As more and more informed voices view the less than totally appealing prospect that is the exit of the UK from the EU, and the thought occurs to them that there might be a more appealing prospect in doing otherwise, so those implacably opposed to the Union have had to step up to the plate to reassure everyone that it’s all going to be OK. This has resulted in yet another foot-in-mouth excursion from Dan, Dan The Oratory Man.
What am I bid for this Anglo-Irish whopper? Any takers?
Hannan has surveyed the potentially serious sticking point that is the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic: snaking for more than 300 miles across mainly open countryside, nowadays crossed and re-crossed by many roads and tracks with no visible border post or other marking, save for the reminder to drivers on main roads that speed limits change from miles to kilometres per hour, or vice versa.
And, as so often, Dan has not allowed the reality of recent history to hinder his utterances, taking to Twitter to proclaim “It would surely be logistically easier to treat the British Isles as what it has always been - a single customs area. Checks only at ports”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One is the dumping on the Republic.
Challenged by Jonn Elledge, Hannan airily declared “Unlikely that the UK will put up customs posts on the land border. Ireland will be free to choose between checks there or at its ports”. Yes, let’s dump the problem outside the UK! I mean, don’t these damned foreigners know their place in the world? And there was more.
Elledge pointed out that the Republic is not exiting the EU, and so is remaining in the Customs Union. Dan took out his crystal ball and duly pontificated “UK will have lower tariffs, and will need no checks on imports from the EU. What happens the other way round is between Brussels and Dublin”. Yes, dump the problem on the Republic.
And the second flaw in the Hannan plan is that the British Isles has not always been a single customs area, as anyone with the most basic knowledge of recent Irish history will know. Shane O’Mara had family who worked for Customs patrolling the border, which had checks enforced along its length from the early 1920s to the early 1990s.
Sasha Clarkson confirmed “Customs points existed between NI & the Republic between 1923 and 1993. #Hannan is offensive to Ireland, *and* too lazy to check his facts!” Dan’s solution to a problem which would be entirely of Britain’s making is simplistic, wrong, dishonest, and ignores the two countries’ often uncomfortable recent past.
One might not have realised this from his sniffy response to Shane O’Mara: “So much pro-EU sentiment on Twitter is wrapped up in open contempt for our country”. And so he had opened mouth and inserted foot in no style at all once more: O’Mara is Irish. So it is plain flat wrong to talk about “our country” in a discussion with him.
Daniel Hannan is perhaps the best hope that the optimist Brexiteers have. On this showing, it’s fortunate that we don’t see too much of the rest of them.