consequences of no-deal if that’s what they want.

In that context, too, imagine if it were the EU-27 who were saying that the thing they wanted changed (the financial settlement, say) could be resolved if the UK accepted the one solution that the 27 had agreed on (that the settlement be recalculated according to an unspecified formula, say). What, then, would the Brexiters’ response be? Again, it’s not hard to guess. But this is exactly the logic of what Brexiters argue when they say that the Brady Amendment (i.e. to remove the backstop in favour of alternative arrangements) should be accepted by the EU as it is the only thing that the British Parliament has voted in a majority for.

There’s a broader point on the piece which is hugely important to understanding the situation we now find ourselves in and which has been reiterated on this site too. That is that in 2016 the form of Brexit was not a ‘no-deal’ one. And that ‘It’s inconceivable that a no-deal platform would have won in 2016, and it is a mark of how cowed many mainstream politicians have become that they would even countenance it as being the ‘will of the people’.’

That said I think it fair to say that there was no end of deceit in that position that no-deal was unthinkable. That was, I’d suspect, precisely what many pro-Brexit proponents, or leading proponents, sought.

It is that which shows us how far matters have tilted to the extreme. Few would argue the WA was an optimal document – however it is the least worst option short of the politically (I’d argue) unattainable goal of Remain, at least given the current configuration of forces and the path that has led us to here. And sensible words too that even were a Remain achieved it would in no way ‘fix’ the situation or be a solution as such – that the fractures that Brexit has opened wider in the British polity are there to stay. I’ve no time for May but what she negotiated offered at least a hint of a way forward. With May gone what is left?

And the piece notes that that path leaves the UK in a position where Brexit will, as it were, use up all the political oxygen available. How can it be otherwise when it is so central to economic and other areas?

Brexit Britain: A steal… July 30, 2019

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A small snippet in the Observer business leader at the weekend caught my attention. It noted that sterling has ‘fallen by about 17% against the dollar since the referendum’ and this has the effect of making UK companies a relative steal for buyers in the US. Moreover the ‘light touch’ approach of the UK government means that unlike other European states – who, whatever the nonsense put about by Lexiteers tend to practise a starkly more interventionist approach in such matters – there is unlikely to be either political involvement in stymieing such take-overs.

Which leads to this thought provoking couple of paragraphs:

If the pound collapses after a no-deal Brexit, UK firms will become even cheaper for buyers should they have the stomach for it.
A buyout frenzy would raise questions for the new government. Will it seek favour with the US and preside over anything-goes capitalism? Or does it come under pressure to live up to its nationalist rhetoric and intervene?

And so another contradiction of Brexit comes to the fore.

Tory Britain… July 30, 2019

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More than 4 million people in the UK are trapped in deep poverty, meaning their income is at least 50% below the official breadline, locking them into a weekly struggle to afford the most basic living essentials, an independent study has shown.

And yet, as noted on a BBC Analysis podcast only last week, British politics is entirely clogged up with Brexit.

And not just the BBC are offering that particularly observation. For example:

The Institute for Government (IfG) warned there is “no such thing as a managed no deal” and the hard Brexiters predictions of a “clean break” from the EU will not materialise.


“Deal or no deal prime ministers need time, capacity and political capital to spend on their priorities,” the authors say, warning how a Brexit crisis could swamp efforts.
“Brexit is likely to preoccupy the work of the civil service for years to come. There will be at least 16,000 officials working on it by the autumn, and that number could still increase,” it says.
“Delivering a no-deal Brexit would leave the prime minister with little space for an ambitious domestic agenda.

It is as if Britain has decided to swap all other political activity for one single issue. But that’s not how the material world functions. There is no either/or. Those other issues will continue to be poorly or unaddressed.

A learning experience… July 29, 2019

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Mentioned it before but reading this from EUReferendum.com it struck me how much I’ve learned about what was esoterica a mere three or four years ago. BIP’s, SPS goods, DPE’s, and I’ve learned to be aware when those are referenced correctly or incorrectly, at least much of the time. Needless to say the piece makes mincemeat of the self-avowed Alternative Arrangements Commission proposals. But then I suspect most who are now aware of the shape of the problems facing this island and that to the east are pretty well versed in what won’t work.

And yet, and I know feelings are mixed on EUReferendum.com, the point is made in the piece that representatives of the report and those like it continue to state as fact stuff which is fundamentally incorrect. Four years on and there is outright lying about the issues and the supposed solutions. And let’s keep in mind that a whole layer of commentators in the medias, both in the UK and on this island, take their cues from this – at its kindest, misinformed nonsense regurgitating evasions and half-truths and misconceptions as if they are fact and/or the basis for forward progress.

That is a deeply political dynamic.

Trying to put us in our place July 29, 2019

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Telling, is it not, to read that Boris Johnson had by Saturday not bothered to contact Leo Varadkar. As always the disconnect between the superheated rhetoric emanating from the London in regard to the necessity to drop the backstop and the palpable lack of engagement points up the contradictions in their stance. And while negotiations are between the EU and the UK it is not as if some sort of engagement isn’t necessary or of use.

Odd phrasing, though, in the following, also from the Guardian.

Varadkar also said he would need to meet Johnson to understand his “real red lines” on Brexit, and that Ireland had shown in the past that it could be flexible.

Johnson has already spoken to other leaders in the UK including Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, and Michelle O’Neill, the head of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland.

In the UK – eh?

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