It seems that Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the United Kingdom and a chief contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party, has learned nothing new from the irritation and animosity he stirred up last weekend with his provocative suggestion that if he were prime minister he would offer to fund all the costs of Ireland agreeing to the establishment of a jointly-run “digitised border” around the UK-controlled Six Counties.
Instead the Tory MP has chosen to double-down on the controversy he created telling the right-wing Daily Mail newspaper that under his leadership the government in London would persuade its counterpart in Dublin to accept the payment of half-a-billion pounds to fund the imposition of a new electronic customs frontier around the British legacy territory in the north-east of the island:
Britain has a moral duty to pay half a billion pounds to Ireland to break the Brexit deadlock over the controversial Northern Ireland backstop, Sajid Javid has said.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, the Home Secretary and Tory leadership contender warned it will take ‘hundreds of millions of euros, no one really knows because it hasn’t been done before’.
But he said that a new border arrangement can be found and it is Britain’s job to pay for it as we are leaving the EU.
Mr Javid wants the cash to be used to set up new technology- driven border checks to avoid keeping Britain locked to Brussels rules.
This is fantasy stuff and a reflection of the imperial-like arrogance which has characterised the UK’s diplomatic relations with its former partners in the European Union since the Brexit referendum vote of 2016. Sajid Javid is just short of offering to donate trinkets and shiny baubles to persuade the unruly natives to accept the civilising benefits of a new Pax Britannica on the island of Ireland. The era of British politicians like Tony Blair and Mo Mowlam and their understanding of Irish affairs is a distant memory now as we move into the age of Brexit, abandoning two decades of not just détente but close political and economic cooperation between London and Dublin.