A former ambassador to the European Union says the UK has no choice but to re-think its Brexit red linesby David Hannay / April 30, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
The sheer fecklessness with which British politicians have, down the centuries, treated the Irish dimension of their policy decisions and their unwillingness to understand the damaging consequences of those decisions, is a matter of historical record. Now, as the Brexit negotiations grind remorselessly on and the 29th March 2019 deadline looms closer, that fecklessness and disregard is reaching new heights.
Take the 2016 referendum itself. A few days before the vote the two British Prime Ministers who did most to bring to a peaceful end to the appalling period of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, John Major and Tony Blair, gave a solemn warning of the risks for the Belfast Good Friday Agreement inherent in a UK decision to leave the European Union. That warning may have had some effect within Northern Ireland itself, where the electorate voted by a substantial majority to remain in the EU, but elsewhere in the UK it was like water off a duck’s back. Not perhaps surprising when the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, whose job it was to be the custodian of the Good Friday Agreement, said leaving would be absolutely fine.