Foster’s absurd EU comments show narrow worldview

Posted By: May 02, 2018

Distributed by Irish National Caucus
“Again, more words of wisdom for Members of Congress from noted commentator Brian Feeney on Brexit and how the DUP is all that is keeping Prime Minister May in power: ‘Remember, a year after the Brexit referendum, the British electorate had a look at Theresa May and her divided party, didn’t like what they saw and removed her majority. However, with the help of the DUP, she plows doggedly on. Foster’s party is supporting a government the British people rejected.’”—Fr. Sean McManus

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, May 2, 2018

What’s that song, ‘Small Town Girl Livin’ in a lonely world,’? Taking a train to anywhere to get out of the big city.

It exemplifies Arlene Foster’s attitude to the EU and high politics. She reduces everything to the worm’s eye view of an unreconstructed 1950s Fermanagh unionist. Watch them-uns in Sinn Féin.

Her interview on Monday with the BBC – note BBC London, not BBC NI which it looks like she’s still in a huff with – showed she hasn’t a clue about how Michel Barnier is required to operate, what his aims and objectives are and what’s going on in the big world of politics. What was most pitiable is that she thought unionists had some role in Barnier’s negotiating calculations.

She complained he is not an ‘honest broker’: absurd. Barnier once again reminded journalists in Dundalk that he represents the EU27 and they present him with written guidelines he must follow. As he said, ‘I am not an arbitrator.’ His job is to get the best deal for the EU27 and of course that includes the Republic and definitely does not include Arlene.

Furthermore, negotiations are between the UK and the EU27, not between Barnier and Unionists who are represented or more accurately misrepresented by this UK government. Laura Kuenssberg correctly put it to Foster that she should be telling the British government of her concerns, not Barnier.

Sadly Foster doesn’t accept that she has no role. In her tiny circumscribed world everything is reduced to the fear of Sinn Féin. She complained that Barnier listens to the Irish government and Sinn Féin but not Unionists. Well, of course, Barnier listens to the Irish government. They are one of the EU27 on whose behalf he is negotiating and whose instructions he is complying with. They are remaining in the EU. Why should he, would he, listen to someone who doesn’t represent a sovereign government and besides, advocates leaving the EU? Of course, he will also listen to Sinn Féin, a party with 23 TDs and four MEPs in an EU27 government and who support the EU. Why would he not listen to them? How silly to think otherwise.

Oh yes, of course. On Planet Foster, Sinn Féin is the bad guy, not to be trusted, guilty of “disgraceful behavior” and should never be accorded equal status with Unionists even though Unionists, in this case, are supporting the opposition in the negotiations Barnier is leading. What kind of a daft mindset is that? Oh yes, of course, a Fermanagh unionist ‘livin’ in a lonely world.’ Unfortunately for Arlene she’s a spectator and will remain so.

What never figures in her remarks,  is the preposterous position of her own party which does not represent the views of the majority of people in The North but worse, props up a dreadful shambolic government which has no mandate for its actions.

Remember, a year after the Brexit referendum the British electorate had a look at Theresa May and her divided party didn’t like what they saw and removed her majority. However, with the help of the DUP, she plows doggedly on. Foster’s party is supporting a government the British people rejected.

As opponents of May’s chaotic rigmaroles point out, no-one in Britain voted in the EU referendum to be poorer, yet the  DUP encouraged people here, unsuccessfully it should be said, to vote in their own worst interests.

You don’t hear much talk now from the DUP about ‘opportunities’ flowing from Brexit for it has dawned on them there are none. Every report from the British government, Stormont officials, and independent economists agree that The North will take the biggest hit from Brexit no matter what the exit deal is.

Yet despite the Conservatives’ austerity programme making people worse off, the cuts in education, health and welfare and the guaranteed economic downturn the DUP has never produced a plan of its own, never suggested how to mitigate the impact of Brexit on The North. Why? They can’t because it would put them at odds with the government they are keeping in power in defiance of the wishes of the British people.

In a Fermanagh unionist world-view is this the only way to secure The Union [with Britain]?