Sinn Féin and other Irish Nationalists like to talk in terms of the improvements that could be made by “removing the border”, from stopping duplication of services (in their view) to, er, stopping cross-border fuel smuggling (okay, that’s just bizarre and not the topic for today’s blog).
This is odd, however, because it was Irish Nationalists who insisted on creating a border within the British Isles. They may have had very good reason, but it remains the case that once it became inevitable that there would be a border between the Irish and British, the position of that border would be contested. There is no particular logic which places that border in the Irish Sea, any more than it places it where it is, given the pattern of settlement.
However, even of we accept the logic that land borders are a particular problem (whereas somehow sea borders aren’t), because of duplication or smuggling or whatever, it does lead to a peculiar problem with Sinn Féin’s stance: why on earth does it advocate independence for Catalonia? Indeed, far from creating a land border with the inevitable duplication and potential fuel smuggling that would cause, should Irish Republicans not instead be trying to unite Spain and Portugal to abolish one?
There is a blatant inconsistency here. It is very difficult to take Sinn Féin’s positions on anything seriously until such obvious contradictions are sorted out.