Simplifying Things…

It is Gaudete Sunday (3rd of Advent) and O Sapientia in the Use of Sarum. I am feeling very worn down by the comings and going of the efforts of Mrs Theresa May to save her “deal” with a Parliament that doesn’t want it, and the EU that has had enough of re-negotiations and will not allow any further changes.

Brexit can be delivered only on one of three conditions:

  • A hard border with customs and checks between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland
  • The invasion and colonisation of Ireland by the UK
  • Handing Northern Ireland over to the Republic of Ireland (allowing citizens to keep their British nationality if they wish, and their being given Irish nationality)

The first is likely to be the one that happens, causing a revival of the troubles between Sinn Fein / IRA and the UK. There are several truths about the consequences in the UK and Europe, and I am through with discussing them because I can only go by what everyone else is reading too. Brexit cannot be delivered otherwise than by letting the clock run down, and it would happen automatically with all the consequences that will ensue.

I read this in a Facebook group, and it makes a lot of sense. If only…

If only MPs had the courage to say:
“We respect the will of the slight majority of those who voted in the 2016 Referendum, but we are duty-bound to act in the best interests of our constituents and the country; therefore we are aborting the flawed attempt at leaving the EU, believing it would cause huge damage to the UK and will be putting our energy into reforming the EU and fixing the domestic issues which caused the protest vote in the first place.”

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12 Responses to Simplifying Things…

  1. Peter Hitchens wrote an interesting article for his Mail on Sunday column on the Irish question here:

    He notes that if Northern Ireland were annexed to the other place, it would be the first transfer of territory in western Europe since the end of the Second World War. It’s a transfer I would rather not see happen.

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      Thanks! I have been sadly neglecting Peter Hitchens’ blog, somehow, recently – both the post and many of the comments were well worth reading, though I don’t know enough in detail to evaluate various of the points. I wonder about the punctuation of the sentence you refer to – should that comma after “1945” be there, or not?: “the first transfer of territory in Western Europe since 1945, which will have been made as a result of, and under pressure of, violence and the threat of further violence.” I enjoyed Bill’s suggestion – “Declare Northern Ireland to be a ‘free port’, just as Spain has for many decades – since long before it joined the EU – run the Canary Islands as a free port” – though it’s one of the things I don’t know enough to evaluate.

  2. Dale says:

    Put in a hard border to keep the EU happy, and then ignore it.

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      How ‘hard’ does a ‘hard border’ have to be – and who gets to decide that? Could those (still never anything formally-speaking but) nation-states, the UK and the Republic of Ireland, indeed simply negotiate a bilateral ‘Schengen-like’ agreement, or would Eire’s Euro-Masters somehow “not allow” anything remotely resembling such a sensible, humane change?

      And, how catastrophically ‘hard’ were those ‘pre-Schengen’ borders? I remember negotiating them with the greatest ease when travelling with a Student Rail Card as an alien with a Student Visa as long ago as1977.

      • David Marriott+ says:

        Perhaps the far more serious outcome of a ‘hard border’ is that which would result in Dover: even a five minute delay for transport trucks clearing customs would lead to mass congestion on all major highways leading to the port as well as major shortages and delays for manufacturing in the UK and Europe.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        One of the concerns that gave rise to a majority in favor of the “Brexit” measure was a very legitimate concern that terrorists could enter the European Union through member states in which border security is lax, then make their way into the United Kingdom with no further screening. The British border screening obviously must be pretty thorough to prevent this.

        But what’s more disturbing is that the European Union seems to have devolved into a vehicle to impose the “political correctness” of the current day on member states that otherwise would not adopt it, with little emphasis on the very free trade and shared security for which the European Union ostensibly came into being.

        That said, one solution to the Ireland problem might be to exclude Northern Ireland from the British security zone and to put the real checkpoint between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.


      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        If both the Republic of Ireland and the UK have always enjoyed being opted out of Schengen, how ‘Schengen-like’ are their interrelations with each other and each with other EU and non-EU ‘Schengen Area’ countries? What is considered likely to change, and what formal possibilities are involved on all sides? Why and how different would “clearing customs” ‘have’ or ‘be likely’ to be, after whatever sort of Brexit?

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I wonder if Michel Houellebecq was, among other things, deliberately replying to M. Le Maire’s interview with the Handelsblatt (as presented there by Thomas Hanke on 11 November) where he said, “Die Völker Europas haben die Nase voll von allgemeinem Geplapper in Brüßel. Sie wollen jetzt Taten sehen”, by writing, “It’s my belief that we in Europe have neither a common language, nor common values, nor common interests, that, in a word, Europe doesn’t exist, and that it will never constitute a people or support a possible democracy (see the etymology of the term), simply because it doesn’t want to constitute a people. In short, Europe is just a dumb idea that has gradually turned into a bad dream, from which we shall eventually wake up”? And, I wish I knew what he has said – or would say – about French Revolutionary and Bonapartist military expansionism, and, e.g, ‘le blocus continental’.

    • As someone who has lived in several European countries, it takes effort to learn languages and understand something of different cultures. The cultural differences are very subtle, but the effort has to be made. Will we go back to European wars? God forbid, and I am glad I was born 14 years after Hitler’s death and would be too old for military service in any future war. With my experience, how could I not refuse to fight against the French, Germans or Italians – and only accept work in helping the wounded in hospitals, etc?

      I believe there is a European ideal even if it is badly expressed by the current EU. I have always taken the attitude that something is better than nothing, and moderate cosmopolitanism is more human than excessive nationalism and authoritarianism. I am afraid of a possible replay of 1920’s and 30’s totalitarianism in one form or another with new actors. In today’s situation, perhaps the EU would bring about Orwell’s 1984, but each European state can do the same thing as some did between the world wars.

      We could go on and on, and I am not sectarian. I think we should make efforts here in Europe, as you have done learning Dutch to live in the Netherlands, even though all educated Dutch people speak English. We need school exchange programmes and children encouraged to learn at least two foreign languages.

      Finally there is the question of Christianity as a basis of European culture. The Churches are doing very badly, and none of us knows how to deal with nihilism and post-modernism. Probably, all we can do is like Fr Charles de Foucauld – live in society on our own as an “oddity” and “sign of contradiction” in some way. It won’t bring back Christendom, but it will be like Christ expressed in the Gospels about lights in the darkness and the Parables of the Kingdom.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Thank you for this thoughtful reflection! I should reread Novalis again: what contrasts are there between historical and possible forms of ‘Christendom’ and of ‘Europe’ – in more or less contrast to each other? How are things like ‘phyletism’ and monolithic authoritarianism to be avoided, and the real, and as you say, very subtle distinctions, and also sorts and levels of community, to be respected and maintained together? Both the really distinct and the really common, done justice to? When there are always passions and appetites of one sort and another working against that? But, what else is there to aspire to?

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Just catching up a bit with the quarterly meeting of the EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) held in Brussels on the Feast of St. Nicholas. Apparently the Polish and Hungarian employment and social affairs ministers who sit on it vetoed the inclusion of the “LGBTIQ” acronym in a joint statement. I have seen a quotation attributed to Wouter Koolmees (a member of the Politieke Partij Democraten 66, who seems to have ascending through the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Finances before entering Parliament) which includes “LGBTIQ inclusion and equality are core values of our European Union. This is where I draw the line. We will never compromise our principles. This is not up for discussion and should have never been an issue for any member state.”

    His conception of the EU is that there are things which ‘should never be an issue for any member state’, where no diversity of principled conviction is permissible. I wonder how characteristic this is for functionaries on EU Councils?

    And, how far whatever exactly he means by “LGBTIQ inclusion and equality” being “core values of our European Union” in particular, is also conceived by such (and other EU functionaries and officials) as one such ‘core value of our European Union’, a ‘principle’ prescinding those where contrary principled convictions are possible?

    • There is always a distinction to be made about people living their private lives and having sexual relationships, and those people ramming their norms down other people’s throats. It’s the same with people of other races and religions. We have a tradition of religious toleration and freedom as a human right since the early 19th century. What do we do when they want a pre-19th century situation, but with them as the inquisitors? We live in a truly insane world so beautifully prophesied by George Orwell. The EU is a steamroller as are the various national populist movements once they get into power and codify their laws and ways of controlling their populations. I am at my limit of hope for anything.

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