Brexit & NI: reposting a 🧵 from early Feb.

Don’t you just love the bemused response to groups angry at the border in the Irish Sea & the lies told about it?

“But they voted for it” & “suck it up, you wanted hard Brexit, dumbos” miss the point.

There is one. Bear with me./1.
Stoking violence is completely irresponsible. Those doing it must stop.

But it mightn’t be a bad idea if the rest of the UK - not least supporters of the lunatic, hard Brexit of which we’re experiencing the early, predictably awful throes - understood what’s really going on./2.
People in NI, of whatever political, cultural or other persuasion, aren’t stupid.

They’re like everyone else: products of circumstance & their own ability to respond. /3.
So, let’s think about a group (no need to give it a name) which emphatically feels a united Ireland would be terrible for them. For whatever reasons. In fact, any NI separation from the UK would be pretty much as bad. /4.
And, actually, anything which reduces the distinction between being part of the UK & part of Ireland (used here to mean the Republic) is, at best, a slippery slope to something fundamentally unacceptable.

How would that group behave? /5.
Let’s consider the Good Friday Agreement/Belfast Agreement, EU membership/ Brexit, and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The group would oppose the GFA/BA. Obviously. /6.
Short of the extraordinarily unlikely prospect of Ireland joining a UK-Ireland-only customs union & single market, the GFA/BA (as has often been said, & often (incorrectly) denied) is predicated on EU membership of both the UK & Ireland. /7.
Or, as a minimum, their concurrent membership of the EU’s Customs Union & Single Market, or closely equivalent arrangements.

If you’re deeply opposed to the GFA/BA, you’re automatically (if you understand how many beans make five) highly enthusiastic about Brexit. /8.
But not just any Brexit.

Staying in the EU’s CU+SM, or anything even close, doesn’t cut it. You need a diamond-hard Brexit. /9.
One of which hardly a member of the so-called “European Research Group” (no understanding of Europe, propaganda & emotion not research, though, arguably, a group) ever dared dream.

All trace of the CU+ SM has to be eradicated from NI life. /10.
That way, the operation of the GFA/BA, & the all-Ireland effects it’s designed to facilitate, can be made impossible.

It’s clear, now we’ve got this far, that such a grouping in NI would strongly favour the imposition of a strict land border across the island of Ireland. /11.
The well known difficulties of enforcing it, & the likelihood of a return to violence as a result of it, would be recognised, regretted (not necessarily by all, though probably most), but accepted as the price of achieving the main - & fundamental - goal. /12.
So, how would this NI group react when told they can have their hard Brexit, but to get it they need to allow a border down the Irish Sea, separating NI to a significant extent from the rest of the UK? /13.
Wouldn’t they do all they could - while performatively opposing it - to facilitate a deal which appears radically at odds with their interests, but which in fact makes certain their ultra hard Brexit is secured? /14.
And then work to shred the arrangements (the Northern Ireland Protocol) leaving a land border across the island of Ireland as the only available option?

The answer’s obvious.

And it’s what’s happening. /15.
This entirely foreseeable (& foreseen) situation is immensely dangerous.

It was - shamefully - ignored, misunderstood, mishandled &/or lied about by three successive UK prime ministers & their teams. All of whom, still in any form of public office, should resign. /16.
While efforts to make the NIP work as well as possible & to de-escalate rhetoric & tensions are worthy & right, the original sin is the unavoidable problem. /17.
Leaving the EU’s Customs Union & Single Market creates an unsustainable situation for the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, & for the whole island of Ireland. One which carries a high risk of being, literally, fatal. /18
It opens up a space in which a group or groups of the sort described (once again, no names necessary here) can feel it possible to reverse their defeat of 23 years ago - on the GFA/BA. /19.
If we just remind ourselves that such groups consider success in their endeavour to be essential, because defeat poses an existential threat, we can, finally, understand them. /20.
We can, also, repudiate their objectives & actions.

But let’s not display our own dimwittedness by patronisingly thinking them stupid or ignorant. /21. End (but see notes in following tweet).
Notes on above 🧵

Originally posted on 6 Feb 2021. Later removed by me, as part of routine monthly/ two-monthly deletion.

This version is lightly edited compared to the original. Purely to improve drafting clarity (hopefully that’s worked!).

All comments welcome.

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More from @AndrewPRLevi

5 Apr
Brexit can only “succeed” if the EU’s destroyed👇

Europe’s dominated, & the world heavily influenced, by the EU.

2nd biggest economy. Aid superpower. 2nd in defence/security. Global standard setter.

A departing member’s a minnow at EU mercy. Unless the EU no longer exists./1.
Brexiters & their backers have minimal capacity to bring about EU apocalypse.

Yet Brexit’s failure, as a supposed strategic project for boosting the UK’s geopolitical & economic position, is guaranteed & starkly visible if the EU continues. /2.
Which explains much of the prevalent, increasingly shrill, emotionally needy anti-EU rhetoric. And curious features of Brexit which appear consciously to price in abject failure. /3.
Read 9 tweets
4 Apr
Where there’s political instability, terrorism or civil war, there’s always organised crime.

They feed off each other.

People saying the rioting in NI is “just” drugs gangs aren’t making the slam-dunk argument they think they are.

In fact, they’re plain wrong. /1.
Brexit has destabilised NI.

We’re seeing the evolving, direct consequences of a deeply flawed, terrifyingly dangerous policy.

Unless there’s a sharp UK government policy reversal, there’ll be a tragedy.

And it won’t just affect NI. /2. End
Read 4 tweets
30 Mar
Look, I know it’s too much to ask, in some cases at least, that political candidates have a passing familiarity with history or major foreign languages. But, with all due respect, you’d think someone who’s had as many opportunities in life as @LozzaFox would. But no ... a🧵/1.
Mr Fox’s call for freedom translates well into German. A cynic might say he’s aware of this history & has gone ahead in spite - or even because - of it. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’ll assume ignorance. /2.
Ah, you object, but that was about “freeing” a country from its shackles, prohibitions & evil leaders. Not a capital city. A different point, surely?

Well, no. And, in any case 👇 /3.
Read 6 tweets
27 Mar
.@DavidGHFrost says the NIP needs consent of “all of the people” in NI.

This is as close as HM Govt has come to admitting its Brexit deal is incompatible with the GFA/BA.

It’s attempting to put lipstick on a pig. Which won’t work.

What next?

A 🧵/1.…
In the short term, there’s no choice but strain all of @BorisJohnson’s sinews to ensure the best possible relationship with the EU & the smoothest possible functioning of the NIP. /2.
But we shouldn’t imagine that tinkering, including the major step of an SPS (Sanitary & Phytosanitary) agreement with the EU - if that’s available, given UK sovereigntism & EU “cherry picking” concerns - can result in anything other than a dangerously unstable arrangement. /3.
Read 14 tweets
24 Mar
A brief history of the last 70 years of 🇩🇪 - 🇬🇧 relations. Short 🧵/1.
Many Germans, including much of the diplomatic establishment, felt like this about 🇬🇧. Often despite considerable provocation, especially in the English tabloids. /2.
Some, usually only in private, but then quite vehemently, had a different perspective on 🇬🇧.

But still, with 🇺🇸 in charge, even those 🇩🇪 sceptics felt able to work extremely closely with 🇬🇧. /3.
Read 8 tweets
24 Mar
UK-German (& EU) relations are on the brink of a potentially precipitate descent.

Triggered by vaccines. But due to deeper, Brexit-induced forces.

It’s worth reflecting carefully, again, on the implications of a recent public rebuke from @GermanAmbUK to @DavidGHFrost👇/1.
Two quick notes:

(a) following UK, German & wider EU reporting today is genuinely terrifying. Unless the UK can find a way to reintegrate itself into one of the two mission critical components of the Euro-Atlantic alliance - the EU - & the EU to accept it, .../2.
... we’re in serious trouble.

This isn’t about Bridlington Bangers to Belfast, or other such trivialising tropes used by some UK ministers.

And, if I were @SecBlinken’s chief of staff, I’d have this dossier, with options for US intervention, on his desk today; /3.
Read 8 tweets

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