BREXIT, the twilight zone.
Grandad has summed up much of the BREXIT fallout so far and I totally agree with his observations.
Incredibly tonight I then read that Nicola Sturgeon is suggesting that Scotland could overturn the democratic decision of the English and the Welsh. Though I think she would be an idiot to even attempt that, her suggestion tells us a lot about her opinion of democracy. More and more today we are seeing individuals putting themselves forward to the people and pleading for their democratic vote, only to change utterly when elected. Nicola is in power now and I truly believe that she'd like to dismantle the process whereby she could be voted out again. But her comments, I suspect, are just political posturing designed to undermine the 'Leave' voters and spread fear and uncertainty.
The reactions here are also embarrassing. In barely cloaked terms, official Ireland sends the message that the British got it wrong, or at least that's all we are hearing and reading. But even in the "anything-goes," Journal online, it seems the ordinary readers agree with the official line. In a poll this morning that asks the question, "Would you like to see a re-run of the Brexit referendum?" 64% said Yes, 28% No & 6% had no opinion. It's spooky though how similar the Lisbon Treaty referendum here and the BREXIT vote over there really are. We had the same tone of debate beforehand with representatives of the pro-vote promising doom and gloom if we said no or jobs and prosperity if we voted yes. In the hours before the actual vote, pollsters were predicting a comfortable yes vote for Lisbon and then the horror set in. The people refused to ratify the Treaty leaving establishment Ireland looking like spare pricks at a wedding. In the days after we were in a strange twilight zone waiting for the roof to fall in. Outrage and confusion descended on Leinster House as politicians and civil servants scurried about in panic. The same mood prevails this morning in the upper circles of the UK. As I write this, finical speculators are trying to decimate the UK banks and sterling and trading was suspended. Make no mistake though, this is an orchestrated and targeted move to scare British voters just as we Irish were scared into voting a second time for Lisbon, to our detriment.
The Irish Times letters page offers a more balanced view. It is not so much that all of these letters form a correct consensus but at least they reflect the complexity of the issues for both sides. But we are seeing the development of caricatures of the British voters and it's being used to explain to us how this happened. On the one hand, it is snidely suggested to us, the 'remain' voter is a responsible productive individual with the education to know how good the EU is for Britain. The 'leave' voter is a beer-swilling, ignorant working class leech who thrives on confusion with the implication being that perhaps such people should not have a vote. Another imaginary demarcation emerging is hinting at the older voters wanting to leave the EU while the hard working young know the country should stay in the Union. I suspect this is a fictional construct designed to strike fear into all British voters. Like our Lisbon re-run, maybe the British voters are being conditioned to welcome a second chance when Article 50 comes up as an immediate issue. I suspect some bullshit excuse around this article will be put to the people as a quasi-crisis that can only be resolved by a second visit to the polls. By then, millions will have been spent to muddy the waters so much as to ensure the British will vote to remain, given the second chance. Between then and now though, you can expect the leave decision to come under tremendous pressure and the famed "Pound in your pocket," will be hit from all sides in a concerted effort to demonstrate how wrong the democratic vote really was.
There are two other news items of note here this morning on the subject. Overseas readers may not understand how much our low corporate tax rate means to Ireland. The twelve-and-a-half per cent figure has attracted foreign direct investment to this country but the EU has been bitching about it for the last five years. Fears are now being expressed that Brussels will now use the excuse of BREXIT to force us to put that rate up. Already our own 'good little europeans,' are out in force this morning and calling our corporate tax rate a red line issue for Ireland. It is no exaggeration to suggest that any move by the EU to force Ireland on this would immediately spark a move here to join the UK outside the EU because ultimately all countries act in their own interests. That would be a real oddity with the Republic, England, and Northern Ireland and Wales outside the Union and Scotland inside it. But odd as that might appear at first, the Republic of Ireland simply cannot afford to have Europe make us uncompetitive under any circumstances. Already over here there is some head scratching around the true advantages of the EU and muted voices are speculating on the unthinkable. Official Ireland is at present not even acknowledging this but a forced change to our corporate tax would alter all of that.
The other notable view is that of David McWilliams, our maverick economist who has been so right on so much. He outlines the opportunities and pitfalls that BREXIT presents for Ireland and it's worth a read. We have shared a common travel zone for years with the UK and a British person in Ireland is as invisible as an Irish person in Britain. This simple and practical courtesy must continue despite the EU. Then we have seen a strong co-operation between our Gardai, the PSNI and the British police forces and there is no reason for that to change. Indeed, with the right attitude, these police forces between them could shut the back door to the UK here to immigrants slipping into Britain. The social and cultural ties between us will not change with the politics because they are too deeply ingrained. We will continue to drive on the left as well, out of step with Europe. The english language itself will always be a binding aspect of British Irish relations. The British and Irish Lions are off on tour again in two years and BREXIT won't cancel it. Do you really believe the six nations competition will become a four nations one? Actually, do you think Ireland will have two international rugby sides after this? Me neither!
Like it or not, a special relationship has always existed between the UK and Ireland, begrudging at times certainly, but it is there never-the-less. The Dublin London route is the busiest air corridor on the continent and that's no mistake. Our life's experiences are as similar as our weather and our social problems are mirror images of each other. Of course there are differences and the UK will always be the bigger brother but it would fly in the face of common sense if an Irish Government should now stand shoulder to shoulder with faceless Europeans against out big brother. There must be minimum change in the relations between these two islands as a result of this 'leave' vote and the friendships we share must be maintained even if Brussels wants to see it end for its own reasons.