Now that it’s becoming clear to the Brexiteers that unless they come up with a solution to the Irish border question then everything could fall apart when the UK next meets the EU in December. Fintan O’Toole neatly decodes the xenophobic rants now emerging from the UK tabloids:
The “political process” is the Brexit negotiations, in which Britain was supposed to table “specific solutions” on Ireland by October. That deadline had to be extended to mid-December. Yet here, a month before a decision has to be made, we have the most senior British officials stating openly that they still don’t understand the problem, let alone envisage a concrete solution.
So what is the Irish government supposed to do? What happens with the border is a vital national interest. Ireland is desperate to hear what Britain has in mind. Instead, it has been told not to worry its pretty little head about it, but trust in the reassurances of its betters. It is being placed in the position of a 1950s wife, whose husband is betting the house on a horse race while he tells her, with increasingly irritation, to stop worrying because the nag is sure to romp home.
Behind this reckless arrogance, there is an assumption that Ireland is an eccentric little offshoot of Britain that must shut its gob and stop asking awkward questions. It is, in fact, a sovereign country with the full backing of 26 other EU member states – and how strange it is that we have reached a point where this comes as an unpleasant surprise to so many people in London.