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The loyal opposition… September 19, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Depressing to see Micheál Martin indulging in rather specious attacks on the government’s handling of Brexit. He claims that:

Micheál Martin has criticised the Government’s early handling of Brexit negotiations, saying he would have resisted the temptation to “lord it over the British” and adopted a “less triumphalist” approach.

He argues that:

“I think myself in terms of the megaphone diplomacy that accompanied the first (withdrawal) agreement, I think that could have been avoided,” he said of dealings between the Irish Government and UK administration then led by Theresa May.
“I think there was a degree of triumphalism that did get the back up in unionist quarters and elsewhere which I think has given rise to all of the difficulties.”

That’s a bizarre analysis – and both remarkably insular, in the sense of ascribing blame to the ROI government, and remarkably blind to the broader dynamics at work. The causes for ‘all the difficulties’ has been an inability of the British polity, whether government, or parliament, to comprehensively accept and deliver an agreed outcome with the EU in regard first and foremost to this island. The ‘red lines’ May applied were a problem from the off, limiting the space to manoeuvre – but the Withdrawal Agreement was crafted despite this obstacle, with the EU ultimately compromising on the extension of the backstop from NI to the UK as a whole. Then there was the inability of May to get the WA through Westminster. Given that the DUP from the off cosied up to the most recalcitrant elements within Toryism, and fairly rapidly shifted to a no-backstop and ultimately de facto no-deal position, it is difficult to see how Dublin played any part at all in that process.

Indeed Martin himself merely echoes Dublin and the EU when asked to offer a solution himself:

In an interview on Virgin One’s The Tonight Show, Mr Martin said seamless trade across the Irish Border had to be protected, but added that in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, UK politicians had no blueprint on how to deliver its departure from the EU.
“I think we are looking at a Northern Ireland-specific solution. I think it will be difficult for unionism,” he said.

It will indeed. That has been baked in from the off. But if he knows that and knows the history why blame the government? Surely not political expedience.

This then is the somewhat disloyal opposition.

Interestingly, by way of offering a contrast, note the reports coming from Cabinet about a certain reservation about extending the Presidential election franchise north of the Border. Some worry about ‘President Gerry Adams’. I’m dubious about that outcome every coming to pass, but there’s a further more revealing critique.

These views, it should be said, are nowhere near universal in Government and will be repugnant to many nationalists, North and South. But they are real, and insiders say they have given the Government pause for thought. But more influential has been another argument related to timing: it says that this is not the time, given the anxiety of many unionists, to open the door to an election campaign in the North for a position in Dublin.
With the very future of the United Kingdom under pressure because of Brexit, and signs that politics in the North is retreating into its tribal foxholes, the move would be seen by some unionists, it is argued, as a sign of creeping unification. And this, it is said, is not the time for that.

That, for all Martin’s complaints and EH’s fulminations, is a much more realistic token of the thinking in this government, one which from the off has eschewed talk of border polls precisely in order not to destabilise the situation. That may be the right thing to do, it may be the wrong thing to do, but it is all a world away from the caricature presented by some.


1. EWI - September 19, 2019

saying he would have resisted the temptation to “lord it over the British” and adopted a “less triumphalist” approach

We Need To Talk About Michael.


oliverbohs - September 19, 2019

MM there like Mr Bean trying to catch someones attention. Talking in clickbait


WorldbyStorm - September 19, 2019

Very true.


2. CL - September 19, 2019

‘it is all a world away from the caricature presented by some.’ Wbs.


Liked by 1 person

3. Daire O'Criodain - September 19, 2019

Perhaps he owes an apology to Timmy Dooley whom he slapped down for similar comments a few months back.

Liked by 1 person

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