“The fact that all of the other parties in the Dáil rallied around to wave the green flag on Tuesday demonstrates not that the Government got it right but that it successfully pandered to populist sentiment”

In the Irish Times, Stephen Collins on the risks involved in the Irish Government’s public positioning over the ongoing Brexit negotiations.  From the Irish Times article

The British government and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are the ones primarily responsible for Monday’s debacle, but the Irish Government didn’t exactly cover itself in glory.

The way Tánaiste Simon Coveney jumped the gun with a premature radio interview on Monday morning and the subsequent mood music suggesting that the Irish side had got what it wanted, even before Theresa May met Jean Claude Juncker, was tempting fate.

It didn’t take a genius to know that the one sure way to frighten the already nervous horses in the DUP and the loony Tory right was to put on a display of Green triumphalism.

To make matters worse, the response of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the collapse of the deal was to publicly stick it to the British government insisting he was “surprised and disappointed” May had not been able to sign off on what had earlier been agreed.

This only served to put May under more pressure and fuel the paranoia of her internal critics whose ideal scenario is to see the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

The bottom line is that Ireland more than any other country needs Britain to exit the EU on the best possible terms, but the approach adopted in Dublin has the potential to push our neighbours in the other direction. [added emphasis]

The fact that all of the other parties in the Dáil rallied around to wave the green flag on Tuesday demonstrates not that the Government got it right but that it successfully pandered to populist sentiment.

Read the whole op-ed in the Irish Times.  But, to be clear – and do read the whole thing – I think that, at this point, Stephen Collins is being a little over-optimistic about the outcome from Ireland’s point of view.  [Wishful thinking? – Ed]  Perhaps.

Of course, as President Trump will attest to, pandering to populist sentiment can pay off.  At least in the short term...

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  • Brendan Heading

    It would be interesting to know what your opinion on this is Pete. It’s beneficial to have someone curate pro-brexit articles or op-eds from the media, as you have done twice in the past 24 hours, but I really think getting a good discussion going is what we do best around here ?

  • You need to re-read the above op-ed, at least.

  • Dramadrama

    Or that they all agreed on the position Leo took. Because something is populist doesn’t by default mean it’s wrong. If for example the British were advocating to euthanize all homeless and handicapped people, and Leo stood against that, and basically everyone in Ireland did too, that would be a populist sentiment that he was pandering to, but would also be the correct thing.
    I do agree that the leaked document and Coveney interview were premature, and not smart.

  • Cadogan West

    My investor fly on the wall say the May government is very likely to go belly up in 2018, triggering another UK election. I have also heard on the widget grapevine say that Brexit may not happen at all, because the IBs will block it.

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/morgan-stanley-election-2018-may-government-collapse-2017-11

  • Paul Culloty

    For all the (rather unfair) lambasting of RTE’s Tony Connelly in recent days, it must be noted that the leak of the text originated from a Green Belgian MEP, Philippe Lamberts, and the subsequent reportage followed on from that. One can obviously criticise the cheoreography of the attempted conferences, but both Brussels and Dublin were under the understanding that the text had been agreed, and can hardly be blamed for May’s lack of co-ordination with Foster.

  • Rapparee

    The position of the Irish Government is the position of the Irish people, there is no conflict here. I have been very impressed with Simon Coveney in recent weeks, I think he has been very sure footed and clear in his arguments in comparison to the CF in Britain atm. I favoured Leo over Simon for the top job, but now I think Coveney would make an excellent Taoiseach.

  • Rapparee

    Exactly the leak was not from an Irish source and it was Lamberts the jumped the gun, so to speak.

  • Rapparee

    Is it so hard to think that an Irish Government would take a stand for the good of the country and its citizens, rather than pander to a clueless British government and its bigoted bedfellows. A large section of the British media need to educate themselves fast and snap out of it.

  • mac tire

    Populist for standing up for Ireland and its interests? All countries do this – is that populism and,if it is, why should Ireland be any different?

    Even more laughable is the idea that by doing so may make Britain go for a hard Brexit.

    Listen, if Britain goes for a hard Brexit, it will be their choice. And their choice alone.

    This island’s future is at stake. Cap doffing should play no part in it.

  • Sean Danaher

    I asked one of my FG friends (who incidentally was posing in front of the statue of Victoria in Australia in my last comment) when the leadership contest was on whether he preferred Leo or Simon. He said they were both excellent but on balance he preferred Simon. Compared to the Muppets we have in the UK running things at present, they are both very impressive.

  • Comprehension continues to be sadly neglected in the education system…

  • Neiltoo

    for example if the British were advocating to euthanize all homeless and handicapped people,

    That’s a particularly bizarre example to chose. Do you have a licence for your imagination?

  • Dramadrama

    Fortunately Neil, the PC brigade has not made it mandatory to have a license for one’s imagination yet.

    It’s meant to be bizarre, and extreme, in order to make a greater contrast, and show how something can be both populist and the correct thing to do. I first started of with “If the British declared war on France and started to bomb them”, only to think that some on here might think that a good idea, and not get my point 🙂 Of course I don’t believe that the British would ever do that…..

    ………mind you, if you google the eugenics movement of the early 20th century, you might be shocked to see what “civilized” people of most Western nations (Irish and English included) believed at that time.

  • Rapparee

    Leo garnered a lot of favour for being a straight shooter and breaking ranks when even the majority of the public knew the government was towing an indefensible line. But his defence of Frances Fitzgerald recently, who personally I always thought was useless, was folly.
    Simon, I thought was the weaker contender, but I now feel the reverse and am very impressed with his candor and command of the issues. Coveney actually won the race amongst the party members across the country but lost on the overall vote.

  • Salmondnet

    Golly gosh. Faced with the disapproval of the lumpen intelligentsia such as yourself we must cancel Brexit immediately.

  • Dramadrama

    While it may not have been considered ‘politically astute’, I admired how he loyally stuck by her. So often politicians act without principle, following the whims and dictates of the baying crowd. That’s so rare. He really came up a few notches in my estimation, when he stuck by her, and that’s even while agreeing that she needed to resign and not particularly thinking much of her.

  • hgreen

    I know reporters are scrambling to get their own angle on this story but this is complete b.s..

  • Rapparee

    I did think about that at the time, and yes Leo is a principled individual I believe. But the timing was awful, and the country should always be first and foremost at such times. If she had any wit, knowing the situation, and knowing about the extra emails that later came to light. She should have gone, and it was only pure neck that she hung around, confirming my belief that she was a useless me feiner. She was wrong to put him in such a position, but he should have jettisoned her sooner.

  • Rapparee

    I agree, the British educational system seems to have a serious deficit.

  • billodrees

    Widely supported policies are not necessarily “Populist” in the derogatory sense.

  • billodrees

    The International Banks are more adaptable and itinerant than prostitutes: they have already planned their moves.
    This end of the Banking industry also thrives on change: everybody has to pay them for hedging.

  • the rich get richer

    In fairness , who wants to kiss Dup Ass ?

    If you were nice to the Dup their paranoia would lead to misunderstandings .

  • MainlandUlsterman

    He’s broadly right, except that he characterises unionist opposition to the sea border idea as “paranoia” – kind of funny, though he probably doesn’t realise.