|Posted by Webmaster on June 15, 2016 at 9:15 AM|
The Daily Telegraph’s avalanche of anti-EU news, views and wild assertions has actually included a few articles and letters taking the opposite view on Brexit. Whether this is a subtle ruse to suggest the DT is not simply a vehicle for Leave propaganda, or an indication that there lingers within the paper a vestige of honest journalism I don’t know. But it is enough to encourage me to send the odd letter to the editor.
This one, unpublished, was in response to Charles Moore’s Notebook, June 13,headed The UK shows the EU how to be a proper Union, in which Mr Moore stressed the importance of the border between Northern and southern Ireland not becoming a barrier for Irish or British people.
June 13, 2016.
If Charles Moore (Notebook, June 13) really believes it is important that the Irish border should not become a barrier after June 23rd, he should be campaigning on the Remain side. No one on the Leave side has yet explained how the re-imposition of border controls, on people and goods, could be avoided. Norway and Switzerland still maintain border posts and checks with their EU neighbours. How else, for instance, would cross border shopping between, say, Dundalk and Newry - currently totally unrestricted - be policed when the tight allowances on goods brought into the EU from outside would be in force?
Some in the Leave campaign argue migration into the GB might be more effectively controlled by 'strengthening the border between the island of Ireland and the British mainland', as suggested by the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. It would indeed be 'tragi-comical', in Mr. Moore's phrase, if a campaign for restoration of the UK's sovereignty and control of its borders resulted in the creation of a new internal border, with, as in the old Soviet Union, citizens requiring passports for travel inside the union.
As for his assertion that the UK is an example of a successful union, while the EU is not, has he forgotten that the UK had, in his lifetime, to fight to preserve the union against a 30-year terrorist campaign to destroy it, that the party in government in Scotland is committed to leaving the union, and that in this year's NI Assembly election more than one third of voters also opted for parties committed to leaving the union?
A pity neither the Daily Telegraph nor any other paper, as far as I know, reported Mr Moore’s fellow Leave advocate and fellow Daily Telegraph columnist Daniel Hannan MEP assuring a large audience in Belfast earlier this month that there had been no real border in Ireland since 1923 and there was no question of controls being imposed if the UK left the EU. Not surprisingly this statement was greeted with amazement and derision by the large audience at Manufacturing Northern Ireland’s conference in the Harbour Commissioner’s Office.
The MEP was presumably referring to the first Common Travel Agreement between the Free State and the UK. What he clearly did not know was that 1923 saw the first creation of a physical, visible border when the Free State imposed a tariff on goods coming in from the UK – 6 pence on every consignment - and erected customs huts along the border to enforce it. The date was April 1st, and it was no joke; the physical border remained until 1993.