Fintan O’Toole: The British should know their place on Brexit

The Irish did not invent the backstop to thwart Brexit. The crisis is a British one

British prime minister Theresa May gestures while answering questions following a speech at Complesso Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy, on Friday, September 22nd, 2017. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

British prime minister Theresa May gestures while answering questions following a speech at Complesso Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy, on Friday, September 22nd, 2017. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Before we declare a Christmas truce in the Brexit wars, let’s clear away one large piece of debris. In Britain, and even in Ireland, a narrative has taken hold: the Border problem was not a big issue until Leo Varadkar replaced Enda Kenny as Taoiseach in June 2017.

The issue would all have been settled amicably if a callow new administration had not come to power in Dublin. Varadkar was insecure, looking over his shoulder at Sinn Féin and determined not to be outflanked.

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