The Irish are really puzzled by the Brexit debacle.
On this side of the Irish Sea we follow recent events in the UK with increasing alarm at both the toxicity of the debate and its implications for Ireland. Back in the last century there was a saying in Ireland that if Britain sneezed, the Irish economy caught pneumonia. Not quite as dependant now as then, but enough to deal the Irish economy a serious hammer blow if the lunatic fringe of the Brexit movement manage to persuade the UK to walk away - after a near half century of integration - in some kind of bonkers No Deal scenario.
This dependency removes from us the obligation of observing the niceties of not commenting on another country's internal business, since the UK's business in this regard, impinges directly on our business. (Anyway I was born in England and lived there till my teens and my mates here of 5 decades or more still occasionally accuse me of being a sasanach when all else fails in a debate)
We are completely bamboozled by the concept of Europe being widely perceived - in England in particular - as some kind of malevolent force entirely devoted to constraining the best efforts of the British people. Then again we don't have a media that almost daily for 30 years tell us that, everything in the land that goes wrong, is down to European interference through 'unelected' bureaucrats in Brussels. Unfortunately Europe was too complacent or too arrogant to defend itself against a constant onslaught of anti -European propaganda by the British right wing media. Anyhow, nobody really believed the outlandish nonsense about Europe persistently published in the Daily Mail during Paul Dacre's reign. Did they?
Saving the 'vast amounts of money' sent by a 2.4 trillion economy to Europe each year is a Brexit argument which really strikes the Irish dumb with mystification (a neat trick in itself). The Republic comprises less than one percent of the EU population but has a trade deficit with Britain of considerably more than the cost of Britain's membership of the EU.
Another puzzling one to us is that 'The Will of the People' defines voting as being undemocratic. More precisely voting more than once on any issue is verboten because apparently putting a tick in a box is such a frightfully troublesome and painful task and can be avoided by the fact that circumstances NEVER change and - your one time vote - is written in stone - forever. Over here we can vote more than once on an issue (particularly if we find out that we had been sold a pup) and - it shouldn't come as a suprise in a democracy - that we are quite free to vote exactly as we did previously if we feel strongly enough about the issue in question. So the Brexit camp's vote phobia is another one that has us completely flummoxed.
Hi Kevin. Were you once at the "other" place? The IF. Anyway welcome here and thanks for the post putting the Irish view. I am pretty damned puzzled by events and attitudes myself. Why are we so intent on a National Suicide is beyond me.
Post by thesentientpasty on Apr 17, 2019 22:27:38 GMT
The EU costs me about 40p per day. It costs everyone in the UK about 40p per day.
That 40p enables me to travel, work and live in every part of it, whenever I want. It enables this country access to a market of 510 million people without any additional costs, with a level playing field of standards and safety.
That 40p has also brought peace to a continent that has never previously known it.
...I think that it's astoundingly good value.
The things that piss me off:
My genealogical studies prove that I'm one-eighth Dublin Irish. My wife, born in NI, has free access to an Irish passport, though she's less Irish than my left leg, just 'cos she was born in Belfast. She can be an EU citizen, whilst I'm being dragged out of it by fascists, Nazis, the stupid, Tories, and utter feckwits like Mr Witherspoons and the Murdochs.
Am I angry?
Yes. I. Am.
I'm EVEN ANGRIER because a leader I didn't elect, of a party I didn't elect, of a government that didn't even get a majority in an election, declares that:
A/ Brexit means Brexit. Whatever that might conceivably mean. B/ It's the Will of the People. No, Theresa. It's the assinine 'kick to the austerity bollocks' you got when Cameron offered the public a say on an issue when they didn't even know what the result might be or what the issue was about. 30% kicked hard. That's not a mandate for nothing. C/ Enough.
Half of UK is also baffled. While I personally want to remain part of the EU, I would feel more accepting of this so called democratic vote, if it had been democratic. Instead there was lies, deliberate, even criminal deception, half truths and nowhere near enough information.
did i give the irish border any thought whatsoever before i voted? nope. not part of my little world and it wasn't widely pointed out to people like me. plus 101 other things that we don't think about unless its part of our lives.
so much money has been spent dealing with this shit, and still to pay with our divorce bill, that even if the pay out/receive in from the EU is financially in the uk's favour it is not going to balance out for decades.
uk was in the eu before i was born. my neice (i don't have children) is growing up in a land of austerity, and council cuts down to the bare minimum, services reduced to almost nothing and now the arrogant gammons are making it even harder.
where she lives is quite multicultural, many from europe. a good few of her classmates parents has said, fuck this, and are moving to europe. the children are british. the parents not dole bum romanian, but skilled people with good jobs. they can't be short of a penny because they live in london!
this is a sad world she is growing up in, and all those pesky eu rules that make life ok, like say, pollution emissions so children don't die of asthma, well whose to say we will make them equivalent or better? (if we wanted better we could've done that anyway)
but so long as brussels isn't breathing down our neck eh?
Hi folks, Yes, I was somewhat taken aback to find that IF was no more. Great place to hang out.
Right at the start of it all, in June 2016, the late AA Gill wrote an article in The Sunday Times which I thought at the time was a rattling good read, but since then goes some way to explain the much of the incoherence of the arguments put forward by many leavers.
Brexit: AA Gill argues for In: 'It was the woman on Question Time that really did it for me. She was so familiar. There is someone like her in every queue, every coffee shop, outside every school in every parish council in the country. Middle-aged, middle-class, middle-brow, over-made-up, with her National Health face and weatherproof English expression of hurt righteousness, she’s Britannia’s mother-in-law. The camera closed in on her and she shouted: “All I want is my country back. Give me my country back.”
It was a heartfelt cry of real distress and the rest of the audience erupted in sympathetic applause, but I thought: “Back from what? Back from where?”
Wanting the country back is the constant mantra of all the outies. Farage slurs it, Gove insinuates it. Of course I know what they mean. We all know what they mean. They mean back from Johnny Foreigner, back from the brink, back from the future, back-to-back, back to bosky hedges and dry stone walls and country lanes and church bells and warm beer and skittles and football rattles and cheery banter and clogs on cobbles. Back to vicars-and-tarts parties and Carry On fart jokes, back to Elgar and fudge and proper weather and herbaceous borders and cars called Morris. Back to victoria sponge and 22 yards to a wicket and 15 hands to a horse and 3ft to a yard and four fingers in a Kit Kat, back to gooseberries not avocados, back to deference and respect, to make do and mend and smiling bravely and biting your lip and suffering in silence and patronising foreigners with pity.
We all know what “getting our country back” means. It’s snorting a line of the most pernicious and debilitating Little English drug, nostalgia. The warm, crumbly, honey-coloured, collective “yesterday” with its fond belief that everything was better back then, that Britain (England, really) is a worse place now than it was at some foggy point in the past where we achieved peak Blighty. It’s the knowledge that the best of us have been and gone, that nothing we can build will be as lovely as a National Trust Georgian country house, no art will be as good as a Turner, no poem as wonderful as If, no writer a touch on Shakespeare or Dickens, nothing will grow as lovely as a cottage garden, no hero greater than Nelson, no politician better than Churchill, no view more throat-catching than the White Cliffs and that we will never manufacture anything as great as a Rolls-Royce or Flying Scotsman again.
The dream of Brexit isn’t that we might be able to make a brighter, new, energetic tomorrow, it’s a desire to shuffle back to a regret-curdled inward-looking yesterday. In the Brexit fantasy, the best we can hope for is to kick out all the work-all-hours foreigners and become caretakers to our own past in this self-congratulatory island of moaning and pomposity. And if you think that’s an exaggeration of the Brexit position, then just listen to the language they use: “We are a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs, we want to put the great back in Britain, the great engineers, the great manufacturers.” This is all the expression of a sentimental nostalgia. In the Brexiteer’s mind’s eye is the old Pathé newsreel of Donald Campbell, of John Logie Baird with his television, Barnes Wallis and his bouncing bomb, and Robert Baden-Powell inventing boy scouts in his shed.
All we need, their argument goes, is to be free of the humourless Germans and spoilsport French and all their collective liberalism and reality. There is a concomitant hope that if we manage to back out of Europe, then we’ll get back to the bowler-hatted 1950s and the Commonwealth will hold pageants, fireworks displays and beg to be back in the Queen Empress’s good books again. Then New Zealand will sacrifice a thousand lambs, Ghana will ask if it can go back to being called the Gold Coast and Britain will resume hand-making Land Rovers and top hats and Sheffield plate teapots.
There is a reason that most of the people who want to leave the EU are old while those who want to remain are young: it’s because the young aren’t infected with Bisto nostalgia. They don’t recognise half the stuff I’ve mentioned here. They’ve grown up in the EU and at worst it’s been neutral for them. The under-thirties want to be part of things, not aloof from them. They’re about being joined-up and counted. I imagine a phrase most outies identify with is “women’s liberation has gone too far”. Everything has gone too far for them, from political correctness — well, that’s gone mad, hasn’t it? — to health and safety and gender-neutral lavatories. Those oldies, they don’t know if they’re coming or going, what with those newfangled mobile phones and kids on Tinder and Grindr. What happened to meeting Miss Joan Hunter Dunn at the tennis club? And don’t get them started on electric hand dryers, or something unrecognised in the bagging area, or Indian call centres , or the impertinent computer asking for a password that has both capitals and little letters and numbers and more than eight digits. We listen to the Brexit lot talk about the trade deals they’re going to make with Europe after we leave, and the blithe insouciance that what they’re offering instead of EU membership is a divorce where you can still have sex with your ex. They reckon they can get out of the marriage, keep the house, not pay alimony, take the kids out of school, stop the in-laws going to the doctor, get strict with the visiting rights, but, you know, still get a shag at the weekend and, obviously, see other people on the side.
Really, that’s their best offer? That’s the plan? To swagger into Brussels with Union Jack pants on and say: “ ’Ello luv, you’re looking nice today. Would you like some?”
When the rest of us ask how that’s really going to work, leavers reply, with Terry-Thomas smirks, that “they’re going to still really fancy us, honest, they’re gagging for us. Possibly not Merkel, but the bosses of Mercedes and those French vintners and cheesemakers, they can’t get enough of old John Bull. Of course they’re going to want to go on making the free market with two backs after we’ve got the decree nisi. Makes sense, doesn’t it?” Have no doubt, this is a divorce. It’s not just business, it’s not going to be all reason and goodwill. Like all divorces, leaving Europe would be ugly and mean and hurtful, and it would lead to a great deal of poisonous xenophobia and racism, all the niggling personal prejudice that dumped, betrayed and thwarted people are prey to. And the racism and prejudice are, of course, weak points for us. The tortuous renegotiation with lawyers and courts will be bitter and vengeful, because divorces always are and, just in passing, this sovereignty thing we’re supposed to want back so badly, like Frodo’s ring, has nothing to do with you or me. We won’t notice it coming back, because we didn’t notice not having it in the first place. You won’t wake up on June 24 and think: “Oh my word, my arthritis has gone! My teeth are suddenly whiter! Magically, I seem to know how to make a soufflé and I’m buff with the power of sovereignty.” This is something only politicians care about; it makes not a jot of difference to you or me if the Supreme Court is a bunch of strangely out-of-touch old gits in wigs in Westminster or a load of strangely out-of-touch old gits without wigs in Luxembourg. What matters is that we have as many judges as possible on the side of personal freedom.
Personally, I see nothing about our legislators in the UK that makes me feel I can confidently give them more power. The more checks and balances politicians have, the better for the rest of us. You can’t have too many wise heads and different opinions. If you’re really worried about red tape, by the way, it’s not just a European problem. We’re perfectly capable of coming up with our own rules and regulations and we have no shortage of jobsworths. Red tape may be annoying, but it is also there to protect your and my family from being lied to, poisoned and cheated. The first “X” I ever put on a voting slip was to say yes to the EU. The first referendum was when I was 20 years old. This one will be in the week of my 62nd birthday. For nearly all my adult life, there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t been pleased and proud to be part of this great collective. If you ask me for my nationality, the truth is I feel more European than anything else. I am part of this culture, this European civilisation. I can walk into any gallery on our continent and completely understand the images and the stories on the walls. These people are my people and they have been for thousands of years. I can read books on subjects from Ancient Greece to Dark Ages Scandinavia, from Renaissance Italy to 19th-century France, and I don’t need the context or the landscape explained to me. The music of Europe, from its scales and its instruments to its rhythms and religion, is my music. The Renaissance, the rococo, the Romantics, the impressionists, gothic, baroque, neoclassicism, realism, expressionism, futurism, fauvism, cubism, dada, surrealism, postmodernism and kitsch were all European movements and none of them belongs to a single nation.
There is a reason why the Chinese are making fake Italian handbags and the Italians aren’t making fake Chinese ones. This European culture, without question or argument, is the greatest, most inventive, subtle, profound, beautiful and powerful genius that was ever contrived anywhere by anyone and it belongs to us. Just look at my day job — food. The change in food culture and pleasure has been enormous since we joined the EU, and that’s no coincidence. What we eat, the ingredients, the recipes, may come from around the world, but it is the collective to and fro of European interests, expertise and imagination that has made it all so very appetising and exciting.
The restaurant was a European invention, naturally. The first one in Paris was called The London Bridge.
Culture works and grows through the constant warp and weft of creators, producers, consumers, intellectuals and instinctive lovers. You can’t dictate or legislate for it, you can just make a place that encourages it and you can truncate it. You can make it harder and more grudging, you can put up barriers and you can build walls, but why on earth would you? This collective culture, this golden civilisation grown on this continent over thousands of years, has made everything we have and everything we are, why would you not want to be part of it?
I understand that if we leave we don’t have to hand back our library ticket for European civilisation, but why would we even think about it? In fact, the only ones who would are those old, philistine scared gits. Look at them, too frightened to join in. '
this thing with the faux nostalgia is that even the oldies wouldn't really want it now. my dad may get all misty eyed over seeing his first car, but if he had the choice of that or his current car with its heating, and cruise control and touch button everything then he wouldn't touch the old one.
the oldies are the ones who huff and puff in the queues, which run a lot quicker being all automated than, when items were individually priced and weighed and you had to queue at the grocers, then the butcher, then the chemist, then the newsagent.
the under 40's generally just accept and wait their turn.
these brexit dreamers really want their cake and eat it. like you say, sex with the ex. ramaging about all the 'foreigners' while wearing their tan from their 2 weeks in greece, not imagining for one minute that such privilege might been taken away or they'll have to pay more.
'The first referendum was when I was 20 years old. This one will be in the week of my 62nd birthday.' This phrase in your excellent 'rant' Kevin caught my attention particularly because I emigrated to Canada just before GB joined the EU at a similar age and so probably have a somewhat coloured view of 'Jolly Olde England' as it now exists. The view is further tilted when I consider the size and population of my birth place with the vast area and comparatively minuscule population of my adopted country, I simply cannot now picture in my mind the idyllic country lanes I then drove daily in my Austin Somerset! That said having been watching from afar and having no irons in that particular fire I can say I see no reason for the relatively tiny island that is GB (no insult intended but it is small compared with Europe as a whole AND my new home)to isolate themselves from their neighbours at what I see as a very high cost both socially and economically for little gain.
Its all political posturing right from the start IMHO (not that I have any great knowledge of the ongoing CF that it seems to be). Kevin says ' Personally, I see nothing about our legislators in the UK that makes me feel I can confidently give them more power. The more checks and balances politicians have, the better for the rest of us.' Indeed, such measures are needed to keep those bloody political types in check, the trouble is that most (both here and there) seem incapable of finding, or even seeking, reasonable compromise positions when they disagree. Far too many of them have the attitude 'its my way or the highway' and therein lays the rub, if those in power have an unobstructed path to do as they like and can con the public into giving them majority rule then its a very short path to a dictatorship. That may be considered a little over the top but recent events here in Canada have placed several such provincial parts of the country in such a position with some very scary right wing types in power. I am not going to Shanghai this thread with more on that but suffice to say that between the deadlocked position that you are in over there and the unrestrained authoritative regime we have here in Ontario its a case of damned if you have either.
It may not be politically correct to say but don't you wish sometimes you could give our 'leaders' a good hard slap aside the head and tell em to smarten up. For some folks thats the only way to get their attention!
"Kevin says ' Personally, I see nothing about our legislators in the UK that makes me feel I can confidently give them more power. "
I wish I had said that, Kanuck since the whole thing is a quote from the late AA Gill much lamented food writer of The Sunday Times.
The whole article is pretty well on the money almost 3 years ahead of the current debacle. I particularly like his observations on European culture - a three thousand year work in progress....
"There is a reason why the Chinese are making fake Italian handbags and the Italians aren’t making fake Chinese ones. This European culture, without question or argument, is the greatest, most inventive, subtle, profound, beautiful and powerful genius that was ever contrived anywhere by anyone and it belongs to us."
Kevin it is great to see you here. Your posts are always great to read. Good to have some perspective from Eireland. Thank you for that. I skim read your previous post and have now gone back to it in more detail. Great stuff and thank you. We have missed you.
Then again we don't have a media that almost daily for 30 years tell us that, everything in the land that goes wrong, is down to European interference through 'unelected' bureaucrats in Brussels.
Hello Kevin and welcome. I don't remember your name from IF but then maybe you were before/after my time there... or I've simply forgotten. I think that the latter is more likely the case tbh, I'm getting on a bit now!
I wanted to pick up on that comment as it reminded me of something that Jean-Claude Juncker apparently said to David Cameron after that ill fated referendum, and I paraphrase, 'when you keep telling people how awful the EU are then don't be surprised if they believe you'
So the Brexit camp's vote phobia is another one that has us completely flummoxed.
A fear of losing it probably, and one can understand that. There has been a strong 'exit' sentiment in England for decades and this moment is the closest they've come to achieving that ideal, so I can understand the fear of losing the moment. FWIW, I don't think it's a racing certainty that 'remain' would win another vote - I reckon it'd be darned close again.
I'm perhaps too dispassionate from my safe distance and I tend to view Brexit as a quite fascinating saga rather than something that I have a personal stakehold in.
in June 2016, the late AA Gill wrote an article in The Sunday Times which I thought at the time was a rattling good read,
It was a rattling good read - thank you for posting it.
I like AA Gill's writing; it's perceptive, analytical, in common language... and cutting. I particularly like the 'cutting' bits, I find he can be very funny with it. That said, I suspect I may not have actually liked him had I met him (probably because I'd find him too cutting in person!) Sadly missed, I keep an eye out for his books in sales etc
"Juncker apparently said to David Cameron after that ill fated referendum, and I paraphrase, 'when you keep telling people how awful the EU are then don't be surprised if they believe you"
And BOTH are equally responsible for the current debacle; Cameron for holding a referendum in an electorate that had been persistently fed lies for decades and Junker for being too complacent (or too arrogant) to actively challenge those blatant lies which almost daily appeared in Britain's most widely read newspapers. The current level of debate in the broadcast media - surrounding the entire issue - is at a level of almost special needs when it comes to some of the leading so-called Brexiteers and their lack of knowledge as to how the EU actually functions. Small wonder that screamingly obvious charlatans like Farage were able to gain a firm foothold in British politics.
Its been some time since ANYTHING has been posted to sleepyville so I just jumping in here to stir the pot, I am sure the regulars here have refrained from saying much about the absolute fkin disaster that is laughingly called brutish (woops spell check changed my British typo to what was perhaps more suitable?) parliament and brexshit in recent times. Looking on from a distance I see no way out of this CF other than to return to the more than 40 year stable arrangement with you neighbours. The whole world is becoming smaller but nations across it seem to be increasingly trying to start economic and other 'wars', our children and grandchildren who are deeply concerned about whether they will be able to breath in 50 years have a better grasp on reality that out political 'leaders' IMHO.
Well, the country we once knew is long gone. Unrecognisable as it once was. Division and hate has emerged and society is pulling itself apart. If we do Brexit the damage to the country will not be repaired in our lifetimes. The young will have to deal with the aftermath. That will not be easy as their rights will be taken from them on Brexit day. But this suits the uber rich very well as they stand to make billions from it all. The rest of us will remain as worker drones who will have lost working rights and have to exist with the gig economy. Pensions are vanishing and the NHS may yet be privatised and become beyond the reach of many. Insurance? Well you have to be able to afford it to start with and the insurance companies can refuse those with pre existing conditions. I don`t like my country anymore.
it really has turned into a horribly messy divorce. the people who voted for this disaster honestly thought they could just walk away and everything would be hunky dory. just how stupid are people? and so many lies, so many.
prime example is my new boss, who it turns out is a total fking gammon. he seems to think once brexshit happens the uk government is going to drop all those pesky european laws that make life so hard for the small business owner like him. like eco standards, and working time directives.
it hasn't occured to him that the uk could actually tighten those laws. they probably won't, but by and large they won't be revoking them either.
I read an account of interviews in Wales where people that wanted 'no-deal' had no idea of how much funding the EU has provided for various Welsh projects. The UK (Govt?) has generally been very poor in letting people know what the EU did, and certainly wasn't high profile enough in countering the negative stories that did do the rounds. The notion that all the EU did was over-regulate and 'tell us what to do' was allowed to take foothold.
The country has been gripped by a madness that seems intent on wrecking hundreds of years of progress to allow us to wreck it some more and forever by leaving the EU. Our citizens will end up with less rights than those who endured life behind the Iron Curtain to satisfy a few money making toffs.
I'm not at all sure that an election is going to make matters clearer but I guess things have come to a standstill so something different must be tried. What do you do when you have 2 strong polar opposite wishes? How do you find compromise? Because I feel, in short, there isn't one. This is a fight to the death - with pitchforks and matches quite probably.
We need our electoral system of first past the post scrapped and some form of proportionality introduced to bring some fairness to the system.
Here in Canada we have had several goes at changing our electoral system both provincially in some areas and federally but non have gone through mostly it would seem because no one can agree upon what is the best of the 'proportional' systems proposed. In places like New Zealand with smaller populations it would seem to be much easier to get it done than in places like here with over 300 mps and there with over 600, added to the difficulty is the differences created by the regional disparities in both countrys.
We need our electoral system of first past the post scrapped and some form of proportionality introduced to bring some fairness to the system.
Yes, I think so too. If there is something to be thankful to Brexit for it is that it has highlighted the shortfalls of the current 'us v them' system; the simple binary choice or the 'adversarial' system as it gets called too. I think pitching one side against another can just harden battle lines and promotes trench digging. Besides, just because one votes for the party that as one does, it doesn't mean you agree with everything the party says. Stands to reason really. So some form of proportional representation (and I know there are problems with it in some flavours) promotes, to my mind, healthy discussion. There's no simplistic 'right v wrong' battle for leadership.
One sees it reflected in the use of social media and the internet generally. People take sides, they are not encouraged to look for solutions outside of their own strict belief systems.
Here on this friendly but barely used 'forum' I hesitate to bring up the divisive issue of politics but saw the following item when browsing David J. Climenhaga 'blog' where he mostly writes about the equally divisive policy's of Alberta's current leader.
…..Veteran Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn describes Mr. Johnson’s approach as “more dangerous than Trump’s because it is more insidious.” Or, as New York Times Foreign Editor Roger Cohen summarized the same comparison, “in Donald Trump, consuming vanity is coupled with consuming ignorance. Johnson is equally vain but not equally ignorant.” …..
I thought that summed up things rather well, unfortunately it would seem that its not just G.B. and the U.S. thats turning into a total cluster fk, we here in Canada and indeed elsewhere across the world seem to be heading into uncharted territory Now rapidly heading into my dotage I fear for those who face the coming decades.
It's a good question isn't it? Who is the more dangerous; the vain fool who would lead you to disaster though ignorance (e.g. Trump)? Or the vain not-such-a-fool who could lead you into disaster through self interest. I guess it's kinda moot if both roads lead to the sh*t.
I fear this election and what might happen. I'm hopeful that the young voters will sway this knife edge decision and leave BoJo with no working majority. In fact, I'm smiling at the thought that BoJo could lose his seat! (It won't happen but the thought brings a smile anyway)
I know how I'm voting but I can understand that many in the UK don't feel they have real choice; more of the same whoever wins. And neither BoJo nor Corbyn have what you might call a trustworthiness. Both appear as if they are hiding personal aims.
Edit: got to say through that I am mighty impressed with the boldness of Labour's (not a) manifesto. Corbyn's obviously thought that it's now-or-never and has gone all in - whilst Johnson tinkers around the edges and fills pot holes. It's brave. Perhaps too brave and people have trust issues. I'm sure many are dismissive.