Tag Archives: Brexit

European Council president Donald Tusk speaking at a press conference in Brussels today.

It follows the EU last night agreeing to postpone Brexit until May 22 – as long as MPs in Westminster approve British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week.

If MPs don’t approve her deal, Britain will leave on April 12.

Ms May had sought an extension until June 30.

‘Hope dies last’ – Europe reflects on Brexit shambles after Brussels summit (The Irish Times)

Previously: Tusk Tusk

From top:  Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May MP at No. 10 Downing Street on Mr Varadkar’s first official engagement outside of Ireland after becoming Taoiseach in June, 2017: Anthony Sheridan

It is grotesquely hilarious to witness Irish journalists, commentators and politicians condemning the British political system over its handling of the Brexit crisis. Here, for example, is Irish establishment journalist Alison O’Connor:

‘Who are these people who have risen through the ranks of British politics who don’t know their history, their geography or their arse from their elbow?’

The suggestion here is that Irish politicians, unlike their British counterparts, do know their arse from their elbow. There are millions of Irish citizens with ruined lives who would beg to differ.

And here’s Michael McDowell ignorantly suggesting that British politicians should adopt the same dishonest, anti-democratic strategy favoured by the corrupt Irish ruling elite when the people don’t do as they’re told – hold a second referendum:

‘Obviously our government has to pay lip service to accepting the outcome of the first British referendum, but others in Ireland should, in a friendly and decent way, publicly encourage the people’s vote cause. It would be honourable and honest to do so – provided it was not done in a counterproductive way.’

This sly, manipulative, patronising and dishonest attitude to how politics should be done is the norm in our dysfunctional democracy and therefore the likes of McDowell, in his ignorance, thinks it’s the norm in real democracies.

There is no doubt that the whole Brexit episode is a complete disaster for the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that stupidity, extreme nationalism, selfish party politics and cowardly political leadership are the main ingredients that led to the catastrophe.

But there is one element of the crisis that no mainstream Irish politician could possibly recognise or understand – British democracy is alive.

British democracy is a living, breathing, dramatic, often toxic, always passionate, sometimes uplifting, sometimes disastrous, but most importantly, always, always alive to the awareness that democracy belongs to the people, that in the end it is the people, for better or worse, who will decide the fate of the nation.

Ireland, on the other hand, is a dead democracy and has been since independence. Irish democracy is a rotten corpse that goes nowhere.

It performs just one function – it feeds and fattens the political maggots of the main political parties that have been crawling all over its putrid body since independence.

The principal difference between so-called Irish democracy and that of genuine democracies is evident in how ordinary citizens interact with their political systems.

Citizens of functional democracies such as the UK, France and Germany are aware that ultimate power rests with them, with the people.

They are aware that elected representatives are servants of the people, servants of democracy. In other words, in functional democracies, power flows from the bottom up and when that power is abused there is accountability and consequences.

That’s why there’s a virtual revolution going on in France. That’s why British politicians are extremely wary of dismissing the will of the people as expressed in the Brexit referendum.

In Ireland, the complete opposite is the case.

Unique among Western democracies, Irish citizens, for the most part, see power as residing in their elected representatives and government officials. They see power as coming from the top down and are forever grateful when the powerful throw them a few crumbs from the table.

There are historical reasons for this mindset that are too complex to go into at this time. Sufficient to say that this attitude, that the citizen is powerless and dependent on favours doled out by public representatives, has morphed into a system of political gangsterism that has destroyed the lives, wealth and hopes of millions of Irish citizens over the decades turning Ireland into a virtual banana republic.

History is the key to understanding how all this came about.

Prior to the English civil war of 1642 Parliament had very little power. At the time the divine right of kings to rule was absolute. But that all changed when King Charles I attempted to force Parliament to do his bidding.

When Parliament refused the king entered the House of Commons [the House of the People] with 400 soldiers and attempted to arrest five members. Charles Lenthall, the Speaker of the House, displaying great courage, told the king that he stood by [the people’s] Parliament and not the monarchy.

Not only did the king lose the ensuing civil war, he also lost his head when he refused to accept that power resided in the people and not in his person. The English monarchy never regained absolute power and the English people, to this day, are very aware that they are the real power of the land.

Just the other day, nearly 400 years after people power first challenged royal power, the current Speaker of the House, John Bercow, told those who sought to abuse the people’s parliament, to take a hike.

The evolution of Irish ‘democracy’ could not be more different.

When independence was achieved in 1922 power was usurped by an extremely conservative political class that created a fake democratic system based on parish pump politics and gombeenism.

Hughe swathes of power and influence were handed over to the Catholic Church that led directly to a holocaust of abuse and criminality that continues to this day.

Ireland has never had a functional democracy. Instead we have a political ruling class made up principally of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the near extinct Labour Party.

This is why there has never been a Right/Left wing political divide in Ireland as there is in almost all functional democracies. You cannot have such democratic balance in a country where there is, effectively, just one ruling class [party] masquerading as three political parties.

In Ireland we have a political system that is nothing more than a diseased corpse where the stench of corruption, lies, secrecy, cynical political manipulation and outright state criminality daily chokes the lungs of any hope of a genuine democracy emerging into the light of day.

Yes, British democracy is in crisis. Yes, total catastrophe is a distinct possibility, even the possibility of revolution. But that has happened before, it has happened in many countries over many centuries.

But the very fact that such chaos exists is testament that British democracy is a living, breathing entity where the people are fully engaged and ultimately supreme.

Only in countries like Ireland do we witness politicians and their toadying supporters in mainstream media say:

‘Look at the chaos that reigns in the UK in comparison to our stable political system here in Ireland.’

They little realise that apart from the stench and rot a [political] corpse is always stable.

Anthony Sheridan is freelance journalists and blogs at PublicEnquiry.

Rollingnews

Dublin Pub Personality of the Year John Gallagher with his ‘Theresa Maytini’ cocktail ahead of Searson’s Brexit Party (above)

Free Friday, March 29?

Searson’s, Baggot Street, Dublin 4 will host the ‘ultimate send-off’ for the UK as they wave goodbye to the EU.

Sinéad writes:

With the proviso that if the UK is granted an extension, guests will enjoy a bar extension and with free admission, and a live gig by The Backstop Boys*, this is a night not be to be missed.

Searson’s, with bar manager John Gallagher – winner of Dublin Bar Personality of the Year in the 2018 Irish Pub Awards – will be decked out with EU balloons and bunting.

Special cocktails, created for the night, include The ‘Theresa Maytini’ – a Martini with a sour twist – an ‘Old Fashioned Tory’ and ‘D.U.Pina Colada’ & more…

Hic.

Searson’s

* The Backstop Boys are a one-off EU supergroup, formed specially for the night, featuring Joe Leech, Mark Maguire and Damian Butler from the Last Waltz and the Bootleg Beach Boys.

Pic: Michael Dunne

Via LBC

A Remain-backing caller stunned LBC listeners when he said the answer to the Irish border question was to invade the Republic of Ireland.

Steve was repeatedly branded “stupid” for his suggestion by fellow caller Peter who was on the line at the same time.

“We could invade [Ireland],” Steve said during his call to [presenter] Tom Swarbrick (above).

We’ve invaded Iraq, we’ve invaded Afghanistan, why not Ireland?”

Caller’s Solution To Post-Brexit Irish Border Problem? Invade Ireland…(LBC)

This afternoon.

British PM Theresa May’s letter to the president of the European Council Donald Tusk in which she asks that the Brexit process can be delayed until June 30, 2019.

Britain was scheduled to leave on March 29, 2019.

Via Faisal Islam

Theresa May is seeking a short Brexit delay – what happens next? (The Guardian)

Yesterday: He Is Among Us

UPDATE:

May to bring twice-defeated deal back to parliament (RTE)

This afternoon.

Earlier…

This afternoon.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney took Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May taking her Brexit withdrawal deal back to parliament, almost two months after it suffered the largest ever House of Commons defeat…

Meanwhile…

In the last 30 minutes…

The DUP has released a statement, saying:

“The Prime Minister set out a clear objective for legally binding change which would command a majority in the House of Commmons in line with the Brady amendment.

“We recognise that the Prime Minister has made limited progress in her discussions with the European Union. However, in our view, sufficient progress has not been achieved at this time.

“Having carefully considered the published material as well as measuring what has been achieved against our own fundamentalists, namely the impact of the backstop on the constitutional and economic integrity of the Union of the United Kingdom, it is clear that the risks remain that the UK would be unable to lawfully exit the backstop were it to be activated.

“The Attorney General’s legal advice is clear in his last paragraph: ‘The legal risk remains unchanged that if through no such demonstrable failure of either part, but simply because of intractable differences, that situation does arise, the United Kingdom would have, at least while the fundamental circumstances remained the same, no international lawful means of exiting the protocol’s arrangements, save by arrangement’.

“We want to see a deal with works for every part of the United Kingdom. We will support the right deal with respects the referendum result and Northern Ireland’s place as an integral part of the United Kingdom.

“The European Union has been intransigent. It is possible to reach a sensible deal which worlds for the United Kingdom and the European Union but it will require all sides to be reasonable and in deal-making mode.”

Documents don’t change Withdrawal Agreement (RTE)

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

UPDATE:

UPDATE:

Brexit: Something has changed but is it enough? (BBC)

Brexit: Blow to Theresa May’s deal as British AG Cox says legal risk remains (The Irish Times)


Last night.

Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

An unnamed pizza delivery man brings pies, garlic bread and, possibly, chicken wings to Government Buildings as a special emergency cabinet meeting took place inside over Brexit as the UK and EU ‘agreed’ a package on the backstop.

Rollingnews

Meanwhile

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (above) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tanaiste Simon Coveney (top) leaving Government Buildings following the special Brexit meeting/Midnight feast.

Brexit: Taoiseach responds to EU-UK backstop measures (RTÉ)

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Update:

This will never end.

Update:

See?

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar prepare to brief the media on Brexit following a cabinet meeting this morning.

Earlier: Trapped In Unique Circumstances

Rollingnews

Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD in the Courtyard of Government Buildings today, as they gave an update on Brexit following a Cabinet meeting.

Via Prospect magazine:

There are myriad reasons why the UK doesn’t like the backstop. They can be simply summarised thus: because it entails compromise.

The EU doesn’t like it for the same reason, but from a different perspective. It entails compromise of the EU’s customs union.

The UK would have tariff free and quota free access to the EU, to avoid customs controls on the Irish land or sea border.

And it entails compromise of the single market. For it breaks up the four freedoms: effectively allowing free movement of goods to and from Northern Ireland but not the other three.

It also means that Northern Ireland would be outside the EU but treated as if it were part of the single market in some areas, including agriculture—a privilege that even the non-EU members of the European Economic Area do not have.

This is a huge ask of the EU, which is so protective of its single market and so suspicious (with no small cause) of British agri-food, especially meat products.

And there is second irony in all of this. Whilst British MPs complain about being “trapped” in a customs union or Northern Ireland “tied into” the single market, they miss the fundamental point: that as Article 1.3 of the [Protocol [on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agrtement] makes clear, what we see in the backstop is purely what the EU is prepared to do for the “unique circumstances on the island of Ireland.”

Be in no doubt that when the negotiations on the future relationship begin, we will see far less ambiguity and flexibility from the EU. It is not only the UK that is interested in “taking back control.”

The true cause of our backstop obsession (Kathy Hayward, Prospect)

Meeting possible between May and Juncker – reports (RTÉ)



So it begins.

This morning.

Dublin Port.

Customs check booths – in the glummest shade of battleship grey known to man – currently being built at Dublin Port for UK-bound trucks ‘leaving the EU’.

Are you Brexit-ready?

Sam Boal/Rollingnews