I'm not often surprised at the utterances of Enda Kenny, our Taoiseach and leader but his speech in the Dail today truly knocked me for six. I hardly had time for a cup of tea after writing this, when up pops Kenny giving the EU one in the eye. I'm beginning to wonder if his handlers showed him what I wrote.
Anyway, in headline news Kenny said firmly that the Irish government, the British government, and the Northern Ireland Executive all want the open border with the North retained. For foreign readers, that's the only land border the UK has with the EU. In an atmosphere of anger against the UK at present which is spreading among the upper echelons in Europe like a virus, it is a brave statement for our man to make. As per my article, it was a statement I hoped he would make and coupled with hints from Dublin that our corporate tax rate is a red line issue for Ireland remaining in the club, it should give the God-like Commissioners pause for thought.
Kenny has told Europe that Ireland has a special relationship with the UK and don't try fucking with that. His statement says that one EU Country intends to keep its borders open with a new departing UK, meaning that the EU will have an open border relationship by extension. It implies that normal relations can be maintained with London and the world need not change. I haltingly admit to admiration for Kenny for the very first time.
And I'm not making too much of this either. Ireland is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things but this is a road to Damascus moment for our Enda because he's the one that spread dark rumours about BREXIT and the border in the first place. Enda accepted an invitation from Cameron to go to the UK and canvass the five million strong Irish vote to remain. For him to stand up today and say, "Business as usual," is a miracle. The opposition leader Michael Martin has been bitching since the result came in. His nauseating carping about the tactics of the leave side ring hollow when he was the megaphone here for jobs after Lisbon was voted on. We hit the worst unemployment figures ever after we were bullied into voting for the bastard of a thing.
Kenny's speech talks about the need for the "UK and the EU to continue to operate on friendly terms." He is is advocating for a softer approach to Ireland’s neighbours, stating that it is important they are kept in the fold. "The closer the UK is to the EU, the better for all of us, and above all for Ireland," he said today. In the light of his conciliatory tones, Michael Martin's assertion that the EU is the reason there has not been war in Europe for 71 years rings hollow. Michael seems to ignore the UN, the USA and NATO, all of whom stood between war and peace of this continent. Even the existence of the Soviet Union had a bonding effect on the then Western Europe. The EU had fuck-all to do with anything in that regard.
The EU is simply a virulent boil that grew on the arse of the more acceptable EEC and having poisoned that EEC, it took over. The relentless attacks by it on the nature of the Nation State ever since has been halted by BREXIT. Now Kenny, on our Irish behalf, has put the debate back to the relationships between those original States and I salute him for it. Here's hoping that Ireland and the UK can show other members of the Union how it is done in the the world of real politic. I look forward to little Ireland standing up for the interests of both itself and our trading partner across the Irish Sea while still on the EU stage.
But that will take balls, from all of us.