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Should the UK abandon Northern Ireland?

Well...should they?

  • Absolutely; they made a good start with their protocol, causing the idea to gain popularity!

    Votes: 4 36.4%
  • Yeah; their faffing about with article 16 shows they don't really want the best for NI to begin with

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • Neutral: I wouldn't dare make a stance, but I'm here for the popcorn

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • No; the current situation's just caused by incompetence; it can still be fixed...somehow

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • Absolutely not! Northern Ireland's the DUP's bit** and that's how it likes it!

    Votes: 1 9.1%

  • Total voters
    11

Taleweaver

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Yeah, yeah: I know: controversial title and biassed poll options. Create your own thread if you want to showcase your ignorance on the matter. Or do the exact opposite of what you claim and make some posts, which directly results in more views (btw: thanks in advance for that :) ). This thread is for everyone else...


So...where do I even begin? Going chronological it really starts to sound like a fever dream, but it's unfortunately all true:

Cameron, in 2016: okay, okay: I'll grant you a stupid poll on leaving the EU, provided you help me with <other political stuff>.
voters, 2016: 52% says we want out of the EU
Cameron: whaaa? I'm out of here.
Farage: Yeeey! Also: I'm also out of here.
Johnson: great. Now let's lead this country to...
Goove: not so fast. I want to lead this country away from the EU!
*fighting*
May: okay, okay...I'll do it. *starts exit talks*
House of commons (or lords? or parliament? All of them?): WE DON'T LIKE YOUR OFFER!!!
May: :(
voters, 2019: *votes in Johnson for prime minister*
Johnson: allright, my turn. Let's do this.
EU: erm...you want to extend the earlier deadlines?
Johnson: naaah, we're good. We'll leave in january 2020. In the meanwhile, let's negotiate trade.
EU: so how about that Irish backstop?
Johnson: nope. No border in the Irish sea.
*negotiating*
Christmas: 2020: welp, here's our oven-ready deal: no border in the Irish sea! :D but there are checks on goods
DUP, 2021: ey! You tricked us! Now we read what we've signed, it appears we're still in the single market while you guys are out. That means custom checks. And a border.
Frost: I'm just here to tell you that this is all the EU's fault. :)
Lizz Trust: don't mind me. I'm just copy-pasting the EU trade agreements with Japan and Australia while pretending I'm doing my job. :D
French Fishermen: what gives? The agreement said we could still fish in UK waters, but they're bureaucratizing us out of permits!
*Macron vs Johson fight. Result: 0-0...but the fishermen get their licenses somehow *
Foreign truck drivers: a temporary permit to be ALLOWED to work in the UK? Screw that. Better get used to looking at empty shelves!
Regular drivers: what do you mean, out of fuel? I need fuel for my car, damnit!
Northern Ireland residents: wow...being in the single market and having that protocol is actually pretty sweet. Okay, it's harder to import from the UK, but we'll get our stuff from Ireland instead.
DUP: how dare they be happy with the protocol! IT MUST GO!!!
Frost: hey, EU: we've found a bug in the agreement called article 16. We're going to abuse it to weasel out of our part of the bargain.
EU: you mean that part that you never attempted to uphold to begin with?
Frost: yeah...that one. :)
Major: goddamnit, government. Are you out of your bloody minds?
Johnson: *notoriously absent*
Other government drones: we're going to trigger article 16. Or aren't we? Are we? C'mon...dare us. :)


Yeah, I know: I make it look like a puppet show. But how detached from reality is this? The protocol in Northern Ireland is popular with the majority of the people and I can pretty much find evidence on a daily basis that the economical situation in the rest of the UK is sliding towards oblivion. Before 2016 I had no idea what the single market was; right now I'm ready to punch anyone straight on the nose who seriously considers Belgium should leave the single market for...erm...whatever the alternative (@shamzie once told me he prefered WTO rules. I've yet to find a single argument in favor of that).

But for some reason I can't truly apprehend (outside a conspiracy theory, which I'll get to), the UK government isn't saying to the DUP "shut your mouths, okay? There's far less trade barriers on your side, it's a popular measure and your borders aren't in this sorry-ass state that we're in". They're not defending that "oven ready" deal they negotiated themselves. they're not even considering that the DUP is sinking in the polls in favor of more Irish-minded parties. Heck...they're not even considering that Biden's USA is far more geared towards peace in the region than anything else the UK has to offer. Not to speak of the simple fact that THE EU IS THE UK'S MOST IMPORTANT FUCKING TRADE PARTNER!!! Why do I even fucking mention it? Does nobody in Johnson's government look at a fucking map and go "hmm...the DUP represents only a small fraction on a part of the UK we've already sacrificed for brexit. That over there is this huge-ass blob that's the EU, and for some reason we're convinced they're desparate to buy all our stuff" ?

But no...they rather sacrifice all remaining shreds of credibility in the geopolitical playing field(1) to appease to a simple regional political party that doesn't even have a clear majority in its region.

So why? Well...this is the conspiracy theory part, though perhaps it appearing in the guardian might give it some credit. I can summarize it in one word, provided y'all are intellectual enough to know the meaning: 1984.

Simply put: the government (or the tories, which amount to the same thing right now) don't want a deal. They don't want to settle disputes, come to mutual understandings or reach agreements. The tories - and BoJo in particular - just rose to power because they were able to scare the people of the horrible monster that was the EU. EU membership was COSTLY (which is true if you only count the cost and neglect the benefits), BUREAUCRATIC (too bad that famous "kipper" incident was worthless because that was UK regulation) and BAD FOR WORK (except UK residents apparently can't fill in for the missing butchers, truck drivers and whomever else that ACTUALLY makes the economy work)!

...and now that they're in power, they can only stay there by keeping the people afraid of the EU. So suddenly those "laws" that prevented the UK from implementing a much fairer and just system turned out to be non-existent in the first place. And these stories about the EU "punishing" the UK for leaving? Pathetic lies with no grounds in reality (wake the fuck up: we're 27 individual states. If you really think specific laws to put the UK "in its place" is going to make a vote on the floor, let alone get passed, you're a fucking FOOL. Any law has to take ALL external countries into account, which nullifies any attempt at revenge by itself, and I'm not even taking out big gun arguments like "they're still our neighbors" and "the brexit hasn't cut all economic reasons for trade").

Now the paranoid part of this reasoning isn't in that. It's in the attempt to keep it perpetual. That'd be petty, stupid and especially dangerous on this scale. Like the boy who cried Wolf, really. At one point nobody's going to be bothered anymore. Like this dangling of article 16. I've made some disgruntled comments in the brexit advantage thread how earlier "we want advantages or we go with no deal" was without merit because it needs to be paired with what you actually, concretely WANT. I've seen it then, and I see it now: there's no progress on negotiations because the UK (or Frost, as he's the lead negotiator in this case) doesn't seem to WANT to negotiate. There was a deal. You want to alter it? The idea should be to convince the other side to go along with you, NOT to threated to blow up your part of the deal. The fact that it's the UK's own negotiated deal would be a huge red flag if I was British ("hey...isn't this whole shebang an admission we got royally screwed over last Christmas :unsure:?"), but since I'm not, I'll leave it to others to judge.
What I will say, though...if it's NOT a conspiracy theory...if all this "no, wait...we want some changes", these "can we still backsies on what we signed earlier" and so on are all due to incompetence and naivity (we're trading partners. NOT your friends and certainly NOT brexit 101 teachers)...then it's about bloody time the UK government makes an attempt to prove it.

See: I WANT to label this article as rubbish. As the idea of a reporter attempting to adhere to malicious competence (there's a reason for all this! :D ) rather than the innocent stupidity that it is. But I can't ignore the bloody facts here. The whole blaming of the EU and/or covid situation isn't endless. The tories can't spin it as if the EU holds back truck drivers when they themselves failed to cather to them. We didn't make the Northern Ireland protocol popular in the region...the shortages in the rest of the island made sure of that.


But to (finally) circle around to my main point: what if I'm wrong? What if BoJo really just wants a continuous stream of hostility against the EU for the sole reason that people aren't going to revolt for as long as they believe it(2)? In the sewer that is the youtube comments section, I make out that Ireland itself isn't so much seen as a sovereign state and member of the EU but rather some annoying part that's adjacent to the great UK (even if that part is NI). If DUP members can openly theorize that Ireland should just give up the single market, that's saying something.

And still on the presumption that BoJo's government isn't just incompetent, that means it won't just NOT quell these voices but listens to them if an agreement is reached over this(3). And it's only a gliding scale from there on out.

So here's my own contribution: stop this nonsense. Northern Ireland has...a strange history, to say the least. It got into existence by a majority of people as a compromise, but that compromise was never fully embraced by the Irish. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems the Irish didn't so much WANT that good friday agreement as rather INDULGE it on the given conditions. That's why the protocol was built on top of it: because it'd be all out war otherwise.

The triggering of article 16 will lead to this. The efforts on the UK's side to ease the tensions, look for solutions, blah blah blah...amount to nothing. They never tried. Instead, the reasoning is that if the EU's single market is to be protected, it's up to the EU to guard the borders. In layman's terms: "IT'S ALL THE EU'S FAULT!!!!".


I'm not Von Der Leyen, but I would propose not playing this game along. Because for all this faffing about, this is what the UK are actually pretty good at. I mean...have you tried turning in your homework and then later complain you want pieces to be changed? It doesn't work. But for some reason the UK government does exactly that and hardly anyone raises an eyebrow.

So when that won't work...look for alternatives. No matter what the EU does, they'll be portrayed as the bad guys in British media. Instead of appealing to the populace you can't reach, act pragmatic. Point out that Northern Ireland is happy with the protocol. Suggest they can join ireland, so it's no longer a burden on the UK. Both the protocol and the good friday agreement are intact. Sure, it's everything the DUP fights against, but they don't have power. Hint: the EU does. Lots of it. We just haven't begun to fight yet.

...or have we? Last I've heard, the EU is putting pressure on financial firms to move their offices into the mainland. It's hardly on record in the media, but that sort of squeeze is just an example.
Also: the UK now has the full sovereignty to check on import goods. They just don't because neither the infrastructure nor the people are in place. But they're there on the EU's side. Put up the custom's checks and the waiting lines (and spoiled goods) grows even larger. And remember that fishing dispute on that English-controlled island? They acted all tough, but one commenter pointed out smoothly that the entire island was using power provided by France.
So make no mistake: the whole thing is a thing because the EU is civilized about it. The UK is being handled as a whiny toddler, because...well...that's how they act. I don't know whether they'll trigger article 16(4). But regardless: it'll have consequences.


And I say we'd move to let Ireland annex Northern Ireland. Not out of spite or malice, but because the current way the UK government is acting simply isn't in their best interest.






(1): *sigh* yeah, laugh it up. Everything after 2016 has been one embarrasment after the other (when you look at the actions taken, that is. When you shift the goalposts to the point where you say "it was my plan to sink our economy all along", then it's of course a different outlook), so it's hard to keep a straight face while writing this. But still: this isn't really the "we've had a rough start but now we're fine" approach. It's more a promise that if you sign any deal with the UK, the UK will back out of it at a whim's notice.
(2): I'd like to submit the 2016-2020 US presidency as exhibit A that a totally incompetent person won't get fired as long as he can scare people of an exterior enemy
(3): ugh...it feels like a failure to even write this. Person A makes an agreement with person B. Then player A wants to negotiate a part "just because". As an outsider, my righteous nature would say that A can only do this with the goodwill of B. So it's not "when an agreement is reached", but rather "A proposes something better to B". But we all know the UK isn't going to propose a livable, workable solution to the EU, so I can't write THAT.
(4): my personal money is they're not going to as long as they can figure out a way to present it as a win for the UK in UK's media...even though they'll look back at some point and realised it wasn't.
 

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Too long didnt read. but abandon Northern Ireland? we are trying to take back United States low key. in fact give us the planet! one empire to rule them all.

*rule britannia being sang in the distance*


picture of the Queen and Prime Minister

Galactic-Empire_ee15e2e7.jpeg
 

duwen

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My opinion is that the residents of NI should be given a referendum, like Scotland had.
Just saying "abandon it" is a pretty uncaring stance given how many of the population want to be a part of the UK - if none of them did we'd have abandoned it long ago.
 

izy

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My opinion is that the residents of NI should be given a referendum, like Scotland had.
Just saying "abandon it" is a pretty uncaring stance given how many of the population want to be a part of the UK - if none of them did we'd have abandoned it long ago.
Yo dawg I heard you like paramilitary conflict because this is how you get it
 

Taleweaver

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So...more stuff going down. Maybe it's more my interpretation, but I'd say the staredown is ended in a "the UK blinked".

And why? Because USA's (or rather: Biden's) government doesn't follow UK logic. They made it clear as crystal that they'll consider triggering article 16 as an act against the peace in the Irish region.

A loose instance or not, Maros Sefcovic (1) reported the talks being a lot smoother afterward. Almost as if the UK wanted to reach an agreement instead of doing the exact opposite of what they promised their voters (remember "get brexit done"? It's actually embarrassingly so the opposite when instead of defending your negotiated deal or even listen to the people in the NI region, you go all "no, wait...we want to faff about more about a deal the people in the region are actually happy with!").


And there's one tidbit a youtube commenter mentioned that is pretty relevant in this discussion. This whole "article 16" threat is to stop the dangers inherit with the Northern Ireland protocol. But...what are these problems, exactly?

Local companies and politicians will undoubtedly refer to the extra checks, extra standards to adhere to, tariffs and so on. But at the very least the timing is off.
See, the UK left the EU at the end of January 2020. That's when that oven-ready deal, with the NI protocol, started to be applied.
So what happened in February? Nothing special. March? Nothing either(2). The protocol was in place, and nobody seemed to care. Which isn't anyone's blame because the world had turned upside down. But were where those checks? Tariffs? There were none.
Because what happened was that after the tail-end of the grace period in which UK politicians did nothing but shove papers around (3)...there was an actual grace period. Those tariffs and checks only kicked in after some time. And it's only THEN that the whole mess started. So if it's a comfort to brexiteers: the fault isn't in being in or out of the EU, but is a direct consequence of leaving the single market.

And what is the Northern Ireland protocol? I'm sure it entails more than that, but in the most baffling display of irony it is actually an EXCEPTION to the problems that plague the rest of the UK's transport sector. Northern Ireland is still in the single market (or custom's union...I don't think there's a difference), and therefore has far less issues importing or exporting to the EU.
Some commenters have even theorized that Northern Ireland is currently economically in the best position possible: easy access to both the EU and the UK. If Northern Ireland wasn't historically so tied to Ireland (meaning: the looming rejoining with Ireland is a constant worry to the DUP), I bet the DUP would be welcoming the protocol(4).

But they're not. They're afraid this will weaken the NI stance and make a unified Ireland more likely. Which...is indeed what seems to be happening. Pretty slowly (I think we're talking 10+ years here), but if the course isn't reversed it could happen.

Of course it would take far less time if the EU actually starts lobbying over reunificating Ireland. But ey...I already explained my reasons for this in the OP. :)




(1): the guy's name is actually "Maroš Šefčovič", but I have no idea how to make these funny letters outside copy-paste
(2): with the very notable exception of the first global covid lockdown, of course.
(3): not entirely true, but c'mon: 4 freaking years of negotiating, and apparently it wasn't until October 2020 when BoJo finally started grasping what leaving the custom's union actually meant (though important note: the source here is Dominic Cummings, so I'd rather believe this is hyperbolic than actual fact)
(4): in case anyone's interested: I can link a video of a DUP member happily lobbying in the Netherlands, hoping to attract companies. From the guy's perspective I can see how he rather has no borders anywhere around NI than only having them in the Irish sea, but in doing so he at least displays a tremendous amount of disregard to what a custom's union really is
 

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