The political implosion that is Brexit is a legacy of recent and past British lies and imperial malfeasance. Boris Johnson casting blame on Ireland and the EU for his country’s woes is just more guff from Perfidious Albion.
His call for the suspension of Britain’s parliament – only weeks before the EU departure deadline on October 31 – is being rebuked by opposition parties as another “anti-democratic” measure to force through a no-deal Brexit.Johnson is effectively sidelining lawmakers from having a say on the manner of Britain’s exit from the EU, in particular on preventing a so-called “hard Brexit.” That scenario is opposed by a majority of parliamentarians, including many in Johnson’s own party, because of the feared economic turmoil from a sharp rupture from the EU which would inevitably see overnight border and customs controls being erected.
But let’s not forget, this debilitating debacle of Brexit is a made-in-Britain problem.
Cameron probably didn’t bet on the Brexit referendum result. The whole exercise was a political maneuver to buy off Tory party assaults from within and from UKIP. The referendum was carried, largely down to claims of huge economic savings if Britain were to leave the EU and its budget obligations. Those claims, such as post-Brexit Britain having billions of pounds to invest in the National Health Service, have since turned out to be empty, told to the electorate by the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and other hardline Brexiteers who are now in control of government.
But perhaps the beauty atop the cornucopia of calumny is Johnson’s insistence that the backstop arrangement for Ireland is an “anti-democratic” hindrance to Britain’s “right” to quit the EU. He claims that the backstop limits British sovereignty because it would tie Britain indefinitely into a customs union with the bloc.
Since Johnson took over 10 Downing Street on July 23 – elected by the Tory party constituting less than 1.0 per cent of the British population – he has shifted the goalposts dramatically by demanding that the special arrangement intended for Ireland be scrapped.
Bumptious Boris has unconvincingly vowed to support the Good Friday Agreement and to prevent the return of a hard border in Ireland. But he has not provided any realistic alternative plan for avoiding customs controls if he crashes out of the EU on October 31 as his cabinet are aiming to do.
Here is where the lies and past crimes of Perfidious Albion boomerang like a smack in the face. Johnson and his jingoistic empire revivalists have a problem over the Irish question for one simple reason: Britain’s historic violation of Ireland’s sovereignty and democratic rights.
The whole problem of an Irish border and infernal backstop conundrum is due to Britain’s partition of the island in the first place – an unpardonable crime against Ireland’s ancient claims of nationhood.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the War of Independence (1919-21), which Britain halted by its partial concession of what became known as the Republic of Ireland. London forced the north-eastern corner of Ireland to retain British jurisdiction. The splitting of the country was an act of butchery against the Irish majority who wanted full independence. Britain justified its act of gerrymandering a border because it had in previous centuries populated the northern areas with pro-British settlers.
The War of Independence in Ireland was largely instigated because London refused to recognize the democratic mandate for independence. A national election in December 1918 resulted in over 70 percent of those elected standing on a platform for independence from Britain, as documented by Maurice Walsh in ‘Bitter Freedom’.
The British government chose to ignore the result. A young Winston Churchill who was a senior government minister blamed Irish rebels for standing in the way of Britain’s “global dominance.” Churchill was among those who ordered the deployment of World War I battle-hardened mercenaries to ruthlessly quell the Irish independence movement. Those troops, infamously named the Black and Tans, imposed a reign of terror, from burning villages to indiscriminate shootings of civilians.
It is somewhat poetic justice that the Irish problem has come back to bedevil British politics to the point where the debacle is threatening to tear the much-vaunted United Kingdom asunder.The whole Brexit fiasco is an entirely British-made imbroglio. It is a result of petty rivalry within the British political class, especially the rightwing Little Englanders of the Tory party. And it is a result of the historic violation of democratic rights in Ireland.For Johnson to blame Ireland and the EU for impeding British sovereignty is rich beyond words. The chicanery of Britain’s ruling class is only matched by its audacious pretensions of “democracy.”