In the 1975 referendum I voted “No” to joining the Common Market.
In Ulster, many unionists were too apathetic to vote. That’s why we’re in this mess.
Not only did I vote ‘No’ then, I voted ‘Leave’ and would do so again.
I don’t believe that anyone can predict with any high degree of accuracy the consequences of leaving. That won’t prevent both sides from bombarding us with statistics. Of course we have to be wary of that: you know what they say about statistics.
The EU will only let us leave on their terms.
If we leave without a deal they will hit us with every economic sanction at their disposal. They have to as a warning to any other state considering similar action.
Mrs May’s deal will tie us to a European super-state controlled by Germany; we fought two wars to prevent that. Make no mistake, we are now at their mercy and they have never been our friends.
The alternative is to leave without a deal and suffer the consequences; it all comes with a price.
We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.
The CBI and the UFU focus on the business and economic consequences of leaving – they would, without addressing the threat to Ulster’s constitutional position within the United Kingdom.
They know that this deal is a fudge that doesn’t really deliver Brexit, but signals a change of direction and an alternative to Remain.
That suits them, because they voted Remain.
It keeps a foot in both camps – for the moment – and buys time to condition public opinion into accepting Britain as a mere colony of Europe.
How this will all pan out is in the lap of the gods – the gods in Brussels; they hold the real levers of power.
As a token of her intent the prime minister is offering Ulster like a sacrificial lamb on their high altars.
One of the sure lessons we learn from history is, that while appeasement buys time, it’s not a solution.
It doesn’t deter bullies; they see it as weakness.
It wouldn’t be the first time Germany has exploited that, and Britain has succumbed.
The prime minister promised that Ulster wouldn’t be treated differently to the rest of the UK and she has betrayed our trust.
Can she be trusted to deliver on her other promises, or are they too, negotiable?
Will the EU see the sacrifice of Ulster as a final payment, or a down payment?
Watch this space.
Clive Maxwell, Bleary