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From: Irish Political Review: Editorials
Date: January, 2018
By: Editorial

Britain Back To Playing Balance Of Power In Europe!

The central institutions of the European Union are trying to impose themselves as a State on the states that make up the Union, and Britain—while still in the process of exiting the Union—is seeking to take advantage of the problems it is causing for itself.

The Prime Minister has visited Poland to give moral encouragement to the Polish Government in its defiance of the EU authorities who are trying to lay down the law to it about internal Polish affairs.

Britain is leaving the EU because it does not intend to reduce itself to the status of a mere European nation. The English nation is not European in culture and sentiment. It decided not to be five hundred years ago and it has never changed its mind.

When the groundwork of the EU was being laid, its attention was distracted by the unexpected crumbling of its Empire as a consequence of its war with Japan. A group of six defeated European states got themselves together while Britain was fighting its dirty wars—racist wars—in Malaya and Kenya and elsewhere: rearguard actions first to try to prevent independence and then to impose neo-colonial structures on its former colonies.

The European project, whose purpose was to prevent Britain from ever again playing balance-of-power games with Europe, took off. When Britain noticed what had happened it asked to join, but the EU (then in its EEC phase) was still being led by its founders and the British application was rejected.

It was admitted by a later generation of European leaders who lacked the experience and wisdom of its founders, and it spent its forty years of membership diverting Europe from its original purpose.

Then, in 2016, Britain judged that it had misdirected Europe from the inside as much as it could and decided to leave. It has not quite left but it has already begun to play balance-of-power.

The EU, encouraged by Britain, engaged in random expansion when the Soviet system broke up, re-imagined itself as a World Power, and began pressing on Russia, engineered an anti-Russian coup in the Ukraine—overthrowing a Government which had made a trade deal with Russia and collaborating with Fascist elements for the purpose, while at the same time invoking the memory of the war against Fascism—a war to which the European contribution was negligible, if Russia is no longer to be seen as European.

The Six states that made Central Europe modestly functional in the immediate aftermath of the War have now become 28. The coherent collaboration of the Six is not sustainable in the 28, which Britain will reduce to 27 with a view to playing on the divisions that will necessarily arise amongst them.

Napoleon described the English as a nation of shopkeepers. He was greatly mistaken. While England may have pioneered shopkeeping as a major economic activity and developed shopping into a mode of Sabbath observance, it is by origin a nation of conquerors, buccaneers and gamblers. The revelation of the 2016 Referendum was that it still remains what it always has been.

It boasted in connection with its last two World Wars that Europeans tried to figure it out, to understand it, so that they could take prudent account of it in their own actions, but they always failed because England had within it the capacity to act in a way that defied calculation. It would never allow itself to be tamed through being understood.

Edmund Burke used the phrase "truckling nations" to describe nations that cannot live in their own history and act out of the impulse which made that history. England would never be such a nation. It would not be part of the European herd—a herd of losers who were seeking comfort by keeping each other company.

"Between the Individual and Humanity stands, and must continue to stand, a great fact—the Nation". It was Arthur Griffith who said that. It was the insight on which Sinn Fein was founded. 21st century Ireland seems to have forgotten it, and to have adopted what Griffith rejected—the illusion of a cosmopolis.

But what has cosmopolitanism ever been in Ireland except West Britishism?

Its nature was camouflaged by Ireland's entry into the EU following Britain. It could be European in the company of Britain. It could be internationalist as an attachment to Britain in Europe. But now Britain has shocked it by being what it always was—a Cavalier nation acting out of its impulse of national wilfulness.

And how can Ireland be European without Britain!!

If Ireland had the will to be itself in Europe—as it never was except in the brief Haughey era—there would no doubt be some difficulties of economic adaptation. But, if its actions are determined by those economic problems, rather than by a revival of the national will that made it a state, what will it be?

The rise of Provisional Sinn Fein during the last twenty years slowed down the West British development of Southern politics. But Sinn Fein is a Northern Ireland party. What drove it was resistance to the undemocratic and Protestant sectarian system of British government in Northern Ireland.

The Protestant sectarianism of the system has been remedied to a considerable extent by the 1998 reform which established something close to authentic apartheid—an authentic system of separate development. This reform has made life in the British state tolerable to the minority community—Catholic and Nationalist—which is now close to equality with the other community which is Protestant and Unionist. It is possible that under present circumstances there could b a rift between the Catholic and Nationalist aspects of what has hitherto been a seamless unity.

The Southern Establishment used to be strongly Catholic—of its own volition because of centuries of English Protestant oppression, and not because of some imposed power of priestcraft—and anti-Partitionist, in superficial form at least. It has for a generation been discarding its Catholicism and trampling on it, doing this allegedly in the groundless expectation that this would encourage the Ulster Unionists into a United Ireland—while simultaneously downplaying the Anti-Partition ideal. It never came to terms with the facts that the Ulster Unionist community was something in its own right, and was positively British and not just put off by Catholicism, and that the internal change in the North was brought about by the IRA fighting a real war against the British State on behalf of the Catholic community.

When Sinn Fein developed into an effective all-Ireland party the official Republic—particularly the Fianna Fail part of it under Micheál Martin—treated it as a criminal Mafia.

The prospect of Brexit transformed the Dublin Establishment into concerned Anti-Partitionists because it cannot contemplate life for the 26 Counties in the EU without Britain and has refused to make preparations for it.

Just now it feels that it has played a blinder against Britain, and has it over a barrel. It has held a self-congratulatory gathering (see Sunday Independent, 24.12.17, Because The Night Belongs To Leo). It looks forward to holding some very special place between Britain and the EU.

The real choices that will have to be made, however, have only been postponed for a year.

There is an Anglophile body called the Irish Sovereignty Movement which holds that the force tending to erode Irish national sovereignty is not Britain but the EU. It was founded by Professor Raymond Crotty who wrote an article for the London Times saying that nationalist Ireland is intellectually barren and pleading for Britain to take it in hand. Currently its best-known activist is Anthony Coughlan. It now advocates Irexit along with Brexit—in practice, a restoration of the full United Kingdom.

At the same time the EU authorities, the Council and the Commission, have begun to act in a way that must stir up national divisions within the Union. It denies the Polish Government the right to appoint judges in the Polish state and proposes to deny it voting rights in EU affairs. It has already aggravated Hungary to such a degree that it threatens to veto the proposal. The Commission imposes on all EU states an obligation to take set quantities of non-EU migrants regardless of circumstances. (And surely the right thing here is for the Imperial States who created the current refugee crisis to take those disrupted by their adventures, instead of expecting others to pick up the pieces?) And, on the Catalan issue, it has said clearly that the right of national self-determination does not apply within the EU.

All this is fertile grounds for Britain to resume playing Balance Of Power in Europe, including using the Irish division to disrupt the European polity.

We live in interesting times.


Britain Back To Playing Balance Of Power In Europe!. Editorial
Boomtime Bob: caught in his own rat trap. Dave Alvey
Central Bank undermining IFSC Brexit efforts ? Seán Owens
Readers' Letters: Russians Under The Bed? Donal Kennedy
Ukraine's economy shrinks by 20% without access to Russian market. David Morrison
Pop Goes The Weasel! Wilson John Haire (Poem)
The O'Connor Column (JUSTICE DEPT—DEEP STATE; Justice and Security; An unusual Minister for Justice; Catalonia on my mind; The bleating of a West Briton; What Austrian school children know about Brexit; Varadkar’s history lessons; Gorbachev and Brexit)
Es Ahora. Julianne Herlihy (Bishop Paul Colton and a very strange Award)
Remembering McKee, Clancy And Clune. Mícheál Mac Donncha, Mayor of Dublin (Oration)
Assessing Dev. Jack Lane (Review of David McCullagh biography)
Centenaries And Other Citations In The Irish Times. Manus O’Riordan
In Memoriam Thomas Ashe. Manus O’Riordan, Sean O'Casey
Ó Corráin And His Key To Irish Writing. John Minahane
Thoughts on the Viewing of the Casement Diaries in 1916. Tim O'Sullivan
Desmond Fennell—Hamlet without the Prince. Jack Lane
December Brexit Summary. Dave Alvey
Linking Ireland To Europe After Brexit. (Report)
Samuel Neilson: Rebel And Unionist. (Review of Dawson biography)
A Diplomat's Take On The North! (Review of Noel Dorr book). Brendan Clifford
Keeping up the pretence of a viable 'peace process'. David Morrison
Does It Stack Up? Michael Stack (Save the Constitution; Bankers and Others)
Biteback: Would Fianna Fail Take Its Seats. EugeneMcEldowney (Report)
Labour Comment:Asquith on Ulster: 1913
John Redmond’s Violent Politics Who were the Ballybricken Pig Buyers? Nicholas Whittle’s Witness Statement. Pat Muldowney