Talking of political inanity, Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the would-be Brutus to Theresa May’s Caesar, has offered this calm and measured analysis of the UK’s disagreements with its former partners and friends in the European Union through the pages of the entirely rational Daily Mail newspaper:
“Why are they bullying us? How can they get away with it? It is one of the mysteries of the current Brexit negotiations that the UK is so utterly feeble.
At every stage in the talks so far, Brussels gets what Brussels wants.
It is a humiliation. We look like a seven-stone weakling being comically bent out of shape by a 500 lb gorilla. And the reason is simple: Northern Ireland, and the insanity of the so-called ‘backstop’.
We have opened ourselves to perpetual political blackmail. We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution – and handed the detonator to Michel Barnier.
We have given him a jemmy with which Brussels can choose – at any time – to crack apart the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”
I believe that particular jemmy was handed over to the people of Ireland in April 1998 when the UK signed up to the Good Friday Agreement and all subsequent peace accords and addenda. Unfortunately news of that particular event has yet to percolate its way into the consciousness of the average – or less than average – MP in London.
Wash your hands of them paddy’s Boris. They are more trouble than they are worth.
The British have implicitly if not discarded then downgraded the GFA by enacting Brexit – that’s the subtext we seem to be getting from the DUP and the hard Brexit Tories.
My fear is what will happen to an agreement over the border cooked up with the Tories in conjunction with a damage-limitation fudgy hard Brexit, once these people get their Brexit. Can we expect it to be honoured? In which international court could we contest the non-implementation?
Completely as an aside – and knowing you are bitten by an obsession in this area – can you recommend Judson’s “The Hapsburg Empire – a New History”. As a result of an LRB review I have a itch to read it – should I scratch it? What interests me particularly is his take on how nationalism grew within the Empire, despite its deliberate diversity.