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


The weird thing about this is, if this is what really happened, how come the Greeks voted to stay in? What do they know that we don’t?


Up to a point. That’s true of most of it.

For those not familiar, this is the kind of thing:


That’s the RUC barracks (i.e. a police station) at Crossmaglen, a small town/village on the border.

This website has a nice collection of photos of various closed border crossings with ‘then and now’ photos.

This website (which is full of rather odd stuff as far as I can tell) has a scan of a Sunday Times supplement from 2000 which shows some of the fortifications in Northern Ireland.

But there were still lots of cross-border roads in rural areas that weren’t blocked other than with occasional random checkpoints and plenty of places where you could just walk across a field to be across the border (or indeed in at least one case walk in the front door of a building and out the back).

That’s part of the craziness of the NI border talk, the border isn’t neat and tidy. It runs through villages and farmers have fields on both sides of the border.

In some cases the Army would blow up a bridge to block off the border and realise they’d cut off some poor sod and would have to reinstate it and block the road somewhere else.

Sporadically so at that. Generally vehicle travel was relatively easy, ‘just’ a matter of queueing at one of the sanctioned border crossings to show your ID. Sometimes the border would be shut. And always subject to the looming towers and walls and fences and the paranoid men with heavy weaponry wandering around…

As long as we don’t have to have the sideburns …

Not even that long…

Operation Banner didn’t end until 2007 although they started scaling back from about 1994 and that sped up after 1998.


Methinks the gentle SpeedRacer has engaged the gross hyberbole module.


That’s sort of what I was getting at in the last Brexit thread where the NI issue came up.

It’s not like this ended. The violence and sectarian activity has been tamped down, support for these groups is much lower. But it never went away entirely, these groups never disarmed. There’s still somewhat regular violence and sectarian activity along the border, regular arrests of members for criminal activity or planning/preparing attacks.

It’s not history it’s an active situation, in both The Republic and NI. And the UK’s relationship with NI only really went from active antagonism to not so benign neglect. A lot of the base problems that lead to the whole problem were never really dealt with. So NI is in some ways a ticking time bomb.

That’s the root of disinterest in reunification in the Republic. It’s considered such an eventuality that it’s called for in their Constitution, and it’s a plank for every major political party. The vast majority of the populace supports it as a generality. But when it comes down to making it happen you almost always hear “not now”. NI is considered a sort of ecconomic anchor that could drag the rest of the country down, and there’s an assumption that reunification would reignite the conflict and spread it around the entire Island. So I hear a lot lately from family over there about independence as a stop gap. NI should go independent, fix it’s shit, and reunification can be figured out later. I just tend to think an independent NI has a much harder time fixing it’s shit.


Yeah, but Scotland is already there - they voted strongly against Brexit (and got ignored in that vote) and now favor leaving the UK in favor of the EU, by ever-rising percentages as Brexit gets closer. What are Scotland going to do about the situation that would further the IRA’s goals (that they aren’t already doing)? Bombing them doesn’t seem productive, even if it had the impact the IRA wanted. But I suppose being counterproductive is par for the course…


The weird thing is that this is actually less creepy than the original Momo statue. It’s odd, but kinda looks, you know, right.


Which is a shame, because dragons!
What a missed opportunity.


And now this:

Do they want to restart the Troubles?



Fair point. I guess I was thinking more in terms of those towns and major roads with the scary buildings.

That section of Ireland is geography weird, I don’t think anyone is heavily policing a giant peat bog. None the less putting a check point on it.


Yes. This is why Bush spent his entire presidency trying to restart the Cold War: to return to the glory days of Reagan/Thatcher when you could excuse everything by pointing at “them”. What they haven’t fathomed is that Reagan and Thatcher have already looted the bank, and there’s nothing left for them.


Why would they make better choices than the UK? I don’t think their conservatives wanted out of the EU, and the liberals folded to Merkel, guaranteeing permanent austerity, penury and indentured servitude to Berlin, and also guaranteeing the eventual takeover by the “Golden Shower”, or whatever their Putin Party is called.


Which is to prove that the British are not up to German standards as the moors around here on the outskirts of Berlin were actually heavily policed.




Yes, I’ve heard something to that effect before. I meant that the Irish Republicans on both sides of the Northern Ireland border want Ireland to be united, not the Unionists. And a united Ireland makes sense because it’s … an island. Good luck ending the violence until that reality is acknowledged.

(As far as the Protestant vs. Catholic labels go, it just adds to the cynicism, since both Catholics and Protestants believe in the same 10 Commandments, one of which is “Thou shalt not kill.”)


So: Dumb question.

What if Britain just REFUSED to put a hard or soft border at the Republic of Ireland. Claimed the Good Friday accords banned it, so they weren’t going to do it. No Customs checks of anything flowing across the boarder, no border controls, no nothing. Just left a NI sized hole in the boarder; chased down people who immigrated illegally through it, but didn’t bother day to day traffic at all.


The majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland have long supported union. And especially as the population disparity has closed that’s been a very key thing in keeping reunification or independence at bay. Moderate, non militant unionism is the baseline in NI across demographics.

This is an op Ed. But it turned up when I was googling for the existing polling breakdowns on the subject. And it deals specifically with how Catholic support is impacted by Brexit. Under the status quo only about 28% of Catholics support reunification. Which is actually a bit higher than it’s been in the last decade. I think last time I looked up a poll it was 25%.

The central divide has never truly been 100% about religion. There’s a healthy dose of competing ideas about Britishness vs Irishness. And a big ole clusterfuck of ethnic concerns about who’s really Irish.


I am no expert on Ireland but as far as I understand it sense making has been relatively marginal phenomenon in the Island’s history.



Then every single country in the world could claim that the UK was breaking WTO rules by allowing Ireland preferential access to the UK, and sue for compensation.

In order to avoid that, the UK would have to exit the WTO as well, joining the list of 12 countries like Afghanistan and Turkmenistan which aren’t members.