When the Murdoch Sun fails to pony up any real news for its front page, it is a sure sign that there is something the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker would rather their readers not see, but in which they are involved up to their necks. So it is with the continuing problems of the Brexit negotiations, especially the Irish border. This is all down to the Westminster Government’s ineptitude. But not for the Murdoch goons.
His is the name on the by-line ...
No, for those serving the Murdoch mafiosi, all blame for the Irish border problem can be attributed to the Irish, more specifically to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - but not because he’s gay, oh no - and the tabloid press’ old bogeyman Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin. This line was dutifully trotted out by the Sun’s non-bullying political editor, the appallingly snobby Tom Newton Dunn. And it was a complete crock of crap.
... but his is the presence in the background
The headline of Newton Dunn’s alleged “exclusive” tells you all you need to know: “GERRY-MANDERING BREXIT … IRA’s political wing Sinn Fein to blame for new Brexit stand off over Northern Ireland border, ministers say … Leaked Brussels documents have revealed Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has significantly hardened the EU’s line over how to keep the border open after Britain’s EU exit”. And what documents would those be?
“A leaked Brussels document yesterday revealed the Irish Taoiseach has significantly hardened the EU’s line over how to keep the border with the south open after Britain’s EU exit”. Ah, so only one document. And we don’t get to see it. But do go on.
“In an ‘all island’ solution, Leo Varadkar is now insisting Ulster remain part of the single market and customs union while the rest of Britain leaves it … Ministers have told The Sun that the Irish PM has only been forced to adopt the stand under heavy political pressure from Gerry Adams’ Sinn Fein … His Republican party are set to make big gains in new elections to the Dail, which could some soon if Mr Varadkar’s weak Fine Gael government collapses”. And new elections could come rather later. This is ignorant conjecture.
That the only Tory willing to be named in this confection of hokum was disgraced former minister John Whittingdale only underscores what this article is about. Newton Dunn has been challenged by the people he didn’t bother to consult - those actually in Ireland.
Mark Hennessy of the Irish Times warned “Tom, this is nonsense. And it is frightening if British ministers actually believe it”. Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney also passed adverse comment: “This article is nonsense. Irish Govt is consistent and firm on preventing Hard Border. Too important an issue to be spinning inaccuracies!” And there was more.
Eamonn Mahn pointed out “Saying [Sinn Féin] is putting pressure on [Fine Gael] is like saying Momentum is putting pressure on the Tories. Completely different constituencies. Mad”. And Alexander Clarkson, after observing “The response to this story in the mentions from Irish tweeps is remarkable, starting with the Irish foreign minister”, noted “Depressingly the prominent New Statesman journo and the former LibDem advisor didn't pick up on Newton Dunn's basic errors in yesterday's Newsnight panel. Neither did Wark. In the UK ignorance of Irish politics is bipartisan”.
That ignorance is what Newton Dunn and his masters are feeding off. It’s why he can get away with publishing that crock of crap in a mainstream newspaper. Don’t buy the Sun.