Many in this country, and most in the UK, have no idea what the “backstop” actually is.
At its simplest, it involves re-locating a border, specifically the Eire/UK border. It is proposed that we try hard to think of an imaginary line in the Irish Sea and having solidified that thought, we must then regard it as the new border between the UK and the Rep. of Ireland. That’s what the backstop comes down to, an imaginary line in the sea.
It is all very fine in theory if you also imagine that six of the nine counties of Ulster just aren’t there, but they are and they are part of the UK, (The Good Friday Agreement says so). Therefore the backstop must involve either the UK ceding Northern Ireland to the EU or splitting the Union and allowing one member of it to remain in the EU while being a part of the UK at the same time. But then there is no BREXIT. Plan Z would be to tell Northern Ireland that they are on their own.
You can bet your ass that Arlene Frosty and her dull crew of ‘No-merchants’ won’t be ceded to anyone without blood on the streets first. They consider themselves to be more British than the Queen. In their mindset, the mainland is a continent to their immediate East called the UK so this EU-Europe thingy must be on the other side of Asia somewhere.
Down here the party line is, ‘there will be no hard border.’ In fact, Finance Minister Pascal Donohue was on Morning Ireland earlier and I nearly fell off my perch when I heard him say, “Dere will be no hard border on our border.” At this point it may be instructive to inform readers that, prior to the UK and Ireland joining the EU, neither party legally required a passport to enter the other’s sovereign territory. At that time, the early seventies, we had different currencies, different laws, different attitudes, different life’s experience and different Governments and yet we could travel freely between the two islands without formal ID. Effectively then, when we both joined the EU, nothing really changed between us.
So the British Government want out of the EU but without a hard border between the Eire & the UK. The Irish Government don’t care whether the British stay or leave but won’t accept a hard border. The EU would like the UK to stay but will try all it can to punish them for leaving. The EU also doesn’t want a hard border, hence the backstop that could only be patrolled by a Navy, but whose Navy? Meanwhile the UK itself appears to be split between those who want to leave and those who want to stay. A poster I used to have in the seventies just about sums it all up. It read, “Sometimes when you’re up to your bollocks in alligators, it’s hard to remember that the original idea was to drain the swamp.”
So May is heading back to Europe to re-negotiate because she doesn’t want a hard Irish border. The EU leaders she will meet don’t want a hard Irish border either but say that there can be no re-negotiation. Over here we are all shivering with economic fear as to what the outcome could turn out to be. Looking into my crystal ball today I see a future where at the eleventh hour, the EU Commissioners will send May back to London empty handed, leaving her and her Government with no option but to crash out of the EU. Varadkar & Co will jump up and down in Dublin bleating and moaning and saying it is unacceptable. Then Leo will be summoned for a come-to-Jesus meeting in Brussels and on his return, he will tell a perplexed Irish Nation that it was the best deal we could get and it could have been worse if Fianna Fail were in power.
In other words, business as usual, nothing to see here, suck it up and get on with it. It was ever so!