World affairs are littered with toxic relationships. The courtship of despot Chairman Kim and Donald Trump is funny if you don’t think too deeply about the fact that the leader of ‘the free world’ is chasing friendship from a murderous dictator. The very fact that Trump stands a decent chance of re-election is testament to how warped American voters relationship is with politics. Populism is a drug and there are more addicts than ever before.
Our nearest neighbours Britain are chasing the same magic dragon. When given the choice between reality and the great ‘Brexit’ delusion the British keep choosing the delusion. Prime Minister in waiting Boris Johnson says he will deliver Brexit with no backstop and no border. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary both candidates for the Conservative leadership are selling the belief that they can achieve the impossible.
Conventional wisdom tells us that addicts are most likely to get clean when they hit rock bottom. Anyone who has any experience of dealing with addicts will know that enabling bad behaviour just prolongs the agony for everybody. If an addict is protected from the consequences of their actions then they are far less likely to stop.
Trump voters in America are being protected by the myriad of checks and balances that have slowed Donald’s influence. The damage is still very real but legislative gridlock, a strong economy and partisan news outlets have allowed the Trump supporters to close their eyes and stay blinded to what they have elected.
Britain has a more external enabler, the European Union. The Brexit referendum was essentially a massive protest vote. The level of misinformation and mistruths used by the pro Brexit campaign is well documented. Northern Ireland hardly figured at all in the debate. Fantasies rarely cover all the bases. At some point fantasies crash into reality.
The fact that the internal U.K. Brexit debate has still not hit reality has only delayed the inevitable. At some point the circle will have to be squared. U.K.I.P. M.E.P.’s back turning stunt should have brought it home to any holdouts that Britain is going to leave the E.U. Britain now has to leave the E.U. Relationships are too far gone. We can do no more to help them. Britain needs to face the consequences of its actions.
Of course we know that we will be affected as well. Leo et al have represented Irelands interests well throughout the Brexit saga. Ireland is now central to European Union Brexit strategy. They have held the line well and European power brokers are extremely familiar with the consequences Ireland faces. As a small country in Europe that has been no mean feat.
Indeed if a ‘no deal’ Brexit does occur we can expect tangible solidarity from our fellow E.U. members. There will of course be huge damage but we will not be alone. Britain is going to leave the E.U. It is extremely unlikely that Theresa May’s deal will ever be passed. The backstop (which Britain asked for) is now political kryptonite in the U.K. There is no prospect of the E.U. dropping the backstop or time limiting it.
So we have two likely scenarios. Option one is continuous and probably endless extensions. For this to be achieved Ireland will need to push hard on Britain’s behalf. Leo and his team will need to pull in every favour and set themselves clearly on Britain’s side. Even this may not be enough to convince a Europe already surrounded by populists of their own to suffer British obstructionism and fantasy politics indefinitely.
And if we call in every favour to save Britain from themselves what will we do when the inevitable eventually happens? We will be in a very lonely place and any support we get post Brexit will be begrudging at best. Ireland’s recently won place at the heart of the E.U. will be lost forever.
Option two is a no deal Brexit caused by either the U.K. or the E.U. refusing a further extension beyond October. There will be immediate economic carnage and border checks of some kind will be implemented on the Irish border. The people of Northern Ireland do not want a hard border yet they continue to vote en masse for the D.U.P. who have been instrumental in scuppering any chance of a deal and Sinn Fein who have stood idly by when they could have acted. Sectarian politics still outweighs other concerns for the majority and unfortunately this will result in a hard border. We get what we vote for.
The Republic of Ireland can expect strong support from the E.U. to get us through the shock of Brexit. Fiscal rules will be relaxed to allow us to support farmers, businesses and employment. We will get through it. Business thrives on certainty and we will all know where we stand. We can only hope that the effects of reality crashing into Brexit leads Britain onto a more realistic and less self-destructive path. Politicians in Northern Ireland will be forced to face reality and provide their voters with actual solutions. Or new parties and politicians will.
Neither option is good. We need to remember that we did not create this problem. A widespread addiction to populism did. Like any caring friend, we (as part of the E.U.) will be here to negotiate and build a new relationship with Britain when the drug wears off. They probably won’t be able to move back in but the future can be full of hope. As long as all sides embrace reality.
Image Credit HERE.
More articles Here.