Brexit: The View From Here
Imagine after years of playing well together as a group, one country wants to take its ball and go home. And the cost of leaving the group is high. In effect, the UK has decided it is no longer happy with being a part of the European Union and wants to fend for itself. The British believe they can make better deals for England on their own, than by being part of a trade union. They put that to a vote. The older, staunch believers in the UK voted…many younger voters just didn’t bother, thinking it was a crazy idea and wouldn’t pass. But it did. And having failed to negotiate a decent divorce from the European Union, the UK is now in line to crash out with no safety net in place.
Of course, now that the full effect of a Brexit has been studied and the real impacts seen, they could revote. But England is stubborn and believes they should go with the will of the people gaged before anyone really knew what it would mean. Yes, that seems shortsighted to us, but that is Brexit in its simplest form.
The impacts, however, of such a move are not limited to the UK. The island of Ireland has a lot to lose as collateral damage in that deal.
It’s no secret that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have had their differences. The Irish war of independence from England in 1919 and the Troubles that began in the 1960’s were over the politics of home rule for Ireland. While most of those who wanted a United Ireland were Catholic and most of those fighting to remain as a part of England were protestants, it was more over fighting for independence and self rule. In the end, England gave up most of the island keeping six counties in the North, because they were so financially profitable. It created a political, emotional and financial split. But because both Irelands were members of the EU, trade has been peaceful and borderless for years now. So that’s the last thing the Irish want to see again, a hard border here, splitting up families and generating distrust. If the UK pulls out of the EU, border checks will be in order.
So why doesn’t Ireland unite? Good question. That would take England giving up the six counties to the north, the six counties to the north agreeing to representation in the Irish Parliament, and the Republic taking on the debt in the north, as unemployment has outpaced profitable industry there in recent years.
All this could put the Republic in a good position as an English speaking nation nearest to the rest of Europe. It could also hurt agriculture trade as Ireland exports a lot to England. But regardless of the actual trade, the real concern here is that that one kid with the ball is too stubborn to sit down and talk about solutions for all concerned, which could ruin the game for everyone.