Posted on 31st August 2019

Slane Castle

So now we have it. Boris Johnson has gone for the nuclear option by seeking and getting a prorogation of parliament. The Queen is having a busy time in Balmoral, no doubt discussing the shenanigans of Prince Andrew with her advisers together with any possible constitutional issues that arise from the actions of her Prime Minister. To be honest some of the reaction from the Remainders borders on the hysterical and the Speaker should know better. A UK friend of mine who had voted Remain said “ Thank God, it will bring it all to a head”. I suspect that is a sentiment widely shared.

It is almost bizarre to sit watching so much of our fate resting on the manoeuvres at Westminster – powerless to intervene in the Parliamentary process. However, that simply isn’t true. Sinn Fein have 7 M.P.’s . If they really have the Republic’s interests at heart, this is surely a time to use them or will they trot out their usual meaningless platitudes. More critically, what is the government’s approach ? The British Prime Minister has sent his chief negotiator, David Frost, to Brussels to see if there is any room for a deal. When it comes down to the wire, should our government display some willingness to show flexibility on the Backstop. I thought it was significant that Lucinda Creighton , a former Minister for European Affairs, and a close friend of the Taoiseach, called for such an approach. I find it hard to believe that all members of the Dail agree with the government’s approach. This sense of donning the Green Jersey has stifled debate. This is profoundly unhealthy. If the U.K. crashes out, serious damage will be inflicted on our economy,. Sterling’s decline has already had a negative impact on the tourism sector. It will get worse. Jobs will be lost. I only hope that somehow back channels are open to the British to try and avert a catastrophe. I know the message coming out from government circles is that the British are to blame for all of this but the border with all the complexities it carries involves two nations with many strands. By its very nature, it requires the co-operation between two nations to be peacefully managed. At the eleventh hour, it would be grossly irresponsible to let inflexibility impede a solution.

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