I’m reading a fascinating book at the moment – Brexit and Ireland: The Dangers, the Opportunities, and the Inside Story of the Irish Response by Tony Connolly and it provides a wonderful antidote to the endless upbeat nonsense put out by some of the Brexiteers. By this I mean Brexit isn’t going to be a walk in the park there are many many complex questions that need to be answered. This doesn’t mean that Britain can’t make a success of Brexit, despite the best efforts that our current political class of whatever hue, but it is just not fit for purpose to keep saying WTO rules every time someone points out a complexity that will need to be addressed. To give just one example from the book the question of when is a fish a British Fish and when is it an Irish Fish?
I accept the Brexit argument that we should not believe every last word that comes out of the EU negotiators mouths because, well this is a negotiation and they would say anything to gain an advantage. Equally, I have yet to hear any Brexiteer provide any meaningful explanation as to just how we get to the bright uplands they are convinced we will inhabit from where we are at the moment and please don’t say WTO.
So the painting. Well I have been getting a little bit carried away with all things Brexit over the past few days so what better way of purging such matters than spending some time painting. The result is Ms Jones.
One final thought on the Irish question. I have always thought that the one country that will get well and truly screwed by Brexit is Ireland. They are caught in an impossible position between wanting to be good members of the EU whilst at the same time being situated on one of the British Isles (This is a geographical term to describe the group of islands of off the north west coast of Europe and in no way suggests any British ownership or rule of the Republic of Ireland). Britain has a huge influence on Ireland given the scale and proximity and it is very true to say that if Britain catches a cold then Ireland gets something far worse. This is why the Northern Ireland border question is so important – not because of the Good Friday agreement (although this is very very important) but rather because of the huge amount of trade that goes on between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. It is interesting that at the moment that Ireland has a lot of power however when the talks move to phase 2 then they will have virtually nothing. However, as with all things Brexit nothing is quite as it seems. Ireland could veto the phase one talks and so the whole negotiations but the one country that would be really really badly affected by all that would be the Republic of Ireland. The worst outcome for Ireland would be a hard Brexit and the rest of the EU blaming them such an outcome. They would be doubly screwed and that is in no one’s interest.