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Brexit and the Irish beef protests both prove populism doesn’t work in reality

Brexit and the Irish beef protests are driven by populist ideas, but they both prove populism rarely gives the results it promises, says Eamon Cassells, a young beef farmer from County Meath in Ireland.

Since I last wrote for the Brexit hub in June, the UK has failed to leave the EU for a third time.

 

And despite the grave warnings of the Conservative candidate for Rayleigh and Wickford, Mark Francois, the country hasn’t exploded.

 

Mark promised us fireworks, but we didn’t have so much as a sparkler on Halloween.

 

This, along with previous assurances about how easy the transition would be, reminds me of the infamous words of Johnny Rotten during the Sex Pistols’ last ever gig in the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in 1978 – ‘Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?’

 

The DUP certainly must be feeling cheated after being well and truly thrown under a bus when same sex marriage and abortions were both legalised from Westminster.

 

Dumped

 

They were then really dumped in it when Boris Johnson abandoned Theresa May’s ‘backstop’ and replaced it with a deal which will put a border in the Irish Sea.

 

I now see you have a General Election coming up.

 

Labour and the Lib Dems seem incapable of doing the smart thing and forming an alliance, while the great saviour of democracy, Nigel Farage, made an executive decision of his own and stopped half of the Brexit Party’s candidates standing against the Conservatives.

 

But I note there is no mention of where the £100 ‘supporter fee’ from Brexit Party candidates and their supporters in those constituencies will go.

 

Meanwhile, the two largest parties in Ireland – Fianna Fail and Fine Gael – have maintained a confidence and supply agreement, knowing an election is of no benefit to the country when the threat of Brexit hangs over us.

 

Attack

 

While there is plenty to attack Irish politicians over, this, at least, is an example of country before party – which seems to be sadly lacking on your side of the water.

 

The whole Brexit debacle is a demonstration of populism in action, and Irish farmers are not immune to it either.

 

The recent protests outside beef factories were driven by people being told what they want to hear, rather than reality. Does that sound familiar?

 

Instead of getting an increase in prices, we’ve seen a backlog of 100,000 cattle in the system, leading to long wait times for slaughter as farmers are left holding onto cattle which are getting overweight, over-fat and over-age.

 

Populism rarely gives the results it promises.

 

Eamon can be found tweeting at @Eamon4prez


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