Can Sinn Fein tell us if the EU protects workers rights or not?

On May Day Sinn Fein were pontificating on workers rights along side their anti Brexit rhetoric,it is worth remembering:

In the book Identity in Northern Ireland: Communities, Politics and Change by Cathal McCall, my own MP for Mid Ulster, Francie Molloy, states “We wouldn’t be happy with.. a United States of Europe..Irish identity would be lost” and that “a fully integrated EU would be to the detriment of vital resources of the Irish identity (Mitchell McGlaughlin discounts a fully integrated EU in the same book). Francie continues by saying “we have basically got rid of one empire ..and the European Empire coming in” and that the EU “is a contradiction with what we want”.

In a joint press release Sinn Fein MEP`s Martina Anderson, Liadh Ní Riada, Matt Carthy and Lynn Boylan have said “We will not be part of the austerity consensus in Brussels”

Lynn Bolan also stated:

There is no doubt that the ordinary people of Ireland are suffering immensely due to the policies of austerity being pushed by the institutions of the European Union. Those people voted in their droves for Sinn Féin at the European Elections in May because they saw that our candidates would stand up to the establishment in Brussels and Strasbourg…..

The policies of at the heart of the European Union have been adopted by compliant governments across the EU in the form of sweeping cuts to social infrastructure and unjust stealth taxes…

The EU should not be about protecting the privilege of banks, the wealthy and big corporations…This has had disastrous consequences for the areas of health, education and social protection. The policies endorsed by the European Union have fostered an unequal society.

Sinn Fein voted no to all previous EU / EEC referendums. Gerry Adams and a raft of others have said the EU institutions have a democratic deficit.

They have accused the European Central Bank of “absolute disregard” for national democratic institutions whilst Martina Anderson MEP has denounced “the right-wing elites of Europe” and the “anti-democratic actions of the ECB, IMF and the European Commission” regarding Greece.

Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDondald has stated “Lisbon lowers wages..In recent years the European Commission…and the European court of Justice have made judgements that have the effect of driving down wages..the Lisbon treaty provides both the Commission and the Court with an even stronger mandate to undermine workers pay and conditions.”

Liadh Ni Riada has said “The economic and fiscal policies of the European Union have had catastrophic effects on the lives of many of its citizens”….”the gap between the rich and poor in the EU is constantly increasing, social rights are being dismantled..and the people of member states are being subordinated to poverty and stagnation”…. “it is unacceptable that Irish fishermen operating in Irish waters are at a massive disadvantage in comparison to other European fishermen.”….”Our fishing industry is effectively wiped out”…..”At the moment, the Irish industry is only processing around 5% of total catch in Irish waters”

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  • Marcus Orr

    Normally Sinn Féin with their brand of leftist politics would be good candidates to “do a Mélenchon” and become anti-EU out of austerity reasons. Plus they are the ultimate party of Irish national identity, which of course gets lost if the EU project ever comes to full fruition.
    On the other hand the UK belonging as a region to Brussels, and the Republic too, was a closeness to national unity in another way – one Ireland as a Brussels statelet. So I kind of understand the anti-Brexit stance as well. How much of the May bashing is principle, and how much is just sheer political opportunity, to get Irish nationalists out of their voting apathy from 2014-16 ? Hard to say.
    In the same way, how much of the DUP Brexit vote is real understanding of the long-term disaster of being in the EU superstate, and how much of it is “themmuns vote remain, so we’ll vote leave”? Probably a lot of the latter as well.

  • Paul Hagan

    SF, as you like to point-out Alan, have said mixed-things on the EU (and its previous incarnations) in their respective histories. That doesn’t make them unique in NI…or anywhere else for that matter!

  • Neil

    Can Sinn Fein tell us if the EU protects workers rights or not?

    Compared to what the Tory party would do? What they have stated publicly they would like to do – i.e. diminish workers rights from the EU version as it would be good for business, and would increase the number of wealth creators and trickle down prosperity for the non feckless, non disabled, non poor through laziness minimum wage workers? We know the EU protects workers rights more than the Tories, it’s not in doubt.

    You seem to think (and you’re not alone on this) is that somehow SF changing it’s position to reflect the reality today, and to match more closely the opinion of their voters is in some way unusual. A gotcha moment. It’s not. Positions evolve depending on the situation. The EU protects workers more than the Tory party will ever do, SF can promise the Earth as regards what they would do if they were in charge in a UI because at the moment it’s not likely to happen – there is no UI and SF are not in charge.

    It’s kinda like the Lib Dems and tuition fees – promise the world then change your position when reality come knocking.

  • Mark Petticrew

    The road map to Irish unification is ultimately one which is wholly intertwined with the EU, as was demonstrated by the EU’s recent endorsement of the whole island having EU membership in the event of the north voting to politically unite with the south. Sinn Féin stopping short of overt euroscepticism should therefore be read in this context.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Killsally (Alan Day) is jumping on the Farage bandwagon that Ireland’s refusal to become good little Brexiteer Irexiteers is going to cause some political problems down the road.

    How dare we not be so compliant and make up our own minds on these things democratically!

    Of course Brexit was going to cause political problems within the United Kingdom, and in international relationships … but you cannot solve political problems by a retreat to a fantasy land no matter if 52% of the electorate democratically voted for it in theory.

    The issues are political, and those who don’t like political union are going to have to find political unity with those they disagree with by other means.

    That’s why I have next to no faith in Killsally and the Brexiteer crew, they think they are “Know it all Nigels”, but they come across as “Know Nothing Nihilists” every time they rely on all talk and no action.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Euroscepticism doesn’t mean the Europhobia we saw deliberately raised during the Brexit campaign, and Brexit leading fantastically and automatically to the prevalence of a white Christian Neoliberal Europe that revolved around Britain and its population’s whims.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And being outside the EU won’t stop austerity … the highest levels of austerity in Europe are in the Ukraine, a nation which is torn apart by the type military nostalgic nationalism that UKIP seems to worship.

  • Marcus Orr

    Eh ? Who said I’m worried about austerity ?

    “Ukraine, a nation which is torn apart by the type military nostalgic nationalism that UKIP seems to worship”
    A nation torn apart by the aggressive and unprovoked EU action of supporting a street putsch in Kiev in 2013-14 against its democratically elected president Yanokovich more like.

  • Marcus Orr

    It’s great to be able to avoid and close down debate on Brexit (or anything really) by branding anyone against your opinion as having some kind of irrational fear or phobia.
    The British vote to return independence and sovereighty to their parliament – hey ho they’re all Europhobes, they hate other nations, that’s what it is !

  • Neil

    Not at all. They don’t hate other nations, they just don’t want their citizens to come to the UK. Not all Brexiteers are racist, but all racists are Brexiteers.

  • Marcus Orr

    Right, so the fact that a retired Lithuanian KGB officer has exactly the same rights of entry and abode in the UK as I do, means that if I raise my voice to query this, or to query the fact that immigration has quadrupled since 2004 (do you er think chaps, that we should control this mass immigration, er, just a little bit, eh?) that means the powers that be (the remain camp) get to scream “racist” like you, and the discussion is closed.
    What an embarrassment of an argument. I know nothing, but I think I’ll call you names, like racist, ergo, I win. Pathetic.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A Street Putsch … Is that what the Alt-Right call a civil Assembly like the Orange Revolution?

    Yanokovic was disposed by the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) under the terms of the Ukrainian constitution. His own party wanted him out.

    Perhaps the undemocratic nature is that UKIP wants to vote on who should and who should not rule other countries on the basis of its own whims and opinions.

    Thank Goodness it’s dying, they are a cancer and the Tories are the virus that kills that cancer.

    The EU did not take part in the fight, but I can see why the Alt-Right think Ukraine should simply be Russian, whether there is democratic support for it or not.

    The European was pretty much laissez-faire to the Ukrainians … Farage and his ilk rather than wanting to help the Ukrainians supported the Dutch in keeping up trade barriers against them.

    So we know UKIP’s solution to the Ukraine problem is … Let them suffer, let the Russians in Ukraine suffer, let everyone suffer, no peace and no progress shall get in the way of our self-pity.

    I suppose if Europe was filled with 50 odd Ukraines including their own nation, the likes of UKIP will think the Revolution is complete and their proliferation of universal misery across Europe has been successful.

  • Old Mortality

    But they come to the UK from the rest of the EU in much larger numbers than to any other state. Why do Poles drive across Germany to get to the UK? A large part of it is due to language as the former Warsaw Pact states are more Yankophile than Europhile. They would much rather speak English than German.
    You might take a different view post-Brexit when the RoI is inundated with migrants simply due to its being the only remaining anglophone country in the EU.

  • Barney

    It would have helped if the Brexit organisations had not played to such unpleasant instincts during their campaigns.

  • Marcus Orr

    I agree with you that one or two ads were below the belt.

  • Barney

    Yer man lifted quotes from a book published 18 years ago spliced them with three year old quotes added a dash of the usual anti SF rhetoric and produced nothing.
    The OP is all over the place in time and context.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Many Lithuanian KGB defectors went to Britain. But it seems like you are creating a strawman villain for yourself here.

    By the same token it’s like an Irish republican saying Westminster could pass laws to carry out 28 more Bloody Sundays if they wanted, why should I support or even tolerate such a union?

    The paranoid possibility of Hell on Earth can be used to scupper just about anything politically.

    Freedom of abode is linked to freedom of movement of labour. The EU actively encourages nations to deport unemployed and unemployable migrants after a period of time, as well as security checks.

    As for taking away people’s right of abode, do you think migrant workers should be homeless?

    That a Portuguese nurse who’s working flat out in our health service needs to give up the one room she’s renting with students in South Belfast to cater for a family in Sandy Row?

    Sounds like Britain First dogmatism to me, steer the housing markets so “Britische Volk kommt Zuerst”.

    Thought I’d be a little multicultural there to get the message across.

  • Barney

    Ireland like the UK were independent countries within Europe, the UK took their ball and went home They are becoming increasingly annoyed that not one fascist has been elected to join their xenophobic project. Its them and the Donald the best of luck.


    “How much of the May bashing is principle, and how much is just sheer political opportunity, to get Irish nationalists out of their voting apathy from 2014-16 ?”
    Sounds as though you don’t like an increased voter engagement which is odd for a self declared democrat.

  • Marcus Orr

    “Britisches Volk Zuerst”, but was a good try with the German, fair play to you.
    Obviously for people who are already here, you have to treat them fairly and correctly.
    What I am challenging is that it is obviously not racist to want to set certain limits to immigration. The duty of any govt. is to act in the best interests of its own people. Some immigration will always happen, but there have to be limits and controls set. Only a mad govt. would set no controls on immigration and continue to allow huge streams of people into the country. And its not racist to query this situation.

  • Barney

    This is totally off topic but there was a Coup in Kiev.

    Yanukovych was illegally removed; there was no resignation and the Rada did not vote is sufficient numbers to remove him or charge him with a crime.
    The EU overreached, it is in need of reform but I’m sure you will agree that sulking like a Brexiteer is not a suitable way reform it.

  • Neil

    They can come here, and our home grown British drug dealers can live out their days on the costas. It’s a two way street you see. Immigration is actually a good thing. The immigrants are more likely to work and pay taxes. I suspect many pro Brexit voters will realise that replacing productive members of society with our local work shy couch potatoes isn’t the societal panacea some people think it is. If I had heard a sensible argument against EU migration, or indeed an argument that set out how Brexit would address these supposed issues then I suppose it would seem less likely to be motivated by racism, but I’m still waiting on that front. And no one’s screaming fella, we’re just politely expressing opinions hereabouts.

  • Kevin Breslin

    But they come to the UK from the rest of the EU in much larger numbers than to any other state.

    WRONG! That is factually wrong!

    Internal EU migration is much larger in Germany and Spain.

    Mainly this falsehood has been created to hide the fact that the United Kingdom is not as popular for migrants as the Leavers make out.

    Half of the UK’s migration is from Commonwealth countries, the second biggest number of EU nationals after the Poles are Irish.

    There are far more Poles residing in Germany than the United Kingdom for starters, and far far far more Romanians in the Mediterranean countries with Latinite languages.

    There are two main reasons why Poles go through Germany to get to the United Kingdom.

    1. Meeting their Polish-British family members, of which there has been generations there since the war.

    2. They have a job offer from a British company or public service, mainly because said company cannot find the labour locally.

    That’s just economic competition, hating migrants is not a job unless you can get a political fundraising sugar daddy like a certain “AB” to pay you do so.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There were limits on immigration, particularly the major limit that those who do not have jobs don’t have right to abode or claim benefits. … but you simply cannot not use immigration as the excuse to why poor Protestants or poor Catholics cannot get on the housing ladder all the time.

    Should foreign workers have their rent raised artificially just to pay for social houses despite contributing to this economy in key sector areas?

    That’s a quick route to deterring the skilled migrants and encouraging a black market in illegal migration.

    People see limitations on migration as an economic panacea … given the ridiculous costs to enforce if it can be enforced, the likelihood of needing identity cards for the native population, the impact that this will have on the numbers of UK nationals emigrating, and the overzealous nature of trying to stop free movement that of a few thousand people a year across the cold, wet Irish border for the sake of numbering everyone who comes in and out.

    My belief is that those who want controls on immigration, don’t want the reality of what needs to be done to enforce it in the strictest sense.

    Demanding Controls on Immigration are just a lazer guided hand wave that gives no practical solutions.

    It’s the best way to force a nation to implement draconian migration rules that are non-economical and increase austerity for nothing more than the sake of political optics.

    What about internal migration then … do English, Scottish and Welsh migrants moving over to Northern Ireland to use our public services need to be similarly managed, given that there are more of each one of them than there are of any Poles.

    Just problem after problem … even in NI where we’ve got bigger problems and need migrants to fix them.

  • Marcus Orr

    I am not talking about foreign workers ONCE they have come here. Once people have come and are in the country, they must obviously be treated fairly, like everyone else. You can’t allow people to come in, and then turn on them.
    I am talking about the huge change in immigration seen in the UK (and the Republic) in the last 10-15 years.
    The old EU 12 or even EU 15 was arguably not too big a deal, immigration levels still stayed fairly stable. The change came around 2004 when we integrated 10-12 new Eastern European countries into the EU, including several countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia etc. etc.) in which the average wage in UK (and Ireland) is many, many times higher than the best wages in those nations. Anyone with a brain could understand that many people would come to get jobs, and you can’t blame them, they are just trying to better themselves and their families. The blame lies with our politicians who have allowed these unheard of levels of immigration to take place, and with the EU of course.
    Even in the Republic, a country which had virtually zero foreign inhabitants 30 years ago, more than 13% of the population are foreign nationals. Soon we won’t be arguing about a united Ireland anymore, it’ll just be a swarming multi-culti Euroland region – some folk probably want this actually. In the UK, more than 17% are foreign nationals. Are we allowed to set some limits ? Aren’t you just a little bit annoyed that no politician has ever asked us about these huge changes in immigration and just assumes that we’re all fine about it, even if it increases more and more and more every year? Are any real limits allowed, or do any questions on regulation immediately get cordoned off as “playing with racism”?

  • Marcus Orr

    “Ireland like the UK were independent countries within Europe”

    within the EU you mean. UK cannot leave Europe, just as Brazil can’t leave South America.

    “independent countries within Europe”

    Independent, come on – Ireland decides on various tax breaks for Apple to settle in their country, the EU commission says we’re not having that, strike that down.

    Having lived in Germany, I know how many German people there are complaining incessantly about the very low corporate taxes in the Republic. They want action (quick) on this topic against the Irish. The EU will obviously wait and keep their powder dry on this issue, they need to keep Ireland onside another 1-2 years until UK has been properly punished for trying to exercise its “independence” and leave, but as soon as Brexit’s over with…

    “Sounds as though you don’t like an increased voter engagement which is odd for a self declared democrat”
    No, not at all, great to see folk getting out and voting. I was just questioning SF’s motives, that’s all. How much is real belief and principle, how much is tactical.

  • Marcus Orr

    Who knows ? The EU is out to break UK for trying to leave the superstate, so who knows where this is all going to go. It’s easy to get into the lobster pot, but less easy to get back out again.

    Saw a great interview with Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, the other day, in which he explained that Theresa May and the UK govt. will not get a real negotiation, it will be like the “negotiations” that his Govt. had, all threats, leaked exchanges, no minutes of meetings, etc., etc. The EU is not interested in letting the UK get out of the Superstate, so it would be premature, before the struggle for independence has even started, to get too far ahead of ourselves.
    If one day in the future UK gets its independence, and can count on the sovereignty of its own parliament again, then yeah, immigration is one of the many things that could be addressed, yes.

  • Barney

    Clearly Britain cant change its location, most people use Europe to mean the EU just as most people know that Britain is sometimes incorrectly used to describe the UK.
    Speculation does not an argument make. Ireland is an independent country just like Britain now They have two years to negotiate a divorce and a trade deal in that order. No one is punishing them they helped set the rules.
    Having lived in Germany you will know the phrase realpolitik, SF like Alliance want to maximise their vote that’s what all parties do. its strange that you would question increased engagement.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh dear

    1. Firstly the UK backed Eastern European countries joining.

    2. Getting a job in the UK means getting to and living in the UK, which is costly for an Eastern European to start off with.

    3. The UK already treats the Slavs like Slaves … but Slavs cannot be paid lower than what a British person earns for doing the same job.

    4. Using Controlling Migration as a Comfort Blanket for Brexit support will not help the United Kingdom deal with the 99 times bigger problems that it causes.

    5. High migration does not mean poverty, this Malthusian delusion fails to highlight is productivity and consumption. By far Brits consume more than the frugal immigrants do.

    6. The UK wants higher consumption while contributing to lower production/lower productivity of its own making.
    Perhaps migration would be more forgiven if it was on the terms of state slavery.

    7. Nothing about Brexit campaign addressed productivity, it painted migrants as useless eaters and Brits as the victims of robberies who deserve goods for just being British.

    There is SO much wrong about the Brexiteer’s Controlling Immigration argument or rather obsession that it is increasingly hard to call it not racist or xenophobic.

    There’s economic control issues about every racist, sectarian and xenophobic opinion, do you really think we would not have so much hate if we lived in an economic utopia?

    Brexit becoming an economic burden will only increase the hate.

    Painting every migrant as some sort of cultural usurper is a bit ridiculous, any evidence that local people have been forced to adopt European Union cultures against their will?

    So much for Global Britain or Global Ireland I would say.

  • Robin Keogh

    Many of the laws enshrined in national Parliaments which serve to protect workers rights in terms of Sick pay, Holiday leave, Force Majeure, Maternity/Paternity rights etc. flow from EU regulations and treaties. In this sense the Union has indeed helped enhance and protect the rights of workers across the continent.

    However, Austerity during the crises has had a negative impact on the welfare of workers due to falling pay rates caused by what some suggest is a race to the bottom. The race was already afoot before the financial collapse however many companies and governments have been accused of using the recession as an excuse to cut workers pay rates and conditions further to assist in filling the coffers of shareholders and company owners.

    Here is a good piece from an American perspective –

    As for Sinn Fein, regardless of their criticisms on how Europe is run and how full-on Capitalism seems to be at the core of Europe’s problems both financial and political; there is no doubt as to where the majority of Irish People see their future, and that is firmly inside the EU. Moreover, SF have quadrupled in size over the last twenty years. The bulk of that increase is made up of the younger age categories from 18 up to forty and the overwhelming majority of them are very warm to the Eurpoean Project. They have flown the flag for Euope quite openly within the party and have engaged in healthy critical thinking when it comes to Europe and it’s future. This has played a huge part in leading the party to its current Euro-Critical position.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The EU is out to break UK for trying to leave the “superstate”, so who knows where this is all going to go. It’s easy to get into the lobster pot, but less easy to get back out again.

    Absolutely wrong, the European Union is key to see this Brexit process over and done with. It has no more capacity to punish the United Kingdom than what the United Kingdom has given to them.

    The only “superstate” fears I seem to see are the panics about Scottish Nationalism and Irish Nationalism breaking up the United Kingdom from divisive unionists losing the battle of hearts and minds there.

    The European Union doesn’t force Switzerland to join, doesn’t force Norway to join, even the European Economic Community vetoed the United Kingdom joining the first time around.

    The beloved Brexit saviors of European Nationalism who hate the European Union including Ireland’s own Irexiters would shun the British even more than those nasty obsessed Eurocrats up in Brussels. Trump and Putin don’t really care about Britain either. Neither does UKIP in my opinion.

    This is the big problem, the UK will reap no more than it sews, it’s reaping a lot of bitterness and depression and attitude. If Brexit is the epitome of what the United Kingdom now has to offer the world … well it’s in some sticky jam.

  • Marcus Orr

    The Tories are bluffing and have no idea what is going to happen, their MP’s, like their PM Cameron (and May until the referendum vote) were pro-EU, by a large majority. Now they’re stuck with having to reluctantly carry out what the people have decided.
    The UK is supposed to be a parliamentary democracy, it is very dangerous to have a decision taken by a referendum when 75% of the members of parliament are stridently pro-remain. The only way we leavers will get the job done is if we return more unapologectic pro-leave people into parliament.
    By the way, who is KellyAnne ?

  • Katyusha

    In England patriotism takes different forms in different classes, but it runs like a connecting thread through nearly all of them. Only the Europeanized intelligentsia are really immune to it.

    The working man’s heart does not leap when he sees a Union Jack. But the famous ‘insularity’ and ‘xenophobia’ of the English is far stronger in the working class than in the bourgeoisie. In all countries the poor are more national than the rich, but the English working class are outstanding in their abhorrence of foreign habits. Even when they are obliged to live abroad for years they refuse either to accustom themselves to foreign food or to learn foreign languages. Nearly every Englishman of working-class origin considers it effeminate to pronounce a foreign word correctly. During the war of 1914-18 the English working class were in contact with foreigners to an extent that is rarely possible. The sole result was that they brought back a hatred of all Europeans, except the Germans, whose courage they admired. In four years on French soil they did not even acquire a liking for wine. The insularity of the English, their refusal to take foreigners seriously, is a folly that has to be paid for very heavily from time to time.

    Orwell, England Your England, still as relevant and spot on as ever. The insularity, patriotism, lack of synchronisation with Europe, suspicion of internationalism, and inability or refusal to adapt to foreign cultural mores of the English is much, much older than Brexit, or indeed the EU. It’s part and parcel of what makes England, England. Unless the English were to accustom themselves with their position in a post-imperial world, the future of Britain in the EU was always going to be uneasy and doomed to failure.

    There’s nowt wrong with it, but they will have some soul-searching to do when Brexit starts to bite. I have no doubt the English, as a population, do not want to be part of any “European project”, but what future they do envisage for themselves is hard to see from here. Another peculiarly English trait is that in looking to the future, they always wish to return to or retain a romanticised notion of the past.

  • Marcus Orr

    Brexit is simply the wish to have a country, and not to be a region of the EU Superstate. That’s all.
    It’s not a symptom of bitterness or depression.
    It’s not a nasty “little Englander” mentality.
    It’s just a cry for freedom.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nope It’s just a cry … the United Kingdom was free, its people weren’t free of their Little England mentality, their homegrown bitterness or depression.

    Firstly the United Kingdom was sovereign, in the UK’s white paper … so basically every EU treaty and directive was passed through parliament or stopped and renegotiated.

    The other thing said in the paper was “but it didn’t feel that way”.

    Now Brexit has an absolute imperative to “protect the feelings” of every single angry person in the country.

    I’m not aware of any democracy where politicans have to take on board controlling the very moodswings of the public as well as the practicalities of governance.

    Democratically the Brexiteers of UK have chosen to give up the agency over their own feelings entirely to their MPs and media demagogues???

    How can the United Kingdom even function like that?

    Is there any wonder why 2/3 of the British Population have mental health problems.

    The nation isn’t a nanny state, it’s a psychiatric ward.

    How can anyone be free when they surrender so much emotional control to politicians and the media and to the state?

    It’s not migration that is causing these feelings of alienation, it’s because they feel the MP’s in Westminster that they elect don’t love them enough.

    The migration issue is a complete side-event … you would barely notice if the humble cafeteria worker serving your dinner in work spoke with a Polish accent or a Ballymena one.

  • Hugh Davison

    The queen of alternative facts.

  • Marcus Orr

    It is the duty of any nation to put its own citizens and their wishes first.
    The people wish to leave. Calling them racists, sectarians and xenophobes is just silly name calling. Tells you more about the people doing the name calling than anything else.

  • Hugh Davison

    So, 13% of the population are foreign nationals and unemployment in Ireland is currently approaching 6% which is as close to full employment as a modern economy will allow. Does that tell you anything?

  • Marcus Orr

    “Absolutely wrong, the European Union is key to see this Brexit process over and done with”
    Did you have a counter point to make concerning what the left-wing, very anti-Tory (but jolly interesting character) Mr Varoufakis – a person who has actual experience of EU negotiations during the Greek debt crises in 2015 – had to say about the EU punishing the UK, or are you just in bluster mode ?

  • Marcus Orr

    Eh ?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Tell you what …Listen to Daniel Hannan, a big Tory big Whig who wanted Brexit here to produce a stereotypical Brexiter opinion on migration and you tell me when and where he is bluffing.

    This is the same Hannon who wrote that he worries about the Irish border, and came to Northern Ireland to debate his views with us in person on the Nolan Show.

  • Marcus Orr

    I’m not a big fan of Hannan, nor of Farage.
    As usual, Peter Hitchens speaks the most sense on the Brexit issue.

  • Hugh Davison

    Google ‘alternative facts’.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A commentator with no power to influence anything inside the government.

    Journalists provide interesting debate but on the whole make bad role models in my view for anyone who wants to do a proper job.

  • Marcus Orr

    Talking about Kellyanne Conway, I get it. Never heard of her, I musn’t watch the same programs as you lads do.
    Still struggling to understand how a reference to a guy like Varoufakis, who has experience of a real EU negotiation with a member state, and what he thinks, gets me called a KellyAnne by people who know and have less direct experience, than Mr Varoufakis.
    But if in doubt, start the name-calling.

  • Marcus Orr

    Kevin, why do you keep bringing it back to the Tory govt. ? Why do you seem to think that I am a Tory ?

  • Mark Petticrew

    Euroscepticism to my mind is first and foremost an anti-EU perspective, but the source of such a perspective itself can be drawn via a plethora of reasons; should that be concerns grounded in sovereignty, an economic critique of the EU, or simply straight up xenophobia. And so, whilst euroscepticism doesn’t necessarily mean europhobia, europhobia – or xenophobia more generally – can be a factor in fuelling the euroscepticism of some.

  • Hugh Davison

    ‘you lads’? I didn’t call you names, just directed you to an explanation, after you asked.

  • Marcus Orr

    I know you didn’t, was referring to the fellow who called me KellyAnne in the first place. Wasn’t referring to you (except as in “the programs you watch” – non judgemental).

  • Kevin Breslin

    Migrants helped the nation’s economy, and are quickly cast aside to be the enemy for want to be heros.

    Trade relationships that were agreed with European partners also helped the nation’s economy, and are quickly cast aside to be the enemy for want to be heroes.

    Where are these heroes helping out the United Kingdom?

    Where are these patriots on the street of your nation taking people out of the marginalization and alienation that they feel?

    What love are these particular individuals doing with their freedom to rectify anything wrong with their country.

    I see absolutely no humanistic or even Christian aspect to Brexit.

    All I can see is a bunch of people wanting their egos to be praised for hating something.

    They want to be told that they love their country because they hate “uncontrollable migration” or the “European superstate”

    It’s very easy to hate stuff, but where is this freeing stuff.

    The United Kingdom seems to be a slave to convenience, most Brexiteers want every convenience that the European Union offers them including the Irish border and be handed more without any money or effort.

    They just want immunity from the same problems Europeans have to deal with as well. Sometimes to impossible levels.

    In this regard The United Kingdom will be getting nothing for nothing, it will in fact lose many of the privileges that it no longer deserves.

    And those looking for “Brexit support” from the Conservatives won’t be getting that either, unless they are prepared to suck up to the Conservatives.

    Brexit is just an excuse for them to stick it to the “Lazy Brits” and the “Spongers” in Northern Ireland.

    Exactly how many people do these “Independent” people have to depend on to rescue them from their anxiety.

    Newspaper headline fears.
    Lack of Control fears.
    Foreign Culture fears
    Economic fears
    Political Federalism fears

    Mortality fears
    Health fears
    Bereavement fears
    Employment fears
    Social fears
    Religious fears even.

    How much do you think is linked to sovereignty?

    When does the actual independence actually come into play after the separation takes place.

    When does the time come when people can take responsibility for the consequences of their actions and not being so dependent on the world to make them “feel free”.

  • Marcus Orr

    I’m for a return to correct usage, Europe is the continent, EU is the European Union (otherwise known as the Brussels superstate).

  • Marcus Orr

    “Migrants helped the nation’s economy, and are quickly cast aside to be the enemy for want to be heros.”
    It is not helping the economy to bring in millions of people from outside to do jobs which our own subsidized youth could do, instead of going to university to get a worthless degree. Migrants are however not the problem though, they are nearly always good, brave, decent people using the system created by useless politicians who should know better, and no-one can blame people for wanting to better themselves or get on in life. We can blame our governing class though for creating and sustaining a crazy system in which our youth goes on the dole or to uni for a useless degree instead of getting on the jobs ladder and doing these jobs. Immigration, education, welfare, all goes hand in hand. Nothing to do with hating, sponging, etc.

  • Hugh Davison

    Not much of a TV watcher, really. Get my stuff from newspapers 😉

  • Marcus Orr

    Good man, you’re just right, nothing but garbage on these days.

  • Marcus Orr

    Just by the way Kevin, I don’t much like this habit of yours to write a post, then edit it by a huge amount, after I’ve already responded to it. You introduce a whole new swathe of points to a mail I’ve already responded to.
    Do you think it’s possible to just start a new mail if you have a new thought, instead of mass editing ?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I haven’t seen any points you actually haven’t pointed to.

    If Brexit is not actually racist or xenophobic what exactly are the pluralistic aspects about it?

  • Kevin Breslin

    So empirically you associate Migration with Efficiency in the Labour Market. You do realize that is basically saying philosophically you dogmatically belief that a more efficient labour market will arise from lower migration.

    That clearly isn’t the case … Northern Ireland lower migration, lower employment, Wales lower migration, lower employment, London highest migration and high employment, similarly for South East England.

    We do have willing university workers, but they want to leave Northern Ireland for jobs. If they have to leave for good jobs, what’s the purpose of people coming in to take them.

    We have a free-market system, we have a free-market labour system where people are not conscripted into working jobs they are at best manipulated into doing so by market forces.

    So this idea that deportation and stopping free movement is a massive bright idea to contort our young people into workplace, become entrepreneurs or pretty much do any job that is going to get by has been put to the test and it has failed miserably.

    Leaving the European Union and the “Independence” associated with changing a few migration rules is not an economic magic bullet.

    We’ve have massive economic troubles with very low migration too.

    We want to encourage Foreign Direct Investment which requires foreign workers often managing these companies.

    As I said before Brexit is just an excuse for Conservatives to stick it to the “Lazy Brits” in Britain and the “Spongers” in Northern Ireland.

    It’s far from an imaginative solution to tackle economic difficulties or even mitigate the economic difficulties it creates.

    Just an Imaginary Grievance in my opinion.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There are more Poles in Germany than there are in Britain.

    If Poles really wanted to go to an American type economy, then rather than join the UK they would work hard to join the 9,500,000 Polish Americans.

    Let me put things into perspective about the Polish.

    Population of Poland – 38,567,941
    Population of British Poles – 831,000
    Population of Poles in Northern Ireland 19,658

    The idea that somehow kicking out say 40,000 EU migrants or so is going to fix the damage of billions that Brexit will do to our economy, for absolutely no practical gains in sovereignty is bewildering.

    The United Kingdom’s biggest problem is they are fed up listening to experts in Science, Engineering and various other practical areas, but they soak up the escapist fiction created in media outlets and by party propagandists.

    As I said before, no wonder why the UK has mental health problems, people cannot control their own lives.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Skepticism means Questioning….mean Vigilance … means examining both pros and cons.

    The fact that there is so much unquestioning prejudice that Remain supporters, that European Institutions, that everyone else is just out to get them, and no rational attempt to explain why makes me feel it’s not about inquisition.

    Indeed plethora of reasons is such a hand wave that shows a reluctance to scrutinize the European Union honestly as a skeptic would.

    Phobia and Anti- …means Fearing… means Hating … means it does not matter what you do I will hate you and I will make it my goal to oppress you the way I want to feel that you oppress me with your presence.

    Brexit seems to be a fear of Europe, indeed to one who may obsess about migration that fear of Europe may seem like rational self-preservation.

    As far as I am concerned Europe is part of Britain even if Brits do not feel part of Europe.

    Perhaps it is easier or somewhat patriotic to think that the good things which were done in the United Kingdom were its own exercises in soverignty.

    Perhaps it is easier or somewhat patriotic to think that all the bad things which were done in the United Kingdom were the result of Jonny Foreigner taking away Brits soverignty to fix things.

    Permit One Brexitsceptic question:

    If Brits leave the European Union on the basis that sovereignty will rectify the injustices that occur within their state, when injustices still occur within their state despite not being in the European Union, who will then use that sovereignty to take the buck when it no longer can be so easily passed?

  • Kevin Breslin

    You really have nothing to back up your claims but hearsay.

    1. The Rada did vote to remove his presidency with sufficient numbers. He was legally impeached by the Rada.

    2. Even Yanukovych himself admitted to using martial law to put down a peaceful protest.

    You really think that it’s the European Union’s fault that Ukrainians want to change their government and their Presidency with Petro Poroshenko.

    I find it rather odd that the Orange Revolution and the Euromaiden protests by Ukraine are considered a “coup” because they were by anti-Russian Ukrainians.

    Yet the pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine that provoked the Russian invasion of Crimea is not considered a “coup”.

    That’s democracy.

    Democracy where two conflicting Nationalism who have killed each other for centuries still endures.

    If you don’t believe me the extent of this bitterness … compare how welcome a Russian singer would be in any EU state in comparison to what’s happening in Kiev this Eurovision.

    If Sulky Farage was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom the nation would probably have bankrupted itself ten times over with a police state, martial law, heavy borders and excessive market interference.

    At least the United Kingdom has enough sense left to never ever put a person of his ilk in charge of the purse-strings anywhere … well not outside Northern Ireland of course.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually, I think if you are not a journalist then you probably do a more productive job than being a journalist.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I read that article from Varoufakis, and to be honest I do not think the Brits will listen to him. The referendum is a selective rejection of his advice and experience in a country which you would have thought suffered more than the UK did.

    And vocally expresses his concerns about Lexit

    Varoufakis comes from an attitude that the European Union can be reformed.

    I am someone who has read the “Golden Minataur” … it is interesting what he has to say about the Anglo-Celtic views on Home Ownership and Labour Markets and their role in the Financial Crash.

    Perhaps the Greeks see Brexit as the real bad boys of the European Union leaving.

    It would be worth the United Kingdom having someone else’s critical impartial judgement on its actions with the European Union instead of the self-righteous Brexit types who are only self-righteous until they make a mistake.

  • Kevin Breslin

    We do not believe the Brexiters really like the continent of Europe either … or the people there … or their own nation.

    You really will never get why 48% of people voted Remain.

    Of the people who voted Leave I imagine many thought every politician in the European Union was as mean spirited, sour faced and control freaky behavior as both Farage is and as Farage says.

    They never understood the European Union, They don’t really understand Westminster either, and to be honest I really doubt they could point out where having more sovereignty (allegedly) would make a major impact upon their lives.

    Westminster and the European Union worked hand in hand, now Westminster will probably not work at all, and the European Union will carry on more united and reformed, while a Conservative party doesn’t know what reforms a Brexit Britain will need to introduce because it’s left itself no freedom to negotiate with the EU or anyone else.

    How would sovereignty look in that situation?

    When the populism proves non-deliverable it’s nothing more than a damage limitation exercise in managing dwindling returns and even more finite resources.

  • Mark Petticrew

    Phobia and Anti- …means Fearing… means Hating

    My understanding of the word ‘anti’ is to simply be opposed to something. As a result, my use of the phrase “anti-EU” was meant as a description of those who’re opposed to the EU. Some people’s opposition to the EU may involve a hatred for it, others may not.

    Indeed plethora of reasons is such a hand wave that shows a reluctance to scrutinize the European Union honestly as a skeptic would.

    In stating a “plethora of reasons”, I was merely recognising the range of differing reasons for which some may come to eurosceptic conclusions, such as concerns over sovereignty or democratic accountability, an economic critique, xenophobia or whatever else it might be.

  • Zorin001

    I know a few in work were saying they wish they could exchange “Gladiator Girl” from Botanic Gardens with a hard working immigrant.

  • Barney

    Your links don’t provide any evidence that Yanukovych was constitutionally removed nor do they show any signed resignation letter.

    He was removed in an unconstitutional way that is a coup.

    Unless you have something else which is extremely unlikely, I suggest it is you who are relying on hearsay.

  • Mark Petticrew

    The party’s transition some 20-odd years ago from overt euroscepticism to its current eurocriticalism was an important strategic move on Sinn Fein’s part, it being in effect a recognition of the fact that the EU is interwoven with the path towards Irish unity.

    It was also an effort to gauge Irish opinion, making the party more applicable to an electorate to which, as you say, most have an EU-centric view of Irish destinies. Sinn Féin’s eurocritical approach is therefore a snugger position to take in contemporary Ireland when all things are considered.

    However, should Irish attitudes toward the EU ever swerve in a more eurosceptic direction, it would be interesting to see how Sinn Féin would respond to this, for they – combining their historical euroscepticism with the party’s eurocriticalism of today – are better placed than most others on the Irish political landscape to channel such sentiment.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Yes well understanding your interpretation of anti- possibly having some stoic apathetic contrarians who don’t lose the head over the EU, please understand that to me a skeptic is one who questions not one who hates.

    If I’m sceptical about data, it doesn’t mean I’m against that datas existence or hate it.

    Scepticism is necessary part of politics, what bothers me is while the EU is transparently open to questioning from Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen etc. There seems to be a loyalist form of nationalism around Brexit that it never ever be questioned.

    I’m sorry, but if Brexit can’t be questioned, there’s no way it can be implemented under liberal use of government power.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I may also point out once again that Ukraine has an Ethno-nationalist Civil War, likewise in Georgia/South Ossetia and Russia, likewise in Chechnya and Russia … Likewise in the Ethno-Nationalist War in Syria

    I think perhaps some Brexiter Etno-Nationalists are clinging to the hope that Dad’s Army comes back to Make Britain Great Again.

    UKIP and their ilk are good bed fellows with the DUP, it seems Ethno-Nationalism comes first.

  • Mark Petticrew

    When one is described as a eurosceptic, I don’t think much thought is given to the actual definition of scepticism in how they’ve configured their opinion of the EU, rather it’s simply a way of labelling someone with a title that signifies their anti-EU perspective.

    Indeed, the euroscepticism of many eurosceptics is derived not from an Enlightment-inspired analysis of the EU, but rather strongly held ideological beliefs whereby – to their material benefit or not – they find themselves in opposition to it; should that be nationalists who have a superseding belief in unfettered sovereignty, arch libertarians who view it as a bureaucratic superstate etc.

    Additionally, I find the terms eurosceptic, eurocritical, and europhile interesting creations, in terms of how we’ve been socialised to understand them as an effective spectrum of opinion in regard to the European project; from its most scathing critics – eurosceptics – to its most fervent advocates – europhiles – whilst eurocriticalism acts as a sort of bridge of mind between the two.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I get that but I don’t see many sceptics asking real questions about why the EU do the things they do, and what alternatives they have to offer.

    They often are nothing more than loyal nationalist robots with no clue or will to improve their own state.

    I ask you if more will is shown hating the intentions of neighbouring countries, hating migrants for earning an honest buck, heck hating liberals, gays, women and Muslims, atheists, socialsts, traitors, remoaners, divisive nationalists, Eurocrats, Federalists, the European Superstate or whatever other label they can think of

    .. Who’s really going to save the UK with this perma-hate attitude?

    I ask you if more will is shown indulging in the theoreticals than the practicalities of trade, if more weight is given to the drunk with a mob shouting than an expert with experience, if two papers research on Brexit were done to explore the options and even their research was ignored for the suggestion that a Leave vote would mean instantaneous safety and wealth, Praise Jesus and the Flag

    Who’s really going to save the UK from its own escapist fantasies?

    People evangelising Brexit seem intent on enslaving the rest of us with the heavy lifting of making it work. I’ve a lot better things to do than engage in their jihad against Europe.

    They want their culture protected, but defending their culture is not earning the country a penny it? It’s just a weak attempt at a hivemind zeitgeist.

    I would prefer to make the European Union work, even if I can only do so in the 26 counties,

    They can continue to complain about things and superstitiously believe Brexit will change Britain for the better.

    What have they actually done?

  • Old Mortality

    What if a post-Brexit EU gets tough with Ireland on corporate taxes. Can you see SF dancing to that tune?

  • Old Mortality

    Why does a modern economy not allow unemployment to fall below 6%?

  • Hugh Davison

    Probably more like 5%. I’m not an Economist and can’t explain in detail. Suggest you google ‘full employment’ for many articles discussing the phenomenon.

  • Hugh Davison

    Off the top of my head I can think of some categories of ‘unemployability’ such as certain forms of disability, older redundant, seasonally employed, temporarily unemployed for whatever reason etc. I’m sure you can come up with more.

  • Mark Petticrew

    I can see how Sinn Féin could be both pleased and annoyed with such a move. On the one hand, it would be a step in the direction of the “social Europe” Sinn Féin has spoken of over the last 20 years. On the other, it could be viewed as Brussels – for good or ill – fettering Irish destinies, an overreach into Dublin’s affairs.

    Anyhow, whatever way Sinn Féin plays it, their eurocritical approach as opposed to the plainly anti-EU perspective of euroscepticism enables them to be quite strident in their criticism of the European project, all the while still remaining pro-EU.

    That will almost certainly remain the party line as long as Ireland is partitioned, as well as the fact that the Irish people are still an overwhelming pro-EU constituency; 88% of those sampled in a Red C poll realised today being in favour of EU membership.

  • Mark Petticrew

    Lord Ashcroft did some interesting polling on last year’s referendum, his findings being that Brexiteers were more emotional than they were economic in making their decision; 49% wanted to take back control, 33% voted for it over concerns with immigration, 13% said Britain had little control in the future direction of the EU, whilst a mere 6% said Britain could better economically outside the EU.

    In light of this, I wouldn’t wait around for a Brexiteer to outline how economically things can get better, given that the basis of the vote for Brexit had little to do with economic improvement.

    I would prefer to make the European Union work, even if I can only do so in the 26 counties

    Therein lies what should be focus of united Irelanders over the coming years; as Brexit starts to bite, making the Irish state with its EU membership an attractive option to the more non-committal of nationalists and the northern middle ground will be crucial to winning any future border poll.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The fact of the matter is that Britions with no sense of self-control can not understand how to take control. What I see from Brexit is not really self-control, but a sense of insatiable rage quitting by the incompetent political class.

    When a challenge becomes too hard, you must quit. Farage has quit leading UKIP twice. The person who replaced Farage quit, Cameron quit, the Brexiteers who stood up to May quit, May effectively quit government with a new election. IDS quit, Villiers quit, Gove quit … This is the strong Brexiteer lobby group in action.

    Brexit seems to be quiting anything involving responsibility or self-discipline.

    So it would be foolish for any observer of British politics right now to think their politicans are going to take control or sort out the economy or immigration.

    As Gove said people are tired listening to experts, they are fairly happy to listen to the opinions of Quitters aren’t they?

  • Marcus Orr

    There is more than a hint of truth in what you say about the working class, or at least there was – not sure if this kind of prejudice really still exists. And I like your reference to Orwell.
    I don’t agree with the romanticised notions of the past though. In reality the Empire was gotten rid off in a great hurry, all remaining colonies (even those with no wish to change) being hurried off into independence a few years after India left. There are really very few delusions of grandeur these days from the English.

    The simple fact that the English invented parliamentary democracy, and all the other stuff, magna carta, rule of law, habeas corpus, and the culture of individual freedom which (used to exist) in England as opposed to say, Germany or France, means that whether Brexit will be good, or bad, or ugly, it’s not the point. The British, and more specifically the English, will never accept a EU superstate which is dominated by Germany, however much of a golden cage that may be. It’s not in their make-up.

    I want a Europe of nation states, who decide when and where and how to co-operate and do so on a free basis. Not a united states of Europe, which is still the ultimate goal of the EU.