Lots of discussion in my timeline on the imbalanced nature of N.Irl Protocol-a nationalist solution & a weakness of British statecraft according to @TomMcTague & a miscalculation re. protection of single market @SirSocks @BrigidLaffan
1. No appreciation of the consequences of U.K. decision to leave EU for island of Ireland. Not a live issue in the ref campaign & UK negotiators did not fully grasp the complexity of issues until well after ref. @BrigidLaffan
2. Theresa Villiers when still SOS for N. irl. Week after ref says ‘we can keep a border that is as open & free-flowing as it is today’ -she was correct but her idea of how that could be achieved was way off @DefraGovUK @BrigidLaffan
3. She expected a cost UK-Irish deal that EU would endorse regardless of consequences-HMG did not take Ireland’s membership of EU & single market seriously. Underestimated Irish statecraft & commitment to EU membership & open border. @BrigidLaffan
4. @TomMcTague concludes that Protocol is result of Republican threats. A consideration but completely misunderstands border area. A thick band of yellow on Border voted remain-leave DUP heartlands far away. Consent necessary to manage this border. Not available @BrigidLaffan
5. This is the map. @BrigidLaffan
6. @theresa_may cares about the Union & was honourable in her Art 50 letter-no return to hard borders of past, limit damage to Republic & protect GFA. @BrigidLaffan
7. She agreed an all U.K. CU to reduce friction but ERG a& @duponline voted it down. Why? Driven by ideology not care for Unionism. @BrigidLaffan
8. @BorisJohnson had choices to make & he made them-opted for GB sovereignty without any consideration for N. Ireland. Leaving SM & CU means a border. That border would have less friction if U.K. would agree SPS arrangement but that means some alignment. @BrigidLaffan
9. Responsibility for the Brexit outcomes in GB & N. Ireland lies squarely with #HMG. Bad outcomes but there is no good Brexit for island of Ireland.

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More from @BrigidLaffan

11 Feb
This is the second time in one week that I have to engage with something written by a British academic on their assessment of Brexit & Ireland. In this case @HelenHet20 in @NewStatesman 🧵
1. @HelenHet20 Europe’s vaccine crisis has revealed the true nature of the EU?? Ireland has been a member state since 1973, has had more refs on EU topics than any other country & thus its political & administrative elite knows & understands EU @BrigidLaffan
2. Said elite & electorate never idealised EU-small states are acutely aware of limits of their power & deploy capacity with care-the Swedes coined the term smart states. Small states understand they have to be smart. @BrigidLaffan
Read 11 tweets
6 Feb
Not often I read something @Telegraph that I feel has to be taken on but Vernon Bogdanor’s opinion today is one such piece. Bogdanor is one of the leading scholars of the British Constitution & has an in-depth knowledge of Irish history so there are no excuses @KingsCollegeLon
1. His assertion that the Northern Ireland Protocol has fallen at the first whiff of grapeshot is evidence of a scholar rushing to judgement just 4 weeks into the implementation of a complex set of legal provisions @BrigidLaffan
2. He rightly identifies problems the Protocol causes for GB-Northern Ireland economic exchange but argues that any flexibility EU would agree to would not solve the problem because the problem for him is constitutional. For him the Protocol cannot work @BrigidLaffan
Read 12 tweets
23 Jan
Am prompted to do this 🧵 following @BEERG sharing of Gove 19 April’16 speech, @kevinhorourke observation on interests & ideas & @CER_Grant observation that historians will ponder the weakness of economic interests in Brexit negs at @InstituteGC yesterday @BrigidLaffan
1. Seems to me that @BorisJohnson has delivered on the @michaelgove 2016 speech in one important sense-not the sunny uplands of Brexit but the working out of what Brexit was to this clique who drove the Leave campaign @BrigidLaffan
2. That was a total rejection of the #EU model of internationalisation, its governance regimes, institutions, regulatory frameworks, its ideals & the political, economic & legal order it represents. @BrigidLaffan
Read 9 tweets
8 Dec 20
Extensive U.K. discussion on #EU27 approach to #Brexit. Began with @anandMenon1 & @jillongovt who suggested 1 reason for hard Brexit is ‘defensive’ EU. Now @Mij_Europe has a poll offering the ‘defensive’ option. @NashSGC has thread explaining why EU defensive-SM. @BrigidLaffan
1. EU must defend the gains of integration both polity & market power. This is not ‘defensive’ as in anxious but defending achievements @BrigidLaffan
2. Membership has to matter or why would states submit to mutual vulnerability. If the #Brexit argument is to throw off constraint why would the 27 allow an imbalance between rights & obligations especially for a large state @BrigidLaffan
Read 7 tweets
4 Dec 20
Participated in a very interesting panel this week @StAntsCollege @UniofOxford & was asked 2 excellent questions by @KalypsoNicolaid & @fromTGA on why #EU27 was united against UK but not Putin & XI Jinping & why UK leaving EU was more a threat than Hungary @BrigidLaffan
1. Unity stemmed from existential nature of #Brexit-first country to leave EU, a vote of no confidence in the Union & the hard Brexiteers led by Farage wanted destruction of the Union @BrigidLaffan
2. #EU27 had to protect the polity & the market against UK’s departure. Membership has to matter-if a former member could retain lots of rights while outside the club the internal equilibrium of the Union would be jeopardised. @BrigidLaffan
Read 5 tweets
10 Nov 20
Thread on EU too defensive claim from @anandMenon1 & @jillongovt in #Brexit negs. EU27 had something to defend & continues to have. What. 1. The share polity, Union. 2. Collective achievements-SM & shared policies. 3. Quality of membership. @BrigidLaffan
2. U.K. a was champion of outouts/opt ins. Had bespoke membership but that was not enough to keep UK in. Post ref-U.K. never set out a clear landing zone for post membership relationship that had worked through the trade-offs. @BrigidLaffan
3. U.K. set down redlines on SM, CU & Court that narrowed the possible deal that EU could agree without undermining its core principles & balance of rights & obligations which is critical to future of EU. @BrigidLaffan
Read 9 tweets

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