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Dublin is to Blame

by Frank Schnittger Fri May 18th, 2018 at 12:33:21 AM EST

As Brexit day looms ever closer some things are gradually becoming clearer to even the most delusional of Brexit supporters. It is not the EU which is quaking in it's boots at the prospect of Britain leaving, it is the UK.

Having realised that leaving the customs Union and Single market puts at risk all the benefits the UK derives from trading (and integrating it's production processes) with its largest trading partner, the British government is desperately trying to salvage what it can while still delivering on its formal promise of Brexit.

All the debate in British government circles between "a customs partnership" and "Max fac", or maximum facilitation of EU trading rules and tariff collection is essentially a debate between two options the EU has already dismissed as unworkable.

But it is the Irish border question which has, almost single handedly, unravelled the UK government's negotiating position, and N. Ireland Unionists are, very slowly, coming around to realizing it. The DUP are panicking, and desperately casting around for a bogeyman to blame.


Newton Emerson is a N. Ireland Unionist and commentator writing for the Irish Times. He is almost the sole sentient Unionist writing on N. Ireland politics at the present time, capable of communicating to both a Unionist and Irish readership.

He has been documenting, slowly, the emerging sense of panic in DUP ranks as it becomes clear what Brexit really means: the potential break-up of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The DUP is now publicly panicking over Brexit.

Last week, as the British government's plan for a customs partnership with Europe following Brexit fell apart and both houses of parliament voted to stay in the European Union customs union, the DUP reportedly informed Downing Street it would also back customs union membership if that was the price of preventing a so-called sea border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

He then goes on to outline what he sees as the DUP's true position on Brexit:

There are two keys to understanding the DUP's true position on EU departure. The first is to realise that, like almost everyone else, it did not think Leave would win the 2016 referendum. This lured the party into believing it could indulge the pro-Brexit instincts of its members and supporters at no political cost.

Such instincts were not shared across the leadership. In an infamous interview just after the referendum, Stormont economy minister Simon Hamilton - Foster's closest lieutenant - repeatedly refused to say how he had voted, leading to the universal assumption he had voted Remain.

The second key to the DUP's position is that its Leavers were high-profile but low-powered, with no common philosophy.

There was a pro-Brexit caucus on Stormont's backbenches, but its motivations ranged from free-trade fundamentalism through to various shades of British nationalism.

The DUP's centre of Brexit sympathy was at Westminster, among what were then its eight MPs. Dodds was a true believer in the free-trade vision and had been involved with its leading lights from the beginning. Jeffrey Donaldson wanted a piece of the campaigning action and helped arrange the Metro newspaper ad that alerted journalists to its unusual funding. Ian Paisley jnr appeared to enjoy the more purely flag-waving aspects of the issue, verging at times on simply winding opponents up.

Well what may have seemed to some like a harmless piece of political fun is turning out to have real political costs. Sinn Fein brought down the Stormont Executive created by the Good Friday agreement because of increasing DUP slights against the nationalist community, the renewable heat incentive scandal, and the divisiveness of the DUP's supportive stance on Brexit.

I commented on that article as follows:

Thanks Newton, for your usual insightful analysis. The DUP may have been guilty of the usual Brexiteer opportunism combined with the usual British sneering sense of superiority towards Europe, but there really is no excuse for the alacrity with which they chose to do damage to the Good Friday Agreement and the emerging communal consensus and peace in N. Ireland.

Whatever about succeeding in winning 10 seats in N. Ireland they lost the Brexit referendum in N. Ireland by a considerable margin. And whatever about their desire to maintain strong links with Britain, N. Ireland is the only place they have a mandate to speak for and despite calling themselves the Democratic Unionist Party they chose to defy the democratically expressed wish of the people of N. Ireland to remain in the EU.

In doing so they gave up all claim to speak on behalf of all the people of N. Ireland and became, once again, the narrow sectarian party of the early Ian Paisley which opposed the Good Friday agreement and all attempts at building peace and closer communal relationships in the North. They could have championed a policy of maintaining N. Ireland in both the UK and the EU - the reverse of Greenland, which is still part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but outside the EU - and in so doing staked a claim to lead both communities in N. Ireland.

They chose not to do so and so lost all legitimacy to speak for anyone but themselves and a narrowing support base. They will now, deservedly, be consigned to the dustbin of history unwanted by either Britain or Ireland. There are some betrayals which simply can't be reversed or forgiven. Arlene Foster is right: Europe doesn't understand them - or how they could have been so stupid.

Now that the DUP's responsibility for Brexit has been amplified by their new position of holding the balance of power in Westminster, they are busily trying to find a bogeyman to blame for their predicament. In his latest article Newton Emerson writes:

Sammy Wilson, an MP and former Stormont finance minister, has accused Tánaiste Simon Coveney of being a "belligerent, interfering Brit-basher" using Brexit "as an excuse to break up the UK".

"Border issues can all be dealt with by technology but Coveney and co have stuck their heads in the sand refusing to even consider this solution because it doesn't suit his aggressive republican agenda," according to Wilson.

Little matter that Simon Coveney, Irish Minister for External Affairs, is one of the mildest mannered and least nationalistic politicians you are likely to find on this island. Little matter that Coveney and the Irish government have been far more sympathetic to UK government attempts to come up with "imaginative solutions" involving new technology and "trusted trader" schemes" than has the EU more generally.

As Newton Emerson writes:

Since last August, it has been British government policy to continue frictionless trade with the EU through either a customs partnership, in which the EU and the UK collect each other's tariffs; or by "max fac" (maximum facilitation) - using IT systems and trusted trader schemes to minimise physical checks.

Prime minister Theresa May favours the first option. Both would still create "Border issues" and Wilson is correct that technology could solve them. The problem for the DUP is that these solutions would be applied at Belfast harbour, not at the Border itself.

Even worse for the unionists, avoiding all infrastructure at the Border is a British government promise - implicit in last August's two-option policy document and explicit since March's draft EU withdrawal agreement.

Of the two options, a customs partnership would make the technological sea border aspect of Brexit less painfully obvious. But May's divided cabinet is now wobbling towards max fac, a technological border by definition, whose Irish Sea location would be impossible to ignore.

The DUP is hardly going to blame itself or its Conservative partners for this, or credit Sinn Féin, with which it still wants a Stormont deal - so a Dublin bogeyman is the inevitable alternative.

---<snip>---

Brussels has rejected both the British options, dismissing the customs partnership in particular as "magical thinking". It is implausible that all 27 remaining EU members would run a second tariff system for the UK's benefit, or that global firms and third countries would willingly make allowances for it. However, Dublin is prepared to create a bespoke customs partnership between the UK and Ireland, which is a far more practical proposition.

---<snip>---

The lack of attention this generous offer has garnered is ironic and bizarre.

Brexiteers assumed they could split Ireland off from the rest of the EU in negotiations and were enraged when they could not do so. Many in Europe warned that perfidious Albion would not be allowed to play its classic game of divide and conquer again - especially in Ireland.

Yet the Irish Government has spent the past two months gesticulating its willingness for a separate arrangement and nobody in Britain even seems to have noticed. Clarifying the offer has only provoked more rudeness from the DUP.

I have commented on Newton's article as follows:

If the Good Friday Agreement was "Sunningdale for slow learners", as Seamus Mallon once memorably put it, then Brexit is the break-up of Great Britain, as Newton Emerson is now, slowly, coming around to realising. In this he is considerably ahead of Unionist "thinking" on Brexit and much else.

Brexiteers blithely assumed that they could "have their cake and eat it" and that Great Britain was so important the EU would end up having to give them all the benefits of EU membership and almost none of the costs. The last 2 years have been one long, slow, process of disillusionment for them with the EU slowly strangling the life out of remaining Brexiteer delusions of UK grandeur.

Basically the UK can have nothing outside the EU that it is not prepared to pay for, and having it on a piecemeal "cherry picking" basis means that it will have to pay for anything it gets at retail prices. You want membership of a Custom's Union, Galileo, the Blue skies agreement? Fine. But you will have to pay.

Specifically, on N. Ireland, that means there can be no new border controls within the island. If that means some border controls in the Irish Sea or elsewhere, then fine. That is simply not the Irish government's problem. The Irish government may be prepared to play around with words to relieve Brexiteer embarrassment, but the substance will not vary: "Vee haf rulz" as the Germans like to say.

It wasn't meant to be that way. The Irish were meant to simply lie down and suck up any Brexit "solution" that Brexiteer marketing whiz kids could dream up. This has come as a shock to Brexiteers in general and the DUP in particular. They have never had to deal with an Irish government in the stronger negotiating position before.

The insults will continue to fly. And no one will give a damn.

I have previously written articles on Brexit with titles such as "Brexit means breakup" (October 2016) and "Brexit balance of power swings from UK to Ireland" (August 2017), but these realities are only slowly dawning on most Unionists. Their response has been one of anger and incredulity, petulance and magical thinking.

But there is another way that the DUP can avoid most of the responsibility and blame for the consequences of Brexit: a no deal Brexit, where all responsibility and blame for a new customs border within Ireland can be placed on the the inflexibility of the Irish Government and the EU trying to "thwart the democratically expressed wishes of the British people".

Little matter that neither Ireland nor the EU are trying to stop Brexit - merely looking after their own national interests. Not giving the UK all the benefits of the EU without the costs may not be what the Brexiteers had in mind, but it is they who promised that to the UK electorate, not the EU.

However the inability of the DUP (and the Tories) to take responsibility for their actions still leads me to consider the no-deal Brexit scenario I outlined in How a no deal Brexit could happen (Wed Oct 18th, 2017) to be the most likely outcome. How else can you blame the emerging clusterf*ck on someone else?

Display:
Tory Brexit strategy increasingly defined by disarray
During prime minister's questions on Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn teased her for"formally dividing her cabinet into rival camps - as if it needed doing" to consider two different customs models. Now, as her government prepares to publish a White Paper on Britain's future relationship with the EU, there is talk of a third customs option called "max fac plus delay".

The trouble with the British government's internal debate over customs is that it is taking place in a parallel world from that of the actually existing negotiations with the EU.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 01:29:00 AM EST
Tory Brexit strategy

Assumes facts not in evidence


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 01:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When in danger or in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout.
by rifek on Sat May 19th, 2018 at 03:46:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Things are playing out as we expected.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 01:46:18 AM EST

ILLUSTRATION: 16 May 2018, Belfast Telegraph Digital. Theresa May 'not confident' unionists would win Irish border poll - reports



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 02:15:31 AM EST
Speaking of "clusterf*ck" ...

Brexit-related concerns remain key for UK tech, says UK gov report

Two out of the top three challenges facing tech companies in the UK's top two tech clusters are related to Brexit, according to a UK government-backed report, and for much of the rest of the country.

<snip>

The European Investment Bank has slashed deals with UK VCs and private equity groups by more than two-thirds, with no equivalent funding from the UK government in sight.

The massive cut pushed the UK out of the top spot at the main recipient of EU venture funding, which is the single largest source of early-stage capital in Europe. France and Germany have now overtaken the UK as the main recipients of capital from the European Investment Bank. UK VCs have expressed concern that the loss of EIF funding will have a "significant" impact on funds.

And the kicker (emphasis added)

However, you probably won't get that impression from the way the report is being pitched to the media at a lavish launch in the centre of London today. Instead, the report is filled with heady statistics about the UK's booming tech industry.

Tories are high-functioning psychotics.  Their mental processes are defective and they've lost contact with reality.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 02:32:05 AM EST
Tories claim to be the champions of business, but their only interest is in the parasitic end of business involving finance or law,. Productive or service business is beneath them, it's simply not profitable enough.

So, they talk the talk about hi-tech, but they aren't involved in it. They only know of it from their membership of boards of hedge-funds that occasionally dabble.

Brexit is their trojan horse to enable the UK to become an even more attractive low-tax off-shore banking industry by slashing the few regulations currently restrain the piggies from dipping their snouts too ostentatiously. This, of course, is only an advantage for the rich (10s of millions) and their billionaire clients. The rest of the populations, both useful idiots and the opponents will simply be left to swirl around in destitution and cholorinated hormone enhanced GM chicken untill we stop bothering them by dying off.

This is euro-Trump.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 20th, 2018 at 02:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Government approval ratings have slumped by 7% from 44% to 37% in the latest poll out today thanks primarily to a health care scandal where the public health services failed to inform women that an audit of a cervical screening services provided by a US company had missed over 200 positive diagnoses meaning that those women failed to get the appropriate care in a timely manner and at least some terminal diagnoses subsequently.

However approval ratings on the government's handling of Brexit are more mixed:

Almost four in 10 voters (39 per cent) say that the Government is doing a good job on Brexit, but a third (33 per cent) disagree, saying the Government is not doing a good job. Almost as many (29 per cent) say they are not sure.

Better-off voters are more likely to approve of the Government's performance on Brexit, as are voters in Dublin. Urban voters in general have a better view of the Government's performance.

Other questions show similar divisions. Asked if the Border is the most important issue, 45 per cent of respondents agree, but 42 per cent disagree, with 14 per cent declining to express a position.

Farmers (55 per cent) and voters in the Connacht-Ulster region (49 per cent) are the most likely to prioritise the Border.

Just under a third (32 per cent) of voters expect there to be a hard border, but more voters (42 per cent) say they expect Brexit to result in a soft border. Just over a quarter (26 per cent) say they do not know.

Voters are almost evenly divided on the best approach to the Brexit negotiations in the coming weeks.

Asked the following question: "If there is no progress on the Border issue, should the Government insist that the EU halts negotiations with the UK, or should it let negotiations continue?" In response 40 per cent of those polled favour halting the negotiations while 41 per cent say the negotiations should continue.

The Government has repeatedly threatened to block progress on the withdrawal treatment if it does not see sufficient progress on dealing with the Border issues before the June summit of EU leaders.

I am not a fan of opinion polls on complex political or tactical questions especially when the answers are likely to be highly influenced by the phraseology of the question and the respondents view of the Government's performance more generally. However the poll does not give any indication that the government's approach to Brexit, widely reported as "tough", is in any way out of synch with popular sentiment.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 08:32:02 AM EST
THEY WEREN'T FUCKING DIAGNOSES. THAT'S HOW SCREENING WORKS.

Sorry, but the coverage of this is driving me insane and there are few venues I can vent.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 09:25:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 09:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]

this.empowerment(Theresa May, Angela Merkel)

France's President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive at an informal European Union (EU) summit with Western Balkans countries at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria, 17 May 2018. [Vassil Donev/EPA/EFE]. "I've set three objectives."


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri May 18th, 2018 at 04:36:38 PM EST
I can understand why Corbyn is backing Brexit: 1) it isn't really his cock-up, and 2) he's determined to keep May in the No. 10 hotseat until the shit actually hits the fan.  But the Tories and Dupes seem intent on riding the Titanic to the Atlantic floor.  Their own North has explained that a customs union does not solve the border issues (or a host of other issues), yet they ride on.  Half a league, half a league, half a league onward....
by rifek on Sat May 19th, 2018 at 03:57:59 AM EST
Buried in the news restricted to the goings on near Windsor Castle ...

House of Lords hands Theresa May another Brexit defeat as peers vote to keep EU environmental standards | Irish Times |

Theresa May has suffered her 15th defeat in the House of Lords on the EU withdrawal bill after peers voted to create a body to enforce EU environmental standards after Brexit. The defeat came hours after the prime ministers warned Conservative rebels that they risked damaging the integrity of British politics by voting against her Brexit plans.

    "What this government is doing is delivering on the vote of the British people, which was to leave the European Union, and as we do that we will ensure that we get the best Brexit deal for the United Kingdom. It is important, and I consider it to be a matter of the integrity of politicians, that having given the choice to the British people we should then deliver for them on that choice."

The bill is due to complete its third reading in the Lords later, and will then return to the Commons where the government will try to overturn some or all of the defeats. For a helpful list of all 14 other defeats, read this blog on the Labour Lords website.

    15. 'Environmental protections': ensures EU environmental principles continue to have a basis in domestic law and calls on government to establish a statutory body to enforce compliance. Amendment/Vote

David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, has urged MPs to reject a Labour motion saying the government should have to publish its internal papers on its Brexit customs plans.

Lords vote backs meaningful green watchdog



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Sat May 19th, 2018 at 05:05:18 AM EST
Forty Shades of Green; Fifty Shades of Orange - Channel 4
Professor Jim Dornan is a world renowned gynaecologist living on Northern Ireland's "Gold Coast"... He's from a unionist background. ... He's also recently started thinking he might just back a united Ireland. And he's not alone. ...

In the nationalist community, there's long been a sizeable percentage that wants a united Ireland with its heart but is held back by some cooler, head-driven calculations. ... Nationalists who'd been content to stay in the UK tell you that on the night of the referendum results something clicked in their mind and the scales tipped on the issue of Irish unity. ...

we picked up stirrings, ... which don't show a shift has decisively happened but which suggest some minds are more open to the idea of a united Ireland ...

Ian Marshall was President of that unionist bastion the Ulster Farmers ... but said he thought many unionists were "beginning to think the unthinkable." I asked if he was one of them? "Yeah, I'm a realist, I'm a pragmatist." ...

Northern Ireland census, which will coincide with the centenary of the founding of Northern Ireland in 2021, those with a Catholic background will probably be the larger ...

Professor Dornan dreams of Sinn Fein like UKIP after Brexit folding up its tent and disappearing into obscurity.

Maybe it's too early to say "One liberal unionist warns that Unionism could lose its negotiating leverage if it leaves discussions with Dublin much longer." The border question could still be sorted in a pragmatic way so the Brexit drive towards reunification would lose its potency.

But within the next generation, could there be a heavy majority (2/3) in a border poll?

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun May 20th, 2018 at 11:37:41 AM EST
the first thing they've got to do is stop voting for the DUP. But it's totally tribal. If you're protestant, you vote for protestant party, if catholic you vote catholic.

There's no idealogical discussion, there's no plan for effective governance, no thought for jobs or investment, it's all about which fricking church you go to.

And while that remains true, Ulster will continue to be the last bastion of witch burners whose only contribution to world politics is their refusal to accept they can't render catholicism illegal.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 20th, 2018 at 02:43:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The border question could still be sorted in a pragmatic way so the Brexit drive towards reunification would lose its potency.

On the contrary: The century is young, but it's a mistake to underestimate the economic reckoning due NI, when the date falls. Imminent collapse of Tory gov colonial largesse will concentrate cooperation among the chieftans for reconciliation in the Dail and Seanad. X-border business conferences began over a year ago.

Arlene the Paisley and her little dog Sammy have retreated in recent weeks for want of an audience and rhetorical ammunition, I suspect. They may find some more in the cushions, too little, too late. The organs of state are crafting a whisper campaign.

Belfast Telegraph headlines, for example, are portentous -- poignant perhaps when juxtaposed with the dismay of the unionists adrift in the Gibraltar Chronicle. This opEd (above) is sharing front page with Jeremy Corbyn today and snapshots of FX and (core P ex-fuel) inflation and retail recession. 'Proper' unionists aren't likely to fall behind Sinn Fein (while they test Remainers, the "silent majority") but they may well swallow PM Corbyn, the great white hope on the Big Island, sworn to liberate sovereignty.

The people are prepared to move forward, but their politicians are not.
I did write, de facto or de jure, unification will come.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed May 23rd, 2018 at 06:31:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the elephant in the room is the £10 Billion p.a. subsidy of N. Ireland by the UK Exchequer. Whilst that continues the status quo in N. Ireland can continue, with minor tweaks one way or the other. Many of a catholic background will not see any great advantage in the turmoil that a United Ireland might bring, and could not see the Irish Republic affording a similar subsidy.

It is only if English taxpayers revolt, unable to see what benefits they get for their £10 Billion, a sum similar to that which they paid to the despised EU budget and one of the main reasons for leaving the EU. Then the whole ball game would change - slowly at first, and then suddenly.  Those comfortable in their sectarian cloisters would suddenly face dramatically reduced public services and living standards. Benefits long taken for granted would suddenly disappear.

Then there will be strident calls for the Republic of Ireland to step up to the plate and put it's money where its mouth is - and bankroll N. Ireland more or less as is within a notional United Ireland.

It won't happen. N. Ireland as is is simply a loss making enterprise which no one in their right minds would contemplate. N. Ireland would have to collectively agree to join the 21st. century and become a modern functioning economy and polity. Not going to happen overnight.

But over the next 30 years. yes. Perhaps. If managed in the right way. With leadership from all sides.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 23rd, 2018 at 09:43:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other elephant is Global Warming

If the rate of global warming continues to increases [and it is] and the climate continues to change there could be severe adverse effects on Ireland. As an island nation we are particularly vulnerable to increasing sea levels with coastal regions facing issues of flooding.  More erratic weather conditions could lead to both increased rainfall and storms as well as water shortages in summer. Increased rainfall could lead to flooding and in turn this would have adverse effects on water quality.

Changing weather could [will] also have devastating effects on the plants and wildlife of the country.

With the Gulf Stream slowing the effects will be felt sooner rather than latter.  Ireland is more-or-less on the same latitude as Labrador.  Without the moderating affect of the Gulf Stream Ireland's climate and weather will be "pushed" to similarities with Labrador.  Countering this will be the "pull" of increased ocean temperature along the equator and a consequent greater flow of warm moist air from the south hitting a greater flow of cold dry air from the north. How that plays out will be interesting.

Politically and economically NI is already a basket case.  The last time Ireland underwent this kind of weather induced stress was the middle 1600s and we all know what happened then: war and famine.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu May 24th, 2018 at 01:17:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Voters in North would support remain more strongly in second referendum
People in Northern Ireland would vote more strongly to remain in the European Union if another Brexit referendum was held, a new study suggests.

A total of 69 per cent would favour remaining if there was another vote compared to the 56 per cent who voted to stay in the union in June 2016, the survey by the UK in a Changing Europe project found.

Catholic respondents were much more likely to support a united Ireland if there was a "hard exit" in which the UK left the customs union and single market.

Some 28 per cent of Catholics would vote for a united Ireland if the UK changed its mind and remained in the EU while 53 per cent of Catholics would vote for a united Ireland if there was a hard exit in which the UK left the customs union and single market.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 21st, 2018 at 09:53:36 PM EST
yes, bbut somehow the DUP, however unrepresentative, remain the dominant voice in Ulster. Nothing will change until fundamentalist puritan protestantism ceases to be a viable political force

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 23rd, 2018 at 05:23:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The DUP only beat Sinn Fein by 1,000 votes across N. Ireland, in the last assembly elections. And Unionists do have choices. Presbyterians have traditionally voted DUP with Church of Ireland protestants more inclined to vote Official Unionist Party. DUP/Presbyterian voters have far closer ties to Scotland rather than England, so renewed agitation for Scottish Independence could be a game changer for them. The DUO could also lose the farming vote when the end of EU CAP subsidies hits home.

It's still some way off, but things are beginning to change, even in N. Ireland, and Brexit has been the major catalyst.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 23rd, 2018 at 09:11:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is Sinn Fein's 'test' of the "silent majority" to which I meant to link (above). I privately noted this item in RTE last month, but presumed it a trivial event until its revival for Varadkar's immediate purposes and, tangentially, scathing remarks by Mr McGuirk about ahh influences from New Jersey.
Have you an opinion about the momentum of such tactics to "disintermediate" DUP's thrall cast over the "silent majority"?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri May 25th, 2018 at 04:04:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RTE seems bullish
Meanwhile, speaking in Belfast today, the British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party will not support a Brexit deal that results in the re-imposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland.
note video clip

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri May 25th, 2018 at 05:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you an opinion about the momentum of such tactics to "disintermediate" DUP's thrall cast over the "silent majority"?

I have not always been a supporter of Irish Government policies on the north, but there has been a consistent attempt to be as iinclusive as possible of Northern Unionist opinion in the Irish Senate and elsewhere.  This is not some short term "tactic" but a consistent and principled approach to maximising the participation of Northern and protestant voices in Irish politics insofar as they want to be included.

By definition, many hard line Unionists reject such overtures as undermining their Unionist principles. However many others have been willing to participate. The subtext of the Irish Minister for Industry and Commerce (a senior cabinet position) escorting the Belgium Prime Minister at the border is that she is an Ulster Protestant....

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 25th, 2018 at 02:27:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Fri May 25th, 2018 at 10:39:24 PM EST
sadly there are parts of NW Scotland where her views would fit right in.

But in the fleshpots of England I rather fear she might explode from exposure to sin

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 06:31:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The irony of Northern Unionism is that they want a Union with a Britain that, to a large extent, no longer exists.  I am reminded of white South Africans fleeing SA when Apartheid ended expecting to be offered top jobs in Europe and living in big houses with pools and servants when they got here.

Many ended up in low level jobs because of their actual lack of qualifications or suitability for working in a multi-racial society and soon wanted to return to SA. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the SA economy had taken off, post sanctions, and house prices had soared. They could no longer afford to buy their former houses or live in the style to which they had been accustomed.

You are welcome to the Arlene Fosters of this world. Unfortunately they will probably want to come back...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 06:57:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was once an influential political coalition between extreme conservative Establishment figures and the Ulster protestants based on a shared mythology. One that had Britain as a trading seagoing Empire with white protestants in charge and everybody else subjugated to some extent, ulster catholics being amongst the subject peoples.

These people still exist, but they are nowhere near as influential as they were. If the DUP think Westminster is going to protect them as soon as this brexit coalition collapses, then they are even more delusional than many imagine.

The world the DUP wish to maintain vanished over 30 years ago, brexit will destroy their delusions. It will probably destroy the Tory party and the DUP as well

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 08:56:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Brexit goes as badly as I think it quite possibly will, I could see the Lib Dems replacing the Tories as the second great party in the duopoly created by the single seat FPTP electoral system. The DUP's position as the pre-eminent party in N. Ireland and even within the Unionist community will likewise be in question.

A lot to play for yet. Nothing is certain, but the stakes are very high.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 10:04:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not even a nod.

Belfast Telegraph front page 29 May 2018

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed May 30th, 2018 at 03:11:19 AM EST
But the Taoisech has said that they are welcome to come to the Republic for abortions. Maybe the DUP will want a hard border both in Ireland and in the Irish sea to put a stop to that?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed May 30th, 2018 at 06:13:30 AM EST
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