Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

I thought Labour was bad, but the Tories are bidding to outdo them for a bad news day with this brain dump [that’s certainly  one word for it – Ed] from Boris Johnson…

Whatever next? (Well, to update, this feature piece from The Sun).

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Declan Doyle

    It is quite startling how English politics seems to have fallen through the floor at the first sign of bother. Hopefully soon enough the North and Scotland won’t have to be it’s victims ever again.

  • Sherdy

    Gove has earned the right to change his name to Michaeavelli Gove!

  • Obelisk


    But we should be mindful of the possible. Assuming Irish unification is just within reach enormously trivialises the task ahead of it’s proponents.

    Even if Scotland does leave, it will be the work of years.

  • On the fence!

    I take it what you actually mean is, “Hopefully soon enough the North and Scotland will be sufficiently financially independent that we don’t have to rely on the English to keep us afloat anymore”!

  • Obelisk

    He’s apparently a ruthless backstabber AND he has the support of Murdoch. Choosing which Tory you want to win is akin to choosing what sort of cancer you’d like but I have to say I really don’t want it to be Gove.

    Or Fox.

  • Obelisk

    Well the English seem to believe they can defy the rules of economics so why can’t anyone else have go?

  • On the fence!

    Aye, I’m sure the financial traders would just be killing other to get their hands on Scottish and Northern Irish government bonds!

  • Obelisk

    So what you are saying is, Scotland and Northern Ireland should want to remain in a union which is beneficial to their economies?

  • ted hagan

    Well I never, politics is a dirty game. Who would have ever have thought it. Tut, tut.

  • Declan Doyle

    Hopefully it will be years yet. With all the Hoo Haa going on between Brexit, Scotland and the economic recovery in the South, a gradual move towards a border poll is far more preferable than a sudden lurch.

  • On the fence!

    What I’m saying is, the UK (essentially the English, let’s be honest) stomp up £20 odd billion a year to keep us afloat. Don’t remember the figure for Scotland, think it might be a bit less but still substantial.

    No point gurning about being tied till them while it’s necessary for OUR survival.

    Address the financial issue, THEN start to worry about getting away from them.

    It’s not rocket science!

  • ted hagan

    Yes iindeed. But they’re not really civilised like we Irish, are they?

  • Obelisk

    Indeed, if Brexit is as we expect it to be…and given the fact the more hardline Tories have turned on Johnson because he was favouring the soft landing model that allowed access to the single market, it probably will be…the case for unity will gradually make itself. Still, there’s a hill to climb. How to get from 1 in 6 to over 1 in 2? That is not going to be simple.

  • Obelisk

    The financial issue is probably addressed. If Brexit leads us all into an economic crisis, then Sturgeon can say the challenges of independence will be no less punishing that continued union but that the possibilities of rewards are greater.

    Maybe you are right that Scotland faces economic peril outside the UK. But in the current climate, where the UK faces economic disaster because they left the EU, means that the incoming Brexit government is going to be singularly ill placed to make that argument.

    What will they do with Nicola Sturgeon’s figures after all? Wheel out Michael Gove to trash them by pointing out at expert opinions?

  • On the fence!

    “But in the current climate, where the UK faces economic disaster because they left the EU,”

    Errrrr, has no one told you?

    That argument isn’t looking too clever at the minute!

  • On the fence!

    Can’t disagree with any of that, but what are the alternatives?

    Alternatives to Tory that is.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Conservative Party Leadership is relatively minor in the greater schemes of of things in terms of the United Kingdom’s future. There will still be a Conservative Party in government, there will be the same problems from British exit from the European Union regardless. The European Union relationship will still be damaged, there will still be legal, political and financial uncertainty and there will still be personality politics dominating the news.

    Those who have to pull the United Kingdom out of this mess will be doing this despite UK non-assistance, despite the empty promises of Leave, despite the national jingoism in tail.

    A constitutional crisis that needs the European Union motto of Unity in Diversity, is being damaged by a political narcissism where the two main political parties … either do not want diversity, or cannot achieve any unity. Meanwhile Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to be treated as Northern England and Western England in the new arrangement where juxtaposition and the Everywhere is Finchley or Furness mentality holds true.

    The challenges facing UK universities, UK public services, UK businesses, UK families will be greater intensified by politicians more concerned about their own biased game theory ideas, and calling all constructive criticism negativity and scaremongering than taking care of business. Forget the opinions, make the decisions … the bed is made, now sleep in it.

  • Obelisk

    Please don’t tell me you’re someone who thinks that because the stock market has rallied somewhat the worst is behind us?

    It is wishful thinking to believe Brexit would be done and dusted in barely the blink of an eye.

    The only hope is that they accept the Norway model…but given Gove’s defenestration of Johnson it appears that the Conservative party will retreat into a Little England mindset.

  • Obelisk

    A decade ago I foolishly thought the Conservatives could be on their deathbeds as Tony Blair kept on demolishing them.

    But that was wishful thinking. They will always have a constituency and while it may sometimes be lured away, in the end they always return to the Tories.

    The only alternative is the demagogic UKIP, happily cannibalising the Labour party.

    And I’d have Gove over Farage and his ilk…

    I’d have THATCHER over Farage and his ilk.

  • On the fence!

    Well by the same token, please don’t tell me you’re someone who thinks that there was no risks to the economy by staying “in” and setting ourselves up to take our fair share of future grief once the Eurozone woes start to play out, as they surely will.

    I AM surprised at the markets recovering so quickly, it would be untrue to suggest otherwise. Who knows where they’ll be next week (or tomorrow!), and no one knows where they’d have been at the minute post-remain. They do what they do, and we all work accordingly.

  • Obelisk

    It’s a question of probability. There were risks within the European Union.

    There are much greater risks outside it.

    A prudent person would have chosen the safer course when it affects so many lives.

    The English have chosen to roll the dice on their future. Was it arrogance? Despair? A mix of the two?

    I don’t know. What I can say is that if we can turn back in twenty years and say Brexit was a good thing, it will only be because of the most stupendous dumb luck.

    I don’t believe in luck though.

  • On the fence!

    “I don’t know. What I can say is that if we can turn back in twenty years and say Brexit was a good thing, it will only be because of the most stupendous dumb luck.”

    Simply can’t agree with that at all. There were many, many, reasons why “remaining” was the riskiest economic option by far in all but the very short term, and even that seems to be working out better than anticipated”

    However, that debate is now superfluous anyhow, the decision’s been made.

  • Obelisk

    The Economists asked were, by and large, against Brexit. Of course, as Michael Gove says, who needs experts?

    Trust your gut. It’ll all work out in the end.

  • aquifer
  • Declan Doyle

    Nothing worth doing ever comes easily.

  • Obelisk

    But it has to be done SMART. For example, In checking some Facebook pages promoting Irish unity some people are losing the run of themselves and exposing themselves as little more than bigots in regards to the Unionist population.

    If Brexit makes the case for unity, it will be a case for the head only. The heart is a strange thing, Irish Nationalists dreamed of unity when the Republic was dirt poor and the prosperity of the UK didn’t really dissuade them from their goal.

    Even if Northern Ireland begins to look like East Germany when compared to the Republic (playing the role of West Germany in this metaphor), a very large chunk will never vote for Irish unity.

    So to accomplish Irish reunification, we have to re-energise a Nationalist population that has become apathetic as life&time surveys and elections have clearly shown.

    Then we have to convince a section of the Unionist population that their lives and circumstances would be improved in a United Ireland.

    And we have to do that while reassuring them that they would have nothing to fear of joining the south, then asking the south to make changes to accommodate former Unionists…emotive changes like flags and anthemns and such…

    It’s going to be a hard argument to win, even if everything should be in our favour logically. And that is not counting our own idiots who will try and muck things up.

  • Declan Doyle

    There will always be keyboard warrior idiots who take it upon themselves to force their ignorance onto our screams, genuinely emlightened people will simply ignore them.

    The prosperous area of these islands in terms of cost and standard of living is undoubtedly the free state. But after years of being told u can never have unity, your aspirations are nonsense and the South is bankrupt; it will take some time for the truth of it all to take up enough space in the minds of nationalists.

    A large chunk might never vote for unity but that large chunk are aware of the consent principle also. It is correct to say they might never vote for unity but it would be wrong to say they could never accept it.

    Apathetic nationalists are the sleeping dog. Uninterested in elections to British institutions and unmoved to vote in the referendum. What it will take to shift them is as yet unknown. however the threat of Brexit might do the job.

    The Unionist population are not homogenously programmed. Similar to nationalism almost half don’t bother to vote at all. That 45% of people who are not motivated to exercise their franchise could well be motivated to vote to stay in the EU even if it means leaving the UK.

    You cannot eat a flag or an anthem. Either and both can be changed, an autonomous NI in a United Ireland can keep all the flags and emblems they want.

  • Maurice

    That argument is looking very clever, growth forecasts have been revised down and markets have fallen, they have recovered slightly but that is because there has been no further brexit movement and does not look like there will be for a while.
    You raise a fair point about subsidising ni and scotland but then scotland did subsidise England for a long while so it is really just paying that money back and maybe a better policy in northern Ireland would not have created the circumstances for 25 years civil unrest which has held the economy back. It also highlights a wider issue that while these places remain part of the UK they will never grow as the UK is far to focused on London. Even the north of England is treated in this way. So if you are part of a membership which limits your growth prospects and you have little hope of changing the position (3% of the electorate) then why would you not consider just leaving. Plus were no and scotland to retain eu membership it is likely they would receive substantial eu funding as it is based on gdp

  • Maurice

    I think is safe to say they would not have nosed dived on Friday had it been a remain vote, the market reactions to each poll coming out were very telling

  • Maurice

    In all the campaign not once did. I see an argument say remain carried the risk unless you meant turkey

  • Maurice

    Just promise a few parades and they will be on board. A unification is something I would not have considered until the beginning of the week as I think it brings back all the divisions we have been trying to erode away but now it looks more promising though a union with an independent european scotland may be more beneficial and easier to sell

  • Reader

    Gavin Lafferty: then Sturgeon can say the challenges of independence will be no less punishing that continued union but that the possibilities of rewards are greater.
    That sounds familiar. Did you get it from Boris?

  • Obelisk

    Well…Boris won his battle even if he lost the ultimate war (and it’s a testament to the man’s character that Brexit was merely a battle in the war for the office of Prime Minister). The SNP should study this successful campaign to see how they did it.

    And then see how they can do it without immigrant bashing.

  • Obelisk

    If it only were so easy…how do we convince some Unionists their culture will be safe in a United Ireland, but not terrify some Nationalists that we are so eager for a United Ireland that we would be willing to concede ANYTHING to the Unionists to get their consent?

    I mean clearly, Unionist culture would be safe in a United Ireland. We won’t be able to get one unless we convince them it would be so it’s a sort of a chicken and egg argument. But the Republic is also a modern European state, not the rome run and ruined nation of their nightmares.

    It’s a balancing act.

    I think a new flag, a new anthem and making Ulster Scots an official language are pretty much the bear minimum requirements in terms of cultural acceptance.

  • On the fence!

    So the markets are a good indicator of economic health when it supports your side of the vote (Friday), but don’t really mean anything when they disprove it as they are doing now, over 6500 as I type, and rising!.

    It really is difficult to take anyone seriously when they come out with such hypocritical nonsense!

  • Kev Hughes

    Lads, the markets for the currency are down and it has been kicked down a notch regarding credit-worthiness by all 3 big raters. Normally, that would be a big news story but in the current climate that barely makes it on to the front pages.

    And I work for a London based commercial real estate finance house; we are anticipating properties to lose about 10% in value for the year, Many may say ‘that’s great’, but not when you have existing loans that are based on ingrained LTV figures and valuations coming up, it means you need to stump up some equity.

    This will all really kick off when Article 50 is triggered. Then, if you are paid in anything other than GBP, head to London and get your shopping done for the next year. You’ll get a massive discount. Otherwise, we are predicting pain and a recession ahead.

  • Chingford Man

    When have economists been right about anything? The ERM? The Euro?

  • Chingford Man

    Anything else to do in your spare time?

  • tmitch57

    Last year on a thread re unity I mentioned that the only circumstances that would make a united Ireland economically attractive for unionists would be if Brexit left NI outside of the EU. After Brexit, you will have one part of the island that is part of the EU, English speaking and so a gateway for North American, Asian and other international businesses exporting to the EU and the other part as part of the UK and a springboard for exports to it. If a way could be found for the North to be merged with the South yet retain membership of the UK for custom purposes, you might have an economic case for union: companies could locate anywhere on the island and export to both the UK and the EU. I’m sure that London would be quite flexible in allowing the Six Counties a special status or making provisions for exports from Ireland as a whole. This would be a lot cheaper than continuing the tax subsidy to Belfast.

  • Obelisk

    Really? A supporter of a fringe project that succeeded only due to the sheer incompetence of David Cameron…someone who has likely spent the past three decades moaning about the tyranny of Europe…has the temerity to call others out on their political goals?

    I bet you’d love it if the world would just stop politically now. Out of the EU, Labour in chaos, Tories in power, UKIP ascendant. Just to flashfreeze reality right here, right now, forever.

    Sadly for you that’s not how things work. Today’s vanquished maybe tomorrow’s winners and eventually you will learn that Brexit really did have a cost.

  • Katyusha

    This really isn’t repeated often enough.
    Whether we are going to be attached to the EU, UK or theRoI, the first thing we need to do is build NI into a functioning economic unit that can turn a profit. Strong enough to stand on its own if need be. We should be negotiating our links with other nations from a position of economic strength; as a desirable asset rather than an economic burden.

    Unfortunately, making NI a viable construct was never considered a tactic by republicans, and our unionist politicians appear to delight in how much of a basket case we are. There doesn’t seem to be anyone with the ambition or vision to reconstruct Belfast as an industrial centre; our economic strategy consists of arguing who we should go after with our begging bowl.

    Such civic pride! We have constructed a failure of a statelet and no-one particularly wants to see it succeed. Depressing doesn’t begin to cover it.

  • Obelisk

    Well they’ll be able to point to Brexit as an example in due time…and please don’t tell me not to trust the economists.

    You want to ignore them because their findings don’t agree with the reality you want. Had they said Brexit would be wonderful with no downsides you’d be quoting them morning, noon and night.

  • On the fence!

    Wow, I agree entirely!

  • Maurice

    It is not a case of only using the markets when they support my argument. In the lead up when polls or betting odds supported leave markets fell when same polls and odds supported remain the rose again. When the result came in they went into later rallying because the boe came out and said they would do all they can to support them, thus creating confidence. They then fell further on the Monday but since have recovered to a degree but many experts (not that we need experts) and traders have attributed this to the fact article 50 has not yet been invoked and is unlikely to be done until we have a new leader therefore we have a period of stability for now

  • Am Ghobsmacht