Leading Brexiters among the British establishment are convinced Ireland will blink and cave in over the Northern Ireland.
They also think Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is not very bright.
The two revelations from David Yelland, former editor of Britain’s best-selling newspaper the Sun, came during an interview with Joe.ie.
Yelland campaigned to remain in the EU and has little respect for the men who led the two Leave campaigns, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
During the campaigns, Brexit campaigners said leaving the EU would be easy because Britain held all the cards and the rest of Europe would have to fall into line. It hasn’t worked out that way.
The Brexiters soon fell out among themselves about what Brexit should look like and three years on, Britain still hasn’t left. The main stumbling block remains the backstop, the arrangement Ireland and the EU insist is needed to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his colleagues believe this is a trap by Ireland and the EU to keep Britain in the EU indefinitely. Johnson says he will leave the EU in October even if there is no deal in place to protect trade.
This could have a damaging effect on the Irish economy. It will have a much greater effect on the British economy but nevertheless, British Brexiters are convinced that Ireland and the EU will give way at the last moment and drop the backstop.
Yelland said: “I sat next to two Tories recently who, when I asked about what the Irish are going to do, their response is, ‘Well Varadkar is not very bright.”
“Now that is incorrect. But it is accepted. When I talk about these senior Tories, the people I’m talking about are people in and around Downing Street. But also the Brexit media. They all believe the same thing.
“This is the accepted view that the Irish will blink, the Irish invented the backstop, the backstop was invented by the Irish purely to scupper Brexit.”
Yelland also believes that Johnson and the British media are planning to blame Ireland if Britain fails to reach an agreement with the EU. Johnson has already criticised Europe for its refusal to compromise, even though he shows no signs of compromise himself.
“The media here will blame the Irish and not Boris Johnson, they’ll blame Varadkar.”
“Varadkar is much better to blame, the Irish are much better to blame than Brussels because people can get their head around Dublin more. That gets to the crux of this, which is that the British establishment doesn’t understand Ireland at all and the British media certainly doesn’t understand Ireland at all.
“It’s not that they don’t think of Ireland as an independent country although there is an element of that, they just don’t think about it all. Ireland doesn’t feature.
“I spent a bit of time on this subject and got to know a few people around it and if you talk to the Irish ambassador here in London he will tell you stories of talking to senior journalists about foreign policy and he’s had to say to them, ‘You do realise we are an independent country, we have our own foreign policy.’
“I don’t know whether it’s so much anti-Irish, there is clearly an element of anti-Irish, as just sheer ignorance.”
Yelland’s comments are indicative of the level of opposition in Britain to Johnson and his threat of a No Deal Brexit. Many of his fellow Tory MPs say they are prepared to rebel and bring down his government rather than allow him to crash out of the EU without a deal.
Matters are likely to come to a head in September when the British parliament returns after the summer recess.