It seems like the UK is heading towards the March 29 deadline without any real progress towards a deal with the European Union. If no deal is reached by then and no extension has been negotiated, then the UK will crash out of the EU and there are fears of massive disruptions as suddenly border controls will have to be imposed at least across the English Channel, one of the main routes for commerce between UK and Europe. There are fears that this will lead to loss jobs due to businesses shifting operations to Europe and all manner of shortages, and people are stocking up on food and medicines in fear.
One of the major sticking points is what to do about the currently open border between Ireland (which is in the EU) and Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK). Everyone seems adamant that there should be no hard border reintroduced there. In a BBC interview with Ireland’s Europe Minister Helen McEntee, the presenter John Humphrys made the (to me at least) highly surprising suggestion for why Ireland doesn’t also quit the EU and join up with the UK, asking “There has to be an argument, doesn’t there, that says instead of Dublin telling this country that we have to stay in the single market etc within the customs union, why doesn’t Dublin, why doesn’t the Republic of Ireland, leave the EU and throw in their lot with this country?”
McEntee could have been excused for laughing out loud at the idea that Ireland, after being treated so atrociously by England for so long, should now sacrifice its own interests in order to bail out the UK from its own self-inflicted wounds, another sign of English arrogance. But she seemed to have restrained herself, simply replying, “To suggest that we should leave? Ninety-two per cent of Irish people last year said they wanted Ireland to remain part of the European Union and in fact since Brexit that figure has gotten only bigger.”
I am curious if Humphrys was simply being provocative or whether people in the UK are seriously thinking that this is a possible solution.