BREXIT, deal or no deal, now pivots on The Irish Question. Ireland has the UK’s only land border. It is regarded as a political necessity that this be a border in name only. Were there to be an actual border, with fences, gates, checks and the inevitable armed presence, it would set back Irish politics by two decades or more.
The EU at present seems to offer an open border so long as the UK offers a loss of sovereignty equivalent to remaining in the EU, or detaches Northern Ireland to remain in effect in the EU by having a border in the Irish Sea. It would be absurd for the UK officially to leave the EU only for it to remain in the economically significant portions of it. It would be unacceptable to detach Northern Ireland in a way to make it into an EU colony. What is more amazing is that the latter point is utterly lost on the Remain camp.
We are also told that any move to re-impose border checks runs the risk of wrecking the Good Friday Agreement. This agreement is a key feature in the reduction of communal violence and terrorist insurgency by getting all the parties involved, including the political representatives of the terrorists, to sign up to a relative peace. Divided communities remain. There is still community-based street violence. But the sectarian and political murders are no longer an everyday occurrence. The troops are off the streets.
The EU’s intransigence appears to threaten a resurgence of a violence that has not entirely disappeared. A journalist was shot dead this year during street disturbances. Her funeral service attracted major political leaders. A dissident Republican movement has been planting bombs and targeting the security forces. At present the reporting of the violence is at the same level as murders in London, which is that only exceptional victims make the front pages. But the threat to the Good Friday Agreement exposes a kind of immorality at the heart of the EU.
Any ramping-up of terrorism in Ireland following the re-imposition of a hard border would take place in the six counties of Ulster and also on the UK mainland. There would be shootings in Belfast and bombs in London. Any Active Service Units of Republican terrorists would be supported by resources in the Republic of Ireland, but also the EU’s Single Market. Thus the EU appears to be indirectly threatening the UK with a campaign of terrorism as a consequence of Brexit. While this campaign would not be directed from the meeting-rooms and corridors of Brussels, it is likely that any casualties on UK soil would be met with a Gallic shrug.
This is not a good look for the EU. So far the largest number of casualties in the war against Islamist terrorism in Europe have been on the Continent. Armed gangs have rampaged through public venues mutilating their victims before killing them. Lorries have been driven through crowded markets. Synagogues and Jewish businesses have been targeted. An elderly Catholic priest was murdered in his church in France. The problem for the EU is that its security measures against further outrages are only as good as those of its worst-performing member state. It is significant that while the EU’s open borders have allowed terrorists to base themselves in Belgium but to commit their atrocities in Paris, no Islamist atrocity on the Continent has had its origins in the UK. We are, however, now facing the prospect of Republican atrocities on UK soil having their origins in the EU.
It is a matter for debate how seriously the technocrats in the EU take the threat of terrorism. The reason why the UK voted decisively for Brexit was that the benefits of membership of the EU were disproportionately shared. The victims of terrorism in the EU may be disproportionately distributed as well. The willingness of the EU to value their Four Freedoms of movement above the risk of mass killing shows a triumph of will over objective reality. It might be crass, but the parallel with the murderous fanaticism of the Third Reich should not discourage the reader from taking this article seriously. By threatening the relative political stability of both the North and the South of Ireland, the EU values the purity of its ideology above the consequent terrorist atrocities. Massacres would appear, in the eyes of Brussels and Strasbourg, to be ‘part and parcel’ of ‘ever-closer union’.
It is not to bow to the threat of terrorism to have the EU compromise over Ireland. This is because the terrorists are not in significant operation. But the EU should not be conducting itself in a way that will encourage increased terrorism either. What has been clear throughout these negotiations is that the EU sees the UK as just one of its twenty-eight member states, and our previous government seemed to be acting that way as well. We are not ‘one of the twenty-eight’. We are the second-largest economy in the EU. We have the EU’s most powerful armed forces. Unlike Germany, the UK economy is not sliding into recession. Without the UK, the EU’s flag would have included either a swastika or a hammer-and-sickle.
It might be that the threat of a resurgence of terrorism in Ireland is a fantasy concocted by Remainers to scare us into acquiescing to the EU’s demands, yet another part of a Project Fear that failed to persuade the voters at the referendum. But on the assumption that Remainers are completely decent, honest, and truthful people, it is reasonable to take the prospect seriously.
The EU is using a tacit threat of a resurgence of Republican terrorism to force the UK into a Brexit In Name Only. This shows that the amorality of the EU and its technocrats extends in effect to sanctioning mass murder on their watch and to make terrorism an EU export. It demonstrates again why we should be leaving this bureaucratic cesspit.