Why not an Irish reunion?

The Irish people voted “No” both to the EU’s Nice Treaty and to the Lisbon Treaty. That is, they voted “No” the first time round. When their arms were twisted, in each case the Irish voted “Yes” at the second attempt. Naturally the EU doesn’t twist the arms of those member-states who vote “correctly” at the first time of asking or those who don’t have a vote at all. 

Now the Green Party, a minority member of the current coalition government in Dublin, has called for a general election to be held in January. But in current circumstances, no Irish government is going to be able to resist the bullying from Brussels and Frankfurt.

If the Irish are, in effect, no longer sovereign, I wonder if it is time for them to consider reunion with the United Kingdom? In many ways, the Irish and the British have more in common with each other than either do with the continental Europeans. (There seems to be consensus in the UK about trying to help Ireland financially.) As before 1921, the Irish could send members to the Westminster parliament. Maybe not ideal (all right, on recent evidence, obviously not ideal), but probably a lot better than sending members to the European “parliament”.  

Such a change would mean Ireland leaving the discredited eurozone and re-joining the sterling area. This would provide at least two clear advantages. First, interest rates would be more likely to take account of the needs of the Irish economy. Second, if Ireland were re-united with the rest of the UK, the central government would be able (and probably, to some extent, willing) to redistribute resources to Ireland from other parts of the country. Neither of these is possible in the eurozone.

This might be a good idea for the Irish state but no thanks from us here in England! Enough of our wealth is already being redistributed to other parts of the UK (which, quite frankly, I wouldn’t be that sad to lose) via the Barnett formula etc without more money to Ireland. Ultimately, of course, Ireland would lose out like Scotland and become dependent upon English money for generous transfer payments. The other issue is that the Irish and Northern Irish would probably have something to say about this in their traditional manner i.e. killing people in nasty ways. Better for Ireland to be like Switzerland – independent of the EU or anyone else.

Why would we want reunion with the Irish? After moaning about English repression for 800 years they have consistently elected some of the most repressive governments in Europe. Which country was the first around here to introduce the smoking ban and where can responsible adults not buy fireworks in case the poor dears hurt themselves? I don’t think that we really need a few million more idiots who think that the nanny state is a good idea. Do you?

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