Sometimes in life it is important to restate the blindingly obvious. A No Deal Brexit would cause deeply significant damage to the Republic. Theresa May won the No Confidence vote but nothing has really changed. There is still no majority in the House of Commons for her deal, and arguably she has been weakened. The backstop is the major stumbling block. I have said before I don’t know why the British agreed to it because it was bound to cause trouble. From the Irish perspective there has been an element of triumphalism swirling around this – Leo burnishing his macho image and continuing his cosying up to Sinn Fein. This is in preparation for a possible Sinn Fein-Fine Gael coalition after the next election.
In any negotiation you must always keep your eye on the big picture. In this case it is a deal that inflicts the least damage on the Irish economy. In fact, it should be an imperative. The Good Friday Agreement was a stunning achievement and a credit to all those involved including the governments of both the U.K. and the Republic. Keeping in mind that the backstop is primarily a problem for our two governments, it would seem eminently sensible for them to try and find some compromise that would be acceptable to both parties and then recommend it to the E.U. Everybody involved seems happy to throw the Good Friday Agreement into the equation but seems reluctant to use the same imaginative thinking that brought about the result. At this stage it is useless saying that the British chose to leave so it is their problem to sort it out. The collateral damage for us is immense, so we don’t just have skin in the game but the entire damn body. Pride can be a dangerous thing. In this case the pride that we have the support of the 27 against the British. That is going to be no damn use if the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg wins and the U.K. crashes out.
What the U.K. needs is some kind of legal fudge to convince a sufficient number of M.P.’s that there is no reason for the U.K. to be permanently locked into the Single Market. Is it really beyond the wit of the finest legal minds in both States to come up with some kind of fudge to resolve this problem. Fudge, after all, is an E.U. speciality. Therefore, the two most important figures in all of this are the Taoiseach and Theresa May. They must show willingness to do a deal. From long experience in such matters flexibility is often the key. They need to get this through the gate