Ireland should not fear Brexit, it should embrace it

'If a No Deal Brexit occurs, economic reasons may dictate we leave the EU. This does not mean the UK usurps our sovereignty'

Despite the constant Brexit talk on radio and television, and the miles of column inches in the press, one thing is never mentioned – it seems virtually impossible to leave the EU.

Social media has not ignored this fact. The EU has been aptly compared to The Eagles' classic song, 'Hotel California': “You can check in anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

The torturous process which has emerged, causing chaos in the British political system, is an attempt by Brussels, its anti-Brexit collaborators in Westminster, and the media, to overturn the democratic Brexit referendum result. It is not Boris Johnson attempting a 'coup', but the EU.

Talk of the backstop and Britain remaining in the EU’s customs union - in other words remaining in the EU without having any influence on decisions - was a deliberate attempt to derail Brexit. A trade agreement should have been the first item on the agenda of these divorce proceedings, but Brussels put the backstop cart before the horse to block Britain’s departure.

Ultimately it is the EU bureaucracy firing a warning shot across the bows of other member states. It is also a sign of its fear that once Britain leaves and the proverbial sky does not fall in other member states will follow suit. They will see the EU is not a panacea.

Unfortunately, Ireland has been complicit in this attack on British democracy, slavishly promoting the spurious horror images of a “hard border” and a threat to the peace process conjured up by Brussels. Ireland should have urged genuine negotiations around achieving a trade deal after Brexit. In truth, the only people advocating a hard border are not the Brits, but the EU to “protect the customs union” as Juncker has recently let slip. This has been clear from the outset, but ignored by the political establishment and the Irish media.

Remember the Lisbon Treaty

It is the intransigence of the EU that has created the No Deal Brexit scenario in a high stakes game to overturn Brexit. However, if the British government is to respect the democratic will of the British people then it has no other option. Nobody would advocate No Deal as a first choice. Nevertheless, if one has to choose between No Brexit or a No Deal Brexit, then democrats must go for the latter every time.

'The EU economic model is neoliberal and is enshrined in the EU’s constitution, the Lisbon Treaty. It is aimed at privatisation and forbidding state borrowing and spending to defeat unemployment'

Faced with a similar choice over the first Nice and Lisbon referendums the servile Irish governments and the Opposition tugged the forelock to the Brussels’ elite and betrayed Irish democracy by having second referenda, so we could get the 'right' answer.

The history of the Lisbon Treaty illustrates the anti-democratic nature of the EU. Originally, this treaty was known as the EU Constitution, because that is what it was. It was put to a referendum in France and Holland. Both electorates rejected it. The EU Commission made minuscule changes to this constitution and repackaged it as the Lisbon Treaty. The governments of France and Holland did not present it to the people again in a plebiscite but slipped it through their parliaments. Then came the Irish debacle of a second referendum with all the threats and lies that forced the people to pass a treaty that imposes austerity and hardship on working people and paves the way for a militarised EU.

The EU is not on the side of workers

The reason British voted for Leave is because membership of the EU has been bad for working people in Britain. Since joining, economic inequality in Britain has increased and real wages have fallen, as have public sector jobs. It is no accident that the regions with the lowest median incomes – c£17,000 per annum - were those that had the strongest Leave vote at between 60-66 per cent.

The second reason given by Leave voters was the loss of sovereignty. The accurate belief that the unelected Brussels Commission dictates what a British government is permitted to do. For example, the Fourth Rail Package proposed by the Commission will make it illegal to renationalise the British railway system.

And although there is much blather about a “social Europe” the European Court of Justice has consistently supported the interests of private companies over workers’ pay and rights – take a look at the Laval, Viking, Rüffert, and Luxembourg rulings.

Remember how the Irish Ferries staff were replaced by cheap foreign workers and you will understand the anti-working class nature of the EU. “Freedom of movement” means freedom of movement of exploitable labour.

The EU economic model is neoliberal and is enshrined in the EU’s constitution, the Lisbon Treaty. It is aimed at privatisation and forbidding state borrowing and spending to defeat unemployment. The Maastricht Treaty outlawed reliance on state enterprise instead of private enterprise in the name of free competition, the Fiscal Compact controls the extent and limits of state borrowing, especially for productive purposes.

The militarisation of the EU

Does that mean Insider believes right wing politicians such as Johnson and Rees-Mogg will bring about a more socialist Britain? No, they have their own reasons for backing Brexit, but the problem is, the EU is un-reformable. EU treaties can only be changed through unanimity of all member states and that is not going to happen for any social cause.

However, a right-wing British government can be replaced by a progressive one in an election. Therefore leaving the EU is the only way to develop a socialist alternative and Jeremy Corbyn recognises this.

The EU bureaucratic monolith, with its unelected Commission at its centre, is inherently anti-democratic. EU treaties, laws, and regulations are drawn up with the significant input of what is euphemistically called 'expert' or 'interest groups', the well-funded lobbyists of big corporations.

EU army

A pertinent example is the development of a European Defence Fund and Permanent Security Cooperation (PESCO ). Both stem from the Lisbon Treaty. For the first time the EU budget will be used to militarise the EU with a total of €19 billion being contributed. Altogether, up to €60 billion could be earmarked for this between 2021-2027. PESCO foresees member states increasing their military budgets to two per cent of GDP each year. This would see our Government wasting up to €6 billion on the military yearly – at present the figure is €965 million.

There was no democratic input from NGOs, humanitarian organisations, civil society, or academia, while the European Parliament was reportedly absent from the process. The EU Institute for Security Studies, under the direction of the Commission, designated the 'Group of Personalities' to focus on both EU funding for military research and PESCO. The majority of this group are CEOs of the European arms industries. It was their task to find ways for EU Governments to navigate around national sovereignty and neutrality clauses so greater EU military integration could be fostered. That is the hidden reality of the EU.

Think Iceland, not Brexit Britain

How could Irish people fail to recognise that the EU is run in the interest of the corporations? We have been lumbered with the gambling losses of the private banking sector -a burden we are expected to carry till 2054.

If a No Deal Brexit occurs, economic reasons may dictate that we leave the EU. That does not mean the Brits usurp our sovereignty. We will regain our economic and political sovereignty. We will regain our own currency, decide our own interest rates, or how we invest state funds. Think Iceland!

A deal or no deal Brexit will be the beginning of the end of the EU. It will be an opportunity for the Irish Republic to embark on an independent course. Forget 'Hotel California' and remember Liberty Hall in 1914 and the slogan that graced the front of the building. It is as relevant today as back then: We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland.


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