Apparently unannounced, the British government’s Brexit Secretary, David Davis, caused a political row when he made a two hour visit to the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on Tuesday. But is there a deeper sign in this visit that shows the real motives of Davis and his Brexiteers?

As part of the visit, David Davis organised a flying trip to a food processing company as well as an autism centre that is funded by both governments in the Middletown area. Apparently, he also made a visit to a now disused border checkpoint between counties Monaghan and Armagh and even took a tour for the nearby fields and lanes!

A virgin to the Irish shores

While in Ireland, he decided to tweet stating that “Today I started what promises to be a busy week in Northern Ireland. As we leave the EU it’s essential both the UK and EU do what it takes to keep the border, which I saw this morning, free from physical infrastructure. We are determined to get this agreed by October.”

Despite being the key Brexit negotiator for the British government Mr Davis has previously said that he had never seen the border on the island of Ireland at first hand and was was accompanied by Peter Sheridan, who is a former senior officer in the Police Service of Northern Ireland and is now the chief executive of the Co-operation Ireland charity.

Afraid to face the locals?

And now this flying visit has been heavily criticised by local politicians who claim that none of them were informed of this visit in advance.

Mickey Brady, veteran Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, accused Mr Davis of avoiding a meeting with him because he is “afraid to face the truth about Brexit”. Another Sinn Féin MP, Paul Maskey, stated that he had shown “contempt” for local politicians and did not respect any local protocol by arriving in Northern Ireland unannounced

Both Mr Brady and Mr tweeted their feelings with Paul Maskey saying that “Out of courtesy and protocol he should have informed you (Mickey Brady) as the local MP.

“Shows his contempt to locally elected representatives who know more about the impacts of Brexit than he will ever know.”

The SDLP’s Claire Hanna who is the party’s spokeswoman on Brexit, said “Maybe the minister is troubled that we might actually have asked him if he learned anything and how he plans to stop a hard border here when his government continues to dig its heels in on the customs union. “This visit was nothing more than a box-ticking exercise. The border shouldn’t have just been an afterthought months down the line but should have been a priority for the Brexit Minister.”

A spokeswoman for the Britain’s Department for Exiting the European Union said that the lack of notification “was an administrative oversight for which we are happy to apologise.”

An ulterior motive

So while the British civil service may be happy to apologise for Mr Davis covert mission to the border in Ireland, the real truth is that it shows nothing but contempt for the various people, organisations, local government and elected representatives on the island of Ireland. David Davis in this move has now seemed to show his true colours – of which many of us assumed already, in that he seems to believe that he has no need to inform the locals of his trip nor should they be concerned about it.

A combination of arrogance and a superiority complex which are trademarks of the far right faction in the Conservative party. And Mr Davis is publicly leading this group who are utterly dedicated to ensuring that whatever the outcome, personally, he along with the likes of Jacob Rees-Moog and Boris Johnson will benefit in both position and influence.

Mr Davis may claim to be totally focused on ensuring an open border but his credentials will prevent him from making one of only three real alternatives – stay in the customs union/single market, leave Northern Ireland in the customs union/single market or reverse Brexit. Any other options is just daydreaming.

Or is there another alternative?

Is there an agenda by the likes of David Davis that will see his group place Theresa May in such an uncompromising position that she will be forced to accept one the above and thus resign along with many of the moderate members in the Conservative party. this will still leave Britain out of the EU but will strengthen Davis and his cohorts in that they will be seen as defenders of the faith somewhat and ensuring that their power within the party is consolidated for many years to come. Though they may lose the next UK general election, they may not be utterly defeated because one needs to remember that the referendum result was extremely close and those who voted for Brexit may also choose to dig in if faced with the option of having to accept a partial remain within the EU sphere of influence.

But despite what it may seem like, David Davis is a true follower of the populist right and his motivation is not based on a political belief system – it is probably based on a driven desire for power, influence and financial benefit. While it may possibly be reduced in status on the international market and diplomatic circles, a Brexit Britain will still allow some to have a regional power base and as individuals, they would not be affected by a state out of the EU as their ambitions would be to have strong involvement in worldwide capitalist corporations. Mr Davis’ background is in corporate business and he was a former executive of Tate & Lyle which is a British-based multinational agribusiness. He even wrote about his business experiences in the 1988 book How to Turn Round a Company.

Personal agenda

So the question is, are the likes of  David Davis in this for personal gain or do they actually represent a real political philosophy? And even if they do, is it one of contempt for the people of Britain and also its neighbour, Ireland, of whom he clearly knows little about judging by his recent remarks regarding his claim that Sinn Féin is influencing decisions at an Irish governmental level.

I am more inclined to believe that whatever the outcome of Brexit, Mr Davis will gain in both personal wealth and position – be in the private sector or in the public one because it is those like him who have deliberately initiated Brexit with no plan and no solutions.

And why have they none? Maybe its because they have no intention of hanging around long enough for the real repercussions to show. They will be long gone once the fallout hits the streets while their books will remain on the shelves of WH Smith gathering dust and discounts.

Ken Sweeney
Committed to idea of supporting aspiring writers and journalists. Serial podcaster.

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    1 Comment

    1. I think that perhaps you might have forgotten one of his previous statements, that the only difference when driving from Northern Ireland into the Republic is the colour of the road markings ! Having lived most of my life in the UK, i recall that the road markings are mostly white, with some yellow markings at the edges on some roads……………….in fact the same colours as in the Republic. The man is contemptibly ignorant of any facts, and as you rightly comment, is apparently persuing his own agenda to gain personal power and wealth. I can only see a hard brexit being the eventual outcome, the mantra of the brexiteers is, “no deal is better than a bad deal”, but you have to wonder for whom? Certainly not for the UK, the Republic, or the EU.

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