Brexit and Irish Politics (Original Thread)

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statsman

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In a recent exchange with another poster who has to remain nameless because of OP rules (let’s call him netherlandia), we agreed that FG and SF are the two political parties in the Republic that appear to understand the full implications of Brexit on Irish politics and the Irish economy.

Now, although netherlandia is one of the more articulate posters on the forum (and makes very fine graphs) we would differ on a lot of things, so I found it particularly interesting that we should agree on this, so I thought it might be interesting to tease out the subject here, and maybe pull together various strands of discussion that are happening all over P.ie.

I understand that the two parties have had high level informal talks on how to proceed, and that Kenny’s kite flying exercise last week was part of a process. On the whole, both parties have been taking a sensibly quiet and low-key approach to this knotty set of problems, just getting on with it. It also appears that the emerging SF leadership in the South are somewhat sidelined in this process, with the key relationships being Kenny, Adams and now Michelle O’Neill. Yesterday’s meeting between Kenny and May was in keeping with the low-key approach, but May’s public restatement in Dublin of her continued commitment to the GFA and CTA were significant, not because of her potential influence on how negotiations will pan out, but because of the time and place.

FF have shown very little; lots of fine words, no buttered parsnips. The parties of the Left are conflicted, not really knowing whether or not they hate Brussels more than they hate the Tories. Given the stagnant nature of the political situation in the Republic at the moment, nicely illustrated by the aforementioned graphs, I think we should work on the assumption that the current government will see out much of the two-year Article 50 negotiations, so an understanding of not just the economics but also of the politics will be crucial.

So, what are the political implications?

  • Brexit is an opportunity for Dublin and NI Nationalists to build bridges with those within the Unionist community who voted Remain.
  • After the Assembly elections, the options pretty much are: a new DUP/SF administration, which seems unlikely but not impossible; direct rule; joint administration.
  • Direct rule would be a disaster for NI Remainers of all stripes, and they know it.
  • Joint administration may begin to look more appealing as both communities survey the potential damage that Brexit will inflict on their wallets. On the other hand, anything that seems to be a step towards a UI will meet some understandable resistance. Nevertheless, this seems to me to be the least bad option currently on the table for all concerned, apart from the DUP, unless the foolishness of their approach sinks in.

Now, I’m not claiming any special expertise on NI politics, I’m just working from those most old-fashioned of tools, observation and reasoning, and I’m perfectly willing to have my errors pointed out to me in a reasonable fashion. Perhaps one positive benefit of this new understanding might just be that FG and SF supporters on the ground might just drop the old SF/IRS, Blueshirts, West Brit name-calling and get on with the serious business of building consensus on this small island of ours. Even, maybe, on P.ie.
 


ruserious

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What will be of interest to me is whether Unionist farmers will cut their nose off to spite their face and vote DUP despite their best interest laying with remaining in the EU. Tribal politics is alive and well in the North. I think SF have played a blinder on this, and are giving lip service to moving beyond green politics to become attractive to all members of the middle and working class. Of course, the old guard will have to be replaced before this becomes any kind of reality but we have seen the start of this with Michelle O'Neill.
 

statsman

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What will be of interest to me is whether Unionist farmers will cut their nose off to spite their face and vote DUP despite their best interest laying with remaining in the EU. Tribal politics is alive and well in the North. I think SF have played a blinder on this, and are giving lip service to moving beyond green politics to become attractive to all members of the middle and working class. Of course, the old guard will have to be replaced before this becomes any kind of reality but we have seen the start of this with Michelle O'Neill.
I agree that SF have done very well. Surprisingly well. As have FG, equally surprisingly.
 

Hans Von Horn

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What will be of interest to me is whether Unionist farmers will cut their nose off to spite their face and vote DUP despite their best interest laying with remaining in the EU. Tribal politics is alive and well in the North. I think SF have played a blinder on this, and are giving lip service to moving beyond green politics to become attractive to all members of the middle and working class. Of course, the old guard will have to be replaced before this becomes any kind of reality but we have seen the start of this with Michelle O'Neill.
You discount subsidies for farming in the UK after Brexit and you take for granted subsidies continuing in the EU at current levels post Brexit. Are SF asking the people of Ulster to abandon the British Market, British Exchequer transfers and join a Euro Superstate?
 

statsman

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You discount subsidies for farming in the UK after Brexit and you take for granted subsidies continuing in the EU at current levels post Brexit.
In the absence of any actual evidence to the contrary, these are both perfectly reasonable assumptions.
 

former wesleyan

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What will be of interest to me is whether Unionist farmers will cut their nose off to spite their face and vote DUP despite their best interest laying with remaining in the EU. Tribal politics is alive and well in the North. I think SF have played a blinder on this, and are giving lip service to moving beyond green politics to become attractive to all members of the middle and working class. Of course, the old guard will have to be replaced before this becomes any kind of reality but we have seen the start of this with Michelle O'Neill.
The Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Bríd Rodgers was highly thought of by Unionist farmers during the F & M crisis in 2001.
 

Erudite Caveman

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I don't get where you are going with the bit

Direct rule would be a disaster for NI Remainers of all stripes, and they know it.
Why would direct rule (as opposed to JA) be so significant in relation to Brexit that it would trump the traditional divisions?
 

statsman

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I don't get where you are going with the bit



Why would direct rule (as opposed to JA) be so significant in relation to Brexit that it would trump the traditional divisions?
If the North is being administered from London, the perception, and probably the reality, would be that all decisions around Brexit will be made with no regard whatsoever to local interests.
 

Cellachán Chaisil

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Fintan O'Toole isn't pulling punches today:

Fintan O

Of particular note is the line:

There used to be talk that Fianna Fáil would establish a northern branch – who knew that it would be the DUP?
 

Notachipanoaktree

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In a recent exchange with another poster who has to remain nameless because of OP rules (let’s call him netherlandia), we agreed that FG and SF are the two political parties in the Republic that appear to understand the full implications of Brexit on Irish politics and the Irish economy.

Now, although netherlandia is one of the more articulate posters on the forum (and makes very fine graphs) we would differ on a lot of things, so I found it particularly interesting that we should agree on this, so I thought it might be interesting to tease out the subject here, and maybe pull together various strands of discussion that are happening all over P.ie.

I understand that the two parties have had high level informal talks on how to proceed, and that Kenny’s kite flying exercise last week was part of a process. On the whole, both parties have been taking a sensibly quiet and low-key approach to this knotty set of problems, just getting on with it. It also appears that the emerging SF leadership in the South are somewhat sidelined in this process, with the key relationships being Kenny, Adams and now Michelle O’Neill. Yesterday’s meeting between Kenny and May was in keeping with the low-key approach, but May’s public restatement in Dublin of her continued commitment to the GFA and CTA were significant, not because of her potential influence on how negotiations will pan out, but because of the time and place.

FF have shown very little; lots of fine words, no buttered parsnips. The parties of the Left are conflicted, not really knowing whether or not they hate Brussels more than they hate the Tories. Given the stagnant nature of the political situation in the Republic at the moment, nicely illustrated by the aforementioned graphs, I think we should work on the assumption that the current government will see out much of the two-year Article 50 negotiations, so an understanding of not just the economics but also of the politics will be crucial.

So, what are the political implications?

  • Brexit is an opportunity for Dublin and NI Nationalists to build bridges with those within the Unionist community who voted Remain.
  • After the Assembly elections, the options pretty much are: a new DUP/SF administration, which seems unlikely but not impossible; direct rule; joint administration.
  • Direct rule would be a disaster for NI Remainers of all stripes, and they know it.
  • Joint administration may begin to look more appealing as both communities survey the potential damage that Brexit will inflict on their wallets. On the other hand, anything that seems to be a step towards a UI will meet some understandable resistance. Nevertheless, this seems to me to be the least bad option currently on the table for all concerned, apart from the DUP, unless the foolishness of their approach sinks in.

Now, I’m not claiming any special expertise on NI politics, I’m just working from those most old-fashioned of tools, observation and reasoning, and I’m perfectly willing to have my errors pointed out to me in a reasonable fashion. Perhaps one positive benefit of this new understanding might just be that FG and SF supporters on the ground might just drop the old SF/IRS, Blueshirts, West Brit name-calling and get on with the serious business of building consensus on this small island of ours. Even, maybe, on P.ie.
[video=youtube;Aob_uEGo9Xc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aob_uEGo9Xc[/video]
 

Spanner Island

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Even the staunchest Unionists must be under no illusion that they and NI are constantly taken for granted by Westminster...

Scotland is starting to see this too with the sham meetings that are going on in relation to Brexit...

An independent Scotland and an independent NI would be the best outcome imo... with a Celtic coalition of all three including ourselves when dealing with the EU.

Unlikely to happen of course... but it's the outcome I'd prefer to see as I simply cannot see a UI or direct rule working out...
 
D

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I'm not sure of the significance of May's commitment to the GFA and the CTA, in that I never much doubted the UK's commitment to them in the first place. What I do doubt is how much importance, in the great scheme of screwing the Brits, the European Commission will attach to them.

And I certainly question the wisdom of having our remaining in the EU as the government's default position, and in particular the sermon we heard from Hogan telling us to get onside with Europe, not because it is necessarily the wrong decision but because we do not seem to have considered leaving the EU and carried out a serious study of that option.
 

Erudite Caveman

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If the North is being administered from London, the perception, and probably the reality, would be that all decisions around Brexit will be made with no regard whatsoever to local interests.
But regardless, the decisions on Brexit will be made in London with little regard to NI. There might even be a case to say that if governing NI is on someone's To Do list in London, there might be a greater consciousness of the effects of Brexit.
 

statsman

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But regardless, the decisions on Brexit will be made in London with little regard to NI. There might even be a case to say that if governing NI is on someone's To Do list in London, there might be a greater consciousness of the effects of Brexit.
You could, but how will people in NI view it? Certainly Nationalists will not want DR.
 

Spanner Island

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I'm not sure of the significance of May's commitment to the GFA and the CTA, in that I never much doubted the UK's commitment to them in the first place. What I do doubt is how much importance, in the great scheme of screwing the Brits, the European Commission will attach to them.

And I certainly question the wisdom of having our remaining in the EU as the government's default position, and in particular the sermon we heard from Hogan telling us to get onside with Europe, not because it is necessarily the wrong decision but because we do not seem to have considered leaving the EU and carried out a serious study of that option.
We're between a rock and a hard place... no doubt about it...

Brexit, Trump, the EU targeting the economic model they've known we've been pursuing for decades and worse, trying to do it retrospectively...

It's fair to say I don't trust any of this particular Troika to act in the best interests of Ireland in any way shape or form...

We are little more than observers which is very frustrating...

This point in time is a point in time at which I actually feel some sympathy for the Irish Government because there's no easy or clear cut choices that can be guaranteed to be the best choices at this stage...

It's a f***ing mess and we're uniquely in the midst of a triple whammy.
 
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Erudite Caveman

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Even the staunchest Unionists must be under no illusion that they and NI are constantly taken for granted by Westminster...

Scotland is starting to see this too with the sham meetings that are going on in relation to Brexit...
I think you are underestimating the pettiness of NI politics. Unionists are quite wiling to be taken for granted by Westminster because that means that they are still 'winning'. Republicans are as bad, but they just have nothing to lose.

An independent Scotland and an independent NI would be the best outcome imo... with a Celtic coalition of all three including ourselves when dealing with the EU.

Unlikely to happen of course... but it's the outcome I'd prefer to see as I simply cannot see a UI or direct rule working out...
A joint-head of state independent NI (Her Maj and Michael D), similar to Andorra might make the most sense, but can you imagine the amount of sh1te they'd get bogged down in before they got to something as important as deciding their place inside/outside the EU?
 

locke

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This is not a top-level political phenomenon, but one that I think may have significant implications in the longer term.

There has always been a branch of FG support that has been perceived as Anglophile. However, it may actually have been more Internationalist than Anglophile, looking for influence from abroad and seeing Ireland as part of a broad international trend. It just happened that Britain was the easiest source of external influence.

From what I've seen of people who I would regard as being of that persuasion, they are currently disgusted with Britain and the whole Brexit situation.

This, to me, presents a possibility of a social realignment, with Britain's closest friends here turning away from them.

In relation to the OP, it may make some reconciliation between FG and SF easier.
 

Erudite Caveman

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We're between a rock and a hard place... no doubt about it...

Brexit, Trump, the EU targeting the economic model they've known we've been pursuing for decades and worse, trying to do it retrospectively...

It's fair to say I don't trust any of this particular Troika to act in the best interests of Ireland in any way shape or form...

We are little more than observers which is very frustrating...

This point in time is a point at which I actually feel some sympathy for the Irish Government because there's no easy or clear cut or knowingly beneficial choices for us at this stage...
The biggest threat IMO isn't the direct relationship between Ireland and any of those entities, but between Trump's US and the EU. It is pretty clear that he sees it as an economic rival to the US, and not a partner. That will get knotted up with increased pressures on NATO and reduced pressures on Russia. How all that plays out is anyone's guess.
 
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