Friday, 17 February 2017
Irish eyes are smiling on Brexit? Or a Semtexit? While Kent drifts.
The Eire ambassador to London, Daniel Mulhalll spoke eloquently to the UK Parliament on Brexit last week and raised several points of interest.
Few could argue with an Irish diplomat: kissing the Blarney Stone must be part of the interview?
And never has a policy such as Brexit been more unpopular, with the Eire and Northern Ireland governments and public and even UK government wanting to avoid a hard border again between Northern Ireland and Eire.
A troublesome prospect even with Eire's dynamic reputation in UN peacekeeping with troops and police and aid integrated, while UK shilly-shallys on the collapse of East Africa - again - with not one but four famines in Sudan etc.
With 1.85M cars a month crossing the border now, any return to a two-state border (or Ryanair air and ferry extra migration controls to UK) would not just be inconvenient but an economic blow. And a blow that would be felt more strongly in Northern Ireland, and UK, with 36% of exports to Eire. But only 2% of Eire exports to Northern Ireland.
Perhaps Kerrygold et al would relocate to Ulster with any border shennanigans - or just not bother and sell more to Germany?
And there's the resounding success story of Eire in reducing reliance on UK from 60% of exports in 1973 to 15% now, suggests both the strength of a dedicated EU policy.
As well as a lack of effort in stimulating UK-Eire trade.
The UK’s glass more than half-empty rather than half-full. If Dublin turned off the whisky pipeline you'd be knocked over in the rush to the border whether from Belfast or Birmingham.
Certainly tax tweaks can't account for all Eire's success in attracting modern tech companies from Facebook to Apple to Google or overhauling both their agriculture and tech infrastructure.
UK could have much to learn from the Celtic Fringe other than being asleep at the wheel while 45% of Eire exports drift away over the last 40 years or so.
Hardly indicative of UK dynamism on trade or the dawnings of some sort of New Global Britain.
And who'd be silly enough to want to leave the richest trade bloc, with most-favoured-nation status, in the world that's right on their doorstep?
They must be laughing over a Guiness or three in Dublin.
Brexit means an Irish breakfast and a Little England dog's dinner.
With more deaths from agricultural accidents than terrorism, and nothing separating Ulster and Eire other than the road signs in miles, or kilometres, few would want a rerun of anything like the bad old days of the Troubles.
That cork is firmly back in the bottle, from the black and tans too, after the Easter Rising anniversary last year.
Similarly for those Brits like me with Irish relatives, or Irish residents in UK, Brexit could become an administrative nightmare or nothing much at all beyond a giant fudge after years of distraction and economic decline and tax-waste.
The Faragist lie of the EU being responsible for UK's problems is still lost in racist howls, EU mismanagement and failure to reform the EU ready for MENA, Turkey and Russia.
Ambassador Mulhall’s view that the UK remaining in EU is best for Eire and UK is hard to dispute.
The economic synergy of Eire and Ulster was detailed in agricultural produce say cattle trade and creameries either side of the border.
Indeed UK-Eire trade could be increased and improved with an Ulster-Scotland road-rail tunnel speeding up Irish and Scottish trade - removing traffic - 30 % empty HGV's according the Institute of Engineering - from Southern England's congested ports.
Such a beefed-up port and rail system with autonomous driving could only benefit imports and exports and tourism for all the home nations.
But as with Gibraltar, essentially a UK end-of-Empire tax-haven pimple on the nose of Spain, it's hard to see how Brexit could lead to anything but breaking the link to UK. Almost all the Gibraltar population commutes in from Spain anyway. As with the Falklands, another Empire fragment awaiting a long overdue Hong Kong-style handover.
While with every Northern Ireland citizen entitled to an Eire passport, and a 20% increase in them taking it up since Brexit, a de facto reunion of Ireland may be the result of a disunited kingdom in any aftermath of any Brexit.
And certainly reduced trade before the kickoff of any Brexit.
And one quirky thought: with Kent as one the only UK cross-border region in the EU (Arc-Manche linked to France’s Pas De Calais region), doesn't that mean Kent has - currently as with Northern Ireland and Eire - a virtual border?
And hardly more dastardly than the ongoing work of the British–Irish Council; although questions remain on funding sourced and used – clearly Eire has deployed its EU grants to greater effect with East Kent a broken gateway to Europe languishing with some of the worst poverty in South East England:
The £500k Ramsgate GIAA Port council fraud and coverup symptomatic of the sloth and dirt covering Kent.
Few would suggest a hard border at the Medway or Wantsum - the traffic jams from a too-centralised Maidstone or Stack are already bad enough - and probably even fewer would call for the UK border in France to be relocated from Calais to Dover. Even the Royal Marines Dover Patrol should want more active duty than drifting around in the Channel when the people-smuggling is via Dover.
And even a Gibraltar-style tax haven based on gambling or motor insurance admin would attract few bets.
And even Chief Constable O'Pughsley of the Kent Police Garda would surely balk at the cost of new border guard and police uniforms, or translating the rash of police Robbie Williams cod-Maori tattoos into Gaelic as opposed to sensible cost control and Innovation Funds.
But a hard border - maybe just police patrols on Ashford Eurostar initially - would focus East Kent on European trade and tourism - rather than the repulsive live animal exports - with Flanders and Benelux in general and the French Opal Coast, whether Panasonic batteries or Alpro soyamilk in Belgium or Philips and Heineken in Holland or Cactus and ING in Luxembourg.
While future Meiji Kent companies such as Panasonic and Toshiba and Olympus and Kawasaki and Honda and Toyota and Nissan and Mitsubishi are ideal for innovation centres as a minimum.
And would provide an early warning system for the Toxic Three terrorists of Carter, King and Wild wreaking havoc at the coast again.
Kent is one white horse they won't be riding again, certainly not over the green fields and golden beaches of East Kent.
Time for Change
* Shinergate next week: corrupt lawyers, judges and barristers and coverup/inaction means a broken UK legal system: Grabiner, Glick, Hollingworth at One Essex Court, PB Law, the Crying judge etc
* Good KM and Gazette letters on concerns over Kent PCC/Police: frequency of foot patrols and recording of complaints at PCC
* Inaction so far on Phase 1 of Brett after Phase 2 cancelled
* 10x KCC council election signatures required: please email email@example.com if you wan to support me. 5 more years of Carter or Latchford etc?
* Silence on GIAA/TDC £500k Ramsgate Port fraud - who was questioned at TDC?
* No details yet on KCC Highways Pleasurama but good if it is in court to raise BVI corruption - unless it's a tame whitewash judge of course