He did; the Lord Mayor's Banquet, or somesuch? More an indication of the lack of moral courage in the administrative management of such events in failing to tell him to feck off back to his skip than his contempt of them.
During all my years as an MP, the interest shown by most of my colleagues in Northern Ireland has been minimal. The Labour Party even had to be taken to court by a trade unionist in Belfast before it finally allowed citizens of Northern Ireland to join. Even with over a thousand members there, the party still disallows Labour candidates to stand in elections. So it has been rather ironic that in the Brexit debate Labour MPs have been queuing up to mention Northern Ireland. What happens at the border after we leave the EU has become the ‘big sticking point’ causing the Prime Minister to make commitments to backstops that few understand and even fewer support.
The repeatedly stated aim of the EU, the UK and the Irish government is to avoid creating a hard border. They never actually define what a hard border is, but I assume that they mean not having huge structures acting as barriers with flashing lights and cameras as used to be there. It is conveniently forgotten that those barriers were only there when the IRA was active, bombing and killing our soldiers and police officers. A border is there at the moment, although not visible. The Irish Republic has different excise duties, VAT rates and currency to the UK. Yet all those differences are handled remotely by technology and pre-paperwork. If intelligence arouses suspicion about smuggling, the vehicle will be stopped. In other words, with good will and cooperation, there is no need for any new structures.
The Irish government, in cahoots with the EU, has deliberately made the border an issue and unfortunately our Prime Minister and her officials have fallen for it completely by agreeing to a backstop that would see NI being treated differently to the rest of the UK. By implying that the peace process is threatened by a hard border, even though no-one has said they will build it, is scaremongering of the worst kind. The EU wants to keep us locked in to their regulations and rules: the Irish government is playing hardball even though it would suffer most if the UK were to leave on WTO rules. The Irish PM has behaved rather shamefully with some of his rhetoric and is clearly intent on becoming a future EU commissioner.
I for one would much rather have the rag tag army of publicly minded citizens / busybodies (take your pick) who invigilate elections than a computerized voting system; they seem less likely to be swayed by power on the whole. Considering the fun and games that already occur with postal votes, any move away from physical presence of the voter and physical counting of the votes is a bad thing in my book.
There seems to be a plethora of lawyers and barristers amongst politicians. It may disappoint Corbynists then to learn that 64% of legal practices regard Corbyn as a bigger threat to the UK than Brexit.
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