Irexit, A Free State 2.0 For The Admirers Of Brexit’s Empire 2.0

Ray Kinsella, a former economics professor and an occasional opinion writer, is a bit of an odd sort. On some social issues, abortion and gender recognition, he leans comfortably to the right, while on some economic ones, austerity and the environment, he leans to the left. I have seen conservatives and liberals alike quote his articles with some approval over the last several years. However, his antipathy to the European Union, and the paucity of democratic control by sovereign governments over its institutions, has led him to embrace an Irish version of the Brexit madness currently gripping the United Kingdom.

From Kinsella’s latest Ireland-exiting piece for the Irish Times, one widely trumpeted in the delusional right-wing British press, comes this interpretation of Europe’s political landscape:

…what the UK is exiting is not Europe, but what Europe has become…

It is a hegemonistic and increasingly militarised political behemoth, controlled by Germany and, to a lesser extent, by a Franco-German identity of interests. Europe is bound together by an oppressive dependency on the centre.

And the answer to European or German hegemony?

Brexit means Ireland, which shares a common stance on key issues with the UK, is left marginalised, peripheral and dependant.

Facing into a post-Brexit scenario it’s clear that we cannot look to Europe to advocate Ireland’s national interests.

Are Ireland’s national interests best served by being irrevocably integrated into this kind of Europe – one which would fossilise the Border across the island, put at risk our future relationship and multiple linages with our nearest neighbour including an EU-imposed “hard Brexit”.

Alternatively, would the national interest be better served by a “managed Irexit”, alongside Brexit?

Realistically, the so-called Irexit option would require a post-EU Ireland to enter into some kind of a politico-economic relationship with the UK (as implied above). This is simply a new title for an old refrain, one printed in the pages of the Sunday Independent and Irish Independent newspapers for three decades. A Free State 2.0 subservient to an Empire 2.0 across the Irish Sea.

Bring back John Redmond, all is forgiven!

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17 comments

  1. I’m in norn iron, or what ever you prefer to call it. I guess we have rather differing views on many topics.

    But on this we are agreed; Irexit is a totally bonkers idea.

    1. Yep, but it still has its adherents in the Irish mainstream, be it politics or the press. God knows why that should be, beyond some of the interpretations I suggested.

      Of course, Saoradh, éirígí, RSF and republican others took a pro-Brexit stance. Whether for ideological or strategic reasons. And SF changed its tune from previous years. Sensibly enough.

      Thanks for the Comment.

  2. Irexit supporters forget that Ireland most likely won’t be able to use the Euro after leaving the EU. What do they propose – to use the British pound instead? Might as well rejoin the UK immediately and leave the EU together in that case.

  3. IIRC Ireland came under English rule even before Scotland, with varying degrees of autonomy over the centuries. Surely now you’ve had your teenage rebellion, Isn’t it time to forget all this ‘independence’ nonsense and come back to the loving/smothering arms of Mother England? After all you speak English (while affecting an amusing accent) which counts for more than metric speed limits and funny money. Can you really trust those distant and downright foreign continentals, with all their incomprehensible babble and bizarre customs, when you have a good friend and neighbour, kith ‘n’ kin if truth be told, just next door?
    I could go on in this vein, but I sincerely trust you understand by now that this to completely tongue in cheek, not that these arguments, and more of this ilk, won’t be made in certain quarters. BTW is anyone taking bets on the date of reunification? 😉

  4. With Brexit we are between a rock and a hard place. I think we should pay heed to what Trump is saying. he wants an end to trading blocs like the EU. Because he feels that the power of the USA will insure onesided trade deals with small countries. Now inside the EU we do not count for as much as Germany, let us not kid ourselves, but we do have some veto rights.We cannot trust anyone in a predatory world. On balance I feel we are better off inside the EU. But we should not kid ourselves. Even if the EU did not exist, it would be a dangerous world. I think a breakup of teh EU woudl accelerate a race to the bottom. Even now there are things we might like to do on mimimum wage, living wage etc. which have consequences. If our trading rivals have lower wages, less safety laws, weaker food standards etc. we have problems. Oh and here we have the beginnings of a Red/Brown alliance advocating a Irexit.

    1. It’s not just Trump who likes to see the EU broken up but yer one in Russia Vladimir Putin. Both England and the Russians want to go back into the 19th century when their giant empires ruled the roost without any opposition from their European peers. Sure didn’t our disso friends support brexit and Putin. Very convenient………

    2. I’ve gone from being an enthusiastic Europhile to a cautious Eurorealist. The EU is not great, its needs reform (and then some!), but what lies outside is far worse. There be dragons.

      What the Irexit folk really want is a UK of GB & IRE Mark II (lets give it a name: the Commonwealth of the British Isles).

  5. Irexit – beyond insanity and requiring a total memory wipe of Anglo-Irish history by the Irish – while the British Establishment will forget nothing.

  6. I was at a book fest in Ennis bout five yrs back at a lecture by David McWilliams. He asked for any contributuins from the floor as to what to do with the current economic situation in Ireland. I piped up from the back “Apply to rejoin the UK.”

  7. Best comment on the Kinsella nonsense so far is Brian Lucey’s:

    https://brianmlucey.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/a-fisking-we-shall-go-ray-kinsella-edition/

    Also amusing, this one from the Guardian which is worth a crosspost

    Ireland’s future is entirely with the United Kingdom. It would entirely be in Ireland’s best interests, in fact, not only to join the Commonwealth as a sign of goodwill, but to, in fact, accede to a renewed membership in the United Kingdom. Only Britain has ever shown Ireland the compassionate care of a stout and dependable neighbour. Where would the Irish have been without their British cousins in the depths of the Famine, with their generous soup kitchens tied to bonus grants of Protestantism? What would have become of the Irish, had they merely been left to own and cultivate the land, rather than have it overseen for them by wise, beneficent aristocrats who never even needed to set foot on the Irish soil they owned to know what was best for it, and the Irish people who happily toiled upon it? Never afraid to lend a guiding hand — unless it would entail a timely insistence on equal rights for Catholics in the North to head off a 30-year-long slow motion civil war — Britain alone can once again be trusted to lead, and save the Irish not only from themselves, but from being inundated by a mass of fellow Europeans with nothing to offer them but peace, broad freedom, and the largest single market in human history. After all, how could a little more effort to sell to half a billion customers possibly ever make up for the loss of simply being able to shove things over a fence wall to 60 million chums? Irishmen and Irishwomen! In the name of God and of (your) dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Britain, through Ray Kinsella, summons her Irish children to her flag and strikes for their freedom from everyone but her…

    Author: https://profile.theguardian.com/user/id/17578444

    and from the Guardian comments on https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/30/ireland-consider-irexit-avoid-brexit-damage-academic-ray-kinsella#comment-104418326 (SamJohnson)

    This is Ireland’s version of Professor Minford. Absolutely to be ignored. Simply dumb.

    Here’s how much the single market matters to Ireland:

    http://www.taxjustice.net/2015/03/12/did-irelands-12-5-percent-corporate-tax-rate-create-the-celtic-tiger

    Here’s how sensible the UK govt’s proposals for the Irish border are, as seen by an Irish journalist (writing in this paper)

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/16/uk-government-border-proposals-ireland-brexit-position-paper

    And here’s how brexit will affect Northern Ireland

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/18/brexit-to-blast-huge-hole-in-northern-irelands-fragile-finances

    http://data.nicva.org/article/how-much-eu-funds-northern-ireland-agriculture

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/fears-over-eu-market-access-and-subsidy-cuts-vexing-northern-ireland-farmers-35477086.html

    Brexit is regarded in Ireland as an act of “bewildering self-harm” (Irish Times) and “a hostile act” (former Taoiseach John Bruton). There is ZERO chance of the Irish leaving the EU. The last opinion poll on the matter was 88% in favour of remaining in the EU.

    There is a case to be made that the EU, and in particular the ECB, gave Ireland the shaft over foreign bank debts. So what?

    Here’s what actually happened: there was a failure of banking regulation in Ireland which was Ireland’s responsibility, just as the failure of RBS and others resulted from a failure in UK bank regulation.

    The EU told the Irish govt of the day REPEATEDLY that the economy was overheated and that it was time to stop putting fuel on the fire (people were going out for sandwiches at lunchtime in Dublin and coming back to work having bought two flats, literally). The finance minister at the time, a CRETIN named Charlie McCreevy told the EU to SOD OFF, to loud applause from the people who were drunk on illusory prosperity unrelated to economic fundamentals (Michael Lewis’s article in Vanity Fair, freely available, is a good and rather amusing summary). Well, look who turned out to be right. The experts. So the Irish had their fingers burned and learned a few things the hard way. The British think they’ve had austerity. Not compared to Ireland they haven’t. Now, nearly 10 years on, the Irish economy has largely recovered, apart from, ironically, a crippling housing shortage.

    The UK represents 10% of Irish exports, down from over 50% a generation ago, and efforts are being made to reduce this as fast as possible (all greatly helped by the collapse in the value of sterling).

    Join the UK on a suicide jump because we are neighbours? Not bloody likely.

    As for the “suffocating oversight from Brussels”, that’s hogwash. There was painful oversight of govt finances when the “Troika” was in town, and everybody in Ireland knows who caused that to happen, and it wasn’t the EU. Nor as it commonly alleged, was it simply being in the Eurozone. The Irish could have managed money more tightly than they did, and the guff about interest rates being the cause of the problems is just that, guff. (The US has had different interest rates in different parts of the country in the past.) What part of Ireland’s low corporate tax regime constitutes “suffocating oversight”? None.

    Yes, Ireland will suffer collateral damage from brexit. It will also suffer, and is already suffering, collateral benefits. One of these is going to be the widening of the prosperity gap with the basket case of N.Ireland for whom union with the UK has been disastrous:

    http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2016/05/16/daily-note-a-nation-once-again-dont-write-it-off

    The DUP’s support for brexit was driven by hibernophobia. It would be a fine result for all except the mutually cancelling vetos of SF and the DUP if some new structures could be found to continue to make the border irrelevant, instead of, as they intended, a Trumpian wall around their gerrymandered sectarian post-colonial enclave to be paid for by the British taxpayer (who already pays more per annum in subsidies to N.Ireland than for EU membership and now faces being on the hook for EU funds and possibly a lot more).

  8. Irexit? Are those that suggest such a thing stark raving bonkers? Just watch a see what a God Awful mess Brexit becomes, and it has already begun. Give up your Independence to join up again with those Numpties in Westminster looking over you? You would have to be utterly off your heads!
    Some of us here across the water are still determined to extricate ourselves from the unequal Union, and It may well be that we will be dragged out of the EU against the majority Scots will before we can realise our Independence, but at worst we can still apply to join EFTA which would be infinitely preferable to being cast adrift in a broken Brexit.

    1. I agree. The Irexit camp is a strange one, a mix of old Lefties, libertarians and nostalgic Irish unionists. Even the most ardent anglophiles in the Irish press -and there are many – find it hard to take too seriously. They know which side their euro-bread is buttered on.

  9. “The last opinion poll on the matter was 88% in favour of remaining in the EU.” – That wasn’t the Lisbon Treaty was it?!

    It’s funny how even the author of this blog thinks that having mixed opinions on different subject is a bad thing.
    What’s wrong with an individual having some “left” and some “right” ideas?
    Surely the balance always comes in the middle, between the extremes?
    If we don’t like other peoples opinions then why do we look for them and read them?

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