Ever since May’s defeat she, her cabinet and the right wing media, have been hinting about possible compromises from Brussels. They’ve suggested that in this stand off the EU will blink first. That the Irish will be up for renegotiating the Good Friday agreement, you name it. However the Irish have now put their foot down and made it clear there will be no compromise on the backstop, even if it means a no deal.
This doesn’t surprise me, for the last few weeks I’ve been reading the news on Irish websites (e.g. the Irish times or RTE news) and the British news and its like they are reporting on two entirely different things in different parts of the world. So either May and her cabinet (plus large elements of the media) are delusional, or they are wilfully deceiving both the public and parliament. Whichever it is, there is nothing to be gained by Ireland or the EU compromising, after all we could never trust the British to hold up to their side of the bargain.
And some of the comments coming out of the UK have frankly added fuel to the fire, hence why I’m not really surprised Dublin is taking such a firm line. For example, in a blatant breach of the BBC’s supposed impartiality radio 4 host John Humphrey’s preposterously suggested that the solution might just been that Ireland leaves the EU, gives up independence and becomes part of the UK. Ya and maybe the solution to a trade deal with the US is for the US to become part of the UK? Or, rather than a 2nd indy ref, how about we dissolve the act of union and go back to direct rule of the UK from Edinburgh castle? Or we could resolve the issues at Gibraltar by reversing the treaty of Utrecht?
Unfortunately, what Humphrey’s betrays is something I’ve heard several times from those who went to posh boarding schools. They have a warped view of history that’s about as biased as the sort you’d get in a madrasa and comes with an equivalent fanatical zeal to match. They can’t for the life of them understand why Ireland left the UK in the first place, nor the Americans or Canadians. Nor can they understand the hostility that references to the British empire stirs up among many in Asia. Or why it might be a bit of a diplomatic faux paus to quote Imperialist poets in a Myanmar temple (yes Boris actually did this!).
And there are large elements of UK history that the British believe in which is just flat out wrong. For example, you’ll often be told that there’s been no successful invasion of the UK since 1066. Well actually, there have been dozens of them. Numerous ones by the Scottish (the Welsh even had a go once or twice), two successful invasions during the war of the roses, another which put William of Orange on the throne and of course the infamous raid on the Medway (the Dutch sailed down the Thames and burnt the British fleet at anchor)to name a few. Hell one wonders why the UK landing cards, don’t include under “reasons for visiting” the option “invade this wretched isle and reclaim my birthright”.
And this also warps their world view leaving many brits with a form of selective blindness. Its what drives their view of British exceptionalism (that the UK should be allowed to leave the EU and yet still enjoy all the benefits, without paying for the privilege). Which leads to an inability to spot the obvious hypocrisies of, for example, leading brexiteers loudly proclaiming how brexit is a great idea, while moving their firms outside of the UK in advance of brexit. Or availing themselves of an EU passport (a privilege that’s not open to those who can’t afford a 2nd home overseas, doubly so now that its been made clear british expats will lose access to healthcare).
But surely the UK will win against the EU? Its not as if they’ve lost numerous battles and economic wars in the past? Like I’ve said, that the EU would take the line it has, or that the Irish would react so strongly to threats against the peace process, should not come as a surprise to any sane individual, whose even remotely familiar with this thing called “history“. For there is also a long standing failure of the British government in taking ownership of EU policy that it had a hand in.
They’ll whinge about unpopular legislation that Brussels “imposed on them”…while failing to point out it was a proposal the British supported, overwhelming number of British MEP’s voted for and the UK government could have vetoed had they wished. And equally British governments will take credit for things that were an entirely EU proposal.
And this extends to the withdrawal agreement. After all the backstop was May’s idea to placate the DUP. Now she’s saying she wants to get rid of it to placate the DUP……WTF! So you can imagine the incredulity in Brussels. And frankly the last thing the UK wants to do now is unpick a deal, remember the EU will inevitably ask for something in return (likely a commitment to a permanent customs union and/or extended freedom of movement indefinitely). May is again prioritising remaining PM for a few more days over the best interests of the country.
Women might be from Venus, men from Mars, while brexiteers seem to inhabit a different universe entirely! Brexit is a right wing project born out of a deluded and warped view of history among posh upper class twits who all went to fancy lads school. Hence why they are blind to the fact that brexit, as I’ve pointed out before, is a choice between May’s (existing) deal or no brexit at all.
But unable to comprehend this, the brexiteers (and large elements of the British public, who’ve had the same warped education) are instead prepared to dive off the the no deal cliff. Now the thing is, I’m increasingly of the view that this is what’s going to happen (hence the wave of stockpiling going on in the UK by both companies and the public).
And while a no deal brexit would be generally bad news all around, but it would be especially bad for the upper classes. The likely outcome I suspect will be either some sort of hard left government, a fascist coup, the break up of the UK, or a revolt of the centre and a rapid push for a 2nd referendum to rejoin the EU (under the terms of a new member, which will mean the end of non-dom status and the UK’s offshore tax havens).
So in essence, should the upper class types come to their senses in the next 60 days, it is for them a choice between either backtracking on brexit (good luck with that one! I’ll have the popcorn at the ready), or facing the Russian roulette of either Corbyn, Tony Robinson or Vince Cable ending up in charge.