Monday, July 03, 2017

UKIP dot ie

It was inevitable: the position that Ireland should leave the EU has graduated from outposts of social media and the opinion pages of the Sunday Business Post to a think tank "report." That would be a Policy Exchange report written by Irish public sector pensioner Ray Bassett. A few observations on this report -- which appears timed to generate media and summer school attention:

  • It contains no original research, and the few numbers that are cited are cut-and-paste from media articles and press releases.
  • It uses the Eurovision Song Contest as an analogy for Ireland's alleged loss of influence in the EU.
  • It cites Denmark as an example of a country that controls the value of its currency, even though Denmark is in a tight peg with the Euro.
  • It uses South Sudan as an example of a country that thought it was a good idea to launch its own currency.
  • It refers at one point to the President of France as Francois Macron -- everyone from France is named Francois, right?
  • It has a weird Sun-Delors style obsession with Michel Barnier, the EU Commission negotiator on Brexit, to the point where one wonders whether there was a past run-in between Barnier and Bassett.
  • It ends by advocating that Ireland might need to leave the EU while retaining access to the Single Market, even though all of the UK-Ireland economic disruption it cites arise from the UK leaving the Single Market -- and thus all would remain with Ireland in the Single Market!
  • It argues that Ireland is isolated in the EU because it has no overlapping memberships with other organizations unlike other EU members, and its list of such non-memberships includes the Commonwealth -- but the rest of the report is premised on Ireland's links with the UK.
  • Its Anglo-pundit style familiarity with European politics shows in numerous places, including for example an assumption that Martin Schulz will be the next Chancellor of Germany. 

These problems -- and there are many others (see John O'Brennan) -- need to be on the table before this report is taken as evidence of a serious West Brexit position. 

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