Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Ireland, Irexit and the Manipulations of the British National Populist Right.

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National Populists Try to Enter Irish Politics.

(Thanks to Jim for this latest)

For anybody wishing to understand Brexit  Ireland is at the forefront.

Irish commentators, starting with Fintan O’Toole,  whose Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain has marked the whole debate, have written some of the finest articles and books on the issues involved.

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth O’Tool bit the National Populist right of Spiked,

“His sneering at Leave voters smacks of aristocratic elitism.” writes the hybrid Norman surnamed Michael Fitzpatrick.

Anybody who knows Irish people, and left-wing activists in or from Ireland, will realise that a great deal is at stake.

For those who have been asleep for the last few years this is the sticking point,

Brexit: What is the Irish border backstop? BBC.

A key part of the Brexit negotiations was about the border that separates Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Last month, EU leaders approved a withdrawal deal with the UK that includes an agreement on the Irish border.

Both sides committed to avoiding the return of a “hard border” – physical checks or infrastructure – after Brexit.

This is where the controversial “backstop” comes in.

The backstop is a position of last resort, to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal.

At present, goods and services are traded between the two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland with few restrictions.

The UK and Ireland are currently part of the EU single market and customs union, so products do not need to be inspected for customs and standards.

..

And that had been a problem in the UK?

That is an understatement.

If a backstop only applied to Northern Ireland, then the customs and regulatory border would essentially be drawn down the middle of the Irish Sea.

Goods coming into Northern Ireland from elsewhere in the UK would have to be checked to make sure they met EU standards.

Any separate status for Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK is seen as potentially damaging to the union as a whole.

As such, Prime Minister Theresa May continually rejected the EU’s proposal saying it would threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK.

She suggested a backstop that would see the UK, as a whole, remaining aligned with the EU customs union for a limited time after 2020.

Her proposal, published in June, contained nothing about single market regulatory issues, which are probably more important than customs in terms of maintaining a soft border.

The highly recommended Sráid Marx An Irish Marxist Blog discusses the left’s response in depth.

He analyses this aspect of the thorny subject with all the seriousness it needs, in a 3 part series,

Should socialists support a border poll? 1

One consequence of Brexit has been louder demands for a border poll and the legitimacy of a test of support for a united Ireland, on the basis that Brexit breaches the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).

I have argued before that Brexit does not breach the GFA although it does exacerbate its failures and does involve increased tension between the British and Irish Governments, who are the custodians of the agreement.  It does catalyse increased instability and it does give rise to expectations that support for a united Ireland will have increased as a result. I have also argued that while this may be the case it is unlikely that a poll would result in a vote within the North for a united Ireland.

Those following the issue have not failed to notice that after its creation earlier this year a party in Ireland advocating Irexit, Irish withdrawal from the EU has got publicity. The Irish Freedom Party, also known as Irexit Freedom to Prosper (IrishÉire Amach: Cumann na Saoirse).

It began with this in February.

 Last weekend, a group of 600 people, drawn to an appearance by leading Brexit flame-fanner Nigel Farage in Dublin, showed that there is some public appetite for an exit from the EU like the British, or at least that more questions be asked about the direction the EU is heading in.

Irexit: Could it be Ireland’s next big political movement?

But it was this, in March, which grabbed wider attention:

British Far Right Extremism Manipulating Ireland

Irexit Parody. Medium.

This story covers the evidence of ongoing British far right groups trying to influence Irish people towards an Irish exit from the EU. These people do not have Irish people’s interests at heart. It is about pushing their own personal Anti-EU, right-wing messaging, while pretending the genesis of that project originated within Ireland.

The excellent article should be read in full but this should whet people’s appetite.

About a month back, after seeing endless UK based social media accounts pushing Irexit, I was drawn into trying to figure out where these accounts originated. The Irexit party seemed to have an official party website created by a fake web development company. (I did get to the bottom of who runs that but I don’t believe they are relevant to this story). However, I also noticed the unofficial social marketing campaign around Irexit, was being run under the Muintir na héireann website and social media accounts. This is where in the terms and conditions of the Muintir na héireann website, I found the first link to infamous British far right individuals. Muintir na héireann’s terms and conditions pointed to the same address as the European Knights Project and Liberty Defenders..

Jack Sen, real name Dilip Sengupta, is a self-styled spin doctor for nationalist movements. He manages websites and social media campaigns to promote his own beliefs and those of prominent figures in far right extremism. In between his regular Skype’s with David Duke (former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan), Jack Sen took time to run for election with his associates within UKIP, only to be thrown out at the last minute for public anti-Semitism comments about labour candidate Luciana Berger’s Jewish ethnicity.

This is the conclusion:

Some serious questions do need to be asked.

  1. Why would, after throwing him out of UKIP, Nigel Farage and/or his associates again use or aid a known neo nazi, to support the Irexit campaign?
  2. How would Hermann Kelly, who lives in brussels working in PR for Nigel Farage’s EU party EFDD, be allowed the freedom to return to Ireland to form a new anti-EU party, without that being the express wishes of Nigel Farage himself?
  3. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  4. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  5. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  6. After Hermann Kelly’s involvement in libertas and that funding fiasco, why would our media choose to give this even a second worth of airtime to platform the next move? https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/politics/ganley-confirms-libertas-got-cash-from-hedge-fund-group-102147.html
  7. Finally it is clear that the Irexit Party do not stand alone but have the backing and support of a cabal of other “independent” candidates and parties. Why do irish people have to go to some random twitter account to see this? Why is our established media not better at explaining these interconnections to our voters? More on the interconnections here — https://twitter.com/IrexitP/status/1126986431065415681/photo/1

Parts of the Irish left, such as the Communist Party of Ireland and the Socialist Party also oppose EU membership, though the latter is not clear if this means just Brexit or Irexit as well.

The Socialist Party, which has 3 TDs in the Dail, makes this observation,

It is essential that the workers’ movement also considers the potential impact of the withdrawal agreement on sectarian divisions in the North. The draft agreement outlines a scenario in which there will be a developing East-West border. This will increase sectarian tension and weaken workers’ unity, and we are opposed to the agreement on this basis. The trade union movement should reverse its current position and come out against the draft agreement.

We have been warned that if the agreement is not voted through the UK will crash out of the EU, and a hardening of the North-South border will then be “inevitable”. If this were to happen it will increase sectarian tension and weaken workers’ unity. We are resolutely opposed to this scenario too. We do not accept that border checks or controls on the North-South border are in fact inevitable. The trade union movement must oppose, and refuse to implement when possible, such measures.

The Brexit Calamity & the Role of the Workers Movement

How this can be reconciled with their backing Brexit, and how such a result could happen, is, apparently a matter for the workers’ movement, in some misty land where everything turns out right if the correct line is followed.

Since the Socialist Party has yet to support Irexit we are left even deeper in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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