As I asked in a previous article, is there any depth to which the British supporters of Brexit will not sink in order to secure the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union? Fake news and fake claims have become the default setting for the Leave lobby in the UK, which is prepared to risk anything and everything in order to secure the country’s retreat into xenophobic isolationism. Including destroying two decades of relative peace in Britain’s contested territory on the island of Ireland. From The Times newspaper in London:
Nigel Farage has claimed that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, “would like the IRA to become active again”.
The former Ukip leader also accuses the former French foreign minister of “almost encouraging Republican terrorism”…
This knowing falsehood is not a new strategy by the Brexiteers. It is a long-standing and purposefully created conspiracy theory. One which was lent a degree of respectability by our own press when the Irish Times published an opinion piece from two anti-EU academics in Britain who had previously suggested a military response to any EU “recruited” opposition to a Brexit-imposed “hard border” around the UK occupied Six Counties:
Behind the intransigence of Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar we find potential threats from diehard republican grouplets, effectively recruited as the armed wing of the European Union. In London, we find a British political class that has been willing to send its armies on bloody adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is unwilling to face down even the slightest hint of violence closer to home…
As far as one can see, the only politicians in Europe predicting or threatening violence if the UK fails to leave the EU under the extortionate terms the UK demands are the Brexit extremists in the faction-ridden Conservative Party, the far-right Democratic Unionist Party and the ultra-nationalist United Kingdom Independence Party. And they are quite open about it, with the propagandist Express newspaper in Britain eager to support their campaign of intimidation:
Sir Gerald Howarth, the Tory MP for Aldershot since 1997 has said any plans to hold back the will of the majority by going by preventing triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty could be met by angry opposition on British streets.
“There will be a real anger across the country if unelected peers seek to do that. The risk is very angry protests that could lead to violence.”
Previously Stephen Raven, a Ukip borough councillor in Boston, the town which recorded the UK’s biggest Brexit vote, warned if Leave was blocked: “Eventually we are going to have a civil riot. That’s my honest opinion. You have got 17 million people [who voted Brexit] who are not going to be very happy at all if the decision gets overturned.
“If Brexit doesn’t go ahead, you are going to get civil uproar. It’s not a word I use lightly, but there is going to be a revolution. There will be a revolution.”
Increasingly, the United Kingdom looks like a swaggering street bully, looming over its neighbour, Ireland, and commenting, “Nice peace process there, mate. Pity if it got broken…“