Prediction is a mug’s game. So here I am, Mug Groves, ready to make a prediction. Irexit was in the news this weekend because of Nigel Farage and that othering speech of John Waters.
While many have scoffed at the idea, and pointed out the polls indicate that we are deeply Pro-European in Ireland, Rory Hearne correctly pointed out that it should be “possible to be Pro-Europe AND question fundamentally the current EU structures and processes”.
To do this isn’t to cede ground to the tiny, but vocal, ethno-nationalist bloc. To do this is essential for any further deepening of EU partnerships. A top down federal EU will not be foisted upon the populace. If it is to work, it must be delivered via bottom up, grassroots collaborations.
And so to my prediction.
We will have an Irexit. Not the Irexit of Farage, Waters and Cormac Lucey, but a purgatorial no-man’s-land Irexit.
As Brexit evolves it will become clearer to the wider EU that Ireland is a stone in the shoe that they want to use to kick the British up the arse. Many already around the Brussels table don’t like our ‘beggar thy neighbour’ tax policy and many more don’t really care that we have the best football fans in the world.
But we won’t leave the EU and they cannot make us. We are in the club and even if we are belligerent drunks, they cannot throw us out. So they’ll us Brexit against us.
We cannot and must not countenance a hard border on the island of Ireland. I know MEP Phil – reduce it to a trickle – Hogan thinks that “border controls are inevitable”. But I’m predicting that he’s wrong.
Ireland will stay in the EU, but on roughly the same trade agreements that the UK eventually get. There, I’ve said it.
The EU knows that in the grand scheme of things that trade with the UK is economically vital. The markets will dictate that. Any (open to interpretation) deals done in Phase 1 of negotiations will be long forgotten when money enters the equation.
So the only way to achieve a real Brexit, while keeping the markets happy, is to make Ireland a sacrificial lamb. Ireland will have a simple decision to make: accept UK trade terms or start building a wall.
This is the only scenario that makes sense for the wider EU. And we want to be good European’s, don’t we?
Tony Groves February 2018