Northern Irexit- the decline of Global Britain?
After the riots in Northern Ireland, politicians from all parties condemned the riots on Thursday. „Destruction, violence and the threat of violence are completely unacceptable and unjustifiable,“ said the province’s government after an emergency meeting. The Northern Irish regional parliament had previously been called back prematurely from the Easter break. It now wants to advise on how to deal with the street battles that Protestant-loyalist gangs in Belfast and Derry, the second largest city in Northern Ireland, have been fighting with the police for more than a week. The police are attacked every evening with gasoline bombs and stones, some of the attackers are not older than twelve years. Press photographer Kevin Scott was beaten on Wednesday evening. Amnesty International’s Patrick Corrigan described this as another attempt to intimidate journalists. „It was an attack on the freedom of the press,“ he said. Bus traffic in parts of Belfast has been suspended after a public bus was hijacked and burned down on Wednesday. The balance of the past eight days: 41 police officers injured and 10 people arrested. One was only 13 years old. Police Association Chairman Mark Lindsay said the rioting was orchestrated by loyalist paramilitary organizations. It is typical that „older, dark figures“ incited young people to do so.
The reasons for the riots are multilayered. On the one hand, the loyalists are annoyed that the police decided last week not to initiate proceedings against the 24 Sinn Féin members who last year the pandemic restrictions at the funeral of Bobby Storey, a prominent member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). On the other hand, the police have repeatedly seized drugs from the Southeast Antrim Brigade of the militant Ulster Defense Association (UDA), which has therefore sparked riots in parts of Belfast. The UDA is a terrorist organization and is deeply rooted in illegality. But if one takes action against it with police force and the means of the constitutional state, uprisings are staged by small gangs and it is presented as if oppressors were at work. The police often, stays defensive watches and let themselves be thrown at.
But the main reason, however, is the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Brexit Treaty. It regulates that Northern Ireland remains part of the EU internal market and therefore has to adhere to the EU customs rules. This is to avoid a hard border in Ireland, but a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain has been established for this. The movement of goods between the two parts of the UK needs to be controlled. This is a red rag for the unionists and loyalists who want Northern Ireland to stay in the UK. They see the Northern Ireland Protocol as a step towards a unified Ireland and accuse British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of treason. He said: „The differences of opinion must be resolved through dialogue, not through violence or criminal behavior.“
The recall of the Northern Irish MPs from the Easter holidays came about at the initiative of the Alliance Party. MPs from all five government parties signed the request. The Alliance Party sees itself as belonging neither to the Protestant-Unionist nor to the Catholic-Republican camp. Her party leader Naomi Long is Justice Minister in the regional governmentsaid: “The violence must end. But the political cover-up of violence with vague statements and empty threats must also end. There must be no room for ambiguity, the violence must be unanimously condemned by the regional parliament. “ Northern Ireland’s Prime Minister Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said the riots were not a legitimate protest: “This is vandalism and attempted murder. These actions do not represent unionism and loyalism. They just distract from the real lawbreakers in Sinn Féin. ”Foster refuses to speak to Northern Ireland Police Chief Simon Byrne because of the refusal to take action against the Sinn Féin members who violated the coronavirus restrictions at Storey’s funeral. Irish Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney said Foster’s remarks were not very helpful. „It is always easy to criticize and to sow discord,“ he said. “The challenge, however, is to find ways to find an amicable solution.” But that is a long way off. The frustration and aggression of the Protestant unionists and loyalists are still directed against the police, but if representatives of the Northern Irish Catholics are targeted, the militant proir IRA nationalists will also arm themselves again, if only for reasons of self-defense The outbreak of violence or renewed flare-up of the Northern Irish civil war was already on the wall, the more concrete the Brexit became, the corona crisis of course still acts as a fire accelerator. Till now most politicans want to hold to the status quo, but in case of an further escalation, the IRA could rearm, the Sinn Fei could think about a reunification with the Republic of Ireland as one nation. In this case Global Britain maybe would have to send its military to Ireland and not to the China Sea to prevent an breakup and second decline of the British Empire. And maybe the USA and the EU had to mediate another time as did former US presidents with Irish origin as Kennedyor Reagan, but it would not be sure if they could broker a peace treaty as in the 90s when the United Kinddom still was a member of the EU. And other seperatist movements like the Scottish National Party or the Basque and Catalanians in Spain could try to follow the example.
It would be very exciting if the Chinese incited and supproted the IRA or other loyalists as revenge for GB’s support in the Hong Kong, Taiwan, Uighur and South China Sea matters to destabilze GB and the EU and use this as leverage like Lybia´s former dictator Ghaddafi did and the Global Times already warned Inida if it would play the Tawian card, China would support Indian seperatists. But at the moment China will still officilally stick to their policy of mutual and inner non-interference and combating the 5 poisons, including the seperatism, because they want to present themselves more as a guarantor of the international order of nation states and not as a trouble maker. It remains to be seen if China in future still will stick to its noninterference policy or if it is sending agent provocateurs to other countires and spark trouble within these sttes and in relations to other states. And since Brexit, GB has become a more unimportant for CHina, even if Johnson wants to see the second British Empire rise through alleged Global Britain and still NATOmember, the CIty of London and the 5 Eyes, the much quoted special relations and the traditional nostalgic blah blah. Let’s wait and see how Putin uses the new situation and the Ukraine crisis. The Chinese see the British as a German diplomat described it: „The British are punching above their weight „. Hiowever it will be another test if CHina sticks to its policy of inner non-interference.
A former German diplomat commented:
„“From Global Britain to Little England“ – this is the headline I would give to the development of the United Kingdom over the next few years. With the death of the Duke of Edinburgh and the approaching end of the Elizabeth II era, the time of the British were able to hide and cope with the loss of their Empire and their position in the world through nostalgic memories is disappearing. All of this is now finally over, because the Brexit did not start the resurgence of Global Britain; the idea alone is anachronistic as a grand strategy and ridiculous. No, Brexit marks the beginning of the UK’s dissolution. In the end Little England remains with small islands of prosperity in the South and large slums in the old industrial regions of the Midlands. I already discussed this analysis in 2016 shortly after Brexit with a very good expert on Great Britain who lives in London. At the time I argued that Scotland would be the first link to fall away from the UK. He contradicted: The Scots were penny foxes. As long as the transfer payments from London are greater than the EU subsidies they would stay with the UK. The Queen and her Prince Consort (Duke of Edinburgh!) also enjoyed great sympathy among the Scots.
The first who would leave the UK, according to my conversation partner, was Northern Ireland and go off the flag after bloody clashes. After about 5 years, the consequences of Brexit would become clear. The Irish reacted more emotionally than the Scots and would get down to business quickly – according to the forecast at the end of 2016! The Scots would not follow until later – as soon as they had a sober, long-term cost-benefit calculations of their decision between London and Brussels. There we are now! And once again you correctly pointed out the perception of Beijing and Moscow. In both capitals there is development surely to be followed with satisfaction and joy. I myself really regret that the British, whose state-theoretical and political achievements, I always I studied with occasional envious admiration, had to experience the end of their global position of power not as a tragedy, but as a farce. But tragedy and farce are sometimes not far apart. Presumably the Downing Street clown will entertain the British and the world for some time to come with his show: „Boris punches above weight“.
I also expect the Irish to be the first to exit. Let’s see if the upcoming poor house Little England knocks again in 10 years at the door of the EU, provided that the EU still exists in its old form. Yes, the Queen’s death will tear down the last mystical veil of glory, Charles will never be able to fill that out and the Yellow Press experience the Royals more as a scandal family. Classical music lovers will not be so familiar with more modern pop music. Such developments and British emotions have been sung by the Kinks in their songs Village Green, Village Green Preservation Society or in their Arthural album. And like Pink Floyd in The Wall, They saw a new fascist movement, a Mr.Black. It has not yet been considered what effects it would have on NATO and the EU if a right-wing British chief had British nuclear weapons at his disposal. Finally, as another musical tip from the Kinks, „Living on a thin line.“ „, in which these moods of doom are articulated. Just google it on You Tube and you will understand present and future Britain better..
The former diplomat commented:
“I don’t see a British fascist chief. But Nigel Farage is bad enough. For me there is some hope associated with the new Labor leadership, although I have always believed that that the moderate wings of the Tories and the Labor Party are at the center of British democracy. The outer wings of both parties are problematic, but unfortunately benefit from majority voting and that related two-party system.”
Unfortunately, Nigel Farage is not the end of the story. UKIP has already partly replaced him with a new Oswald Mosley from the British Defense League, a British Höcke. And wait and see how the Tories develop and we will not get just a British Johnson, bur a real British Trump or worse. . Nobody would have thought that the US Republican would go down after Bush senior and become radicalized. As his stupid son or the neofascist Trump. And Pompeo as new alternative. God bless the Queen! Strauss always said: Never say never. .One should abolsih the habit of believing that two-party systems keep people from radicalizing and that all could be as before.
And also Brexit infkluences the City of London. There has not been such a drastic event since the Big Bang in 1986, but now the City of London, hitherto the second largest international financial center, has lost access to its most important market with Brexit. In the exit agreement with the EU, next to nothing is regulated for the financial sector. Trillions of financial assets and billions of sales flowed off to the continent immediately, almost overnight trading in European stocks has largely shifted to core Europe. Even at the beginning of the year, more stock trades were being carried out in Amsterdam every day. The average daily balance since then – 9.2 billion euros in sales in Amsterdam against 8.6 billion in London. A stock exchange specializing in the trade in European stocks like Aquis Exchange has meanwhile lost more than three quarters of the turnover that is now processed in the EU by its continental European branch. The trend is clear: the city will continue to lose and even more. So it is only a matter of time before London has to give up other business areas. If you want to continue playing in the EU, you have to get branches on the continent. Tradition and sounding names count little if the British financial institutions, finance lawyers, tax and investment advisors are no longer allowed to offer their services in the EU, as is currently the case. This is no small matter for Great Britain, the financial sector generates over 7.5 percent of the UK’s economic output with annual sales of over 150 billion euros. It employs over a million people, more than 400,000 of them in London, and a good eleven percent of the tax revenue for the treasury comes from this sector. British financial service providers have so far transacted over 40 percent of their business with customers from the EU and achieved an export surplus, most recently over 71 billion euros per year. The City of London is also the backbone for lending business for the rest of the British economy.
Why does the Tory government acknowledge this quite unmoved? Why is next to nothing stipulated in the contract? The city bosses can only hope that the EU Commission will recognize the British regulations as more or less equivalent at the proposal of the European financial supervisory authority. Or maybe not. Brussels is in no hurry. So far, two exceptions have been made for a period of 18 months, including for the British clearing houses, which process around 90 percent of European derivatives trading. The winners are the EU financial centers in Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin. They can increase their employment and place several thousand well-paying jobs for highly qualified financial specialists. The EU financial centers also benefit from “Brexodus”, the emigration of mostly young, well-educated EU citizens from Great Britain. Numerous start-ups in the financial tech industry had good reasons to opt for Berlin rather than London. In the foreseeable future, the financial center of London will focus its attention more on Asia, although there are relevant rivals such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo to be fought off. Without exception, financial centers that have at least the same expertise, the same networking and the same specialization as their competitor City. In addition, Asians work with less fantastic salaries and bonuses than the British are used to, but also because since Cameron they have focused more on the Asian Pivot than on Europe, GB as the first Western and European country to engage in China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), made London the central place next to Frankfurt for offshore renminbi transactions and is traditionally heavily involved in Asia via the financial centers Hong Kong and Singapore and wants to be even more.
It is part of Boris Johnson’s populist habitus to ostentatiously care little about the interests of the money elite. He also had Brexit friends in the city who believed that the exit from the EU would leave their business unscathed because the continental Europeans could not do anything to oppose the financial center of London. Since the opposite turned out to be correct, the City, which has been an independent political entity in the kingdom for centuries, has three options: It can try to come to terms with the EU in order to push for the equivalence of its regulations. Or you can rely on further deregulation and confront the EU headquarters. Option three would be to ask Boris Johnson to renegotiate with Brussels – an illusory rather than realistic option, but perhaps the City of London will split off from Little England and want a completely deregulated tax haven like the Virgin Islands or Cayman Iceland. Unfortunately, there is Biden’s departure from neoliberalism and turn to a new global Neokeynesianism., his proposal for a global minimum tax for multinational corporations, financial businesses and the rich, together with a stronger role for the state and industry policy and not neoliberal deindustrilization. Then maybe the last hoped-for option for Global Britain is missing: A second phase of Thatcherism and British Reagonomics including the Mont Pellerin Society. Hayek and Milton Friedman. Biden, Davos- Schwab´s „Reset“ and Blackstone’s new orientation seemalso to question the City of London’s old Anglosaxon alliance with Wall Street.
However, let´s see this more as a worst case scenario and a summary of all the negative and potential negative consequences of the Brexit. Maybe the Irish prefer peace, the Scotts will not leave and Great Britain remains Great Britain, but maybe not Global Britain.