Sunday, March 26, 2017

Log trolling

If Merkel-is-doomed is the most reliable international punditry rubbish these days, the localized version of the same thing would be the bizarre #Irexit meme, a notion pushed mainly on overseas Twitter accounts that Ireland will have to follow the UK in leaving the EU. While this idea is mainly a creature of Twitter, it does have an important foothold in Irish-based media, specifically the Sunday Business Post. A paywalled article by former Irish diplomat Ray Bassett -- who lives in Canada -- is doing the rounds today, and it's appropriately dealt with here (et seq) by John O'Brennan.

Since that's taken care of, let's just add the following. The same Ray Bassett had a similarly-themed op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail a few weeks ago (i.e. in the country where he lives), and it observes as follows --

In a recent poll in Ireland's leading business paper, the Sunday Business Post,

Weird how he's writing in the paper a couple of weeks after that compliment!

He goes on --

Certainly, from a cultural, historical and family-ties point of view, Ireland and the U.K. are the closest of any two EU countries. 

Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg? Cyprus-Greece? Austria-Germany? Croatia-Slovenia? Denmark-Sweden?

Without the U.K., Ireland will be left with no natural allies inside the EU. It will be an island off the west coast of Europe, behind another larger island which is not part of the EU.

He might want to investigate a map (downloadable!) of Greece and especially Cyprus in relation to the rest of the EU.

Given that it is so overwhelmingly in Ireland's interest to negotiate directly with Britain on Brexit, the obvious question must be asked as to why the Irish authorities are pursuing the current course.

Er, because Ireland is in the European Union?

The U.K. is energetically seeking new trade agreements, and the prospect of an anglophone North Atlantic free-trade area, encompassing the U.S., Canada and Britain, is emerging as a strong possibility.

Has anyone told Donald Trump this?

Given Ireland's geographic position, its trade links and its ethnic connections with these three countries [USA, Canada, UK], it would be very foolish of any Irish government not to have a Plan B in its sights should the Brexit discussions end in acrimony.

An easy thing to say when you don't define what "end in acrimony" means. But if it means the UK tumbling outside the Customs Union and into WTO relations, how it is a Plan B if you can't even implement it until 2 years after the event, which is what Article 50 means?

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