THE EU & THE IRISH BACKSTOP, IS IT JUST A BIG SMOKESCREEN?

Imagine thinking that a company filling in a differently coloured form or scanning a barcode miles from a border is an outrageous disaster that would justify terrorist responses, but that ignoring 17.4 million voters is a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to do in a democracy.

There is no Irish border issue. There never has been. There is no threat to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). There never has been. There is no justification for terrorism in Northern Ireland. There never has been.

What was the GFA anyway? Was it a sacred text handed down by God Almighty in tablets of stone and letters of fire? Or was it a shoddy, slightly sordid but workable compromise? It included vast injustices. It included effectively letting murderers and maniacs, bombers and bastards, get away with it. It was a slap in the face and salt on the wound for thousands of victims and their families. It was pretending that criminal activities hadn’t continued when they did. Perhaps it was worth it for a kind of peace. The majority of the public thought so.

But in what way exactly was any of this imperilled by Brexit? Those who have used it as an issue seem to be saying that fear of remote technological customs checks that will probably only add five minutes of bureaucracy to a fraction of cross border transactions are a basis on which to deny millions of votes and shackle entire populations to thousands of regulations, rules and tariffs they never endorsed. And they are dangling the emotional blackmail of terrorism in the process. So do they think it would be right, somehow, to kill someone because a company had to use a barcode scanner or fill in a differently coloured form? Is that the logic? In which case surely they would understand a murderous Brexit rampage in response to EU rules on weights and measures?

Or are they saying that all political decisions need both EU and IRA approval before they can be enacted? That a few hundred lunatics should have more say than 17.4 million peaceful voters? Pretending that there is a border issue and that it does threaten peace actually transfers power from the electorate to the terrorists. Their say matters more than ours. Should all decisions be held to ransom this way?

But of course, it isn’t really about any of that. If you think the EU gives a flying f*ck about terrorism you are deluded. If you think they are really worried about peace in Ireland or Northern Ireland you haven’t been paying attention. The real fear for the EU is a UK, including Northern Ireland, that isn’t burdened by EU regulation. A UK leaner, fitter and more competitive than the EU. A Singapore on the North Sea. That’s the real border issue that worries them.

By Bartholomew Chiaroscuro, guest writer.