Brexit and the backstop
Sir, – There has been much talk recently about the dangers of treating the famous backstop as “a green and orange issue”. Agreed, the present UK-EU impasse is about much more than Irish nationalism and British unionism, but at the heart of it lies the “green and orange issue”. How else can we interpret the fact that the DUP is dictating the border tune to which the Tory party dances, leaving the rest of us fearful that a hard border will not just stifle commerce but re-ignite political violence?
Those Brexiteers who see the UK sailing off to clinch hugely profitable trade deals around the world are no more delusional than those who believe the backstop has nothing to do with Irish economic and political unity. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Theresa May demands that the EU come up with alternative arrangements. Would that be “Au revoir” or “Auf wiedersehen”? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The people of Northern Ireland voted to stay in. Its largest party, the DUP, wants to get out. This party, although voted in, is in fact out, because there is no Assembly in Northern Ireland at present. But it is in Westminster, supporting a government that wants to get out, while being led by Theresa May, who voted to stay in. Is this politics, or am I confusing it with cricket? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The EU’s attitude to the UK’s unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a Brexit deal reminds me of Walter Matthau’s character in the 1966 black comedy The Fortune Cookie. In this film he portrays William H “Whiplash Willie” Gingrich, a shifty American compensation lawyer. Whenever Willie meets a defendant’s representatives he announces that he has a compensation figure in mind. When the other side makes an offer, he pulls a piece of paper out of his breast pocket, checks it, announces “No, that’s not it” and sends them on their way. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Ridiculous Albion: a foot-stampingly rude person who asks for respect while trying to emotionally blackmail someone else to solve their problems by saying they’ll hurt themselves if they do not get their own way. – Yours,etc,