My #Remainer’s Diary Day 445: Edward Burke, assistant professor in international relations at the University of Nottingham, wrote in the Guardian that the DUP’s intervention had been a decisive moment. He said it was an open secret that the DUP was deeply divided over Brexit. As he pointed out, the DUP has not produced any detailed policies on the issue.
According to Prof. Burke, Arlene Foster’s wing recognises the importance of cross border trade and services but, for deeply emotive reasons based in family history, cannot accept a border between the province and Britain. Nigel Dodds’ supporters consist of true Brexit believers. Both Arlene Foster and Theresa May need to find a way out; and Foster would probably like the UK to stay in the customs union, but she cannot say so. “Foster needs Conservative allies to make all the running.”
I am sure he is right.
Prof. Burke concluded: “The collapse of talks on completing phase one of Brexit negotiations will still lead to the same inevitable conclusion – the UK staying in, or aligned to the customs union, but through a more arduous route.”
Northern Irish political discourse is not couched in terms of economic benefit and detriment. This makes it bewildering much of the time. I briefly encountered similar baffling politics when I visited Belgrade once. There, i gathered, most of the political parties did not talk about policies to make everyone’s lives better. Yet their voter loyalty in the polling booths was assured. Searching for understanding of this, I learned that there were continual wars between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, during which Belgrade was repeatedly razed to the ground. The Military Frontier established by Ferdinand I in 1553 and lasting until 1881 had run through what is now a suburb of Belgrade.
Politics are driven by emotion. A huge achievement of the EU is to offer more and more communities a kind of politics in which the emotion involved is less ancestral pain and more hope – of obtaining things people want, like wealth creation, health services, potholes mended, rubbish collected, value for money.
David No-Notes told the Brexit Select Committee that there were no sectoral impact assessments. I do not believe him.
Paul Drechsler, president of the Confederation of British Industry, said in a speech to a City audience that there was “a cloud hanging over all of us… and yes, that cloud is called Brexit”.
He added: “In the immediate term, business needs to know the details of any transition deal – Rome is burning on that issue.”
Mr Drechsler told Sky News that businesses with international interests were already implementing contingency plans. “The train has left the station.”
There is absolutely no doubt how serious the situation is for businesses and hence the UK economy and thus all of us on these islands.