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Daniel Keohane @KeohaneDan
, 13 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
This analysis, by my former boss @CER_Grant, is sound as far as it goes...but in my view omits a few very important factors...1/ of a thread on aspects Charles couldn't possibly fit into a short op-ed (and I try not make too long a thread out of it :-).
2/ As many Irish and other EU commentators have long noted, Charles - who is rightly widely read and respected across the EU - seems to have long suggested that the other EU26 may not back Ireland in a final treaty crunch. In a straight geo-politics game he might be right, but...
3/...this has annoyed a few people because it goes to the heart of what the EU is, especially for Ireland. If the EU does not back Ireland on such an existential question - and yes folks, #Brexit is existential - then why should Ireland stay in the EU? Or any other small member?
4/ There is no hope of #Irexit, nor Ireland rejoining a UK political unit, as much as some Brexiteers imply that that is what they want to happen, a re-imposition of British imperialism over Ireland as it were, dressed nicely. That is exactly why Ireland will not leave the EU.
5/ Why is the border existential? It is not only about economics. It is about identity, and freedom from the chains of never-ending conflict. The economic argument of trade with the UK is a not the dominant mind-changer. Like Brexit, this is about politics more than economics.
6/ I grew up only a half hour drive from the border, with the foot down, but Northern Ireland may as well have been Mars when I was a child. But now I have family and friends in the North, So I, for one, would not vote for any Irish politician that would allow a Brexit border.
7/ And I suspect, nor would most Irish citizens vote for a Taoiseach or a government that would agree to border restrictions of any kind beyond what exists today. It is too important. And as Anglo-phile and pro-EU as I am, I would not vote for an Irish politician that differs.
8/ What we voted for, by huge majorities both North and South in 1998, was not a joke. It was the most trans-formative moment in Irish-British history on three levels - within Northern Ireland, on the whole island, and between Ireland and the UK. Never have relations been better.
9/ It is true that Ireland could be outvoted on the Withdrawal Agreement (which is decided by QMV). Even so, Dáil Éireann could still block the eventual trade agreement (if it is a "mixed agreement"). Some would say that is putting politics ahead of economic interests...
10/ ...exactly right, the GFA is not something to be sold away. It is about politics, not just economics, just like Brexit. The hope is that Dublin/Brussels and London can come to a workable agreement. So far, it is Dublin/Brussels that have come up with workable solutions...
11/ sum up @CER_Grant is right, neither EU nor UK can afford to leave the Irish border issue unsolved. But that means HMG has to come up with some workable solutions, as Ireland and the EU have done, that will keep the *current* invisible border. You Brexit, you fix it. END.
12/ PS some worry about calling the UK's bluff - the UK leaving the SM/CU means economic trouble either way, and all that HMG has proposed so far means a hard border. What exactly has Ireland got to lose now, *slightly less* economic trouble, or a political disaster either way?
13/ I made a slight mess of this thread, my first ever 😳, as for some reason a quarter of the tweets disappeared after I thought they were posted. So I had to rewrite a number of them. But I hope it is coherent now. Thank you. cc @CER_Grant REALLY THE END
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