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Showing posts from February, 2018

Bexit threatens the peace in Northern Ireland

Ireland is divided by a border imposed against the wishes of the majority of Irish people, at the time of Independence from Britain, almost 100 years ago. The partition of Ireland led to civil war and a long-running guerrilla conflict along the disputed border. Decades of bloodshed were settled by the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), ratified by an all-Ireland referendum in 1998. Northern Ireland now has an open border, allowing free movement of goods and people with the rest of Ireland. Citizens of Northern Ireland can claim British or Irish passports, or both. The GFA acknowledges the important role played by joint membership of the EU and joint British-Irish institutions, operating by agreement, in resolving this conflict.

The GFA provides that decisions affecting North-South relations in Ireland are to be by agreement and with due consideration for EU rules. The agreement also provides that there should be no change in the status of NI without majority consent. Britain breached the G…

Brexit Free Trade Nirvana

Brexit campaigners have an almost religious belief in a new, “outward-looking”, era of free trade, which they claim can only be achieved by severing links with the world’s largest free trade area, Europe. Tariffs will be abolished, under WTO rules, leading to a new era of growth and prosperity. Sadly this is an illusion like many other aspects of Tory plans to leave the EU. EU rules are no impediment to global trade, as can be seen in Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland. WTO rules require border administration and customs to police trading agreements, unlike the open borders within the European Union. An aggressive free trade policy might, at first sight, offer interesting possibilities but this is more illusion than substance.

Campaigners point to Britain’s global trading dominance in the 19th century but there are important missing elements in this argument; politics and regulation. A genuinely free trade policy would require reduced or eliminated tariffs, certainly, but it would a…

Corbyn's cunning Brexit plan

Jeremy Corbyn wracked his brains for a way out of the Brexit impasse. The Tories were at war, arguing furiously among themselves, in parliament, as if there was nobody else present. It was great time to be in opposition, Jeremy thought, except it wasn’t really. Labour had their own troubles over the dreaded B word. Amid the semi-conscious pond life on the Labour back benches were MPs representing places far removed from Islington, with strange names like Stoke-on-Brexit, where the proletariat were dead set against any deal with the hated Europeans.

The question of the hour was how to reconcile the views of Jez’s metrosexual, cross-dressing hipster friends with the stony-faced, die-hard northern proles. It wasn’t an easy task, but Jez was beginning to glimpse the outline of a plan. Something he overheard at the allotment got him thinking. He was turning a pile of rotting old marrows on the compost heap when someone mentioned a cheap drinks promotion at Weatherspoons on the High Street.…

Boris Johnson's great, great, great grandmother tipped for election!

Boris Brexit was confronted by an unusual spectacle. His grandma, many times removed, had been dug up in a church, in Switzerland. An unflattering photo of her mummified skull, alongside his noggin, was in the newspapers. He couldn’t help noticing a remarkable resemblance. She was a bit the worse for wear, a sprightly old bird for 295, but she looked fresher than some of the current Tory crew, and would probably have a better chance of getting in at the next election.

Boris had other things on his mind. The President of Germany called him “a pathological liar”. A bit strong, Boris thought, problem was the Kraut wasn’t the only one. Several other European characters had been taking exception to Boris’s way of taking liberties with the actualit√©. Normally he wouldn’t give a toss but it turned out these EU chaps had a lot of sway over the final shape of Brexit. He hadn’t seen that one coming. The boss was getting irate at constantly having to defend his honour, or what remained of it, w…