Saturday 18 November 2017

Abusing the Irish is a really stupid idea

"Shut your gob" and "grow up" shrieked The S*n after the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar dared to criticise the absolute shambles Theresa May and the three Brexiteers are making of the Brexit process.

Interestingly they didn't run the same petty-minded rant in the Irish version of The S*n though. One might imagine that this tirade wasn't actually intended for the Irish at all, but just to stoke up anti-Irish xenophobia amongst their readers.

Varadkar was hardly saying anything that we don't know when he complained that nowhere near enough progress has been made on the Irish border issue, or when he pointed out that "Brexit is a British policy, it's also one that Britain has imposed on the rest of Europe".

He is entirely right to be furious at the pitiful lack of progress on the Irish border, and he didn't say anything that warranted the furious backlash in Rupert Murdoch's UK propaganda rag, and certainly nothing to justify the hyperbolic accusation that "his arrogance stems from a delusion that he can ­single-handedly stop Brexit"

Anyone who gives a damn about Ireland knows how important it is to find a resolution to the Irish border problem, but then events in Ireland both north and south of the border get very little coverage in the UK mainstream media.

Just consider the fact that the Tories and the DUP have collaborated to impose direct rule in Northern Ireland just a few days ago, which is yet another significant setback in the peace process. 

This extraordinary intervention barely received a whiff of coverage and analysis, while absolute dross like the Greggs sausage roll in a manger farce and Kezia Dugdale dashing off to appear on "I'm a Celebrity" generated far more coverage.

Aside from the fact that the Irish border issue is absolutely crucial to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland, it's actually also crucial to the people of mainland Britain too, because the EU27 have made it absolutely clear that the Brexit negotiations cannot move on to the trade talks phase until the Irish border issue is resolved.

So the more time the Tories fritter away without finding a sensible solution to the Irish border problem, the less time will remain for the trade talks to happen.

It's important to note that insulting the Irish Taoiseach and the Irish people is hardly a useful strategy at any stage of the negotiations, because (like all of the EU27 countries) Ireland will have a veto over the Brexit trade deal. Under these circumstances lobbing a load of bile, hyperbole, and abuse at the Irish hardly seems sensible.

In fact, it could be argued that frittering away time and insulting the Irish are exactly what you'd expect from people who actually want the Brexit negotiations to fail so as to cause the UK economy to collapse into an even more damaging economic meltdown than the 2007-08 bankers' crisis.

The suspicion that manufacturing a Brexit economic meltdown is the actual endgame for the hard-right is only bolstered by the fact that the Tories have been trying to hard write the Brexit date into law so that Britain crashes out of the EU with "no deal" whatever, even if both sides actually favour extending the negotiating period!

So once again we return to the age old question about Tories and their cheerleaders in the right-wing press: Is this behaviour motivated primarily by stupidity, or by malice?

What do you reckon?

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