Friday 23 August 2019

Kevin Doyle: 'Brexit isn't just for Halloween and Leo is not the bogeyman'


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Years from now there will be children in schools judging us.

They will wonder how affluent neighbours rowed over economics to the point where food shortages became a real possibility.

And teachers will struggle to explain how, after they found a way to end decades of bloodshed, the UK and Ireland couldn't agree on how to keep milk crossing the Border.

Then they will pore over the pages of old newspapers, otherwise known as the first draft of history. The paper trail will lead them back to stories of 'bendy bananas' and ice pillows for kippers.

The teenagers will find it hard to decipher truth from fiction.

One cutting produced might be an editorial from 'The Sun' in the UK this week which told readers of the bogeyman Leo Varadkar, who is "poised to preside over an economic crash, job losses, civil unrest and possible power cuts - all of them his fault".

It explains that after Brexit, Dublin will be paying more to Brussels while cutting spending at home. Meanwhile, "UK firms, free of EU red tape, gaining 'a competitive advantage' over Irish rivals".

"Varadkar could have been a thoughtful mediator between us and the EU. Instead, on Brussels' behalf, he still plays the hardman over his toxic 'backstop'."

But hopefully these history students will have grasped the fact Ireland is a member of the EU in a way that many in the UK simply can't.

Ireland and the EU are working hand in glove - because that's what you do in a club. It's fairly basic stuff: united we stand, divided we fall.

In the same news cycle as that assault on the Taoiseach, the students will find plenty of other interesting views on Brexit - but probably not in the Tory press.

Yesterday alone there was a warning from the UK's head of counter-terrorism that a disorderly no-deal Brexit would block British police from accessing European data on serious criminals, damaging security.

Hauliers issued a statement claiming lorry drivers in Dover face the "absolutely outrageous" scenario of sitting in two-day-long queues without food or toilets if the UK crashes out of the EU.

Britain's food and drink lobby predicted shortages of some fresh foods for weeks or even months if a disorderly Brexit leaves perishable produce rotting in lorries at ports.

And the Lords Science and Technology Select Committee outlined how university research faces the triple threat of reduced tuition-fee income, the loss of EU grants and post-Brexit visa difficulties for researchers.

Voters in the UK and Ireland will get to decide at the next election who is to blame if all these things come to pass.

But as the Taoiseach said this week, Brexit isn't just for Halloween. It's for generations.

If a no deal is allowed to happen either by design or chance, then the history books will judge our leaders very poorly.

Irish Independent

Also in Business