Why I said Northern Ireland does not matter at the Drunken EU Debate

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By Oliver Briscoe, Second Year Law

Oliver Briscoe defends his statements at last week's drunken EU debate

You may have read that I claimed the Northern Ireland issue does not matter. It is time to clarify these statements.

I could say that this was a smear by the biased left-wing, people who seemed surprised that I could hold Remain views despite wearing a suit and tie for the debate. The surprise is probably rooted in the expectation that Bristol moderates should have a terrible dress-sense and the implied allegation is probably born out of a misunderstanding. When I made those comments I was told to sit down by the chair, with no chance to respond or expand on them.

Firstly, in terms of the debate's motion, Northern Ireland was not a key issue. Our burden was to give legitimacy to a second vote.

The impossible conundrum that the Irish border presents is a big issue for the Brexit negotiations - except in our Remain scenario - but did not fall within the remit of the motion. I care about Northern Ireland.

I, unlike quite a few in England, follow with interest how Northern Ireland is still under threat from sectarian and para-military violence from both sides. Just recently the Norther Irish authorities have released advertisements to sensitise people to the problems with shootings “by appointment”. The problems fought years ago are still very much live today.

While this may be true it is not a major part of a second referendum debate.

I care about Northern Ireland

Secondly, Northern Ireland voted Remain (56:44) and is not the section of Britain who needs convincing.

The question from the crowd asked was why we did not mention Northern Ireland in particular. Again, because it had little relevance to the deliberations and with only seven minutes to speak, we had to raise only the most important issues. The question was asked by a Northern Irish Labour committee member in the audience, not to further the debate but to purely assert herself, under the guise of minority representation, against the BUCA speakers. We were pleased Labour turned up but it would have been better to have them upfront with us, instead of cowering in the mass and taking pot-shots.

Northern Ireland voted Remain (56:44) and is not the section of Britain who needs convincing

Finally, as a Conservative, I was expressing my frustration at the fact that a small party, which cannot even govern in its own Parliament, rides roughshod over the Conservative leader.

The Democratic Unionist Party's leader, Mrs Foster, cannot form a government to represent population of Northern Ireland, which stands at around 3% of the UK population as a whole. Despite this, she influences the biggest party in Parliament. Enough!

Northern Ireland is a problem that needs local politicians, local voices and local solutions.

Westminster can rule. Westminster must rule but it would be much better if the DUP went back to its main concern: forming a Government. Instead, it plays with Westminster like a political Svengali. It is time to stop Northern Irish politics- local politics- playing such an unjustifiably large part in our national politics. Electorally, should there be a second referendum, the people of Northern Ireland will vote- seeing the solutions offered on the border, probably Remain- but their voice will not make up the numbers and should not have a large part of the vote. As long as it is part of the UK, Northern Ireland will remain under the influence of national policy and national majority.

I ask, in the light of these explanations, if you give credence and belief to the implied suggestions in the previously published article.

Featured image: Epigram/Ed Southgate


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