Current Affairs Politics

UK Premier Theresa May Adopts Hardline Brexit Rhetoric With EU Leaders

If the leaders of the European Union were expecting a more conciliatory tone from the United Kingdom at yesterday’s heads of government meeting in Salzburg, Austria, they were sorely disappointed. Instead, the UK’s crisis-ridden prime minister issued something of an ultimatum to her fellow leaders, largely dismissing the EU’s attempts to meet Britain’s increasingly strident Brexit demands. According to press reports, Theresa May warned the gathering that the British would not accept any delay in their March 2019 departure from the bloc, that there would no second referendum on the issue and that the onus was on Brussels and not London to avoid a future no-deal breakup (or bust-up). One has to wonder if she actually used this line with her fellow leaders, as predicted by The Financial Times:

Theresa May will go over the head of EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday and appeal directly to fellow European leaders to cut her a Brexit deal that does not involve detaching Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

Mrs May has become frustrated at Mr Barnier’s insistence that a so called “backstop” plan for Northern Ireland — intended to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland after Brexit — must leave the region operating under EU customs and single market rules.

“She will ask [EU leaders] to imagine if it was their country and there was a proposal to carve off a section of their own country,” said one ally of Mrs May.

I’m sure that Leo Varadkar and the rest of the Irish delegation would have no difficulty imagining that scenario. Talking of an ignorance of history – or even contemporary politics and geography – here’s Laura Kuenssberg and the BBC:

The response you get when you ask UK insiders whether they can move on their core beliefs about Ireland. “No, no, no!”.

And guess what, for more than two years now people involved in the Brexit process have been saying, ah, until we can find a way through on the question of Ireland well, we can’t be sure of anything.

And despite protestations from Brexiteers about how Ireland has come to dominate the talks, it has become whether they like it or not, the real life expression of Brexit’s bigger conundrums.

Arguably, Britain’s belief that Ireland is little more than a proprietorial British “question” is the biggest issue at the heart of Brexit. And this revanchist perception looks likely to worsen in the months and years ahead.

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7 comments on “UK Premier Theresa May Adopts Hardline Brexit Rhetoric With EU Leaders

  1. 55% of NI’s trade with the UK goes through Dublin port. Another chunk goes through Dublin airport. Unionism is now a Freudian death cult in every sense of the meaning and they are willing to take the entirety of NI down with them just like the father that murder-suicides his entire family. Reunification cannot happen soon enough.

  2. Your FT link sits behind a pay wall, I’m afraid. However the crux of the matter is that TM is dependent on the DUP for her parliamentary majority and so simply has no room for maneuver, she is forced adopt a No Surrender approach. So if you value your independence from the UK a hard border seems to be the price you must pay.
    TBH I went through customs going into Ireland way back in the day as a teen, and it really was no big deal. The best thing post-Brexit might simply be to quarantine the North and wait for its economy to collapse. In any case the present knife-edge Tory majority can’t survive indefinitely.

    • ar an sliabh

      That’s because you are a brit. I recently made the mistake flying home through Heathrow and got the 3rd degree because of my dual citizenship in conjunction with my adoptive last name. This was just passing through your wonderful country on a connecting flight. I think the guys checking me out really thought they were in charge of who gets to go to Ireland and who does not (I do have to say that at least they were polite about it) . I am talking about getting to the Republic, not even NI. I can’t even imagine what it would be like passing through any brit customs control post-Brexit. I know I can always resort to the Meirican spoiled child tantrum and rant about my rights to get through (at least for now), others may not be so lucky.

    • I hope you aren’t serious about at least a couple sentences there. Quarantining the North could have a really, really bad result.

      You know a lot of people around the world-even those who were skeptical at first- believed that the Good Friday Agreement just might work out long term.

      Now that Brexit might have ruined that chance. I can tell you that a lot of people in various countries outside the US and UK are pretty upset about it. Often the perception was that The Good Friday Agreement was a difficult process but also wildly exceeded what much of British media seemed to think was possible for Norther Ireland,

    • Marconatrix

      Do you think Scotland will ever stand up for itself like Ireland and join us a member of the free and sovereign Nations of the World – or will you forever be content to be under England’s thumb and at England’s mercy ?

  3. Onners Blarney

    We dont need to imagine what its like if part of our country is annexed. Its a reality for us. Mrs. May. You occupy part of our country. That is the problem..

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