UK leadership candidate Sajid Javid calls Ireland ‘the tail that wags the dog’

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Sajid Javid

A leading British politician has accused Ireland of being ‘the tail that wags the dog’ in a controversial interview that has brought plenty of criticism.

Sajid Javid is the UK Home Secretary and has put his name forward in the leadership race to become the next Prime Minister.


He appeared on political programme The Andrew Marr Show to discuss Brexit negotiations.

Sajid Javid

One of the major problems for the UK as it leaves the European Union will be that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will also become the border between the UK and the EU.

The UK, Ireland and the EU all agree that nobody wants a hard border, a fact that has been known from the start. However, with a deal potentially in sight, the border issue still hasn’t been resolved.

Rather than admit the deal won’t work, some UK politicians are attempting to blame Ireland rather than themselves. One of those is Mr Javid who told Andrew Marr that the backstop should be renegotiated.

He said: “What I would do is focus on the one Brexit deal that has already got through Parliament, and that was the Withdrawal Agreement with the change to the backstop.

“It’s the only thing that’s got through Parliament… I would try and renegotiate the backstop. And what I would do in doing that, is focus on Ireland.

“I think Ireland is the absolute key to all of this. You could sort of say it’s the tail that wags the dog on this, and we need to make sure that we can do more to build that goodwill with Ireland, to give them more confidence.”

His comments have drawn criticism from all corners of the internet.

John Campbell, editor of BBC NI Economics & Business tweeted: “In one sentence Sajid Javid refers to Ireland as ‘the tail that wags the dog’ & the need to build goodwill & confidence in Ireland. Just tremendous diplomacy.”

Writer James Cotter said: “This is a throwback to the language used by UK politicians about the Irish in the 18th and 19th century.”

Irish lecturer Dr Alan Greene commented: “When you no longer have an empire but you still have an empire state of mind.”

Virgin Media News reporter Richard Chambers, mockingly referred to Mr Javid a “Diplomatic wunderkind.”

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling