Wednesday 17 July 2019

Editorial: 'Political solidarity is vital as Brexit edges ever closer'

Today Tánaiste Simon Coveney will bring memos to Cabinet which will hopefully finally reveal our actual preparedness for Brexit. Stock photo: PA
Today Tánaiste Simon Coveney will bring memos to Cabinet which will hopefully finally reveal our actual preparedness for Brexit. Stock photo: PA
Editorial

Editorial

The flaw in framing rational strategies to shield ourselves from the aftershock of a UK crash-out from the EU is that the Brexit universe always seems one step beyond logic.

Its most ardent Tory advocates turned heads by selling it on its coming attractions which were pasted into election manifestos in a fervour of enthusiasm. No promise was too far-fetched, and the zeal with which they were snatched up left no room for interrogation.

Alas, selling something hard for political advantage is no guarantee of substance or authenticity.

Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.

Log In

Laurence J Peter posed an interesting question when he mused: "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."

It may be a moot point as the days fly ever closer towards no deal, and all that goes with it.

Hopefully Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will return to some semblance of normal service after his recent head-staggers.

He was certainly speaking sense when he sought to lay down a marker for the incoming British prime minister that the backstop remains a "red line" for Ireland ahead of the Brexit deadline on October 31. One would have hoped he might have used a different formula or words given the unhappy provenance of "red lines" and what they have led to.

While the leading contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, will still jauntily talk about "alternatives" to the current Withdrawal Agreement, as if the air was thick with them, responsible governance takes place in the real world.

As Mr Varadkar reminded them yesterday, Johnson and Hunt previously backed the deal in the House of Commons. If the spell of magical thinking still hangs over much of what is being bandied about in London we must prepare to manage the harsh realities coming our way.

Despite all the talk and negotiation, it has proven impossible to get the message through that this country is not responsible for Brexit. Too many still harbour the illusion that not only is the onus on Ireland to fix it; we must also accept with equanimity our plight is to be the political and economic shock-absorber for the consequences of the UK's decision.

Yesterday Mr Varadkar told ambassadors from around the world that our priority must be to have no re-emergence of a hard Border.

Saying it is one thing, demonstrating precisely how this can be avoided is quite another.

Today Tánaiste Simon Coveney will bring memos to Cabinet which will hopefully finally reveal our actual preparedness for Brexit.

Lack of clarity and direction has been at the root of the political chaos in London.

There can be no tolerance of ambiguity here.

We need to see EU leadership, and political solidarity: what we need to avoid is the mistake of thinking that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere; a lesson sadly lost at Westminster.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss