Tuesday 12 February 2019

Crash Course in Irish Politics

At a loose end? Know little to nothing about Irish politics? Then this utterly brilliant episode of TyskySour from Novara Media is the one for you. Here, Michael Walker is in conversation with Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard and the New Left Review's Dan Finn. They address the position of Northern Ireland in relation to Brexit, whether it's hastening the day for a united Ireland, the shenanigans and permutations of the statelet's politics and much, much else besides. I can't recommend this enough.

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Anonymous said...

To correct the impression given by Dann Finn, the SNP fought the 2014 independence referendum on a platform of promoting an independent Scotland within the EU. It is no surprise at all that they are now strongly opposed to leaving the EU.

Jim Denham said...

The crucial thing to understand now is that Brexit means
The people of the Six Counties face the choice of having economic borders erected either with the 26 Counties or with Britain. Which will they choose? The partition of Ireland and the union of the Six Counties with Britain implies an answer to that question that a big majority in the Six Counties fear and do not want. A big minority of DUP voters do not want it.

How would Northern Ireland vote in a referendum on some variant of a united Ireland within the EU? You can no longer read the answers off from a headcount of Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Unionists. Many once all-determining factors have changed in the last twenty or so years, not only in the Six but also in the Twenty-Six Counties.

A poll in June 2018 had 42% for a united Ireland, 45% for staying with the UK. Another poll in December 2017 had a majority for a united Ireland in the event of “hard” Brexit.

In its insistence on a legally-guaranteed backstop, the Dublin government has the backing of the EU. The EU insists that a withdrawal agreement will have the backstop - or
Britain will leave without an agreement.

For centuries Britain′s rulers feared that their European rivals would use Ireland against Britain, as Spain and France did in the distant past and Germany threatened to in World
War 2. Now all of mainland Europe stands solidly with Ireland against Britain.

Anonymous said...

For centuries the left hoped Ireland would destabilise Britain! I think Radiohead should dedicate their song Just to brexit!

In order for Europe to overcome its problems, ‘democratic’ deficits (low voter turnouts to be polite), rise of far right populism, deeply unequal geographically with lack of transfers from one region to another, managerial and technocratic neo liberalism, there will be a need for much deeper integration economically and politically. And even then given the historical and cultural specifics it is hard to envisage a United States of Europe being comparable to that working class paradise the USA.

Without this further and deeper integration then the EU will likely explode due to its own contradictions and will certainly make it impossible for the EU to be any kind of vehicle for unity across borders. The EU will simply create more populism, left or right, in reaction to its contradictions.

And getting to the point, if Britain is in the EU you can kiss goodbye to any further and deeper integration.

This brings us to the biggest contradiction, not to say a downright paradox, those that voted for remain are the most anti EU and those that voted leave are the most pro EU.

A united Ireland and an independent Scotland seems one way out of this (and would be so wonderfully delicious given the character of the average Brexiter!), short of the entire EU being demolished and rebuilt along social democratic lines (which is the left Brexit positiion when you listen to people like Lapvitsas, who I think was intervied by Novara not so long ago).

Jim Denham said...

"those that voted for remain are the most anti EU and those that voted leave are the most pro EU": ... ehrrr ... where do you get that from ?

Jim Denham said...

A 56%-44% majority in Northern Ireland voted against Brexit. Those who had been brought up Protestant voted 60%-40% for Brexit, those brought up Catholic 85%-15% against. There is a clear democratic majority in both Irelands for the whole island remaining in the EU.

Brexit, with the Northern Ireland electorate a political prisoner of the UK, is likely to do serious damage to Northern Ireland and to Ireland as a whole. It will be yet another brutally anti-democratic imposition on Ireland by Britain, backed now only by a minority even in the Northern Ireland substate.

jim mclean said...

The SNP ran the referendum on leaving the UK and EU and joining the EU as an independent country if it met the EU economic qualifiers. It really is insanity for them to oppose Brexit while stating it is still there intention to leave EU. Ireland is an economic shithole at he moment with the greatest wealth divide in modern times. Youngsters classed as skilled are leaving the country due to its attack on wc life, and the same is happening in the norn.
Corbyn (I don't like him but that is my problem) is probably the most friendly Labour leader in relation to Scottish Independence and a United Ireland. The problem is Presbyterianism, the Union of 1802 which united the Scots and Ulster Scots peoples is stronger than the Union of 1706. The Scottish Party which became the SNP was a Protestant Unionist group seeking dominion status within the Empire. My fear is that Scottish, Irish and British nationalists will make a major error and ignite a civil war. SF have never been socialists and the inability of those of us outside Ireland to engage with Irish Socialists is our mistake. The CWI (I don't like him but that is my problem) have probably a better idea of what is happening on the ground than anyone else in English or Scottish politics