Pressure on Theresa May is mounting.. and this is only the start..

Theresa May’s little pitch over coffee at the EU summit last night seems to have backfired.  The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph although divided over a hard and a soft Brexit  are united in reporting  that she  ” created a lot of anger.”

This from the bête noire.

Asked how talks had gone with Mrs May last night, Jean-Claude Juncker shrugged his shoulders and spluttered “Pfff”.

The European Commission president said: “We had no special event with Theresa May yesterday.

“She was explaining what her intentions are. I’ll have lunch with her and then we will see what happens.”

The Times(£) is running a scare story..

Theresa May is coming under pressure from ministers and Conservative MPs to reconsider her decision not to hold an early election amid fears that Brexit is becoming more difficult and potentially damaging.

Tories in marginal seats who rejected an early election over the summer are starting to suggest that a poll next year could be the least risky option for Mrs May. They believe it would be more dangerous to wait until 2020.

Ministers concede that key Brexit legislation may not get through the Commons. Fear is also growing that the government will lose the court case over triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty without a vote in Parliament, which would delay the start of the process of leaving the EU beyond March.

Both defeats would be likely to result in Mrs May being forced into a general election in circumstances that were not of her choosing.

There is a typically eloquent piece by Fintan O’Toole in the Guardian urging that Ireland should act as the bridge between the UK and the EU.  He  rightly notes with deep frustration that despite all that has happened  down the centuries, Ireland  north and south remains the English blind spot right under their noses, once an immediate crisis has been disposed of.  (Scotland  is not so different too, he might have added. One fundamental problem today is the lack of effective  representation  inside what is still a mainly two party system at Westminster, or anything to compensate for it adequately, but that’s a theme for another day).  But does Dublin carry the weight in either London or Brussels? Let’s hope…

No one knows better than the Irish the chagrin of having your neighbours adopt a superior tone and tell you to get over your funny historic obsessions – so Ireland shouldn’t do that to England now. Instead the Irish government has to do the decent thing for all concerned, which is to try to talk its British friends down from the ledge of a hard Brexit, and to talk its European friends out of pushing Britain off that ledge.

There is still time between now and the invocation of article 50 in March 2017 to galvanise a common effort across all the polities of these islands to look for a third way between hard Brexit and no Brexit.

It is, in this, a fine model for the kind of creative reconciling of opposing impulses that could solve the English question.

The boss of PWC Ireland Fergal O’Rourke  refutes the idea put forward by among others Gay Byrne and FT commentator Walter Munchau that Ireland should consider leaving the EU. No doubt that view will prevail. But O’Rourke  should have  given greater consideration  to  Ireland’s balance of trade with Britain and reminded us gently that it was the Republic not the UK that diverged the currency, first by floating the punt and then by joining the euro. The border is not all  the creation of the British side.

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

  • Katyusha

    Which is a good reason for any French presidential candidate to say they can’t let the problem in Calais to continue to fester. Better to move it to Kent.

  • Angry Mob

    Pays substantially less than we do for EEA access.

    Does not vote on EU matters as it’s not in the EU but does have a say on the the single market however.

    Tariffs are only on food/agricultural products which Norway wisely excluded itself for the betterment of its own agricultural and fishing industries whereas UK & Ireland screwed up massively in this respect.

    Norway opted into the Schengen agreement hence higher immigration among various other factors plus they can unilaterally invoke article 112 of the EEA agreement in which they could limit any of the four freedoms if they choose to do so including immigration.

    Throw in the fact that they can represent themselves at the top tables by shunning the common position EU member must take and the ability to make its own trade agreements it’s a good first step for the UK to take.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Ireland didn’t screw up massively with regard to its fishing rights, it used them as a bargaining chip to get funding from the EU to help build its economy.

    Ireland is a nation of only 4.6 million and has a fishing fleet capability commensurate with that population.

    Fishing fleets from other nations in the EU have taken Billions of Euro of fish from those waters which Ireland didn’t have the means of exploiting in the same way.

    Think of it like this, you have an asset which has been inherited by you and has been in your family forever.

    The legacy is land but you are neither a farmer nor a builder and therefore have limited personal use for the land.

    A builder comes to you and offers you £1 million for the land, you sell it to him and he builds luxury houses and makes a profit of £20 million.

    Both of you are satisfied with the deal and neither of you has been exploited, you both knew what was being agreed.

    You are fully entitled to your £1 million because you owned the land, the builder is entitled to his £20 million profit because he had made the investment, taken the risk and sold the property at the right price.

    That is why Ireland doesn’t owe the EU anything other than the opportunity provided which it quite correctly took advantage of.

    Good business for all concerned.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You are aware that the UK imports more than it exports overall and that Ireland is one of the few countries which imports more from the UK than it exports to it?

    Which means that currently Ireland is importing goods at a cheaper rate than usual, and although their exports are dearer the balance is in Ireland’s favour at present?

  • Angry Mob

    I think @terence_patrick_hewett:disqus hit the nail on the head here from what he typed elsewhere in this thread:

    “The Australian Ambassador got it right:

    “What is the matter with you people: have you no ambition?”

    The answer is of course that the enervated and decadent cultures of Dublin and Westminster really do have no ambition: they are so used to sucking at the EU tit that they cannot imagine anything else.”

    The case you highlight shows why Ireland and the UK got shafted in this matter. They had no ambition. In your scenario a wise man would keep the land, go and seek the £20 investment from himself and make himself £20 million. Ireland and the UK both through its lack of ambition in the instance of fishing lost out billions but at least Ireland managed to get money from the EU.

  • Anglo-Irish

    It’s easy to talk about lack of ambition, are you aware how many businesses fail in the first eighteen months after they start up?

    Well over 50%.

    Are you suggesting that Ireland, which had only a limited fishing industry, should have somehow forced people into the fishing industry in order to exploit an asset which wasn’t historically a main source of employment?

    Ireland isn’t Russia or China, maybe if the Empire had still been in charge and the idea had been suggested but not as things were.

    The deal that was done was the best one in the circumstances and it allowed the country to prosper.

    Ireland is one of the smallest countries in the EU, and yet has managed to play its hand well and come out with a better than reasonable result.

    Nobody comes out a clear and undisputed winner in a mutual agreed pact. The UK needs to understand that.

  • Angry Mob

    Im saying that they had no ambition whereas Norway did.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Norway is self sufficient in energy, which is a major factor in the wealth of any nation, and to compare Norway with Ireland, or for that matter the UK is not reasonable.

    For its size, natural resources, and less than positive history Ireland punches way above its weight.

    How many other nations have their national day celebrated all over the world by people with no connection to the country?

    You may think it inconsequential but it isn’t, in these days where gunboat diplomacy isn’t accepted anymore ‘ soft power’ is far more effective.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think there’s something wrong with the French, it’s not the missing “ne”, it’s the misspelling of the word tout as rien.

  • mac tire

    Don’t forget the gesticulation. Lots of it, too. You know what those foreigners are like, they are so stupid they require a British version of international sign language.

    Of course, said foreigners stand bemused, wondering why these British people are speaking in broken English.

  • chrisjones2

    The FRench have always resisted that English is the de facto language of the EU. Brexit will allow them to reinformce their demand for French to be first …another step on the road to irrelevance

  • chrisjones2

    Ah ..Friday nigtht ….casual racism they go together so well

  • chrisjones2

    Except it IS in Calais and it IS their problem under International law

  • chrisjones2

    So its just the prostitution option then

  • chrisjones2

    With success comes envy

  • chrisjones2

    Yes…but its sectoral and distorted by tax avoidance

  • chrisjones2

    ” it’s not clear where he stands nowadays ”

    He doesnt know himself. WHat day is it?

  • chrisjones2

    No…they said a Repubilican party

  • mac tire

    “casual racism”

    You do a similar thing. Every. Single. Day.

    I’m making the point that many people in Europe have a great knowledge of the English language and speak it well.

    That point is lost on many within Britain because most are only educated in the one language.

    These are facts, not casual racism. You would do well to learn the difference.

    Though for a guy who professes to hate racism, you don’t half mention race (in crazy circumstances where it is not warranted, I should add). Racists are people who subdivide people into different ‘races’. We have had this out before – but, as usual you ignore the facts.

    We are the human race, Chris. Stop talking about racism and different races. Enough of that nonsense!

  • ted hagan

    Ireland (the Republic) never had a significant fishing industry in the the first palcce.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Tally Ho! Jorrocks’ Jaunts and Jollities. And so perish all Puritans. Puritans are in for a pretty thin time of it during the next 20 years; but then they will enjoy that. So pull up your socks and chase the fox, a hunting we will go.

  • chrisjones2

    Godwins law in action

  • chrisjones2

    I was referreing to thye elecyton campaign. I suggets labour campain on overturning Brexit and watch the Tories develop a majority of around 120 seats, perhaps more

  • chrisjones2

    Yes they can.

  • chrisjones2

    I assume you mean the Labour party but that is a matter of private grief for their supporters

  • chrisjones2

    We assume that is why the Troika was later so generous to Ireland in its little local difficulty then

  • Anglo-Irish

    Then you assume wrong – as usual – the reason everyone was so ‘generous’ ( you do understand the difference between a loan and a gift don’t you chris ? ) was because British, French and German banks were exposed to the risk every bit as much as Irish banks.

    You don’t think that the Irish banks on their own had access to enough funds to bring about the crisis do you?

    Other countries banks joined in and were equally culpable for the mess, there’s this thing called ‘Due Diligence’ which financial institutions are supposed to carry out before lending other peoples money.

    Had Irish banks gone down a domino effect would have taken place.

    Generosity had bugger all to do with it, self preservation was what it was about.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Exactly, and that’s why it made sense to do the deal with the EU.

    Both parties benefited and Ireland isn’t in any way beholden to the EU, business is business.

  • Anglo-Irish

    That was Obama, and he found out he couldn’t.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You appear to have a one track and somewhat sleazy mind there chris, you should try to curb your tendency to reduce debate to sexual terms, it tends to give people an impression of how your mind works, and it isn’t a flattering one.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You are aware that a majority of Conservative MPs were for Remain aren’t you?

    And given the lack of clarity, direction and plan since the referendum how many of the Leavers have changed their mind?

    In fact how many of them were like Boris, just trying to make a name for themselves as hardliners where the EU is concerned but not thinking for a minute it would turn out the way it did?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Please do explain.

  • Kevin Breslin

    No referendum on the terms of exiting the EU, possibly no Westminster debate either, limited attempts to secure the UK Union by ensuring limited say in the “regions”. Democrats only when convenient.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And that typical Lingaphobia is why some in the UK have struggled to get many of the relevant markets it wants when French and Germans companies have.

    The Swiss are multilingual, and those skills are a huge factor in their globalism.

    However to many ardent Anglocentric Anglophiles even computer languages are a bit too much.

    Pretty much reflective of learning new skills period among many, I mean promoting xenophobia and being afraid of strange things means a life of never learning or discovering committed to the search for vindication over verification.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The default position is to return to the way things were in the 1960’s, that’d be the full ratchet. Which given the negative impact of the Winter of Discontent where British people and their politicans were creating a Greek like depression of their own making, and barely getting much more than a very limited trade agreement with the Republic of Ireland, only as ironically enough a compensation for not getting the EEC at attempt one.

    British people would need special licences for exporting services and face travel issues in Schengen nations, including Switzerland. They may also face two tier regulation issues as standards don’t conform. The freight issue will have to be managed, given the economic issues facing both the UK and EU, a cozy free trade deal with no loss in resources for either would be almost delusional. The EU would find it easier to consolidate free trade than the UK.

    My belief is the UK and EU will adopt a NorSwiss hybrid to deal with trade, some conformity from the UK, some contribution and some guillotine clauses to allow it to unilaterally break bilaterals freeing the EU from the comparitive commitments to UK businesses and UK citizens if they do.

    Nothing I see from Brexit makse the UK a easier place to do business in or out of, the combination of overzealous migration controls and increased UK trade protectionism will mean populist political barriers providing disincentives to global connectivity rather than freeing businesses to grow into or out of the U.K.

  • Reader

    cu chulainn: …invented the concentration camp…
    That was the Spanish.

  • chrisjones2

    Yes…under an effective whip from the former regime and without an understanding of what the punters want

    They now have a clear instruction

  • chrisjones2

    Many areas where Ireland has the highest exports are in areas that attract high tariffs on WTO standards eg Diary and Beef

    If the UK is forced by teh EU to revert to WTO rules then Ireland may be hit very hard

    In other cases many companies eg Apple use complex tax structures where sales are booked in low tax Dublin but product is delivered in the UK . Depending upon the natiure of the product that may attract a tariff in future

  • chrisjones2

    If they cant …then its unsustainable ….thats how we ended up with Brexit

  • chrisjones2

    Democracy comes at elections. The Commons will have a choice of 2 options. You cannot have a negotiation with 650 MPS involved

  • chrisjones2

    You clealy dont understand sarcasim

  • chrisjones2

    They can always employ you Kevin – see its a world of opportunity innit

  • Anglo-Irish

    Do you have any concept as to the reasoning behind parliamentary democracy?

    Apparently you don’t, going on that post.

    What the ‘punters’ want has no bearing on the responsibilities of an MP.

    The ‘punters’ want to bring back hanging, deport all foreigners and bring in bigger pint pots, but none of that is going to happen.

    Politicians put themselves forward for selection to their party and the one the selection committee believes is best ( or the one who’s daddy is a major benefactor ) gets the position.

    That politician then goes into a contest with other parties selections to let the voters decide which one they believe is the most competent to represent them.

    MPs are paid to spend time familiarising themselves with complex matters of state, then using their best judgement to vote in the best interest of the country.

    Edmund Burke explained it many years ago.

    That is what we pay them for and that is why Cameron was a selfish moron allowing a referendum on a complex issue that very few of the public knew anything about.

    Voting when uninformed and on ‘gut feeling’ is a recipe for disaster.

  • Anglo-Irish

    It’s been going in different forms since 1957 and it will continue to exist and change – as everything does – long after we have left and learned to regret our decision.

    I am the first male in my male line in over one hundred years not to have had to serve in a European war.

    That suited me fine, and I hope that my grandson can say the same when he gets to my age.

  • Anglo-Irish

    The UK doesn’t have the capability of providing enough food to be self sufficient, and will therefore need to import from somewhere.

    Wherever it chooses will also presumably be operating under some form of tariff system, so the people that need to be most concerned are, as usual, the consumer.

    Additionally, Brexiteers appear confident that the UK can forge new export partners despite the fact that it hasn’t exactly been over performing in that area previously.

    Given its size of population Ireland has in fact been performing well and as the UK isn’t its major trading partner it will no doubt survive.

    As regards companies such as Apple, as Ireland will become the only English speaking country in the EU it can probably look forward to an increase in foreign investment.

  • Angry Mob

    Yes, I’ve heard you state how great Norway is before with some of it’s specific advantages it enjoys but all this just goes back to crux of the matter and from what you’re saying it sounds like you think that neither the UK nor Ireland is good enough to join the EFTA with other successful nations such as Norway and Switzerland.

    Not sure why you refer to gunboat diplomacy as no one seems to advocating it. In terms of soft power the UK stands up there with the US in the rankings well above Norway or even Ireland so it can clearly wield soft power.

  • Jollyraj

    “Of course, said foreigners stand bemused, wondering why these British people are speaking in broken English.”

    Irish people for the most part do the same when abroad.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Don’t remember stating anything about Norway being ‘Great’ , what I do remember is pointing out that they are fortunate enough to be self sufficient with regard to energy.

    That is a fact, and is a major factor in their favour.

    How you have managed to infer from that that I don’t think either the UK or Ireland is ‘good enough’ to join the EFTA is completely beyond me.

    The UK is a major economy, I assume it wouldn’t have too much trouble joining, as to why Ireland would wish to when it is a member of the EU I have no idea.

    The fact that Norway is prepared to pay millions to the EU and allow free movement of people in order to gain access to the EU market would suggest that membership of the EFTA isn’t exactly the be all and end all when it comes to trade arrangements.

    My reference to ‘ gunboat diplomacy ‘ was an attempted humorous point to those little Englanders/Britishers among us that seem to believe that we will be successful for no other reason than because we’re British.

    Britain ruled the world when it was considered acceptable to send a gunboat to enforce its requirements.

    Those days are gone and different skills are required for success, do we possess enough of them?

  • Angry Mob

    Maybe not currently but most importantly do we have the ambition to at least try?

  • Anglo-Irish

    It’s to be sincerely hoped so, otherwise we’re in deep do da!

    One of the main problems is that for the past 43 years we have conducted all trade negotiations as part of a multi nation organization with serious clout in being able to offer access to the wealthiest consumer market in the world as an incentive to do a deal.

    Now we are having to do the opposite and negotiate with the multi nation organization when we are already in a position of relying on them to purchase 44% of our current exports.

    As their exports / imports to us are divided between 27 countries and not one of them has us as their main trading partner it doesn’t look a particularly strong position to me.

    If the EU took it upon itself to make an example of us they could do but hopefully the situation will be handled professionally to everyones satisfaction.

  • John Collins

    Ironically the only time some of my friends, who are quite good Irish speakers, seem to be quite happy to use the Irish language is when you meet up with them on holiday abroad. They seem to feel it is ‘not polite’ to speak Irish at home, in case their offend the majority, who will only speak English.

  • John Collins

    Would you not think there was a display of ‘gun boat diplomacy’ by the Russians in the channel over the past few days.

  • Angry Mob

    That actually would be a good example but it’s not really relevant to Brexit negotiations which is what I was referring to.

  • Jollyraj

    To be fair it is rather bad manners to speak a language in the company of others who can’t understand it. And if by ‘understand’, we use the general definition of reasonable communicative effectiveness, that would be around 95-98% of folk in NI, I would guess. I know very little about Ireland, I must confess, having only ever passed through it a half dozen or so times on the way to the airport, but I’d imagine it’s up around 95% of people in your country who don’t really understand Irish?

  • John Collins

    Why should it matter if the people around are not directly involved in the discourse. My point is the same people have no problem, and actually take a certain pride in speaking Irish in exactly the same circumstances when abroad

  • John Collins

    Well I think it is no coincidence this has happened now, but maybe I am just basically suspicious. However, Russia has been sabre rattling of late in a manner they have not been doing since the eighties and Putin’s intentions are clearly expressed.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The EU and UK will not play the brinkmanship cards for long.

    Here’s how I see it playing out –

    1. Basic standard Defense and Security commitments to one another will be hammered out first. Even the most robust Eurosceptic can agree with the EU over commitments to ensure militants do not take advantage of discourse in Europe.

    2. Sub-optimal but affordable Tariff agreements will be hammered out. It will ensure mostly free trade occurs but with selective tariffs over EU (and possibly UK) subsidized produce, even then some military hardware may be exempt from tariffs regardless of whether they’ve received a subvention or not. The EU will pick and choose which ones, as it has a right to do so, with the UK free to reciprocate or choose others.

    At this point some Tories will rebel in a huff. There is still going to be common ground to have most but not all freight free from checks.

    3. Legal obligations to one another outside defense, security and external tariffs will become a drawn out process, the EU could offer Swiss like guillotine clauses on rights and a quid pro quo to mutual travel rights. Keep EU commitments for as long as you need to, but forfeit them at will, and the EU will do the same to you.

    The EU’s new approach to free movement will be sterner on travel, and even if the UK were to offer carte blanche to EU travelers, it’s likely that no matter what happens UK and potentially Irish travelers as well face new security checks and in the case of the UK maybe even visa controls.

    That will mean a much harder lot for British citizens travelling to the continent, but at least the Eurosceptics afraid of foreigners will have a sigh of relief they’re not the only ones with misanthropic instincts.

    4. Financial obligations to Science and other pan-European bodies may come last on the list, as some Conservatives are quite Luddite and will consider this the minutia, some co-operation on the formation of a Digital Services Market with UK involvement will be agreed in this rounding up period.

    Somewhere in the 3 or 4 issue the specific concerns of Northern Ireland will be thrown in by Westminster, as it has been clear the specific concerns about freight barriers in Northern Ireland is no skin off the face of many Eurosceptics in the Conservatives.

    As far as I’m concerned the threat of continental Europe ratcheting back rights to 1960’s levels in response to the UK doing the same to European citizens would be more costly to the UK than the gains from lower corporation tax, unless the UK increases non-EU migration significantly to tackle labour shortages.

    The UK is not Monaco, Hong Kong or Singapore, it’s a country with rural villages and state funded health services … it’s really silly the UK would look at this way as a means of securing investment if financial passports and harsh economic tariffs come in.

    The Free Trade/Low Tariff/Low regulation Tri-axis rarely ensures a nation state has a European Social Model with public services to all with distribution into rural communities. It does not ensure low migration either. Even Switzerland cannot manage it, so why expect the UK and the EU to do so over 2 years? Let’s be realistic here!

    At the end of the day that’s what is putting the Tory right and the EU right at odds with the rest of us.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Not sure why you refer to gunboat diplomacy as no one seems to advocating it.

    Really? I would argue many have …

    The Daily Express.
    The Daily Mail
    The Sun (of course)
    Far right fanatics in English nationalism and British loyalism
    Various right wing conservatives
    Even a few Lexiteers as well.
    Possibly a few Unionists here as well.

    How much the cabinet listens to these fanatics with harking desires for Empire is another matter.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And after some of the fall of Empire was kicking in, the Marshall Plan was a post-imperial shock absorber for the United Kingdom.

    I’ve argued that the small period between Marshall Plan and EEC membership is the only empirical testing grown for UK managing alone in the modern age.

    If the UK doesn’t want to be a suplicant, it should stop the desires for isolationism akin of Israel and Egypt effectively so called nation states who are de facto two American dependencies. A new Marshall plan for the UK will come with sovereignty costs attached e.g. debts.

    Not so much 51st state, but 54th.

  • Angry Mob

    Bit of a stretch to say that though other than maybe a handful of lunatics none are advocating force.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Well if we receive another Marshal Plan it’s to be hoped we make better use of it this time.

    Britain received far more aid than Germany after the war but instead of rebuilding and modernising our infrastructure and manufacturing capability as the Germans did our ‘leaders’ decided to use it to try and keep them in the Big Boys club.

    And that’s one of the problems that we have as a nation. Too many people unable to accept that the ‘Glories’ of Empire are over.

    Too many not understanding that a certain amount of the ‘Glory’ was propaganda BS anyway and the most impressive thing about the country wasn’t the fighting and the pillaging it was the Industrial Revolution, the inventiveness the contribution to science and the part played in helping change the world .

    That part tends to be overlooked, the wars, invasions and occupations taking pride of place, problem being is that that parts history, we won’t be colonising again, whilst the inventiveness and the productivity is very much needed.

    If that only applied to the plastic chair throwers of Marseille
    it would simply be an irritation and an embarrassment but unfortunately there are members of the establishment with political influence who still pine after the good old days and like to imagine themselves as international power brokers.

    It’s why we waste Billions on nuclear weaponry which we can only use if the Americans say we can, if it ever came to that we’d all be dead anyway, so what’s the point when the money is desperately needed elsewhere?.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I could probably understand the culture shock of the United Kingdom … falls from glories are easier for a defeated state like a Japan or a Germany to build upon.

    The UK had to bounce back from the war, and the Depression before the second World War, and in both those occasions the Empire may’ve seemed a far away place where tea came from, much like India or Kenya would be seen to day.

    That stiff upper lip would not have been needed when it didn’t have hard times.

    Arguably it was more focused on security above modernity.

    Brexit is going to be a culture shock because it’ll clarify the line between what Britain wants and what Britain deserves on a similar manner.

  • Kevin Breslin

    They are an advocating force, but they’re not exactly no one.

    Some people are advocating it … albeit papers and UKIP who are losing stature and money by doing so, and fringe movements who are losing their electoral deposits.

    I think if the Conservatives adopt these reactionary proposals they’ll sink their large mandate to God knows whoever and will be fighting out for a coalition to govern at the next election.

  • Tochais Siorai

    You’re from Fermanagh and you’ve only been to the Republic half a dozen times (on your way to the airport)?


  • Jollyraj

    Yes – strange but true. I’ve travelled halfway round the world, for work and leisure, learned a couple of languages while I was at it – just that Ireland never particularly interested me as a place. Mostly left from Belfast than left the UK through London.

    May be undercooking it – perhaps it’s 7 or 8 times, but definitely no more than that. And I’ve never passed a night in Ireland – no real intent not to, just doesn’t interest me.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    in fact, not much he says gives a flattering impression of his mind.