Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Brexitwatch: Project Leap in the Dark - 5. Northern Ireland own goal?

One of the most puzzling things about the Referendum campaign has been the support for Brexit from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.

Northern Ireland does extraordinarily well out of the EU with billions from grants under regional aid, payments to farmers, and special peace grants. Its farmers get 87 per cent of their incomes from the EU. The UK already subsidises the Province to the tune of £11bn a year. How much more would it be prepared to stump up to replace the lost EU funds, especially if it is hit by the expected post-Brexit recession?

And then there is the border. The Breixters have blithely said it will remain completely open as it is today, but if the DUP gets its wish and the UK leaves Europe, it will become the border between the UK and the EU, and the EU may take a different view. Will they require checkpoints at every crossing when some individual roads cross the border five times or more?

And finally there is the union – presumably the most important thing for the DUP. A Leave vote could well lead to Scotland quitting the UK. How secure would Northern Ireland’s place be in a truncated union in which Little England sentiment appears to be getting ever more strident?

As usual, the Leave camp seem to have plenty of slogans but no policies.

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