An extraordinary extract from a radio interview with brexier Kate Hoey, in which she suggested that not only was a hard border a swell idea but that the Irish should pay for it. Many were quick to draw parallels to Donald Trump’s comments as regards the Mexican border.
Needless to say her words have been noted in Dublin, and like Trump’s, they have simply enraged politicians there and confirmed for them why the British can’t be trusted any more (hence why the EU must insist they pay their bills first and give written guarantees on the Irish border question). It looked like we were going to get an election in Ireland, but the resignation of a key politician means its been deferred for now. My guess is that they want to keep the government going for at least the rest of the year so they can maintain a strong line on brexit.
Now the funny thing here is, Kate Hoey is from the labour party. Like Corbyn she’s from the hard left and sees the EU as an impediment to his/her socialist workers paradise. This is why I’m as skeptical of left wing populists as the right wing ones. Both live in a fantasy world divorced from reality.
For example, Corbyn’s key reason for leaving the EU is that he thinks EU law prevents the re-nationalisation of the railways or power companies. Of course this ignores the reality that most of the UK’s privatised public services are owned by state run quango’s from across Europe. EDF energy for example, is owned by the French government, ScotRail is owned by Abellio (which isn’t a stomach complaint, but a Dutch government owned train company), who also own West Midlands trains. Of course in of itself, this merely makes a mockery of Thatcher’s policy of privatisation. It simply betray’s the fact that what’s actually happening is we are paying other European governments to own our public services for us, because its against the Tories free market religion to do so. But either way, clearly Corbyn and the hard left of the labour party, are as deluded on this issue as the Tories.
As for the Irish border, I heard it suggested by another brexiter how we could have a “seamless” border just like that between Canada and the US. You’ll first notice how they’re no longer holding up Switzerland or Norway as examples (which shows how their position has shifted from the one they took during the referendum), as they understand that given the likely direction of brexit (with the UK outside of the single market and travel area), its simply not possible to have customs arrangements similar to these two countries. However, the Canadian/US border is certainly not “seamless” or unguarded.
For example, consult the train timetable for the Amtrak Maple leaf, and you’ll notice how its held up for an hour to an hour and a half each way at the US/Canadian border. Well having been on that train before, I can tell you that’s about as long as it takes for the border guards to work their way through the train, stamp everyone’s passports and check everyone’s luggage. And that’s actually a fairly efficiently run border crossing, an hour hold up is small compared to the several hours you might spend at some other border crossing’s around the world (for people, it can take days for goods and cargo to clear customs). And this is only because the US and Canada have existing agreements on trade and travel of the very sort that will expire on brexit.
Bottom line, as I’ve discussed previously, if there’s any sort of difference in tariff’s one side of the border or another, the smugglers will try to exploit that (with most of the proceeds going into the pockets of terrorist groups both sides of the border). It is logically impossible for the UK to have a different immigration policy to Ireland (and thus the EU) if we share an open border, as there’s no way for us to stop EU citizens crossing it (we have this thing in Ireland called “a constitution” which gives people all of these “rights“…the brexiters might want to google those terms some time). And a hard border would violate the good Friday agreement, potentially leading to the troubles reigniting (try building up the UK economy post-brexit while London’s under siege again from IRA bombers).
This is what worries the Irish about brexit and why the Irish government is taking such a strong line on this issue. We can see the brexiters, both the Tories and Corbyn, are deluded. They have no clue about the history of the region or the long term implications of what they are doing. They reckon everything’s going to go their way and they can improvise a solution to the Irish border on the back of a fag packet the night before the UK leaves.
Of course, we know that won’t work. We know that tax revenue will take a hit, businesses in the UK will be driven to the wall and the Irish won’t be able to export anymore. And migrants will be crossing over laughing all the way, sharing their experiences on social media as they do so, leaving the tabloid bigot brigade foaming at the mouth. In reaction to these tabloid headlines, the UK government will hastily bring in border controls, no doubt they will claim as a “temporary” measure, that will essentially become permanent….and pretty soon after that the British and Irish army are back to refereeing roadside bombing competitions.
….and just so we are are clear, no we won’t be paying for your fu*king wall. I’ll let former Mexican President Vicente Fox summarise for me on this issue….