A very useful example of the manner in which the same question can have very different answers each of which are correct. The important point to note being correct for whom? Or, as we might put it, is Ireland worth freedom?

Certainly many of the people of Ireland thought freedom was worth it for themselves. We’d not have had those centuries of low intensity – at times flaring up – warfare over the point if they hadn’t. We now face certain decisions ourselves as Britons. We do have this clash between what we want to do in leaving the EU and what everyone would like to be doing over the Irish border. Our own solution is that we do that very English thing and just lie to foreigners. It’s worked for a millennium now so why not?

Nick Cohen thinks a little differently:

To take the most shocking instance, many of us warned that Brexit was, in George Orwell’s words, a “playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot”. In 2016 Daniel Hannan had the integrity to admit his one fear about Brexit was that it would “mess up” relations with Ireland. But rather than compromise, rather than say we must stay in the customs union for the sake of peace in Ireland and frictionless trade through Heathrow and Dover, he now forgets what integrity he possessed and joins the rest of the bulls**t right in saying it’s safe to sacrifice the “failed” Good Friday agreement for the greater good of protecting rightwing purity.

We can, if we wish, talk about right wing purity and all that but that’s not a productive line of thought. Instead, let us assume that Cohen’s set up is correct. We’ve this choice and there’s no getting around it. Either the Irish border and peace in that country while we don’t leave the EU in anything more than name or, we really do leave and we get the border again and presumably the violence that has generally accompanied its existence. OK, there’s a cost to deciding either way. And quite clearly someone living on that border and about to be subject to that violence can have a different correct answer than you or I living in suburban England might. They’re both the correct answer of course, all that’s changed is for whom.

Given that is us in aggregate who have to make the decision we thus end up having, in aggregate, to make the decision. And the real question to be answered is “Is Ireland worth freedom from the EU?”

Answer it as you wish of course. Paris was worth a mass but peace in Ireland is worth permanent rule by JC Juncker – at least ’till his liver gives out – or not?

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NiV
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NiV

“Either the Irish border and peace in that country while we don’t leave the EU in anything more than name or, we really do leave and we get the border again and presumably the violence that has generally accompanied its existence.”

Third option – Ireland leaves the customs union as well.

The same way Ireland opted out of Schengen, and for exactly the same reason.

Erik Bloodaxe
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Erik Bloodaxe

It’s a false dichotomy, of course. The correct thing to do would be to declare unilateral free trade with the world, obviating the need for customs posts on our side (while ensuring the best access to the world’s riches for ourselves). If the EU were to insist that Ireland implement checks on its side – well, the Irish would find they have another colonial master against which they may chafe. Failing that, we go WTO at some level of tariff or other, and simply turn a blind eye to small and medium-scale trade while implementing a technological solution for the… Read more »

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

Complete bollocks of course, but remoaners are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Continuity Project Fear. The GFA isn’t the Anglo Irish agreement. It’s about internal politics of northern Ireland. Who gets to get what share of cash and power that is spunked on the North from the mainland. I don’t believe there’s any appetite in the north, any at all for a united Ireland. There certainly isn’t in the south. I mean, how would life change for the average bloke in Belfast if they merged? Ireland isn’t all catholic kinder, kirche, kuche like it was after independence. It’s… Read more »

PJF
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PJF

There might well be many correct answers, but in the immediate term it seems likely the DUP’s answer will be the most correct.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

Time to normalise the rights of Eire citizens living in the UK. They get a vote here.

Bongo
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Bongo

It’s a common thing at the moment to say that the Good Friday Agreement has brought peace. Surely the causation is the other way around.

Mr Ecks
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Mr Ecks

You must be fucking joking Tim.

The “Irish Question” doesn’t even exist. The border stays as is on our side. The Irish can do what the Hell they like. It will hardly matter much cos soon there won’t be any Irish anyway thanks to their own treacherous “leaders”.

Time tho’ for a few T&S’s to be handed out to our dear ReMainiac pals.

Pat
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Pat

Bearing in mind there has never been a hard border, and there have never been identical tax regimes, currencies, external tariffs, all that is needed is to go back to whatever we did before 1992. We may be able to improve on that, but we already know of a workable solution.
Hence this is a case of the EU creating difficulties either as a negotiation stance or just because they can. Either way it is in bad faith.

jgh
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jgh

If we want frictionless trade through Heathrow and Dover then all we have to do is we *not* put any friction in place. There seems to be this blind spot in most Remainers and a lot of Brexiters that stops them realising that *NOT* doing something is allowed. There’s this must-do-something attitude pervading large parts of the body politic that the only options allowed in any decision making is to *do* something, with utter incomprehension that *NOT* doing something is an allowed option.

Steve
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Steve

Why does Nick Cohen want Britain to act as if we’re Ireland’s colonial master?

Pcar
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Pcar

Northern Ireland trades more with the rest of the UK than it does with the Republic of Ireland, the rest of the EU and the rest of the world put together. 60% of Northern Ireland’s total sales are with Great Britain, compared to only 14.7% with the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland exports to the Republic are worth £3.4 billion a year, which is equivalent to less than 0.1% of the EU’s annual external trade of £3.5 trillion. The UK and the Republic of Ireland could simply make unilateral decisions to maintain an open border even in the absence of… Read more »