British politician’s display of ignorance shows what Ireland and EU are up against dealing with Brexit Britain

We’ve got used to ignorant and often offensive comments about Ireland and the Irish from British politicians frustrated that they aren’t getting their own way over Brexit.

Former MEP Stanley Johnson said the Irish should be allowed to get on and shoot each other if they don’t like having a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. His son Boris, former British Foreign Secretary no less, described the border as just a “gnat” of a problem being used by Ireland and the EU as a way of frustrating Brexit.

Right wing MP Andrew Bridgen made a fool of himself on Stephen Nolan’s BBC radio show by saying that as an English person, he was entitled to an Irish passport.

The latest Brexit supporting British MP to display her ignorance about the European Union and the effects of Britain leaving it is Nadine Dorries. She was an anonymous backbench MP until she found fame of a sort by appearing on the British reality show, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, which involved her eating lamb’s testicle and ostrich anus for public amusement on primetime television.

Her parliamentary colleagues might wish that was the only public humiliation she brought on herself.

Dorries is an advocate of Hard Brexit, which would see Britain leaving the EU with no deal in place and so, in theory at least, be free of EU regulations. She was therefore outraged that Prime Minister Theresa May is proposing a deal that would see the UK stay closely aligned to the EU.

She lambasted the deal on Sky TV by saying that it gives Britain “no voice, no votes, no MEPs, no commissioner.”

It’s only one sentence but it signifies a world of delusion, ignorance and presumption that is typical of the advocates of Brexit in Britain. They seem to think that they should be allowed to the leave the European Union and yet retain all the benefits of being members. It’s as if Dorries hasn’t come to terms with the fact that leaving the EU necessarily means you will have no say its affairs, no votes, no MEPs and no commissioner.

One can almost hear a chorus of voices from all over Europe asking her: “What the hell did you expect would happen when you leave? That we would roll over and do exactly as you ask?”

The question may seem flippant, but it touches on an attitude among some British Brexit supporters that makes it difficult for the EU and Ireland, the country that will be most affected by the British withdrawal because of the close links between the two countries, to negotiate a sensible working partnership for the future.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has spoken of his frustration at dealing with some of the British Establishment who are angry with Ireland for not falling into line with Britain by leaving the EU as well.

Th attitude displayed by Dorries and others goes back to the delusional promises made by Leave campaigners during the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016. People like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson assured voters that the EU needed Britain far more than Britain needed the EU and so consequently, the British would be able to dictate the terms of their future relationship.

That has turned out to be pure fantasy, with Britain finding that Ireland and the EU are no pushovers, and they won’t let Britain cherry pick the best bits of being in the EU and disregard the responsibilities that go with membership. This stance has seen the hard-line Brexiters shift their position from saying the EU would do as it was told, to accusing it of ‘bullying’ Britain by refusing to do as it is told.

That attitude remains prevalent among hard core leavers in Britain, as demonstrated in the frustrated but delusional outburst from Nadine Dorries.

Interested in discovering more about your Irish roots? This free online genealogy course with Strathclyde University shows you how to trace your family tree and also covers the use of DNA testing in genealogical research.

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Interested in discovering more about your Irish roots? This free online genealogy course with Strathclyde University shows you how to trace your family tree and also covers the use of DNA testing in genealogical research.

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