Boris Govt to Irish Prime Minister Who Insulted ‘Small’ UK: Stay Out of British Politics


Boris Johnson’s foreign affairs chief Dominic Raab has advised Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister who insulted Britain as a “small country” which the European Union will roll over, to stay out of British politics.

Mr Varadkar, who serves as the prime minister — or “taoiseach” — of the Republic of Ireland, population 4.8 million, said of the United Kingdom, population 63.2 million: “The United Kingdom has yet to come to terms with the fact it’s now a small country… The EU’s got a population and market much bigger than the UK’s, so if these were two teams up against each other playing football, who do you think has the stronger team?”

When Varadkar’s words were put to Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Dominic Raab by Sky News, the Tory Brexiteer said: “I think Leo Varadkar is in the midst of a, shall I say, very competitive election in Ireland, and I’m not going to interefere in Irish politics — and I’d probably suggest that he wants to refrain from doing the same.”

Varadkar is indeed facing a difficult national election in his own small country, with his Fine Gael party having slumped to less than 20 per cent in some polls.

His simplistic analysis of the relative leverage of the United Kingdom and the European Union in the upcoming Brexit negotiations — formally, Britain left the bloc as of 11 p.m. on January 31st, but functionally it remains an EU member-state throughout the 2020 “transition” in which a future partnership is to be hammered out (or not) — with British arguably being more important to Brussels than vice versa, despite the combined economies of the EU being larger than that of the UK.

For example, Britian is by far and away one of the bloc’s most important military and especially intelligence and security powers, and many European countries would find their capabilities significantly diminished if they ceased co-operating with Britain.

In addition, the United Kingdom is now the EU’s single-largest export market — and at the level of individual member-states, almost every country in the bloc sells more to the British than the British sell to them, meaning they would be the more damaged by the imposition of tariffs.

Britain’s single-largest trading partner, meanwhile, is the United States of America, and the U.S. could soon become an even stronger partner now that Britain is free to negotiate its own trade deals — something the EU does not permit.

Varadkar — whose country is, ironically, especially dependent on the United Kingdom economically — may simply believe that it is not possible to stand up to the EU because that has been the Irish experience, however.

Ireland has twice voted against further EU centralisation and integration in referendums on the bloc’s Nice Treaty and Lisbon Treaty — and was twice been forced to vote again in order to give the “correct” answer.

The Celtic country was also bullied mercilessly into accepting punishing bailouts during the financial crisis by EU and European Central Bank (ECB) officials, largely behind the scenes.

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