Northern’s Ireland best chance of leverage rests inevitably at Westminster

Look  guys, you’re knocking at an open door. Yes it’s not yet resolved as we haven’t got a new UK government. That will take on the outside 74 days.  But the Republic had to wait 69 days for their new government so they know how to wait. What’s the alternative? It isn’t good politics  to keep demonising the Tory government before they’ve devised a Brexit strategy and when there plainly isn’t any alternative. One Nation Tories will want to to hold the UK together. so they’re hardly likely  to ignore you are they? Not even an excitable Colm Eastwood.

David Cameron may about to become yesterday’s man but  the holding position in his resignation  statement is as good as any:

We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union.

This will need to involve the full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to ensure that the interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced.

Ok so Theresa May left us out Very irritating I agree. But hey, as a leader she’s work in progress. We’re there is spirit.

We need leadership that can unite our Party and our country. With the Labour Party tearing itself to pieces, and divisive nationalists in Scotland and Wales, it is nothing less than the patriotic duty of our Party to unite and govern in the best interests of the whole country

The novice Andrea Leadsom did rather better.

The team that I will assemble to lead Britain out of the EU will consult opposition politicians, business people, farmers, trades unions and trade negotiators. 

I will closely consult with colleagues from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved parliaments, as well as here in Westminster, to make the most of the huge opportunity that lies ahead.

I will do everything in my power to keep the United Kingdom United.

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments have leverage if the UK government  thought to ignore them.  EU law is incorporated into the  the NI Act and Scotland Acts and will have to be amended. For that, permission would be sought from the devolved institutions. But if permission was refused as a blocking tactic as Nicola Sturgeon has hinted, Westminster could over rule the Scottish Parliament but only at the cost of a huge constitutional barney which would strengthen the case for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Westminster could at a pinch allow Scotland to remain subject to EU law and retain another vestige of membership but to what end? Better  to bind the three “nations” in closely to the Brexit negotiations. The parliamentary route is bound to be more fruitful.

 Legal wrangling persists over whether Parliament’s permission is legally necessary before the new government triggers Article  50 of the Lisbon Treaty to  begin up to two years- negotiation, to exit. But whether it’s legally necessary or not the political  case is overwhelming. My colleague Colm O’Cinneide makes a case that is likely to divide Westminster , not mainly  on party lines  but according to Leave v Remain, but with Leave’s position strengthened by virtue of the referendum result.

…(the)  obsessive focus on the question of whether Parliament must approve a decision to trigger Article 50 risks obscuring the fact that good reasons exist – both prudential and principled – as to why government might want to seek the approval of Parliament before taking this step irrespective of whether it is required by law.

It is highly probable that Parliament, if asked to approve a triggering of Article 50, will feel itself bound to do so as a consequence of the decisive popular vote for Brexit. However, Parliament may wish to delay triggering Article 50, considering that the circumstances are not right. It might even take the decision that a material change of circumstances or some other development means it is no longer bound by the referendum result. This would be intensely controversial, and perhaps unjustifiable in the absence of a second referendum vote. But it is a choice that should be available to a sovereign Parliament, given the importance of the decision at issue.

Deny it Ambassador may as the mouthpiece of the status quo,  but it lurks in the background. Meanwhile, Newton is pitch perfect.

“Calm down darlings!”




Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • Kevin Breslin

    So a region that votes 56% Remain is represented by only 5 pro-Remain MPs? Kinnehan, Durkan, Herman, Ritchie and McDonnell. Even adding the Shinners it is still disproportionate quorum. 9/10 instead of 10/18

    Strictly speaking, replace pro-customs and pro-checkpoints and pro-false pork-barrel Gavin Robinson with anti-customs and anti-checkpoints and anti-false pork-barrels Naomi Long and then it’s more reflective.

    The UK had a 1/8th stake in the European Union, to influence and change it… and democratically choose to throw it all away.

    Northern Ireland’s stake is 1/34th in the United Kingdom, a lot less than even the Republic of Ireland’s stake in the European Union and they have things like a Commissioner and a national veto.

    And you speak of leverage here, … let’s put it into perspective 14 seats …possibly 13 seats at the next general election?

    Oh Please don’t put up customs posts, don’t put in immigration checks, don’t cut us away from the single market or we’ll take our 14 votes elsewhere?

    What Barnett Price is that?

    Do we get more compensation just because our 18 MPs come from the only place in the UK with an EU land border?

    If the government come back from the European Union having failed to get Free Trade Deals or Customs compromises … what use are those 14 seats anyway? If the government fails and those 14 let’s even say 18 seats were to threaten the government?

    Northern Ireland doesn’t have leverage, we are a net recipient of UK money… if you are a unionist and you cannot threaten the UK with separatism the only thing you can do is let the English turn off the Barnett tap until Northern Ireland becomes a net contributor to the United Kingdom and can play hardball.

    What else can you do?

    Call another Ulster Worker’s Strike … maybe … could be more effective than 12 men and 2 women and 4 empty seats at Westminster!

    Unionism is forced into alliance (no pun intended) with the anti-union SNP, Plaid Cymru and the SDLP because the other parties are at civil war with one another … and let’s be honest Northern Ireland is not high on the agenda of either of the two main English based parties because English nationalism … and controlling borders … even our own open border to our own destruction … is up there at number 1 & 2 respectively.

    We have 2000 migrants a year coming in net, why should we care? The Republic of Ireland is just as responsible for migration to Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom and we’re leaving a body where both were in it.

    £1 billion out of the Northern Ireland economy …. for the sake of 2000 migrants from the EU and not, with work permits and not … we’re losing £500,000 a year per extra traveler here to ease the paranoia of England even before we put the checks in place.

    A new form of penal law where our economy pays the salary of 25 nurses back to England for recruiting one Portuguese nurse!

    Why are we to pay that, are they afraid us Ulstermen and Ulsterwomen are going to smuggle 6 million Turkish people into South Northamptonshire, or North Southamptonshire?

    Alternatively you can believe having “Rule Britannia” blasting out your eardrums on an MP3 player means the English government with 1 Scot and maybe 4 Welsh MPs has solidarity with the people of Northern Ireland simply because people on that side of the water have the same music taste and currency as you do.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Gerry Fitt brought down a government … once.

  • Jollyraj

    “NI MPs are regarded as an little more than a irrelevant oddity with funny accents by English MPs.”

    I take it this insight comes from your extensive network of contacts among the political class?

  • OneNI

    Interesting article that finds me in some agreement with Brian Walker and I think the other posts are missing the nuances of the situation.
    Nationalist politicians and Ernekid and Kevin need to realise they have no POWER as such and will not be involved in the negotiations but the UK Govt will be keen to keep as many people as possible happy.
    Rather than spouting on about the ’56’ or demanding border polls they can BUILD leverage by being constructive.
    The Single Market/Free Movement etc will largely be decided by UK /EU
    What matters most on this island I would contend is the continued existence of the Common Travel Area. The Republic and UK are outside Schengen and need now to agree a formal agreement – lets calls it the ‘Foyle Agreement’ that maintains free movement for Irish and British citizens throughout these islands, gives mutual universal welfare, health and voting rights in law and (importantly) that has a Unified External Border.
    SF are rapidly putting themselves in a position of irrelevance. Eastwood would be wise to exercise a more practical approach.

    This is compatible with free movement. EU citizens would be free to enter the Republic and to settle and work there. EU citizens (once they have passed through agreed UK/Ireland border control) would be free to travel to NI (and GB) but clearly would not have the right to settle or work in the UK.

  • Redstar

    No you just need to look at most NI question sessions- the British MPs near knock each other over to get out of the chamber fast!!!

  • Jollyraj

    They’re all British MP’s so I’m not quite sure what you mean.

  • Redstar


    You and I know even many of the English MPs don’t count the mad Paddy MPs as British!!!!

  • cu chulainn

    Free movement is a red herring. EU citizens will be free to visit the UK in any case without a visa, as any visa would mean that UK citizens would be required to have when visiting Schengen. The can visit, but not work. The rights of Irish people in Britain will be as they have been since 1948. There is some question of the rights of British people in the ROI, but NI people are Irish anyway. The issue is customs and whether or not NI forms part of the single market.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nationalist politicians and Ernekid and Kevin need to realise they have no POWER as such and will not be involved in the negotiations but the UK Govt will be keen to keep as many people as possible happy.


    If it pleases a vast majority of British people to get rid of Northern Ireland, and that would make this vast majority happy … then the UK should in the interest of keeping a bulk of British people happy, violate the principle of consent and leave Northern Ireland to its own devices.

    Put another way, what leverage does unionism actually have over the United Kingdom … None!

    The Democratic Unionist Party have no leverage, and haven’t shown any backbone to get anything sorted for Northern Ireland as yet, in case it is shown as being disloyal to the Brexit cause.

    The Democratic Unionists don’t have a plan.

    And if the DUP give up … what Leverage does the UK have over IT … the threat of DIRECT RULE AND JOINT AUTONOMY.

    Northern Ireland were not net contributors to the European Union … so there’s no additional money on offer. Any additional money for things like corporation tax has to come from our budget in the short term or a begging bowl to Westminster who may be heading into recession.

    The only positive with the corporation tax cut is that we may have fewer corporations to lose money from than England does.

    Migration is mainly a psychological problem here, because we don’t need foreigners to be misanthropic. Our main problem is EMIGRATION, not immigration. The EU issue is largely irrelevant.

    The only devolutionary power to get back from the EU is over Agriculture and Fisheries payments, and University grant payments, and how to cut them.

    The only savings will be on salaries to Dodds and Anderson who will end up back in our Assembly anyway. Nicholson might join the Lords.

    And the fact is the Republic of Ireland is not going to surrender sovereignty over migration for the sake of whingers in North Antrim, North Belfast or North England. They will tackle problem cases as they do already … there is migration deals in place.

    I don’t see why 2,000 who will find it harder to get jobs requires ANY additional security measures either side.

    Northern Ireland has to pay to additionally police, 2,000 people a year walking the Mournes or on a train from Dundalk … to calm the nerves of people in retirement homes up in Ballycastle or Ballymena?

    And Northern Irish people are paying the Exchequer taxes to ensure there is obstacles to the freedom of movement of skilled people into Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland and to effectively ensure the cross-border economy, and our trade with European partners is harmed by Westminster brinkmanship for brinkmanship’s sake.

    Our leverage is that probably since the first time since partition, a post-Brexit England would actually be starting to exploit us.

  • OneNI

    Kevin I actually never suggested the Unionism/DUP had any leverage? – they could work with the SDLP and SF and both Govts for the common good of all? (I know it would be a first but hey)

    “the Republic of Ireland is not going to surrender sovereignty over migration”
    If the alternative is the creation of a hard border? Which Dublin Govt is going to say no to mutually beneficially arrangements and be directly responsible for the creation of check points where none currently exist?

  • Jollyraj

    Lol. Actually I also don’t count the ‘mad paddy’ MPs as British, either. Sinn Fein don’t want to be British, and I’m ok with that. Can’t be easy for them though, the Sinners, with their existential identity crisis: staunchly refusing to be British, but also not quite Irish (in fact, at least the NI branch of SF, somewhat of a contradiction and an embarassment to the glibal brand of Irishness). Not a bit wonder so many of their members are prone to depression and odd behavioural quirks.

  • Kevin Breslin

    If the United Kingdom wants to raise a hard border on the Island of Ireland to deal with 2,000 people that’s their prerogative.

    The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign democratic nation … it didn’t hand over immigration control to the British when they put security checks on the island during the Troubles.
    Not a single voter in the Republic even a British born one would see the sense in that.

    There’s a reason why David Cameron suggested security checks at ports and airports might be enough. Let British & Irish citizens show a drivers licence or some other ID instead of of passport

    The bigger problem is how does the Republic deal with British citizens (who don’t have an Irish passport) in their airports trying to get into the European Union, if the United Kingdom and the European Union are at odds with one another over free movement.

    The Republic’s net migration is not much higher than Northern Ireland’s.

    The Republic is the one sure ally the UK has at the EU table,

  • Redstar

    So you reckon most people in Britain think don’t DUP are mad Paddys

    I remember when the conflict was at its worst a survey in England showed a high proportion of respondents thought big Ian was an IRA leader . I assume the main rabble rouser they seen on their TVs was Paisley and the main group involved in violence they seen was IRA so they put two and two together

    You are being naive in the extreme if you think most people in Britain differentiate when it comes to all those living in this dysfunctional statelet

  • OneNI

    Lets remember that the Republic has many more citizens in GB and more huge personal and economic travel East West than North South.

    “The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign democratic nation … it didn’t hand over immigration control to the British”

    Here comes the nationalist twaddle – you are essentially saying Irish nationalist prejudice against the British runs so deep that you would cut your nose of to spite your face.

    Given that the UK gave the Republic its IT border infrastructure in 2003 I suspect these arrangements are Already Unoffically in place!

    You’ve invented a problem (about British citizens travelling to rest EU from the Republic) that doesn’t exist!

    “The Republic is the one ally the UK has at the EU table” you reckon? Watch and learn

  • OneNI

    I think (excuse me if I’m wrong) the point of Brian’s article was that the local parties (and the southern govt) could work together to persuade the Govt to tweak things to everyones benefit?
    A tirade of prejudice againstMay and Leadsom and ‘Tory PMs’ who ‘Don’t Care’ says more about you than contributing anything constructive

  • Kevin Breslin

    You really don’t understand how the Common Travel Area works … it’s a sovereignty pulling arrangement much like Schengen.

    The Republic of Ireland polices its terrain, and the United Kingdom polices its terrain.

    It’s based on mutual consent … not brinkmanships.

    I know it might be annoying to a few people in Northern Ireland that these two places can work together on their own terms, but that the way it goes.

    At the end of the day mutual consent is not absolute, the UK did put checkpoints up in Northern Ireland, and as a response, the Republic of Ireland refused to extradite any terrorist caught on its side of the border, then likewise with the UK.

    Non-cooperation isn’t a pleasant option, but it is an option nonetheless.

    I think you might be the one prejudicial about the British government this time, thinking it would want to waste its time and its money on the fears of people up in North Antrim and East Antrim who want the Ethnics Out (often Chinese or Commonwealth based citizens from outside the EU).

    That issue has nothing to do with Ireland’s land border or the EU.

    The only ones who are threatening a hard border … are hardline loyalists and republicans… which we already have in terms of peace walls and are actually quite effective in reducing migration in any sense of the word … and xenophobes

    As for “inventing a problem (about British citizens travelling to rest EU from the Republic) that doesn’t exist”

    Tell me why if the UK surrenders freedom of movement in a reciprocal arrangement with the European Union that this problem doesn’t surface?

    I’m not the one inventing this problem, the 17 million Leave voters did.

  • Redstar

    To be fair everything Ernekid put in his post about those jingoistic buffoons is true!

  • Declan Doyle

    How many times was here speech written and rewritten, checked and rechecked. And nobody thought she should mention the North? FFS

  • Kevin Breslin

    I honestly think May did better, she realizes that challenges are difficult in the road ahead.

    Leadsom seems like a fascist populist, she hates that half her country dislikes her point of view, and doesn’t believe that there is any more money going towards the NHS.

    These are either empty platitudes bordering on the fraudulent or dare I say it part of a female version of the Walter Mittley Complex.

    She won’t get the leadership, she might get the Ministry for Brexit … then all the mistakes from botching Brexit process will be laid squarely at her feet if she has any courage about her.

    It would be an interesting addition to her CV.

    The idea of someone as incompetent as Leadsom or even Villiers handling these issues fills me with disgust, as the Ministry for Brexit is going to be headed up by a Vote Leave liar who is going to face the bitter truths.

    The only comfort is that it will eventually fill those who campaigned for Leave in Northern Ireland, like the DUP, TUV, People before Profit and so on with disgust as well.

    There wasn’t any money, any more or any sovereignty, just a reworking of what is already there.

  • Sprite

    Maybe she just meant that Sinn Fein are administering British rule so well that there are no divisive nationalists in this part of the United Kingdom worth worrying about

  • Kevin Breslin

    Why are they worried about the Scottish Nationalists then if they too are administering British rule?

  • Obelisk

    It is that Scotland is important to them on some level, whereas Northern Ireland isn’t.

    And I am not saying that as a wind up. I believe that to be true.

  • Obelisk

    I have to disagree, I think she’ll win.

    I’d love to be proven wrong of course. But now that they are safely in power and Cameron is out the door with his modernising witchcraft they are finally free to select the correct sort of swivel eyed right wing raving lunatic they think the country needs.

    Lucky us!

  • Obelisk

    But they don’t care. And to be fair, why should they? Not one single vote for the Conservative government comes from Northern Ireland.

    As long as Northern Ireland is quiet it can be safely ignored. Ignoring Northern Ireland has been Britain’s default position regarding the place since partition.

    Even when they’ve been engaged it has been under awful scenarios and with the stated goal of making the place quiet again.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Leadsom will try to win as much of a moral victory as possible.

    No Leaver wants their hand-prints over the Brexit negotiations, they just want to use their mandate to be Katie Hopkins wannabes.

    That’s why I think May’s evil genius to put the Leave people to the test.

  • Obelisk

    Even if that was her plan it’s out of her hands now. As Boris found to his cost, people may actually vote the crazy option turning a heroic defeat into a nightmare victory.

  • eireanne3

    re Common Travel Area.
    Why keep on and on appealing to this ancient custom/agreement?

    It worked fine when the ROI and UK were out of the EU.
    And it worked fine when both the ROI and UK were in the EU.

    Why evidence is there that it will be continued or be able to work well when the UK is out of the EU and the ROI is in?

  • chrisjones2

    “Leadsom seems like a fascist populist, she hates that half her country dislikes her point of view, and doesn’t believe that there is any more money going towards the NHS.”


    “These are either empty platitudes bordering on the fraudulent or dare I say it part of a female version of the Walter Mittley Complex.”

    Evidence? Why do you need the sexist comments to try and belittle her? Why are you so afraid?

  • chrisjones2

    Why should it. We are very small but integral part of the UK

  • chrisjones2

    “Nationalist politicians and Ernekid and Kevin need to realise they have no POWER as such”

    Impolite …even if correct

  • chrisjones2

    What evidence is that it wont work?

  • chrisjones2

    “The only devolutionary power to get back from the EU is over Agriculture and Fisheries payments, and University grant payments, and how to cut them”

    Utter crap. For example the reason that any Corporation Tax cut has to be offset against the Block Grant is EU rules on state aid. Doh!


  • eireanne3

    circumstances have changed – it seems prudent to suppose the CTA will have to change accordingly. like so many other things – always supposing Art 50 is ever activated

  • chrisjones2

    “If the United Kingdom wants to raise a hard border on the Island of Ireland to deal with 2,000 people that’s their prerogative.”

    Well all these things need resolved by negotiation ….and if they arent then Ireland doesn’t have to sell all those goods and services to the UK and we dont have to buy them. For exaple outside the Eu when all those cows stuffed with Clanbuterol were detected the UK might have immediately banned Irish Beef Imports until it was sure they were safe

  • chrisjones2

    Loyalists arent threatening a hard border. Republicans are to whip up fear.

  • chrisjones2

    You seem obsessed to the point of ranting. Seriously? Have you sought help?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Leadsom doesn’t really care about Brexit, or spending money on the NHS, or if people think she’s scary or not.

    Andrea Leadsom doesn’t scare me as a Remain supporter, she annoys me because she’s consistently dishonest and or delusional.

    If she’s in the job making apologies, trying to manage expectation, It means we get Omnishambles Part II.

    I can’t wait as she is forced to put the English nationalists and Ulster loyalists in their place again.

    People who in my opinion seem to be looking for the Second Coming of an Jesus Christ to happen, only British.

    I can’t wait until her own supporters have to question why the Leave lies were proven to be wrong.

    Or maybe like Boris, Gove, Grayling, Farage … and indeed Iain Duncan Smith let’s not forget … quit when the going gets tough.

    Leadsom is as good a reason for Northern Ireland to get more independence and independent from England, whether that’s cutting the block grant for more devolution, or trying to campaign for Irish unity, or a kind of Irish Unity or Northern Irish independent state or some other constitutional arrangement.

    I don’t know where Energy Secretary and NIO minister come, but the latter probably remains the worst job in the cabinet (Yes Minister) and the former is probably equally unrewarding.

    We really need to build a wall to keep out people who would destroy our economy in a heart beat if it would help them with their emotions. How can that be a Union?

  • smcgiff

    To be fair, she was never going to mention ‘the North’.

  • Declan Doyle

    That’s the problem it is only delusional Unionism that agrees with you. London does not recognise the North as an integral part of the UK, it is quite sad sometimes reading some comments on here where people believe that the North is seen as an important part of the UK. It isn’t , never was and never will be. The North has nothing to offer Britain, culturally, socially, economically or financially. London behaviour towards the North is akin to an embarrassed distant cousin.

    London is far more interested in its relationship with Dublin and has a far better relationship with the Irish Political establishment. On all levels London and Dublin would happily completely ignore political Unionism if they could. That’s the hard truth.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I will simply quote Ken Clarke on this matter …

    “I don’t think either Andrea Leadsom or Boris Johnson actually are in favour of leaving the European Union.

    Sir Malcolm: “Well I don’t think they even cared very much either way.”

    Mr Clarke: “She is not one of the tiny band of lunatics who think we can have a sort of glorious economic future outside the single market.

    “So long as she understands that she’s not to deliver on some of the extremely stupid things she’s been saying.”

    There’s a man who seems to know the inside track.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Hard border, blame who you like … shows you how much any form of nationalist jingoism bordering on the violently psychotic results in.

  • Kevin Breslin

    So the 1950’s and 1960’s is too modern … you want to go back to the days of the Economic War?

    As for banning EU goods, the fact is we have country of origin certification to highlight these issues. The UK would have been in its rights to ban what it feels may be a defective produce … just as EU countries banned British and Irish beef during the Foot and Mouth and BSE epidemics.

    It’s only through inter-connectivity and the universal transfer of information that we improve.

  • Jollyraj

    Time, date, and ideally a link to the survey would be nice. Else how would we know it really happened?

    I agree, though, there is a certain irony in the notion of Paisley at his worst as some kind of Loathsome IRA fanboy a la Kelly, Devlin et al. Amusing also that if he had been, some of your brethern on here would be hailing him as one of the finest minds of his generation.

  • john millar

    “What matters most on this island I would contend is the continued existence of the Common Travel Area. The Republic and UK are outside Schengen and need now to agree a formal agreement – l”

    The common travel area is consequence of partition. —It is impossible to operate otherwise —as long as citizens of the ROI have unfettered acess to GB via N Ireland.

    End partition however and an entirely new situation arises. Or as a neighbour who worked for the (then) immigration service said “then we can treat you like the fucking aliens you are” –he was not entirely joking.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well I hate to break it to you Homer Simpson quoter, but Thresea Villiers says the Azores Rules have to stand, pretty much they cannot have Scotland and Wales and every other region pleading for lower corporation tax than the rest of the UK without a price.

    An Agreement is an Agreement, and Foster has to accept there is no Brexit windfall.

    See at the bottom…It’s from the Irish News, so as a Unionist you can read Northern Ireland instead of “The North” if it pleases you.

    As for Agriculture and Fisheries, the UK despite being the 5th highest recipient of CAP, and despite getting a rebate in this area has consistently in Europe, whether Labour, Conservative-Liberal Democrat, or true blue Conservative in both their MEPs and governments, wants to cut funding for farmers.

    As John McCallister said It’s often the French and the Irish that fight our battles for us in these COMMON Agricultural Policy debates.

    The UK may actually increase payments, and there is a simple way to do that … ensure there is less farms.

    Universities … well Northern Ireland is divesting in them anyway, the UK may survive 2020 funding.

    Then it has to choose whether it wants to do a Switzerland. It comes down to whether the UK wants to go from being one of the world’s best scientific collaborators or taking funding out of say multiplier research in say Human Brain analysis and nanotechnologies like graphene that generates money to invest in the NHS to instead consume the money directly in the National Health Service.

    Of course the European Union (partially due to British influence) have combine the latter two Farming/Fisheries and Science/R&D … so to maximize the effort in both. Northern Ireland has had a bad record in R&D so it should be fun to see if the farmers who voted Leave to ensure the good old days and less red tape realise that they may be forced to diversify their product and have their foods subject to more labratorial work/ and or inspection.

    Fun Times.

  • lizmcneill

    Not very integral if politicians keep forgetting we exist, are we?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’d put Grayling an a nice inside bet for Brexit boss, he’s her campaign manager but pro-Leave. It would stink of nepotism and that may lead to Leave factionalism. Also he’s not Boris Johnson … that’s probably an advantage.

    It would be a hemishambles rather than an omnishambles as I think May could survive the backbenches fighting among themselves with a bit of Labour support.

    If Leadsom becomes PM, maybe she might go with a Remain Brexit negotiator out of pragmatism, if she copies May’s idea.

    May may actually be her first choice.

    But she could pick Gove, I guess as well.

  • Katyusha

    I believe it is an outworking of the Ireland Act, where citizens of the Republic are not treated as foreigners under British law. Hence, the right to vote, the right to work, et cetera.

    For all the animosity, Ireland and Britain never separated to the extent of being completely foreign nations to one another.

    Of course, Westminster could repeal this if they wished.

  • chrisjones2

    But Ken is one of the old buffers who have been wrong on almost all European issues since 1980.

    He woiuld have had us join tyhe Euro 10 years ago and ruined us. He recently gave an interview before the referendum result where he forecast that the UK would stay in the EU and join the Euro by 2030. Not a reliable source old chap

  • chrisjones2

    I have to say chaps and chapesses that this is all nonsense. Whoever wins has to build a broad church in the Party – that means May, Ledsome, Boris and even Gove will all be cutched back in with the offer of roles in building a new brighter future outside the EU.

    I will even be surprised if the grey suits havent already been brokering a deal. None of us can afford to wait 3 months – so better to sort it quietly now with a balanced agreement. May as PM and Ledsome as Chancellor. Dry economic policy and socially liberal perhaps

  • cu chulainn

    Perhaps the UK will stay in the EU and join the Euro, It is about as likely to work as anything else.

  • Reader

    Brian Walker: Ok so Theresa May left us out Very irritating I agree.
    Um, well, yes, if you want to be listed as a ‘divisive nationalist’. There are some lists you would want to be left out of.
    I’m not really sure she should have mentioned Plaid Cymru in the list either – they are at a fairly low ebb too.

  • cu chulainn

    What exactly are they threatening? We’d be grateful if you would tell us.

  • eamoncorbett

    Germany , France, Austria, Holland , Belgium and Finland all use the Euro , not one of these countries could in any way be described as ruined , why then do you say that the Euro would have ruined Britain, and several of them have higher living standards than UK citizens . Most of these countries have health systems with minimal waiting lists , A&E with 1 to 2 hours at most before you’re seen by a doctor . NI would not come up to the standards set by these countries in a million years . All these countries have fantastic infrastructure , with road and rail networks that link every major city . This is the Europe I know , ok some countries struggle with the currency eg. Spain Greece but they could return to their old money and still stay part of the union , after all Denmark and Sweden do alright as did Britain . Brexit is a massive departure , as trade deals are difficult to negotiate with each side endlessly scrapping for the best result.

  • Declan Doyle

    It seems the moderaters on here are happy for you to insult Kevin Breslin but have a bit of a hissy when you are insulted at the same level. One of the upsides of being a Unionist I guess. Nevertheless, try to accept Kevins views for what they are, and try to respect him and others who happen to hold a different view to you.

  • terence patrick hewett

    If the UK lasts as it is presently constituted more than the life of two or three parliaments: i will be suprised.

  • Redstar

    I note the pound is now the worlds weakest major currency. It has now dropped below the Argentinian Peso. Oh the irony for the Col Blimp leavers!!!

    Perhaps you can beg the Argies to take the Malvinas off your hands and ask Argentina for a bail out!!!!

  • Teddybear

    Very lazy use of the word ‘fascist’. Show me her pledges to exterminate entire races of people and I will gladly agree with your statement in public.

  • Kevin Breslin

    She was very condecending about those who had objections and concerns about Brexit. She may be just out of touch with real people on the ground.
    I probably shouldnt have used fascist but demagogue instead. The reputation most Leave supporter politicans seem to show is that they never take on the authority to actually be authoritarian.

    She is as far as I’m concerned capable of Blairite levels of duplicy and we all know what he ended up doing.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I have a feeling Ken isnt bluffing here when he knows Leadsom. Leadsom has been involved in a European movement that has produced Fresh Start for Europe in which this organisation ideas talk about returning to the single market and taking on board some freedom of movement.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I help myself.
    Meanwhile the UK is trying to do complex trade deals with only six expert trade specialists and have politicans who want to trigger Article 50 without a plan.

  • John Collins

    Of course. Just look at the way they dealt with the last Foot and Mouth Crisis, in relation to NI, and Major telling Unionist MPs , off the dispatch box in Westminster, that it ‘would turn my stomach to talk to SR/IRA’, when he was in full negotiation mode with them

  • Paddy Reilly

    That would make her a Nazi, over and above being a Fascist. The original Fascists in Italy believed in restoring order by use of force and making the trains run on time, not genocide.

  • chrisjones2

    So the children in the market are playing against the pound. So what. Bound to happen. It will correct itself and in the meantime its a bonanza for exporters

    In any case, freedom sometimes has a price!

  • chrisjones2

    Pre referrendum when there was a hope of EU reform. Then there wasn’t and we voted Brexit

  • chrisjones2

    Ask Greece, Italy, Portugal for example. And the stronger Euro block countries are paying the costs of the weaker.

  • chrisjones2

    ” they just want to use their mandate to be Katie Hopkins wannabes.”

    Best you can do? Ranting isnt argument

  • chrisjones2

    “Leadsom doesn’t really care about Brexit, or spending money on the NHS, or if people think she’s scary or not.”

    There you go again

  • Old Mortality

    ‘It has now dropped below the Argentinian Peso.’
    That’s a pretty witless statement. I think you’ll find a pound buys a lot more in Buenos Aires than it does in London.

  • chrisjones2

    Initially it was scare stories in the run up to the referendum. Now its scare stories to promote al all Ireland Forum

    Its all rubbish. The only people who may demand a hard border are the EU – and they can pay for it and make it work if they want it

  • chrisjones2

    Yes ….but republicans have always been like that. The UK is outward looking to trading in the world. Hence Brexit

  • chrisjones2

    I help myself.


  • chrisjones2

    I respect his views when he expresses them . What i challenge is his pointless and continued sexist comments and regualar rants. He has lost all perspective

  • chrisjones2

    We shall see.

    But it will be OUR choice . Just as it is Ireland’s choice to submerge itself in a European Union. Indeed there are parallels with Scotland which fought for freedom for hundreds of years, won it and with a relatively short time sold itself into Union to stave of bankruptcy. Now 300 years later its re-evaluating again ……. and will decide if it can afford to go.

    I will bet that the ‘heros’ of 1916 so lauded this year would be very pleased at the path their great grandchildren have chosen to follow

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well other than clarifying that she doesn’t care that the £350 million for the NHS was a lie, and frankly £35 million which is probably just ring fenced inflationary spending is more realistic given the economic problems the UK has happened.

    In terms of not caring about Brexit or any perception that she gives to effectively the large more experienced section of her government, I would say yes she doesn’t care. The fact that she won’t sign a clean campaign commitment and suggests Thresea May having no children is a handicap to negotiating terms for Brexit is just bizarre and illogical.

    Anyway applying such Brexit logic, I’m looking forward to Wales vs. England this weekend, because when you believe in national ability like the British Brexit bunch do instead of experts in football like say Ronaldo and Pogba, the rest of the world capitulates.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The american colonists of 1776: the Irish Republicans of 1922 did not count the cost of freedon in a few points of currency. If you think freedom has a price then you don’t want freedom you want something else. What do you want Red? and what is your price?

    Colonel Blimp of course was willing to pay any price including his own life: Britain’s Great War loan debt was only finally paid in 2015 by Gordon Brown. And it is debatable whether the debt to the US has never been paid.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Indeed: the constitutional tincan cannot be forever kicked down the road.

  • Declan Doyle

    So the Scots may not think with their wallets over their hearts then.

  • The Irishman

    Chris, I have been reading slugger for a number of years now. I believe about 95% of your comments are pointless. It is akin to a small child at the back of the class room nudging his friend and whispering what they believe to be witty remarks that are only witty to themselves

  • Obelisk

    Breaking away from the European Union when the experts tell you it will bring economic calamity is a defiant act of a principled, mature democracy. They do not count the costs of freedom, they merely stake the claim to it from which all future prosperity will undoubtedly spring.

    Breaking away from the United Kingdom when the experts tell you it will bring economic calamity is a selfish, cynical move that only jingoistic and narrow minded Nationalists could countenance. They pay scant regard to the shared burden of the Union, or the obvious benefits of remaining. They merely wish to break what is of benefit to everyone and they will pay the price should their reckless schemes succeed.

    You can swap the nouns around a bit if you wish.

  • chrisjones2

    Fine. With all that experience shame you only started to comment 1 month ago

    You are entitled to your view – just like me. The beauty here – like TV – is that you dont have to read or comment. There is an off switch

    By the way on Disqus I have 8450 upvotes on my posts. What is your figure please?

  • Declan Doyle

    You have precious few on this thread.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There will be reform and without the Tories. I expect TIPP will be an early casulty. The Tories will introduce their own TIPP.

    Reform will happen in the EU through democracy not UK government dictatorship.

    The UK’s respect for democracy is summed up by the fact Parliament doesnt even vote on who suceeds David Cameron. The next Tory leader becomes PM even if there’s a majority opposed to that choice.

  • chrisjones2

    “The Tories will introduce their own TIPP.”

    But Obama said we would be back of the queue. MInd you President Trump may have a different view

    “Parliament doesn’t even vote on who succeeds David Cameron.”

    You are surpassing yourself Kevin. Cameron is the leader of the Conservative Party . The post of PM goes to he or she whom the Queen assesses can command a majority of the House

    “Reform will happen in the EU through democracy ”

    Well good luck with that one. It hasn’t happened so far

  • chrisjones2

    Or the Irish and others may drop our and help us form a new market oriented group to bring health wealth and prosperity to our countries

  • cu chulainn

    As John the Optimist noted in the other thread, Ireland has grown faster than than UK for 6 decades and has already brought prosperity to that part of the country not still occupied by Britain.

  • john millar

    How are the current holders of UK passports processed?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Love this, you attack EU democracy while at the same time admitting the PM is selected by an unelected monarchs judgement call.

    My own judgement call is the UK Free Trade Bill suggested by Brexiters was to be a unilateral reduction in protectionist measures … Effectively it’s a big sell out to acquire foreign ownership of public and private assets.

    I also think Trump is more likely to put up trade barriers outside of keeping the UK as a financial satellite state. How much the UK would be allowed to compete on US shores with him in charge, will be questionable. Clinton may adopt the UK behind the EU approach that Obama had.

    Either way a UK understaffed for trade will find it hard to defend the interests of ordinary people from the likes of USA, EU, China etc.

  • Kevin Breslin

    As was the 26 counties south of Northern Ireland, until the policies of John Bull’s main island destroyed most of it economically and politically at least in the perception of a majority of its denizens.

    We’ve already seen £1 billion estimated to go off the block grant through Brexit, 7 billion more and Northern Ireland is de facto independent, even by Treasury estimates.

    Those English nationalists voting Leave want to cut the Barnett Grant.

    Makes you wonder how integral are we and why?

  • The Irishman

    I stand by what I said. You will probably find that your up votes are for the 5% of your comments that are not completely pointless.

    As for what my figure is? Well, I’m just not childish enough to care about how many up votes my comments get.