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Joe Biden’s disrespect for British democracy The Democrats would sacrifice Brexit for a united Ireland

Biden has made quite the entrance (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Biden has made quite the entrance (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)


June 11, 2021   4 mins

Despite all the predictable grandstanding, despite yet another meaningless promise to create a better world, this year’s G7 summit could, for once, be consequential. And that’s all thanks to Joe Biden.

As soon as the President touched down at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk this week, he made it clear he was a man reborn. He was, he told US service personnel serving at the airbase, going to meet Vladimir Putin once the G7 wrapped up and “let him know what I want him to know”. Cue a great roar of approval from the servicemen stood behind him, and an even greater roar of approval from the US media.

Of course, if President Biden’s predecessor was still in office and had said something similar, he would no doubt have been accused of being “bellicose”; his words would be heralded up as proof that he lacked diplomatic skills and was at serious risk of starting World War III. But different presidency, different rules.

Perhaps it is unsurprising that President Biden should wish to be seen to be standing up against Vladimir Putin. After all, the Russian leader is an easy target for Western leaders hoping to display some clout.

The same cannot be said for Biden’s host country, which makes the US President’s recent broadside against Britain all the more perplexing. In the lead-up to today’s summit, Anglo-American relations were subjected to two contradictory developments. On the one hand, Biden and Boris Johnson met yesterday to sign a new Atlantic Charter, modelled on the historic statement agreed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in 1941. The contents of the Charter are typically vague, though the intent behind it is obvious: it is an attempt to breathe new life into the much-vaunted (by the British at least) “Special Relationship”.

For Biden, the agreement also slots in nicely with his oft-repeated claim that “America is back” — as though it somehow disappeared from the world stage in the four years before he became President. Initiatives like this go some way to making it look like America is becoming a grown-up player again, deftly rebuilding important alliances that were allegedly damaged during the Trump era.

That may also explain the Biden administration’s second, more uncharacteristic incursion into British politics: the decision of the White House to instruct Yael Lempert — its most senior diplomat in the UK — to accuse Boris Johnson of imperilling the Irish peace process over Brexit.

It was, as Keir Starmer predictably acknowledged, an “unprecedented” outburst. But it also reflected an interestingly non-pragmatic side to the Biden administration; a side that is deeply ideological and seems willing to risk a diplomatic fallout in order to satisfy internal pressures within his party. For the warning, remarkable as it was, forms part of an ongoing and very curious set of misunderstandings which have taken hold at the very top of the Democratic Party.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is just one of a number of senior figures who in recent years has claimed that Britain’s decision to leave the EU risks upsetting the Good Friday Agreement. Only last September, she castigated Dominic Raab on the matter, warning: “If the UK violates its international agreements and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a UK-US free trade agreement passing the Congress.”

This view seems to get some of its impetus from the connection — in the minds of many US Democrats, at least — between the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump. But there is another reason why this strange ideological strand exists within the Democratic Party: the prevalence of a dogmatically pro-Irish reunification agenda.

For much of this century, administrations on both sides have tended to downplay this aspect of American politics — not least because in the wake of 9/11, George W Bush took a suitably strong line against the IRA and its political allies. But now, thanks to the misguided belief that Brexit could imperil the Good Friday Agreement, this ugly element of Democrat politics has returned.

This became clear almost exactly a year ago, when Chuck Schumer — the current Senate Majority leader — agreed to speak at an online conference organised by Sinn Fein; among the other speakers was Gerry Adams. In his remarks, Schumer boasted that while “the road to Irish unity” is “now more within reach today than at any time”.  He then went on to say: “I wish you the best in your critical efforts to build support for a truly united Ireland.”

Put to one side the fact that Schumer gave his approval to a political party that approves of terrorism. The fact that a senior American politician would publicly say that to anyone is, in itself, extraordinary; it’s like the Leader of the House of Commons wishing success to anyone in Texas who wants to break away from the United States.

It seems, then, that Yael Lempert and Joe Biden are in good company. But while it is one thing for a US President to be bellicose with Vladimir Putin, it is quite another to do the same with a close ally who is acting on a decision ordered in a democratic referendum.

So for once, I suspect this year’s G7 summit won’t be remembered as yet another pointless gathering, garlanded with the usual soundbites about the rule of law and the importance of democracy. For while Joe Biden’s administration makes one set of noises about the promises of Anglo-American cooperation, its behaviour in the past week has revealed the opposite: that it views British democracy as a threat to its own ideological agenda.


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

The irony of this intervention was not lost on me: by (so far) issuing a rebuke to only the UK, the US is giving its blessing to the one-sided protocol that favours Irish/nationalist interests, thus itself helping to stoke tensions.
I thought at least the Americans would understand the importance of balancing out nationalist/unionist interests and making both sides feel like they are being listened to. Only rebuking the UK will surely exacerbate the Unionists’ feeling that their interests are being trampled by the NIP and harden the resistance to it.
This was an ill-thought-out move on the part of the Americans which will simply inflame the situation even more.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Irony abounds in the relationships between the US, England, and Ireland.

Big city US politicians have long given lip service to the Irish Republican cause. Approx 10 percent of the US population can trace our ancestry in whole or in part back to Ireland. Many reside in Democrat strongholds and have a long-distance romantic attachment to the “old sod”. Money (and sometimes weapons) have made their way to Ireland from these enclaves along with the political support.

With all of that said, I see this as a cheap exercise in US domestic politics by politicians who do not have to live with the consequences.

BTW, I see more than a little irony in the similarity between the English Brexiteers and the American colonists of the 1770s.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Jennings

While we’re on the 1770s, I can see a Boston Tea Party rerun coming whereby you don’t so much throw tea into the harbour but Prince Harry for having the temerity to call essential parts of your constitution “bonkers”.

Al M
Al M
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

About the only thing involving him that many British people would happily pay to watch.

Mark Walker
MW
Mark Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

These liberal elite Democrats do not understand central USA people. Why would they understand Irish (Ulster) Unionists?

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

I think this is the key sentence in Douglas Murray’s excellent article:
This view seems to get some of its impetus from the connection — in the minds of many US Democrats, at least — between the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.
Trump, Brexit, populism in general, are all a threat to the status quo that largely benefits the upper middle class, and, departing from a century of history, the Democrats are now the party of the upper middle class and not the working class who voted for Brexit and Trump.
Here, by the way, is the current headline from the BBC website describing the Biden-Johnson meeting: “Joe Biden is breath of fresh air, says Johnson.” I’m not sure you can rely on the BBC for impartial reporting anymore (he says, with more than a little irony).

Last edited 2 years ago by J Bryant
Al M
AP
Al M
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Air can be ‘fresh’ as in newly arrived and it can be discharged from a variety of bodily orifices.

John Riordan
JR
John Riordan
2 years ago

Great article, and it is indeed worrying that the Democrats think it’s a good idea to arrange an incident in which a senior government diplomat goes against the core function of his profession, and acts undiplomatically.

What’s even more ludicrous is that this apparent show of unity between the USA and the Republic of Ireland emerged during the same week when the USA led an international treaty to fix corporation tax at a rate that will lead to billions of euros of revenue losses for Ireland by outlawing its present 12.5% corporation tax rate. This matters a great deal more, and when you consider the likely effect of bellicose grandstanding by the US government on British-Irish relations, it becomes clear that the USA’s actions are in fact reckless and in no way beneficial to the Republic of Ireland at all.

And that’s only the Republic: the North, presently experiencing increased tensions due to the toxic effect of Brussels’ deliberately intransigent stance on east/west trade within the Union of the UK, is in no position to deal with any emerging international consensus that the island of Ireland should reunite. It is not ready for such a thing, and the Republic is not ready to take on the certain socioeconomic shock of such a reunification.

I’m not giving the UK a free pass here: we signed this damn Protocol into law under conditions that provided Brussels with maximum leverage, and nobody should be fooled that Boris’s government didn’t understand the likely consequences. But that does not mean that the UK has to accept Brussels’ maximalised interpretation of this treaty. This would be the case even if there was not the neuralgic issue of the GFA, but the GFA of course exists, and it provides a powerful incentive for all parties to the controversy to behave like adults. On current showing, the USA does not qualify, and given that the USA was one of the most important diplomatic contributors to the peace process twenty years ago, that is both a shame and a disgrace.

As for Brussels, this bone-headed stupidity is now so familiar that we expect nothing else: it will not change.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Bone-headed stupidity is a core Brussels competency. I’m sure it was enshrined in the schuman declaration as a founding principle.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The usual old ignorant gobshitary from a Brexit-ard.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Yup, that’s me.
Humourless ad homimym attack from a rabid EU worshipper?

Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Know its radical but did you even think of addressing his points?

Alan Hynes
Alan Hynes
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

There is little chance of Irish unity in the short to medium term as a majority in the North remain opposed. The Protocol is not intended to bring about unity – it is not really a priority of the Irish State that this occur in the short term. The Protocol is there to ensure no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
In fairness, the Irish government, and several other Irish sources, did attempt to draw the UK’s attention to the consequences for Northern Ireland arising from Brexit during the referendum campaign, but to no avail. It simply was ignored as an issue by the UK media, politicians and the electorate (which makes this new-found interest in Northern Ireland so startling in comparison to the way it was ignored during the referendum).

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
2 years ago

The next time Biden and Lempert start sounding off about uniting Ireland under its indigenous people, someone should point them to maps of Ireland and what is now the US at the time of its Independence. Ireland had been settled for many centuries by English and Scots, and was entirely ruled by England. Three quarters of it is now governed by indigenous parties, and the rest jointly. In the US, at the time of independence, the whole of the central plains, the ‘Indian Territories’, were to be left to the First Nations. They were forced or cheated out of all of it, and now are limited to tiny reservations, in the most inhospitable or unproductive areas; the whole country is under ‘settler’ government. So much for ‘nationalist’ sentiment.

Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

Economically, it is easy to see why the UK would want to cosy up to the USA – it seems obvious because the country feels suddenly a bit draughty and isolated. But politically the USA is a disaster and we should avoid joining any of their initiatives.
The USA is super-woke but with millions of armed, white (potential) terrorists who don’t want to be woke. They will yoyo between Biden-types and Trump-types in the future. We cannot afford to copy them.
OK, you can’t easily separate economics and politics but what we really need to have any hope at all is confidence in ourselves. This can only come from strong leadership in Westminster. There have been a few slips but BJ is doing well, on the whole.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Wheatley
Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Ah ha! Super woke isn’t exactly an issue. Coming out of the long pandemic slumber many Americans (myself included) have awakened to an insidious ideology that attacks our foundations. While I am white and armed neither I nor my fellows plan anything more than a very vocal and strident opposition to the woke idology. Even more, despite some adoption by Democrats to the new woke notions, many are turning away as they understand the damage caused. It will take awhile to drive the Marxists out, but the trend against them is increasing.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

I used to think it just went to illustrate how deluded the leader of counties like Iran were when the referred to the America as the Great Satan. Now I know it was me who was deluded.
America has never been a friend to the people of this country, and only ever an ally when it suited their wider interests. God knows what it looks like to the rest of the world when we suck up to them so furiously and get less than little in return.
Also by what right does America get to be outraged about “alleged” Russian interference when they seem to think they are entitled to interfere with the internal politic of every other country to further American interests.
Finally, now that we have left the EU should we not be ending the automatic right of Irish citizens to reside in the UK since Ireland too is no friend of this country

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago

I’m an American, and it pains me to say that I think you’re absolutely right. Before leaving office, Obama wrote an article in a British publication (The Daily Mail?) urging UK voters to reject Brexit. He also requested Israeli citizens to throw out Benjamin Netanyahu. He failed in both attempts, which makes me wonder if folks in each country resented his butting into their affairs.
Given that he and Biden were both Democrats – indeed, running mates – I also have to query if that’s a difference between US Democrats and their Republican counterparts. Is the GOP more respectful of other countries’ sovereignty?

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom Krehbiel
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago

In my (completely anecdotal and limited) experience, WASP yanks all seem to think they are descended from Irish, and W-Latinate-Catholic yanks all seem to think they are descended from Italians – a patent nonsense, but one which seems to be the cod psy driving this fondness for intervening on the Irish side. This is notwithstanding that on the face of it, it looks like Eire has been played as a sacrificial pawn by the both the EU and US, and is about to be thrown under a bus by the G7 stitch-up on global corporate taxes, fixing the minimum level allowed above the level which would incentivise the US tech giants domiciled in Eire to stay.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I would have thought that WASPs (the P stands for protestant) would be descended from so-called Scotch Irish (Ulster protestants) if they have an Irish connection. The majority of Irish Americans have Irish Catholic ancestry.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

And that’s the point – they are a mix from everywhere, UK, Germany, Scandinavia, but their self-perception (even the protestants) seems to be “Irish”. I spent a couple of weeks in Minneapolis in the early 90s when my company here sent me to an customer there, and the couple of guys who looked after me there, (who were charming and hospitable) were both convinced they were Irish descended, despite they were not Catholics. They looked at me in blank incomprehension when I told them most Irish are Catholics. 

John Murray
John Murray
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

Scotch-Irish are the rednecks and hillbillies, not the WASPs. Think Kentucky and Tennessee, not Connecticut and Vermont. I believe the majority of Americans who identify as “Irish American” are indeed Catholic, but when people quote the stat that over 10% of Americans have Irish ancestry they are including those with Scotch-Irish ancestry. At the time of the Revolution Scotch-Irish were the bulk of immigrants from Ireland in the population.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

A could point to end the automatic right of Irish citizens to reside in the UK

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago

Yes indeed. Rather drastic, but it’s all becoming very acrimonious, which is a shame.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Not drastic at all. All we would be doing is treating the same as their European friends and allies which is really what they want

Alan Hynes
Alan Hynes
2 years ago

At the cost of the right of UK citizens to reside in Ireland (and to enjoy rights superior even to non-Irish EU citizens). Why would the UK forgo the ability of their citizens to live and work in an EU state?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hynes

All 3 of them

Alan Hynes
Alan Hynes
2 years ago

Close: as of April 2016, 103,113.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

If you’re going to refer to Ireland as Eire then please refer to Scotland as Alba and Wales as Cymru: and while you’re at it use Deutschland, Italia and España as well. It’s okay to say England but I prefer Anglo-Saxony!!

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Isn’t Scotland Caledonia, or was that just the Roman word for the region?

Hardee Hodges
HH
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Thanks for putting things right.

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
2 years ago

Are the Dublin Government, Irish citizens, and EU prepared to meet the financial costs of a United Ireland? Westminter needs to publicise the size of England’s support to Northern Ireland and express this support as the tax rise from every citizen of the Republic, if Ireland (both North and South) votes for a United Ireland. Polling indicates that few people consider tax rises unless this is prompted in the Poll.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mark Walker
Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Walker

It is good to make people aware but ultimately decisions like that are driven more by emotion, identity and ideology rather than economics. If people really want a united Ireland they will be prepared to bear the cost.

David Yetter
DY
David Yetter
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

That is true. But it would be better for everyone were the costs plain in advance to those voting on the issue should it come to that. The same applies to Scotland. In either case, those considering leaving the UK should be aware of the level of subsidy their homeland receives from Westminster, and there should be an agreement in advance on how the UK’s national debt will be apportioned should separation take place (of course in the case of NI with union with the Republic also occurring). Emotion and identity might prevail in any case, but those considering the matter should at least be given the opportunity to understand what the are actually voting for in economic terms as well.

Alan Hynes
AH
Alan Hynes
2 years ago
Reply to  David Yetter

At the independence of Ireland (the now Republic), the UK did not apportion and share of the debt to the new state. Why would they do so in the future. If the Republic were to take on that debt, then a portion of UK assets would have to award to Ireland as well. In the 1920s, the UK retained the debt and Ireland waived any rights to UK assets. A similar arrangement would apply this time.

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

That is a very big IF. The Dublin Government understands the costs, so is not pushing for a Border Poll at the current time. Brexit was a rare vote of emotion over economics. With Scotland’s IndyRef 1 economics won over emotion, which is a rational outcome.

Stewart B
SB
Stewart B
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Walker

If you’re struggling to get appreciation for your “help”, maybe it’s time to consider the possibility that you’re not actually helping.
If Northern Ireland (and Scotland for that matter) cost England so much money, why is England so keen for the Union? Maybe it’s not entirely altruistic…

pdrodolf
pdrodolf
2 years ago

Don’t underestimate Biden and progressive left’s appetite for supporting the “oppressed”. All any group has to do is represent themselves as being somehow oppressed and you will gain the support of the “woke” hordes and by proxy, this administration. Unless of course you happen to be a legitimately oppressed people living in steppes…….

andrew harman
andrew harman
2 years ago

I think that a united Ireland is almost inevitable anyway – demographics should see to that.

Dixie Hughes
0
Dixie Hughes
2 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Certainly inevitable… within a reformed United Kingdom perhaps?

Fintan Power
Fintan Power
2 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

I don’t and I am Irish. Who the heck wants to take on the economic costs of Northern Ireland? I know lots of people who don’t.

Mark Polden
MP
Mark Polden
2 years ago
Reply to  Fintan Power

Well that can be put down to the cost of the EU’s inflexibility on the border, and the EU can pay for it

Chris ap Alfred
Chris ap Alfred
2 years ago

Don’t forget that the Good Friday agreement was made possible only by mediation by senior US politicians. Perhaps the US govt feels a sense of responsibility.

David Shaw
David Shaw
2 years ago

Don’t forget that the only reason the US politicians stopped the shipment of arms to the IRA was because they desperately needed British support for the Iraq war

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  David Shaw

And because Binliner gave them a taste of their own medicine and they did not like it.
It was so telling how quickly dumped the human rights/fair trail arguments that they used for so long employed to frustrate the extradition of IRA terrorists in order to illegally round up anyone with even the most tenuous to 11/9

Stewart B
Stewart B
2 years ago
Reply to  David Shaw

That’s very interesting. The Good Friday agreement was signed in 1998, a good three years before 9-11 and five years before the Iraq war.
That is some serious forward planning.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Stewart B

Can you imagine how much the Americans would respect our position if we started to raise money for the widows and orphans resulting from American aggression

Fintan Power
Fintan Power
2 years ago

Crisp ap Alfred: You got that in one, something that Douglas Murray is oblivious to. And furthermore Biden met Simon Coveney, the Irish Minister for Foreign affairs before he met Boris Johnson. Coveney made clear his concerns about the Northern Ireland protocol to Biden and how Johnson was playing loose with the agreement.

Last edited 2 years ago by Fintan Power
Mark Polden
MP
Mark Polden
2 years ago

Well if so perhaps we should ask them to get into the water again in a trilateral commission with the EU on the proviso that they help to work towards a unification referendum

Stewart B
Stewart B
2 years ago

Democracy is the English and Welsh deciding the future of the Northern Irish.
Biden needs a lesson from the English on democracy and Douglas Murray is just the chap to give it to him.

Robin Bury
Robin Bury
2 years ago

Biden and Pelosi are clueless about Ireland. They are in the IRA/Sinn Fein camp and keep justifying their support for them by wrongly citing the Belfast Agreement which maked no mention of the border as the UK and the Irish republic were in the EU then. The UK spends over 10 billion euros a year supporting Northern Ireland. Irish taxpayers in a referendum have said they do not want to pay this. There is a bordeer between Norway (outside the EU) and Sweden in the EU. Like the US/Canada border, it works like clockwork So why doesn’t the EU put such a border in Ireland? The protocal is a bad compromise thanks to the EU and Irish governments in Dublin Biden and Pelosi go mind your American business and stop pandering to extreme Irish nationalists.

Richard Slack
RS
Richard Slack
2 years ago
Reply to  Robin Bury

Norway id in the European Free Trade Area and thus signs up to most EU trading protocols. It was an option we could have chosen and, in my view should have.

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago

Or had he said the same to Nicola Sturgeon?

Kristof K
Kristof K
2 years ago

Dear Mr Murray,

The byline for this article (which possibly you are not responsible for writing) “The Democrats would sacrifice Brexit for a united Ireland” makes no sence as far as I can see. They might wish for a united Ireland, but I would guess they didn’t want Brexit even more.  They actually did quite a lot of things they hoped could prevent it. So how could it be said that they “sacrificed” it?

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Kristof K

The US Democrats (first Obama, now Biden) are still trying to overturn Brexit. Same way as they tried to Impeach the Populist Trump for all of his time in Office.

Kristof K
Kristof K
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Walker

So you agree with me, the by-line of Mr Murray’s article makes no sence — a characteristic, I might add, shared by much of his material in this publication. How can it be said that they are sacrificing it at the same time as (as you say) trying to overturn it?

Robert Pay
Robert Pay
2 years ago

A number of historians have told Joe Biden he could be “as radical as FDR”. I wonder if someone told him that he could “re-unite” Ireland? He takes his Irishness so seriously he often describes himself as Irish. Recently, when asked a question by a BBC journalist he replied, “Huh! BBC – I’m Irish!” He may dislike the UK as much as the BBC.

Last edited 2 years ago by Robert Pay
Diarmuid Ó Sé
Diarmuid Ó Sé
2 years ago

Reunification is not what really concerns most people in the Republic of Ireland, or the Government, irrespective of how important it is to Irish-Americans. Sinn Féin’s suggestions of a border poll have been criticized by the Taoiseach, Mícheál Martin, whose distaste for SF is well known. Fintan O’Toole speculated in an Irish Times column that if a referndum on a United Ireland were held in due course, north and south, it might be narrowly carried in NI and rejected in the Republic. The problem about not implementing the Protocol is that the open border is the only tangible Irish dimension arising from the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. There is no point in complaining about the integrity of the UK. No less a one than Mrs Thatcher conceded rights of consultation to the Republic in the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. HMG does not give France rights of consultation regarding Kent, or Norway regarding the Shetlands. Unionists want the Protocol (and therefore the open border) scrapped, with devolution continuing in NI. That is rather like an improved version of the pre-1969 Stormont. It is a purely internal UK devolution. I suspect that many unionists saw Brexit as a way of reversing the concessions to the Irish / Catholic population in NI made by the agreements since 1985 – the DUP surely did, whatever they say in public. The problem is that NI is a binational entity, something which Irish nationalists refused to accept for many years,by the way, but have generally come to accept. Sinn Féin used to talk about the ‘Irish people’, meaning all the people of the island, and Unionists used to talk about ‘the people of NI / Ulster’ in the same way. As a liberal Unionist commentator (name forgotten) said once: NI is not as British as Finchley, but neither is it as Irish as Galway.The GFA recognizes both identities, rightly, but the most tangible concession to the Irish identity was the ability of Irish people in NI to cross the border unhindered. The border was unhelpfully fixed in 1926 in areas populated by people who did not want it. Mrs Thatcher came to recognize that that was ludicrous. Brexit upset the GFA balance. The democratic British vote for Brexit should be respected internationally, but prior obligations cannot simply be thrown aside. Boris Johnson and Lord Frost negotiated the Protocol, which is part of an internationally-binding treaty. They knew what it entailed. But UK – EU relations and Anglo-Irish relations have kept getting worse and worse and HMG now want to resile from what they signed. Pacta servanda sunt, unfortunately.They have apparently suggested that the ROI should accept checks on goods at continental ports in order to keep the border open. People in the ROI will not accept being separated from the EU to suit the Tories and the unionists. Proposals have been made by Brussels for agreements on veterinary inspections and so forth, some to be temporary, but HMG and the unionists want a purely unionist and intra-UK outcome, reversing the policies of Mrs Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. The worst aspect of it is that Lord Frost has started parroting the warnings by unionist politicians that there may be violence due to the Protocol. This is code for sectarian killings of Catholics (some 1,000 innocent Catholcs were murdered by Loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles) and Frost should understand that. Everybody in Ireland, north and south, understands exactly what the traditional ‘unionist backlash’ entails. Politicians and other public figures should never, ever, ever speculate about the possibility of violence. That he does so is disgraceful and he is now reportedly regarded with contempt in official circles in Dublin. But the fostering of division has been very successful. It seems likely now that HMG will abandon more elements of the Protocol at the end of this month. The Irish Govt will have to implement border checks. How can the UK seek relief for British financial services in the EU, and other economic arrangements, if they continue like this? I always feared that Brexit would become acrimonious, but this is beyond all rational expectations.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

Very interesting post. Can I just ask, since you point out that politicians should never speculate about violence: the backstop and the protocol came about because there was pretty loud speculation about violence happening if a “hard border” occurred on the island of Ireland. How do you feel about that? Would you say that speculation was okay, or would you say that that underlines your point and that speculation is how we got into this bind in the first place?

Diarmuid Ó Sé
Diarmuid Ó Sé
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

You raise a good point, which deserves a considered answer. Some politicians in ROI especially did express concerns about the stability of the peace process. I am not sure that any of them used the word ‘violence’. You may say that that is implied by instability, but the word itself is deadly on this island. I don’t recall Sinn Féin engaging in such speculations in a way which might be construed as actual incitement. They were causing enough upset to the unionists by constantly going on about a referendum on a United Ireland. I am not sure that what is left of their military wing has the slightest interest in returning to the so-called ‘armed struggle’. Why would they, when they no longer have serious weapons and are doing so well farming UK Govt subsidies and grants? They have done very well, thank you. The ones who are worried about their future are the unionists, largely due to demographic change, which will probably lead to a united island eventually. The difference with the recent talk of violence in NI is this: when customs checks began in Belfast and Larne there was intimidation of staff (doubtless by loyalist paramilitaries, or inspired by them). Then the DUP took up the refrain that violence might ensue. The DUP is much more like Sinn Féin than they would like people in GB to know. Search the internet for images of the former leader Peter Robinson in beret and military shirt, when he was young. And Lord Frost regrettably followed suit. The problem about threats of violence directed against the Protocol is that they can be traced back to people who are considered quite capable of acting on them. There is a definite difference in scale and quality between earlier southern concerns about the stability of the peace process and the more recent, very credible, threats from loyalists. It does not help that Leo Varadkar foolishly appeared to be threatening British Airways’ landing rights at one time. He talks too much. Such talk only conduces to British suspicion of hostile Irish politicians trying to have a go at Britain. Varadkar’s partner in govt, Martin, has been much more nuanced and speaks for far more people on this. Recall too that goods are only 20% of the UK economy and that British-sourced services in NI are not at all affected by the Protocol. The irritants about garden plants and pets could easily be resolved by modifications to the terms of the Protocol, as Brussels has suggested. Unfortunately, HMG has taken to declaring that the EU is completely unreasonable and will not treat on those matters which can readily be modified. Interestingly, Biden has said that closer UK adherence to the EU’s veterinary and plant hygiene rules would not rule out a trade agreement with the US. I hope that this answer is at least somewhat satisfactory. I am not trying to engage in sophistry. However, I believe it is a big misunderstanding for Douglas Murray and other serious commentators in Britain to suppose that Irish concerns, here in the ROI, are due to a desire for a United Ireland as soon as possible. The real concern is that HMG will convey to the EU that they will engage in perpetual disputes with Brussels on every kind of thing unless they agree to customs checks on goods from Ireland at continental ports. They certainly give the impression that they want to junk the Protocol.

Mark Polden
Mark Polden
2 years ago

So surely the best solution is NI independence

Diarmuid Ó Sé
Diarmuid Ó Sé
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Polden

Arguably. Mind you, it would need a lot of international supervision because the Catholics would be worried about how they would fare. In any event, I cannot see a United Ireland coming about without a period of joint authority (rejected long ago by Mrs Thatcher). It would be difficult to shunt the unionists into a new jurisdiction overnight. The ideal solution for the unionists would be a redrawn border, to give them a clear majority again, but the other side would never agree to that. The border as it stands is disastrous, running through Catholic / Irish-populated areas. Also too far south geographically. It runs through the Drumlin Belt for much of its length, a zone of low glacial hills with wet ground between them. A security nightmare. However, long term outcomes for NI are speculative and none of them is in prospect any time soon. In the here and now, both Boris J and Dominic Raab are complaining about the EU threatening the integrity of the UK, but Mrs Thatcher gave another state consultative rights in NI and her successors followd suit. That horse bolted from the stable long ago, and there is little sign that many in England are concerned about it (see the comments on NI by George Osborne and Max Hastings). Boris Johnson has also said that he will invoke Article 16 to withdraw from the Protocol. I know that von der Leyen foolishly threatened to do that early in the year in another connection, but citing an inept mistake by Brussels is not the best justification for a major breach with the EU. One must assume that that is what he wants. By the way, one problem with NI is that the unionists do not trust Boris J. The unionist commentator Newton Emerson said in his column in the Irish times that the average unionist wouldn’t trust Boris with their cat, not to mention their constitutional status. And the Govt in Dublin fears that he is trying to divide the ROI from the EU. So nobody on the island trusts him. Back to my original point: some Irish-Americans may talk about a United Ireland asap, but seen from Dublin the issues are very different.

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
2 years ago

I am an Irish-American who is in what appears to be a motionless post-COVID line for Irish citizenship before I die. I am also a longtime admirer of Mr. Murray. I find myself dismayed by the article and the reaction to it here, not so much on the merits, because I am not as well grounded as most of you are in the details, but because it triggers and reflects the very thing that Douglas most often rails against — blind tribalism. Is there no one in the UK who can at least sympathize with the view that the Irish look to be left as collateral damage in this little spat between the UK and the EU?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

I have sympathy with them…but the Irish aren’t blameless here, not by a long shot. It was also remarkably naive of them to swallow the EU schtick about “solidarity” with Ireland which played more or less non-stop throughout the entire negotiation. As we saw with the botched-and-withdrawn Article 16 invocation and here – Ireland is a lot more peripheral to EU concerns than assumed.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

Despite Northern Ireland democratically choosing to be in the UK (by referendum) the Irish Republicans continued their demand for reunification at the barrel of a gun. So sorry if I don’t have much sympathy for the fact that the Irish propensity for violence has hamstrung a democratic decision by the people of the UK and forced a border between NI and the mainland that would not be considered acceptable anywhere else. The GFA has been used cynically by the EU to keep the UK under its control and to appease its obsession with protectionism and red tape. Some of which I believe is being deliberately over zealous to the UK in a way it is not to other 3rd countries. The contempt with which the globalists see Brexit, and inconvenient democracy, is despicable.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Brexit is the greatest generator of red tape. The Single Market of the EU is the greatest eliminator of red tape. Ask any exporting business in the UK.

Richard Slack
RS
Richard Slack
2 years ago

“The Democrats would sacrifice Brexit for a United Ireland”
I have I believe stated on here before that my confidence in Douglas Murray’s thinking is not high but that has to be one of the most absurd remarks ever made. The US, Democrats or Pre Trump Republicans have never been in favour, or opposed to Brexit. Obama simply pointed out that if Britain left the EU they would not go to the top of the queue for Trade Deals. Despite squeals from Brexiteers of “interfering in British Politics” he was doing no more than being honest. Despite a programme of arselicking by the Tories there never was a serious chance that the US under Trump was going to do a cosy trade deal with the UK. That is not what “Put America First” meant.
There is, for historical reasons, a huge emotional support for Ireland in the US not just from the Democrats; Ronald Reagan made a pilgrimage to a small village in Ireland where his family may have originated. No-one would doubt that some money to fund the IRA did come from the States but equally, during the Troubles there was a big effort from US politicians like Teddy Kennedy and Tip O’Neil to fight it and set up legitimate charities to support Irish welfare.
I doubt if Biden has much respect for Johnson, intellectually, politically or for his honesty. But this was clear also during the Trade deal negotiations. The “good old Boris” so beloved here doesn’t travel well outside England. Johnson’s inability and unwillingness to even read a brief, let alone master it, and his covering of this by ex tempo remarks, bluster and the odd latin quote cuts little ice to someone like Biden who can be relied upon to read a brief

Michael Coleman
MC
Michael Coleman
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

All sounded reasonable until the last line: “someone like Biden who can be relied upon to read a brief” .
Apparently you haven’t seen the numerous videos of mumbling, stumbling, confused, and lost Uncle Joe, including one just recently, where Joe gets confused at the G7 and Dr Jill has to come rescue him as she has on numerous occasions. No doubt Joe would have difficulty reading the schedule at an old folks home.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

I have seen many such clips, largely edited by Biden’s enemies who show that. As has been said many times Biden has a very bad stammer and (like many others who do) he counters it by, when he finds himself blocked on a word, by saying a word or words which mean almost the same thing. As an example, could not voice “Mitt Romney” so he called him “the Mormon Senator from Utah”. You have not ever seen Biden, for example, discussing policy submissions with advisers and other staffers so you are not really in a position to judge on his mental capacity and the US has seen far more political initiatives in his Presidency that that of his predecessor. I say this with some force having known someone with a stammer who had to overcome not just the disability but the fact that others assumed he was stupid. It is actually a tribute to Biden that he has overcome this problem and build an impressive political career, as in fact Aneurin Bevan did.

Jane Fraher
JF
Jane Fraher
2 years ago

I don’t know why I always hope for a different unpredictable opinion when a British citizen writes an article on the Rep. of Ireland and N. Ireland. But alas this is never the case. The UK voted to leave the EU then the UK government decided on what circumstances that they wanted to continue their relationship with the EU. All decisions have consequences. America, yes has always had a special relationship with Ireland and did alot of great work to get the Good Friday Agreement across the line so of course they want to protect it. So could you please do what you yourself calls on Boden to do and respect the democracy of the Irish who want to stay in the EU and the democratic right of the people in Northern Ireland who voted for the Good Friday Agreement.

Also as an aside Sinn Fein as a political party has to be allowed to leave it’s past behind much like President Nelson Mandela and the one time terrorist organisation the ANC

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Fraher

Jane, sadly it seems now there were people in GB who would have opted for violence in NI rather than lose a Brexit. This whole shameful & pathetic affair was of course instigated and promoted in total bad faith and wilfull ignorance.
So many knew deep down that Brexit was not genuinely progressive and good but unfortunately as the wretched thing dragged on so long in Parliament, were able to paint themselves as ‘victims’ – the ‘voice’ of ‘Democracy’ being thwarted. Hence the lucky lying oaf Boris Johnson as PM.
Of course Ireland did not vote for Brexit.
Ireland has been treated appallingly – just expected to acquiese with the UK Conservative government’s post-imperialistic supercilious attitude – ‘Ireland will fall in line’.
There must be a Dantean circle in hell reserved for that roll call of ruiners – UK elite Brexiteers.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Tony Buck
TB
Tony Buck
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Brexit cannot be “lost” – nor can it be reversed.

Any attempt to reverse it would lead to the collapse of NATO and of British politics – with severe unrest and possible violence resulting.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

No it cannot be ‘lost’ because it’s happened. Inaccurate grammar on my part. I have since updated it.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Stuart Y
SY
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Was “Ireland” or what you presumably meant N.Ireland Wales, Scotland or even England in the EU? Except in the head of separatists . Funny never saw them mentioned on the ballot paper. This is a problem for SF the SNP and presumably the Welsh lot.
They describe events how they “wish” the legal situation was at the time, rather than “How” it was.

Stewart B
SB
Stewart B
2 years ago

Democracy, eh? The Northern Irish didn’t want Brexit, or the mess it has thrown them into.
If “democracy” is an acceptable excuse for breaking the law, (that is what an international treaty is, after all), then maybe democracy isn’t such a great thing.

Stuart Y
SY
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  Stewart B

“Democracy eh” telling people that what they were voting for and the result was an impossibility, like say if they voted to remain, despite them being a majority in their region Vote Leave had won in a binary vote on the future of the UK, not their region.
How thick do you actually think people are?

Stewart B
Stewart B
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Y

To be honest, very. Not because they want to get their way no matter what, but because they contrive silly arguments, like the one you’ve just made, to justify getting their way. Worse still, they believe their own BS. That’s what makes them really thick.

Kristof K
KK
Kristof K
2 years ago

Dear Mr Murray,

What Schumer said is certainly shameful, but it’s definitely not like a senior UK parliamentarian supporting an entirely legitimate political goal of any state’s ceding from the US. The unity of Ireland is in itself an entirely legitimate political goal, as are the independence of Scotland, Catalonia or the secession of Texas from the US. No democracy can, in my view, complain when an elected official in another democracy expresses support for democratically arrived-at outcomes in another democracy.

As for “British” democracy well yes its good, but it’s not great. What with:

An unelected upper chamber,A referendum that disenfranchised ~2m people whose lives were directly affected by its outcome as well as the people of one of its nations,
Hardly a beacon I think! I respect British democracy, sure, but it doesn’t deserve much of anyone’s respect!

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Kristof K

What about the millions who were disenfranchised by the EU and its open door immigration policies and business stifling protectionism ?

Kristof K
KK
Kristof K
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I don’t think the EU had an open-door immigration policy, it (Germany) opened her dorrs to refugees.

Kristof K
KK
Kristof K
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Dear Mx Jones, I don’t think the EU had an open-door immigration policy, it (Germany) opened her doors to refugees. I would agree that the people of Germany did not have a direct say in this, but they still had/have a vote, and some are using that vote to reflect the unpopularity of that policy. In a representative democracy the idea of “direct say” is necessarily diluted to some extent because it would be supremely inefficient to put every single government decision to a referendum. So your first point collapses because no-one was disenfranchised!

I also think someone has successfully managed to confuse you on the issue of protectionism. The EU is a single market in which every country’s businesses get the same level of protection and the same opportunities to trade within that market. This protects aspects of European culture such as employment rights, animal welfare and food standards. I seem to remember Brexit campaigners saying that the EU was all about favouring big corporates and globalism. So why were so many directives introduced to protect consumer and employee rights — were they advantageous to big corporates? Why did the EU fine Microsoft, Google and others billions of euros? Why did it investigate Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple? Outside the EU I would argue it is harder for the UK to resist yielding to globalist pressures! If business was so stifled how come Airbus managed to export so many A300s, A320s, A380s, A350 XWBs exactly, and Jaguar Landrover so many of its vehicles? The only thing that being in the EU makes it harder to compete on is, possibly, price. But EU companies could make up for this by competing on quality. I have relatives in India where products with EU’s CE mark tend to be valued over locally-produced ones that do not rise to the relevant standards. So basically your second point crashes headlong into an undignified heap, too!

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Kristof K

A Remainer still hurting and sore after the GE 2019 Brexit Landslide? Not interfering in another countries democratic elections is normally the preserve of Putin’s Russia.

Kristof K
Kristof K
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Walker

Certainly did hurt but now well recovered — thanks for your concern!

A remainer: certainly not, how can anyone be a remainer now that the UK has left the EU? You clearly are still living in the past. As for former remainers’ arguments not to leave: all of them are still valid, it’s just a question of how long certain politicians and punters can continue to maintain the delusion that they are not. That’s getting harder, as the current dispute over the NI protocol so clearly shows. If the EU decides to enter into a trade war with the UK (which I believe is threatened from what I’m hearing in the news today) then we’ll all find out just how much more the EU needs us more than we need it.

Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  Kristof K

Disenfranchised 2 m people. How exactly? Or is it just that losers in a binary vote covering the whole of the UK have “hurty feelings” encouraged by comments like yours.

Kristof K
KK
Kristof K
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Y

The 2m disenfranchised people I was referring to are EU citizens living in the UK.  The outcome of the referendum directly affects them yet they did not have a say. That is a fact and has nothing to do with my feelings.

Don’t forget that, in the Scottish independence referendum, all adults resident in Scotland from the age of sixteen could vote. I don’t suppose David Cameron could have got his party to agree to a similar expansion of the franchise for the EU referendum which, in many ways, was a far less consequential vote for the UK than the Scottish referendum.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Oh FFS.
There was a stable, working peace agreement that depended on NI having open access to both Britain and Ireland, and the UK, democratically, chose to stop that. Britain wants to keep open access to NI, and have the EU either put in a land border, or put Ireland outside of the single market zone, or give UK products uncontrolled back-door access to the single market. The EU wants to keep open access to NI and have Britain either make a reliable deal on keeping rules harmonised, or make and enforce a customs border in the Irish Sea. Britain has already agreed to the latter, but is now reneging on its commitment, thus making it impossible to build any future agreement on promises of British cooperation. The US wants to keep the Irish peace and to avoid damaging squabbles among its allies, but if forced will go with Ireland for political reasons, and with the the EU because they are bigger and more important than the UK is.

You can’t always get what you want, guys. By all means throw your weight around and try to force the EU and the US to bend to your will, if you think that is your best course of action. Nothing wrong with pursuing national self-interest. But do try to talk about it like grown-ups, instead of whinging about the USA viewing “British democracy as a threat to its own ideological agenda“.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Rasmus, your comment betrays a severe misunderstanding of NI. You seem to think that a “might is right, we are more powerful than you so do what we say” approach is going to sort the problem out. It won’t. The protocol will only stick if both communities accept and are invested in it as a solution. You might see Britain’s (tbh quite inelegant) attempts to smooth things out as reneging on the protocol. But what you (and most at the EU) need to stop doing is focusing solely on what’s written on paper, as this is simply shooting yourself in the foot. The EU wants the protocol, right? Fine – I think it’s the only way too. But stamping your foot and simply repeating ad infinitum ad nauseum that “this is what you signed! Implement it fully!” just raises the risk that the thing will collapse. And once that happens, it will be more or less impossible to agree on something new.
Compromise is needed. Britain should (and is willing to) sign some kind of agreement on keeping high standards on food etc. in the future, but is not willing to accept dynamic alignment. The EU needs to stop freaking out about non-risks like Sainsbury’s bread and accept that, if it really is committed to the peace, then a few minor incursions into the integrity of the sacred single market might be necessary as well as accepting that Britain is an independent third country. Since it spent the best part of 4 years saying there could be no cherry-picking, and the logical result of that argument is that Britain is either a member or a third country, this concept shouldn’t be a problem.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well, Britain *is* reneging on the protocol Britain just signed, no ‘you might see’ about it. But I take your point that the problem of NI is much bigger than that.

The starting point, as you say, is that Britain is an independent third country – and that independent third countries do not get trade access to the single market, not even via special territories like Northern Ireland. So far, easy. For the sake of NI you then want unrestricted flow of goods across both borders. That requires either Britain giving in on its core demand on setting its own rules without any interference from the outside, or the EU giving in on its core demand of being able to control what goods are sold within its internal markets. That is a straight power struggle, where the loser is likely to be either the weaker player (Britain) or peace in Northern Ireland.

Any compromise would have to be to the effect that Britain was formally completely independent, but the EU could be satisfied that British rules would not put its own internal market under undue strain, even in the future. Something similar works in Norway – I gather the legal agreement there has quite a few holes. In that case there is mutual trust, heavily supported by the fact that Norway has a small economy, is too weak to risk a major spat with the EU, and being a small nation does not get too prickly over slights to its sovereignty.

In the case of Britain, trust would be very hard to establish. Britain has just made an acrimonious divorce, loudly trumpeting its desire to be free of the EU regulatory fetters. Economically, about the only way to claw back the losses from trading with its neighbours would be to undercut them by allowing laxer rules. Britain would not only be prickly about sovereignty, but likely to promote divergence just to prove its independence. And Britain has just proved that it cannot even be relied on to respect written international treaties for more than a few months after signing them. In fact there is good reason to believe that Britain is deliberately using NI as a hostage to force the EU to grant unrestricted access to British products. If Britain wants a compromise, it would be wise to start creating good will and looking for what it could do to satisfy the needs of the EU, instead of creating strife and looking for what the EU ought to do to satisfy Britein.

Saul D
Saul D
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The Northern Irish border is a problem for the EU, not the UK.
The UK is perfectly happy to have the border open, with no checks on the Irish Sea. The problem is that the open border creates a gaping hole for the Single Market and the EU is trying to force the UK to provide a solution to their problem.
The EU is stuck unless the UK helps them. The EU can close the border with NI to protect the single market. Dublin won’t be very happy. Or the EU can add extra checks on goods coming out of Ireland, but again Dublin won’t be happy. Both are in the direct control and remit of the EU, and neither are what it wants to do.
So, the EU is reliant on someone outside the EU helping police goods crossing the single market border. That’s quite a large negotiating lever the UK has – after all, what’s the EU going to do otherwise – isolate Ireland? Attempt a trade war, where the UK would be incentivised to route goods through Northern Ireland? The UK as a free agent playing for its own interests is exactly why the EU needed to do everything it could to keep the UK in the club, and it failed miserably.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

That seems to be the UK strategy, yes. Refuse to collaborate and force the EU to give you free access, whether they like it or not. Considering that the EU is stronger than you are, I am not convinced you are going to end up better off than they are, let alone better than you would be if you were not at daggers drawn with your neighbours, but you certainly have the right to try. Only, please, call things by their right names. Stop getting all excited about the nasty EU believing that might is right, and denying your justified expectations.

Saul D
Saul D
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The framing things as A vs B is a constant part of the EU’s problem. The solution will be something that works for both sides.
My guess is that an outcome for the UK would be streamlined systems that would be easy to do mid-Irish Sea, but that might also be applicable to other UK ports – to avoid NI being a special case. EU would get checks, but not the punative and onerous bureaucracy they demand, and the UK would get some smoother export processes in general. The EU might even find that reducing bureaucratic burden also helps with trade with nations besides the UK. However, it might not happen. The EU gets very blinkered that its way is the only way – dogma over pragmatism. “Logical … but stupid”

Stewart B
Stewart B
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Typical Brexit viewpoint. The UK has a right to do what it wants, but the EU need to relax about their single market.
The EU doesn’t need to do anything. Nor does the UK. Nor does the US.
When it comes to states, might is right, power is everything. The UK will try to impose its terms on Northern Ireland (the views of the Northern Irish be damned, as has been clearly demonstrated), the EU will protect its interests and the US will do whatever is best for the US.
Enough with the preachy Brexit-is-democracy BS.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Stewart B

I didn’t say that. I said quite clearly the UK should sign up to an agreement committing itself to permanently high standards for food & agri-products – but is quite reasonable in rejecting dynamic alignment. That would be the compromise on the part of the UK.
Power might be everything in other situations, but not here. The starting point for solutions to NI need to be bottom up (i.e. understanding what solution would both nationalists and unionists accept, broadly speaking – it’s impossible to make everyone happy), not top down. That seems to be something the EU has difficulty in understanding, as it contradicts its entire philosophy.
When did I say “Brexit is democracy” – please elucidate as I don’t remember ever having written it and referring to “BS” is simply rude. A bit more civilised, please.
In this instance, we should be looking at the way in which the EU is using the single market very carefully. This is in the context of Brexit, but look over to Germany where the Commission is starting infringement proceedings against Germany for its constitutional court having refused to follow ECJ judgments last year. This is a significant development, as it is about nothing less than the balance of power between member states and the EU. If the EU were to prevail here (if it can “prevail”, which I’m not sure about), it would be a big step in the direction of a federated Europe. Which no one ever voted for and would create a massive storm across the EU. But, back to NI, I see the EU’s behaviour in the same context: it is using the single market as a kind of territory to bring parts of other countries under its control – one more attribute of a state to add to the collection.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Stewart B
SB
Stewart B
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

My comment was meant to be a reply to Rasmus Fogh.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Stewart B

I upvoted you.

Jane Fraher
Jane Fraher
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I find your use of the phrase ” might is right ” and your accusation against Rasmus that that is what he’s saying almost laughable except that it betrays a complete misunderstanding of the history of the situation. What did Britain do for 800 in Ireland and in countless countries across the world well into the 20th century? ( eg Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan ) Britain’s ” might is right ” policy caused the strife, destruction and death in the North by creating the tensions in the first place

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Fraher

That’s no excuse to do the same here if you’re interested in solutions. Dragging up history just isn’t helpful. And “might is right” was what Rasmus was saying – repeatedly.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Do me a favour. There was a perfectly stable and peaceful situation in Northern Ireland. Britain unilaterally decides to break it to get into a better situation, demands that the EU must pick up the tab for fixing the resulting problems, and calls “might is right” when the EU refuses to accommodate British demands.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Fraher

The tensions in Ireland were created by ethnic and religious tensions within Ireland itself.

Blaming modern Britain for the aggression of the Norman-French barons who invaded Ireland in the 12th century, is obviously absurd.

Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Fraher

What “aboutery” the US, you know the paragons of virtue when it comes to imprinting their “values” in much more recent times.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The EU wants to keep open access to NI and have Britain either make a reliable deal on keeping rules harmonised

Rubbish.
They don’t care about Ireland – they just want a stick to beat the UK with in case other countries get uppity.
UK is not in the EU anymore and can now negotiate freely with other countries or bureaucracy blocs as they wish.

Last edited 2 years ago by Brendan O'Leary
Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The rules and standards have not been deviated from so what’s the problem? British standards are HIGHER than the EU minimum, if anything, we should be concerned about NI giving the EU backdoor access to the UK market.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

The problem is long-term. Whatever agreement goes in now will still be there in ten years. Since Britain clearly intends to relax British standards (trade deal with the US? freedom from red tape? etc.) and the EU is considering to tighten their regulations over time, the EU wants to be sure that Britain cannot get to a position where they can undercut EU rules and be free to import the result into the single market. Quite apart from anything else: if Britain has no intention of ever deviating significantly from EU standards, why is it so important for Britain to have the freedom to do so?

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Ana Cronin
Ana Cronin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yes Rasmus Fogh FFS When will my fellow country lets say persons get over their overinflated sense of their own importance or is it a inferioty complex? so much sound and fury signifying nothing. The ‘rubbish’ I grew up with including that we have influence in the world and sure we are great and so smart and articulate and everyone ‘loves us’ is well dispelled, and would be by now even had I not spent the most of my life abroad.
Having access i.e. delivering a bowl of sharmock on 17th March does not mean having influence. The USA has zero interest in ROI expect ‘the irish angle’ may help them in a dwindling few local/state elections and they use Shannon airport as a stop off for their troops on way to Iraq etc (yes Ireland is supposed to be a neutral country! you should hear the justifications on that one).
To the EU, we are a periperal rock that is now somehow a net contributor (despite the the financial crash ‘kicking’ they gave us, lost sovereignty indeed, and having the one of the worst public healthcare system in the world). A country who the EU Commission didn’t even consider consulting when they decided, for an evening as it turned out, to impose a border between ROI & NI, which tells you everything you need to know about the level of respect the EU has for ROI…. and yes they did, and still are, disgracefully using the Good Friday agreement as leverage against the UK to thwart Brexit.
Yes many Irish want to see a united Ireland, but in theory only as shown in a poll lately, % high until they are asked about increased taxes to pay for unification. The problem with Ireland is it cannot get over it’s animus of the English, and it is all about the English rather than the UK, but that won’t stop them all trying to flock to UK to work come the next, inevitable, recession.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ana Cronin
Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago

As someone who lives in Northern Ireland I find Douglas’ little right wing rant rather amusing. Truth is, Brexit was a choice (not a very good one in my view). There were dozens of options about how to do trade with the EU, but the hardline elements within the Tory Party were only satisfied with the hardest version. That brought its own problems. Is this hard version of Brexit creating problems? Definitely. Are there solutions? Yes. The Brexit protocol (because you can’t separate the protocol from Brexit) isn’t actually about politics, it’s about protecting trade (mostly agri-food) on the island of Ireland.

Lots of American politicians have been pro Irish unity down the years. We see them come & go. They’re not all Democrats either. The EU recently proposed a document that mitigated a lot of the practical issues around the protocol. Did London embrace it? Nope, it got shot sown in flames. I for one, am glad that there’s no longer a fool in the White House, but someone who’ll stand up to Boris & his populist nonsense.

In my view, Irish unity is more likely than at any time in my life & I’m 60yrs old.
Who made it more likely? Ironically the current leadership of the Conservative & Unionist Party.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Are you referring to their proposal that “mitigates” the issues by requiring the UK to effectively rejoin the EU and obey all its commands in agriculture?

There’s really one fix for the issues that would actually work and the USA should theoretically be in favour of: stop negotiating with terrorists and expect Ireland and the EU to do its job if the GFA needs to be changed. Which means, destroying the IRA.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

There is another fix that would equally work: Police the border in the Irish sea, and expect Britain to do is job and crush any terrorist resistance from Ulster. Does not sound really realistic – but then neither did your proposal

Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Or perhaps asking the Republicans in Ulster to move a few miles down the road and take their (subject to border checks of course) baggage with them. Same applies to my homeland Scotland, despite it requiring different transport.
Am sure the people of Eire will welcome them with open arms. Problem solved at least Politically and the rest of theUK can just get on with living in peace, not being abused by every Tom d**k and Harry or senile Americans and even worse losers of the 2014 and 2016 refs.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Y

Yes, population exchange (aka ethnic cleansing) is the one way to permanently settle this kind of dispute. I am not being sarcastic, BTW. It worked in Poland and the Sudetenland, it worked up to a point in Turkey and the Balkans, it at least slowed down the local fighting in Israel/Palestine. But, as Israel/Palestine shows, it takes some very comprehensive and final wars to convince everybody that there in no point in trying to refight them. If you are not willing to go on to full bloodshed, all this ‘crush the opposition’ talk does not sound like a promising solution.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Did this EU document perhaps set out dynamic alignment as the only possible solution? If so, this is plainly rubbish and the EU’s repeated insistence on it simply shows that they are using Northern Ireland as a way to regain control over the UK. I don’t think NI should ever be “used” for anything. There are plenty of other, quite acceptable ways to make this protocol work and the UK has also suggested the conclusion of an NZ-style agreement on foods etc. Which – wouldn’t you know it – was also shot down by the EU in flames. There has to be compromise on BOTH sides here. But so far, compromise on the part of the EU simply means “you do what we want or else”. It can’t work that way and the EU just never learns – see the deterioration in relations with the Swiss due to the exact same approach. If the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, then Berlaymont is basically a lunatic asylum.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The EU does not want compromise, if that means ‘adapt the internal market rules until the Swiss and British are happy’. They want other countries to either join the EU, or stay out. Any access deal is a compromise in itself. EU countries may try to be friends internally, but that is where it ends – and like any other country, they drive a hard bargain in trade deals with outsiders. This is the real world. Why not deal with it dispassionately?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Because that comment alone betrays where the EU’s priorities lie and it sure ain’t the peace in NI. It’s the single market from start to finish. For an organisation (yes, an ORGANISATION) that calls itself a peace project, it isn’t a good look.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Of course. Just like the main priority of the UK is not peace in NI, but Brexit. As I said, this is the real world. The one point where the EU is ahead here (apart from being stronger) is that it was the UK and not the EU that insisted on changing from a working, peaceful status quo to something else.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I repeat: taking a “might is right” approach here will backfire. Just like the GFA, there must be compromise. The single market can be adequately, protected and Brexit can happen. There are many ways a solution can be found , but saying “you must do as we say because we are stronger” is not the way to get there. It just poisons the well even more. The fact that the EU doesn’t realise that ramming this approach through with its neighbours is not in its own interests is simply staggering.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Are you from Northern Ireland, by any chance?

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No, from England originally. While I’m on the subject of the EU behaving in a way which basically sabotages itself, I’m pretty flabbergasted by the new infringement proceedings the Commission has launched against Germany concerning the judgments of the Constitutional Court that didn’t follow the ECJ. In its desperation to grab power, the Commission is taking an action which doesn’t just risk alienating people in the most powerful member state that finances a bit portion of the show – I (along with a lot of the German commentariat) don’t even understand what the legal result of the procedure should be. The people in Berlaymont just seem to inhabit a whole other world.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Cheap – stick with the argument.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Oh no. If she was I would have given her half an apology for the combative tone of my posts. Her arguments would have made a fair amount of sense, if she was from Ulster. For a mainland Brexiteer – less so.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

My arguments would have only made sense if I was from Northern Ireland? Interesting logic. And fyi: I voted remain and until fairly recently was a huge fan of the EU.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well, you seem very aggrieved that the EU 1) insists on pursuing its interests, 2) insists that the UK actually respect the treaty they just signed, 3) refuses to accept any of the proposals on how the EU could give ground and make life much easier for Britain.
If you had been from Ulster, that sense of grievance would have made sense to me. People there may have made a bad decision to trust Boris Johnson’s word and vote for Brexit, but it was not them who created Brexit, they were in a tight situation even before they had to choose – and anyway they have been comprehensively shafted. Grievance is understandable. For a mainland Brexiteer they would not. There were any number of warnings that any notional gains from Brexit would not be worth having a permanent conflict with your nearest neighbours and biggest trading partners, but the Brexiteers insisted. What did they expect?

As former remainers we have a sadness in common, but regrettably friendship has to be a two-way street. Once one side goes full force and brinksmanship, the other side is no longer willing to do any facours. Neither you nor I caused this, but, as they say, even if it is only the husband who drinks, it is the whole family who suffers

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I’d say the EU is pretty clear-eyed. They think their interests are better served by a trade war than by giving in to British demands, and anyway that a trade war would hurt Britain worse so they can keep it up for longer.

It is always hard to convince your opponents that you understand their interests better than they do themselves.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Ian Barton
IB
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The EU is a transactional bureaucratic organisation whose staff pursue self interest.
Their interests are not necessarily related to the interest of the countries currently in the club they administer.
These technocrats are ”too big for their boots” and they might eventually run out of countries willing to fund them.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If it were working there would have been no Brexit. Open door immigration, protectionism, stifling slow bureaucracy. Just not a good cultural fit for the British. Or are we not allowed our own diversity of culture?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

The EU is indeed an unlovely beast, with lots of things I would have preferred to avoid. Trouble is, it is the only EU there is, and it is that way because the other countries mostly want it that way. As for any smaller country with a bigger neighbour, your only choice is to collaborate and pay the price, or refuse to collaborate and pay the price for that.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

So free trade is not possible with the EU unless you’re in the political EU? Insanity

David Yetter
DY
David Yetter
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

That certainly seems to be the EU’s position.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

That is the position, yes. FWIW I should also have preferred to stick with the EEC and keep the cooperation economic. But 1) in return for free trade rules that some countries might not like, they get deals in other areas, that they do like. 2) the whole system with the ECJ etc. is supposed to guarantee that all the countries stick to the rules as agreed, instead of the most powerful countries being free to break them any time they like. That allows countries to open up more than they otherwise would

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Absolutely. Irish re-unification within 10 years. Scottish independence ditto. ‘Global Wales & England’? Maybe for 20 years? Then Wales & England will again sign up to a European supranational organisation, joining Ireland and Scotland.

Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Clueless

James Chater
JC
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Y

No, a prediction, which will likely come to pass. If the remnants of the UK doesn’t rejoin, it will have to come to some sort of formal accommodation with the EU. Common sense will demand it.

James Chater
JC
James Chater
2 years ago

Might it not have been sensible to make provisions for, to think longer, deeper about the situation in Ireland before deciding to offer a referendum on the UK leaving the EU? I think so.
Too right the US are correct to warn Boris Johnson – chief Brexit knave, chief trump card of the leave campaign, the clear political beneficiary of Brexit, that he should be careful.
The Good Friday Agreement was never solely a British affair. Despite the referendum result, it was always more important than the humble desires of the Welsh & English ‘people’, which could have been put to one side until it was provided for. (And if not, then no Brexit.)
Also, the sentence in this article: ‘Put to one side the fact that Schumer gave his approval to a political party [Sinn Fein] that approves of terrorism.’ is misleading & reckless.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

I completely agree with you that the issue of Ireland was completely underestimated on the British side. But becoming independent does involve a kind of “screw it let’s do it and solve problems on the way” attitude. I would also urge you to remember your own comment in the future if Scotland does go for independence. The government of the time also won’t have a plan for everything and have serious hurdles to overcome, foreseeable or otherwise. And I will bet my bottom dollar the tenor of the media will be quite different with regard to the Scots, who will probably be seen as “plucky” rather than “reckless” – even though the situation is the same.

James Chater
JC
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

No, if Scotland goes it would be tragic but given the circumstances, understandable. No Brexit, no 2nd referendum for the foreseeable future.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Just my opinion but if the SNP hadn’t been clamouring for a referendum, chances are there wouldn’t have been an EU referendum (and under most of the conditions the Scottish one had). Cameron thought he could easily win both but he overplayed his hand. The SNP can shoulder some of the blame for the outcome.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Raiment
James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

Interesting. (If the result had been much closer then Cameron wouldn’t have gone for the EU referendum?)
But Cameron thinking of political survival, disregarding the divisions in the 2014 referendum, decides it’s a good idea to put the whole Union through a referendum on something so crucial to the economy & society. Again, dangerously divisive.
Shouldn’t referendums on matters like these require supermajorities to allow such momentous change to take place? And should referendums on matters like these ever be used in part for political calculation?

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

“Shouldn’t referendums on matters like these require supermajorities to allow such momentous change to take place? And should referendums on matters like these ever be used in part for political calculation?”
Indeed but didn’t the SNP demand a +50% majority, a precedent set by the 1999 Devolution vote. You only grant referendums in the belief that you’re going to win them. Cameron could have believed that with the win UKIP would be sidelined and the door now open to further EU integration. The result is the hubris that both the SNP and Cameron can share… and here we are.

Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Doubt you’d be saying that had either referendum was won by “your side”, much like PR.

James Chater
JC
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Y

Had my ‘side’ won with same margin we wouldn’t have heard the end of it. ‘Unfinished business’ as Farage said when he predicted defeat. The Brexit Party would no doubt be baring their posteriors in the European Parliament, ‘speaking for Britain’. It would be unpleasant for us all.
To cause momentous change in a liberal democracy you should need a clear majority in favour. The usual is two thirds. If the country is divided in two halves, which was known by politicians, you don’t call a referendum to ‘settle this ‘issue’.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Sorry but that is so typical. Again SCOTLAND WAS NEVER A LEGAL ENTITY IN THE EU, however you people love to pretend otherwise. Plus do you really think even if they had Indyref2 they’d actually win? As an aside I suppose the Unionist majority can just be “tossed” aside as in NI?

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

So millions of UK voters including those in NI should put their democratic rights aside because of the threat of violence and to appease everyone else with a dirty finger in the pie?

NO.

James Chater
JC
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Yes. ‘Democratic rights’? There is no democratic right to cause loss, damage and strife especially in other states.
Millions of voters certainly have no ‘democratic right’ to be granted a referendum in the first place. And they have no legal right to be listened to after a referendum, especially with a small majority margin.
This was always about one thing and one thing only: preservation of the Conservative Party.
My sense of outrage is focussed on the criminal folly of it being allowed to happen in the first place.

Andrew Raiment
AR
Andrew Raiment
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

You’re projecting. Like I said earlier, Cameron offered a referendum because he was very confident (arrogant) to believe he could win it. With a referendum win, people could no longer offer any defence against further EU integration.

I’m neither a Brexiteer or a remainer, just trying to be objective. The acceptance of smaller countries during the rapid expansion of EU suggested a future path for Scotland, a path outside of the UK. Once the SNP demanded a referendum it was inevitable that there would be calls for a referendum on the EU.

The English aggrieved at this expansion and adoption of free movement that accompanied it, sensed loss of democratic accountability to a technocracy.

This train of events was set in motion the moment the devolution vote took place. You can blame Blair as much as Cameron but you can’t really blame the electorate, they were offered a vote and they exercised it.

Evolution works better in politics than revolution, maybe these guys read too much game theory.

James Chater
JC
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

I am not blaming the electorate as such. I know I am on the wrong side, the ‘losing’ side. So maybe my sense of frustration at what has been done to the country comes out in inappropriate ways. Some politicians have certainly used parts of the electorate in cynical dishonest ways. It could have been done better. Truism: the misuse of this medium has much to answer for. Blah, blah…

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Andrew Raiment
AR
Andrew Raiment
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

To me it appears a paradox has occurred. The expansion of EU while offering increased autonomy in the regions led to collapse rather than cohesion. This may have more to do with the constitutional set up of the UK when compared with other European countries.

Lawrence Bennett
LB
Lawrence Bennett
2 years ago

“Put to one side the fact that Schumer gave his approval to a political party that approves of terrorism.” Could Mr Murray be referring to the Irish response to the centuries of savage English military invasions and occupation of Ireland, murder of its citizens and theft of their property, policies of religious persecution and cultural obliteration–and that England, overstaying its unwelcome, still occupies territory on the island?
Lawrence Bennett

Aidan Twomey
AT
Aidan Twomey
2 years ago

Oh please, put this cartoon version of history away. For one thing, many Irish people are married to English people, which seems like a much more accurate indication to what Irish people really think of centuries of savage English invasions. Being beside England is one of the best things about living in Ireland, away with your ridiculous aggravation.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

That really isn’t a very helpful contribution.

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago

I’m sure the Queen apologized for this in Dublin a few years ago. If a majority in the North wish to become part of a united Ireland, they have my blessing. Until they do so decide, this sort of farming back helps no one

Al M
Al M
2 years ago

If it’s so awful, why did so many Irish move to the nasty evil country next door in the decades after independence? If their neighbours were that awful and hell-bent on obliterating Irish people and customs. getting a job wouldn’t have been such a big pull.

Last edited 2 years ago by Al M
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

How ridiculous. ‘Savage English invasions’? The English as we know them barely existed back then, it was more likely some mix of Norman French, Viking, Angle, Saxon, Pict or some other ancient version. I’m pretty sure that there were some ‘savage’ incursions from Ireland to Wales and England too. As time went on things changed and escalated, as they had wont to do in such historical times. People used to put heads on pikes and display them in public too. And treat illness with leeches. And they all, shockingly, used language that was not gender neutral.
This weird obsession with events that happened hundreds of years is bizarre and frankly unhelpful.

Stuart Y
SY
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

At the basic level its all they have. Very sad