The Backstop to All Future Backstops: Didn’t the Brits Think of the Irish Border When Voting for Brexit? (written for The European Views*)

The excited headlines of the British press when the UK got into the EU back in 1973 remind of an era long gone. Photo: FlickR
(*This opinion / analytical article was written by Ivan Dikov for The European Views website.)

The Irish border backstop quagmire is certain to make all EU countries think of their border regions if they are ever tempted to consider leaving the Union.


The UK’s Brexit quagmire – presently rapidly shaping up as an upcoming hard Brexit debacle – has been resembling a very bad sitcom for a while now. With a flawed setting, a questionable premise, clueless writers, and bad actors.

Its thorniest issue – that of the Irish – Irish border, and the backstop clause insisted upon by the European Union in order to keep that border between the EU’s Republic of Ireland and the UK’s Northern Ireland open – is reminiscent of a scene from a good sitcom, though. Actually, probably from the best sitcom ever, “Friends”.

By the way, that scene happens to involve a British person, Emily, Ross’s second wife who was so jealous of Rachel that their marriage turned out to be particularly short-lived.

(In Episode 5 of Season 5, “The One with the Kips”:)

Being in a quagmire of his own, Ross wonders what to do as Emily demands that for their marriage to be given a chance, he should not see Rachel anymore.

Joey: You want my advice?

Ross: Yes! Please!

Joey: You’re not gonna like it.

Ross: That’s okay.

Joey: You got married too fast.

Ross: That’s not advice!

Joey: I told ya.

How is that like the UK’s current impasse with respect to Brexit, the EU’s rightful insistence on a backstop clause with respect to the Irish – Irish border, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s messy approach seemingly aimed at achieving a no-deal Brexit on October 31, 2019?

There’s the Joey-style “advice” for the UK: it voted for Brexit too fast. And when it did, all outright Brexiteer lies and half-truths aside, it didn’t think of the Irish – Irish border and the Northern Ireland question enough, if at all.

The fate of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of the four constituent countries of the UK, has now constantly been described as “the thorniest” issue in the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU. Well, what else would it be?

What was everybody in the UK who voted for Brexit thinking?…

Read the rest of this article on The European Views website here

(370 words cited out of a total of 1,356 words)

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