Looking at Post-Brexit Ireland

A review of our relations with more of our neighbours

When Irish eyes are smiling....When Irish eyes are smiling.... Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has resigned so let's have a look at Irish politics; not just in Eire but the whole lot of it including Ulster. It was both the luck of the Irish and Leo Varadkar that Brexit came along when it did; the former could continue to play victim, they always do, while the latter hid behind it and went in for endless Brit-bashing. This hid the fact that Varadkar had little to offer in the way of policies but eventually there came an election and Varadkar and his party did badly. We should remember this was his first general election too as the previous Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, stood down while in office and there was a leadership election that Varadkar narrowly won and he set out to make his mark. Enda Kenny was a politician of substance in that he came from a political family and had many years of experience. The Brexit referendum was just a year before Kenny stood down and he had made a point about Brexit being awkward for Ireland in a rather cack-handed way. He had also dialled in the Peace Process, another handy tool that is used by many to lever an argument their way even if the logic is flawed and the context fatuous.

Kenny was denounced by the UK government for: "scaremongering of the worst possible kind". However, it was now time for Varadkar to get noticed.

Why do they put up with it?

The victim gives way to the bully, as usual, but they are both to blame

The Jarrow March The Jarrow March
The latest bit of political speak comes from the Tory party. Timed to coincide with their recent conference we get the 'suspicious striver'.. What are they? Well possibly the answer to the Tory party prayer and let Lord Ashcroft explain in his own words.

“Suspicious Strivers”, who make up 15% of the population, have many of the attitudes that Conservatives might think make them natural supporters. They might even be thought of as the natural successors to the C2 voters that Margaret Thatcher won from Labour in the 1980s. They tend to think people expect too much from government, oppose penalising top earners with very high taxes, and value flexible labour markets. But Suspicious Strivers are so called because they are not sure their efforts will bring the rewards they should. They suspect that hard work counts for less than connections, and are sensitive to signals that striving goes unrewarded, or even counts against them, when they miss out on help which, as they see it, they would get if they worked less hard. They are the least likely of any group to identify with a political party, and have the highest UKIP vote – another symptom of their dissatisfaction with mainstream politics.

Confused? We all are!

Ireland, who's telling the truth?

The gombeen man The gombeen man
There's still so much to learn about the financial crisis in Ireland. Just days ago some people were saying that Ireland was doing well and did not need a loan. All this while others would have you believe that it was all over for Ireland and there were only tears and shame ahead. The crisis has brought us words like 'gombeen' and 'jackeen'. And this before most of us have had the chance to work out which is what in Irish political parties. This is made awkward as most of the lookers-on, the non-Irish, don't know their Fáil from their Gael. But take heart as most of the British resident Irish are also confused though not entirely surprised the sky has fallen in on the land of their birth.

The Celtic tiger

Large cats and small countries explained

Small girl strangles tiger, eh?Small girl strangles tiger, eh?

Can you remember the Celtic tiger? This now extinct animal once roamed the financial world unchallenged by any predator. So what happened, what did it eat and why did it die? Well first a quick look backwards. The romantics would have you believe that Ireland has always lived under the yoke of the British. And if you are looking for a nation of romantics then look no further than the Irish. Also, if hyperbole could be exported then the whole Irish population would be fabulously wealthy. Put the two together and you get the foundation of the ongoing theme 'Brits bad, Irish good'. Using this as a platform, umpteen novels and plays have been written and, ironically, some have made the authors rich.

We could call this the proximity theory - as for example Russian and Finland, yes the latter has a right to complain but in the case of the UK and Ireland it is, I think you will agree, a bit different. Here it's a mixed bag, advantages and disadvantages. Has there been a tradition of Finns going to work in Russia? I think not. Likewise did the rouble ever support the markka? Whoops! Showing off again! The markka predates the euro in Finland. The fact is, life was hard in post WW2 Ireland but then so it was in most of Europe and for roughly the same reasons.

Action man

Sarko charm offensive?

Oh my God! Oh my God!
The picture, see right, says it all. Mind you many politicians seem unable to act in such a way as not to make fools of themselves; those of you with long memories will recall Michael Hesteltine wearing a flak jacket when in the presence of troops while he was Defence Secretary. More up to date is Harriet Harman in the stab-proof vest during a walk-about with police officers, an act she described as "a matter of courtesy" though, as with Hestletine, words like stupidity and vanity seem more apt. And now Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France and for 6 months the President of the European Union and in his mind for all we know, 'Leader of the free world' - vive le Sarko, always a bit tetchy and so gaffe-prone that Boris Johnson has nothing to worry about, is laying into the Irish like a man possessed, see HERE.

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