tv Georgetown University Discussion on Brexit CSPAN December 18, 2018 5:16am-5:38am EST
what he was referring to and i was referring 1920 allocation, negotiations are well advanced and a number of departments have settled and we expect to be in position to confirm all of those >> new labour party leader jeremy corbyn went on to ask for a no-confidence vote against prime minister theresa may after his request for an earlier vote on the brexit deal was denied. in a tweet, he explained it was unacceptable for the country to wait another month before parliament has a chance to vote on theresa may's watched deal. -- botched deal. ireland's ambassador to the u.s. recently joined several civil rights activists to discuss brexit and how it will impact the current civil rights movement in northern ireland. this was at georgetown university. it is 20 minutes.
one of the things that is absent from politics today is an absence of foresight or willingness to engage in foresight. when the former prime minister david cameron promised a referendum, largely because of an internal debate in his own party for 40 years, it did not occur to him that there is a land border with european union and the united kingdom. the island of ireland has been living with that since. so the issue of brexit -- what do you think of the implications of whether it is a soft brexit, a hard brexit, or no deal brexit for northern ireland in particular in terms of civil rights? you could say the present democratic unionist party are asserting their rights over the rest of the community, but in northern ireland, the hard-won peace -- it was a 4% majority vote over the rest of the united kingdom. scotland did not vote for brexit. young people certainly did not vote for brexit. what are the implications that the european union offers much greater rights and standards for living? those rights are now jeopardized for people within northern ireland. what would you say would be the most worrying aspect of brexit for the future of civil rights and perhaps peace in northern ireland? amb. mulhall: look.
i've been in this business now for 40 years. european union membership as part of a kind of ofgressive evolution ireland, north and south, because, first of all, it gave us the opportunity to develop our economic potential, which we had failed to do before we joined, for various reasons. secondly, it exposed us to influences from outside the british irish scene, which i think are helpful and positive. i think in northern ireland -- and i can remember, by the way, back in the 1990's, when i was irish rep at brussels. there was a degree of cooperation between the deadly political enemies that, in the
northern ireland context, would not see eye to eye handily. but in strasbourg, there was a certain degree of cooperation across the orange-green line. i remember in those days -- i do not know whether it is still going on -- but we provided the things are all of the irish mvps, north and south. i do not member ever being told not to send them to the you -- to the rest of the mp's. think about it. a northern island the agreement -- in northern ireland, the agreement does not mention e.u. membership as a condition. but the whole agreement is suffused with the understanding that brought northern ireland
and the rest of the island to the european union. if you think of the good friday agreement as a bargain under which northern nationalists, republicans, agreed to the status quo into some time in the future where it may be possible , and ine it by consent return for that, there is an arrangement, a north-south dimension and so forth and so on -- i know that, for both sides, the brexit issue is being seen as a unilateral change. on the part of nationalists, it is the threat that one of the dividends of the agreement, the open border of ireland might somehow in the future be compromised. for unionists, there is a view that, in some quarters, the
backstop agreement is somehow sort of a departure from their view of how the constitutional fabric of northern ireland ought to look. and they seem to be completely resistant to any distinction between northern ireland and the to gainthe u.k., even significant benefits. if i were a northern ireland business person or politician, i think i would be saying that the backstop, if it were to be applied, would actually give northern ireland a unique advantage, that it would become the only place in europe that would have complete access to the single market of the european union and to the single market of the u.k. that would be a pretty big selling point for northern ireland, for northern ireland business and for the development of its economic potential. but somehow, that all seems to
have been completely dismissed. so i think brexit is a deeply unwelcome and unfortunate development. it is unfortunate because it has come at a time when other things have come into play and have conspired to create new tensions in northern ireland. by the way, my own view is we have to get over the brexit hurdle first. mendhen look at how we can some of the fences that have been damaged over the last couple of years. which are exacerbated by the impact of brexit. >> i would like to continue with this. first of all, i want to say that i, personally, think that the came in junewhich
--2016, it seems like such a such a significant moment. we talked about tony blair earlier. one of the problems with brexit as it seems to be a reflection explained the good friday agreement to the british working class. it seemed to me that there is some way in which england, not london, which is where the brexit support is, has not been told what, in fact, the good friday agreement meant in terms of letting the prisoners out. at the time of martin mcguinness' death, it was apparent that the mothers of soldiers had been involved in northern ireland had not -- it has not been explained to them what the implications of that freeing of the prisoners was about, on the one hand.
and so there is a kind of intolerance of anything that that agreement represented. i do think one of the consequences was this brexit, this little england vote, that developed. that is a personal observation. the other thing that strikes me the farmers in northern ireland are supporting or not supporting the dep -- d.u.p. theof the anomalies of northern irish situation is the number of people i to who do not support the d.u.p. the farmers do not support the d.u.p. the businessmen are not getting into the ditch with the d.u.p. yet every time it comes to an election, the d.u.p. our elected.
so it comes as a surprise to me when the businessmen say they bill.heresa may's something means -- seems to happen when they get into the polling booth. that seems to be the problem. that because of this binary, this reduction of our identity -- and there was a better deal in 1974. there was. what we have got now, we have got now. the point about changing that reduction of our identities to -- and it is a huge loss to me, the e.u., but the thing that has guaranteed my involvement with the european union is that i have two passports. happy to be abeen european unionist. it solves the anomaly of being a
northerner and a southerner at the same time, for me, because i could be happily -- at first, i couldn't happily claim to be a unionist. i could happily claim to be a european unionist. i know the great advantage of withwe ended up with, and the good friday agreement, is it guarantees irish or british or both. >> how does brexit look from over here? >> it looks like lunacy. i do not think there is anything -- where i sit on this, first of all, i think the labour party is failing in its role as an opposition party. this is a tory fight within the tory party. this was a referendum, that was advisory at the time, not binding. that was to settle a score that cameron thought was paving his way home. it did pave his way home.
john bruton gave a speech here after he left his role as ambassador of the european union here at workings -- brookings, in which he talked about what the european union meant in terms of european history. and the importance of the european union, not to be looked at in all of the little things you can be annoyed about in the bureaucracy in brussels or any of the other annoyances that anybody could have about a centralized administration of life, about the history of the 500 years before there was a european union, and all of the wars and all of the deaths, and how the european union had replaced that with a democratic process. it is imperfect. but for the british, of all
people, to walk away from that, having suffered, themselves, in these wars and been participants justese wars, to me, it is a mindless exercise. just because jeremy corbyn thinks it is a capitalist plot going on in brussels, we do not have an opposition that is going to stand up and say, "this is crazy." we cannot get an agreement that the tories can agree on. and the only agreement that is possible would be a new election. a second referendum, et cetera. maybe it only passed by four. i do not know how it would come out. by the idea that people say, "brexit is inevitable. the prime minister said we have to have it." excuse me? they had one advisory vote. i hope they will have another. i do not think it will pass. and i hope that is what happens. i do not think it is a good brexit.
i think it will certainly be better with the backstop than without it. we obviously do not want to see all the damage to northern ireland. but look all -- look at all the european union has done in ireland and northern ireland in terms of political and economic support over the years. it is amazing, to me, that they have stood firm, as the 27 nations, in support of the open border. that is something that is quite unusual in international matters. so there is a lot of strength there. i think it is a shame that it ought to come down to this. >> do you want to? >> yeah. well, we have certain attitudes towards britain, the english. but credit has to be given -- that, on many occasions over the generations, they have proved to
have able politicians. how inept is amazing they now are. not only on the tory side but on the labour side as well. total ineptitude. so we hope, hope, hope that the brexit will eventually leave. and i think it could be -- inevitably, there will be a referendum. but i hope it will be different from the last time. when so many lies were told. and no alternative has been given.
now, as far as we are concerned, and i am pleased the ambassadors here -- the people of ireland are proud to have our diplomats. i support the present government. you take that for granted. but i know from experience over the years, be it in the united states, be it in the continental europe, london, and all over the place. i have met many, many irish diplomats. the consequence now, as bruce said -- we managed to hold 27 countries together against the british. we should realize the pride that
we have and the strength that we --e for the fortifier's and the forefathers and the diplomats. the economic benefits have been very similar, if you look at the 26 countries on their own. you know where the money has come from. but it is not just the economic side. ireland has changed over the time of membership of the e.u. and we have been forced to engage out, to come in with other concepts that we have maybe accepted for generations.
it has been an advantage on that level as well. as well as the economic and business. out,e quicker brexit is the better. >> i got to say one more thing about that. because i think it is important to record highs this. ,hat the civil rights movement the european union, globalization, they are all part of a long process of opening out and openness, which we have benefited from enormously. to some extent, the last number of years has seen a kind of a reaction against that 50 year project of opening out and embracing change and so on. it is now clear a reaction is set in. and brexit is part of that reaction, because brexit is an
exercise in narrowing. it is a narrowing exercise. it is an exercise in closing things down rather than opening up, because opening up has come to be seen as a kind of risky and unpopular process. it has happened also in some parts of europe, where you have seen the same trend. and i think there may be a bit of it here in america as well. >> here are some of our live coverage tuesday. at 10:30 a.m. eastern on c-span, the wilson center takes a look at u.s. and china relations. at 6:00 p.m. eastern, the french embassy in washington, d.c. holds a forum on the role of international relations like nato. back ton 2, the sun is the continue debate on a criminal justice reform bill. and on c-span 3, there is a washington post event on
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