Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s wayward Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, has a well-earned reputation for professional deceit and duplicity, carried over from his previous career as one of the UK’s “…greatest exponents of fake journalism”. His habit of making the facts suit his prejudices – or ambitions – can be seen in this Buzzfeed exclusive, detailing the minister’s remarks at a private gathering of the hard-right Conservative Way Forward group, held last Wednesday at the Institute of Directors in London.
Of particular note for Irish readers is this snippet:
[Boris Johnson] …said the debate about solutions to the Northern Irish border had been blown completely out of proportion.
“It’s so small and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it’s just beyond belief that we’re allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way. We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”
The Conservative Party MP’s dismissal of cross-border business traffic is completely disingenuous. According to data from Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the public agency responsible for national road and public transport networks, an average of some 6,500 HGVs pass over the invisible frontier around Britain’s anomalous territory in the north-east of Ireland every single day. That is a huge volume of registered commercial movement by road and quite separate from the daily passage of goods and materials by people privately transporting items north and south.
Unfortunately the claim is typical of the wilful ignorance and dishonesty which characterises much of the supremacist Brexit camp in the UK. And which may make any fair and equitable withdrawal deal with the European Union and Ireland an impossibility.