I have in mind a list of important men who have ignored my advice. Needless to say, none of them said “You were right” when what I warned them about happened. So I don’t expect Simon Coveney to listen to a word from me.
I’ll say it anyway: stop talking and tweeting about Brexit.
I know it’s fun to berate the Brits, but every time he criticizes the Tories, he’s helping them.
This is not about being right. It’s about tactics. Keir Starmer understands that. Coveney should too.
The Conservative Party remains a prisoner of English nationalists, and nationalists only need one thing: an enemy.
Enemies distract proletarians from what really matters, like jobs and a stable economy.
An enemy also bridges the gap between lies and reality.
Take those traffic jams at Dover. When asked last week to defend his referendum claim that there would be no delays at Dover post-Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg naturally blamed the French, saying the British should go to Portugal if the French didn’t want them . It’s childish. At no time will they take responsibility for the consequences of Brexit.
But congestion is seasonal, and the war of protocol will take its place. And when I say war, I mean trade war. That’s exactly what Brexiteers need as they head into the winter with a battered economy.
This is where Ireland needs to be smart and not become their scapegoat. Simon and co should work on their composure, not their social media campaign.
I briefly summarize the Brexit circle that can never be squared.
When Britain left the EU, there had to be a border somewhere. For Britain it was simple – it’s an island. For Northern Ireland, the border would have to be on the island of Ireland, with infrastructure such as customs posts and controls.
The Irish government successfully enlisted EU support to insist that this would not happen – the famous backstop.
Brexiteers were not told, nor did they care, that the disappearance of the Irish border – essential to the success of the Good Friday Agreement – was because the single market had created free movement. It has dismantled borders across the EU.
Fortunately, the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May kept the whole of the UK in the Customs Union, reducing many of the controls that would otherwise be required between Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Unfortunately, it was rejected by Brexiteers for tying Britain’s hands in negotiating new trade deals, and by some Remainers hoping for a second referendum.
Don’t forget, either, that the seven Sinn Féin MPs abstained on nights in the House of Commons when two or three votes would have swayed things our way. Irish nationalists also need an enemy. Sinn Féin chose not to help Ireland when we needed it.
The result was the protocol treaty that brought the EU border into the sea.
Apart from the predictable irritation of the DUP, whose entire Brexit strategy was a disaster, it made trade between Britain and Northern Ireland more difficult. The result was empty shelves at Marks and Spencer in Belfast.
Now the Brexiteers – the same people who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement and declared the Protocol a victory – are proposing tearing it all up. The relevant law passed the second reading in the lower house. It’s completely inconsiderate.
Brace yourself for a significant escalation in rhetoric and EU legal proceedings in the autumn. And that’s exactly what they want. That’s why they do it.
They want to keep their Red Wall – the Labor voters who voted for the Conservatives to ‘get Brexit done’.
Every headline exchanging insults with foreigners is another brick in this wall.
It is ground on which the Tories will only win. That’s why Keir Starmer refuses – to the frustration of many – to continue fighting for Brexit.
So why should we?
“But what then?” you ask. “This madness has real consequences.”
We can act, but wisely. Trade privately, not publicly. Take your time. Settle for the slow grind, not the big win.
Because there is no victory. There is no solution that gives the UK the freedom to make its own trade deals and trade freely with the EU. It is not possible. All Northern Ireland does is crystallize this paradox.
But drop that penny with the British public and the DUP.
Admitting they were wrong will be a slow and painful exercise, but one they will have to face on their own. It’s like any argument – people need time and space to accept that the other person was right. give it to them
Meanwhile, diplomatic relations are in shambles.
Who was sent to fix them other than Martin Fraser, the highly respected former Secretary General of the Department of An Taoiseach who was appointed Ambassador to Britain. As the main ideological force behind the backstop, I wonder if time has softened his sense of victory over our success in securing our goals?
We won, and yet here we are.
They tell me he’s very smart, so he probably understands that fighting the Tories on their chosen battlefield is bad strategy.
History rarely records things that weren’t done or said, but there are times when refusing to respond changes everything. Coveney won’t listen to me, but if he does listen to Fraser, I hope he’ll be told that sometimes silence is golden.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/by-lecturing-tories-on-brexit-we-play-right-into-their-hands-silence-is-a-better-strategy-41893296.html By lecturing the Tories about Brexit, we are playing right into their hands. Silence is a better strategy