British parliament rejects Brexit deal again, this time by 149 votes


#142

There have been mutterings (trying and failing to find a link) that Holyrood might just go ahead and hold one anyway, and defy Westminster to try and stop them.

ETA: some discussion here.


#143

#144

I just don’t see him coming out of this with his leadership intact unless he pushes strongly for a People’s Referendum, which to date he’s been unwilling to do. He wouldn’t have to come out for Remain and could let other Remainers in the party take the lead and the blame with the Leavers (at the potential cost of his own leadership, but with less probability than if he keeps waffling).

If we’re playing the odds, I’ll take the small probability of that occurring (made smaller by the absence of an effective fascist leader) in response to a second referendum that returns “Remain” over the certain probability of disaster with what will effectively or formally be a no-deal hard Brexit.

I agree, but Brexit going through will essentially be a declaration to these yobs that this sort of behaviour is acceptable again.


#145

Well, for one thing, they were the obvious symbol of the division of Ireland. So if you’re a Republican terrorist wanting to attack a symbol of the hated oppressors, your list of targets includes:

a) courts and judges (because they impose British laws and symbolically represent the Crown),
b) police stations and police officers (ditto),
c) Army bases and soldiers (ditto) and
d) border installations (ditto).

The border installations have the benefit that they allow you to attack both b) and c), are less well defended than actual courts, police stations and army bases and are often out in the middle of nowhere, far from UK military or police support but close to your support base over in the Republic.

There’s also a degree of violence there because if you’ve just performed some terrorist act in the North or otherwise have need to scarper over to the Republic to lay low until things cool off, there’s a chance you’ll be spotted at the checkpoint and mayhem will ensue. And vice versa of course if you’re coming back.

So, it’s really the usual. They are a nice symbolic target which is relatively easy to attack relatively safely. The PIRA used to sit just over the border and lob mortars at border installations for example.


#146

[citation needed]



#147

They’d be on a hiding to nothing asking the party to trust the Lib Dems after the coalition shitshow.


#148

Being the correct side of Hadrian’s wall again would be… Interesting.


#149

Seriously? we are now debating whether there is sectarianism on the Island of Ireland? Or whether Irish Society is deeply Catholic?

Definitely off topic.


#150

You don’t need to trust the Lib Dems. You need to endorse individual candidates in constituencies where you have no chance in hell of ever winning. Very different. It’s called pragmatism and if you are actually into effective change it’s the only way.


#151

Which, of course, is another manifestation of the problem. Even though it’s very, very apparent that the LibDems stopped the Tories from unleashing their full instincts, they are going to continue to be punished for one specific promise that was broken (and even that was slightly misrepresented.)

I guess it’s kind of like the way that everyone is going apeshit over Labour antisemitism, whereas no-one is blinking over the equally serious Tory Islamophobia (and, yes, antisemitism too.) Because I think we all just assume the Tories are massive racists, so it’s sort of factored in to the equation. So we expect the Tories to screw the poor simply because that’s what they are there to do.

The LibDems simply didn’t understand how hellbent on maintaining power the Tories actually are, and allowed themselves to be screwed. But we should still be grateful to them, because without that, I’m not sure that we’d have much of a welfare system left in the UK - or, rather, we’d have “Universal Credit” for everyone (and still not functioning) slashed even further to ribbons.


#152

Corbyn’s attitudes to Europe seem to date back to the 1970s. I think that, in his ideal world, he’d be the head of a Labour Government free to pursue a programme of nationalisation without outside interference.

Personally, I view the EU as being generally to the left of our political landscape in the UK, and so will be sad to see them loosing influence over the more Libertarian portions of our elite. I’m worried that we’ll slip out of Europe and under the influence of Corporate America.


#153

Yeah, the story about the Tories caucusing with actual Nazis in the eu parliament was conveniently ignored by everyone a few weeks back.


#154

I think that West Minster would press for the Antonine Wall being the new border :smiley:


#155

But to be sure, it’s moved hard right (neo-liberal) ever since.

Thing is, as I understand it, the UK is actually free from all the bad parts of the EU (the monetary union stuff used to destroy Greece for Germany’s amusement).


#156

That was the joke, but I was having trouble writing it.


#157

I’d say that’s exactly the plan.


#158

Dang it. I’m due to be seen by my National Health Service Death Panel next week! I’ve been waiting for months and was hoping they’d finally put me out of my misery. If we go over to the US system, they’ll be keeping me alive forever and charging it all to some insurance company! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Seriously though, I’d hate to end up in a race to the bottom system like the US endures.


#159

Little of collumn a little of collumn b. They were also where you were pushing a lot of your smuggled guns and drugs through. And people wanted to jump the border to escape the authorities after attacks elsewhere.

But primarily it was ideological. The Republican groups oppose any British control of Ireland and see themselves as at war with the British government.

So the border itself was an affront, separating a nation illegally in their estimation. More over when we say hard border we don’t mean a hard border like between the US and Canada. Where if you live on the border you can grab your canoe and paddle across to see a friend. But if you come across the highway there’s a simple customs check and you gotta show a passport.

This was a hard border, Berlin Wall style. It was heavily militarised, with long sections of fortified wall effectively cutting Ulster off from the rest of the island. Movement across the border was heavily restricted, and heavily armed troops were stationed all along it. Basically a military fortification. Often running right through the center of densely populated border towns.

So that was unpopular for obvious reasons, but it also meant there was a big exposed military target for the Republican groups to target. An easy fixed place to find British soldiers and facilities to destroy, and British military equipment to steal.

And where IRA groups were doing shit, the Unionist ones were right along to go after them. With the UK not so quietly backing the groups like the UVF, and using them as proxies to avoid risking their own soldiers in conflicts with the IRAs, and to harass “sympathetic” locals (read: Catholics). Up to and including Unionist fighters manning the border right along side, or in place of police and British soldiers.

To further complicate things the IRA groups also see themselves as at war with the Republic of Ireland, for complicated reasons but just remember these groups essentially rolled out of the Irish Civil War. So they were also prone to attacking the Irish side of the border. With the largest number of IRA attacks outside NI taking place in the Republic of Ireland. Rather than somewhere superficially more sensible like England.

So basically a perfect confluence of bad shit. Fixed targets with symbolic and logistical value, forming choke points in contentious areas. Heavily manned with multiple police and military forces that weren’t cooperating. And multiple paramilitary groups, also not cooperating. One set with an interest in killing everyone, and the other backed and empowered by the authorities.

Bordertowns are still the most fucked up part of Ireland. Often with the worst violence, crime levels, and highest levels of poverty even now. And you can still see abandoned check points and sections of wall cutting through Northern Irish town and cities.

Even if some of this doesn’t come back with a new border. Like the troops, walls, militarisation, and terrorist proxies. All that history and the ideological and practical concerns means that checkpoints will absolutely be targets for the IRAs. Which will lead to Unionist reprisals. Which will lead to militarisation and fortification. Which will attract more attacks, which will attract more reprisals, which will cause more militarisation.

And it’ll be the 70’s again.


#160

I’ll admit my information is second-hand, but there’s a lot of talk about how the influence of the Church is waning in the Republic (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/03/after-ireland-abortion-vote-where-does-cahtolic-church-go-from-here), which feeds in to talk about reunification feeling in the North (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/29/northern-irish-voters-theresa-may-dup-arlene-foster-brexit). So no, not really off-topic.


#161

Thanks for this brilliant summary.

One point to add. All this was reality during our life time–30 years ago. A large section of the population still remember it. Northern Ireland has rising suicide rate especially among men who grew up during the troubles.