Jamie Bryson: Imposed Brexit backstop would see unionist reaction that would `dwarf Drumcree'
AN imposed Brexit backstop would see a unionist reaction that would "dwarf the anger of the flag protests and Drumcree", it has been claimed.
Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson said such a move would almost certainly trigger grassroots unionist anger.
His comments came as a former head of the British army said the return to a hard border would be a "political failure" by both the UK government and EU.
It has been reported that Brexit talks have run into a "significant problem" over the border issue.
EU negotiators are said to be demanding a "backstop to the backstop" to prevent a return of a "hard border" between the north and Republic.
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Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that any backstop must be time-limited, but the Republic's government has already ruled this out.
Writing for the Unionist Voice website, Mr Bryson said any form of backstop or special status would "effectively mutilate Northern Ireland's constitutional position by stealth".
This, he added, would "almost certainly trigger a grassroots unionist reaction that would dwarf the anger of the flag protests and Drumcree".
"Remember that the DUP and mainstream unionism largely set their face against the flag protests. The protests didn't have universal unionist support, but when it comes to the very survival of unionism itself there would undoubtedly be a reaction," he said.
"There is, of course, no appetite within unionism or in the mind of any sensible person for violence. That is something that no sane person would ever advocate. I believe those who are whipping up fears of violence are scaremongering, and that anyone that would threaten violence has no place within any civilised democratic society.
"However peaceful civil disobedience on an industrial scale would clearly have the capability to render an annexed Northern Ireland ungovernable. The greatest disruption caused by the union flag protests stemmed not from rioting or violence, but rather from the peaceful protests across the province."
Earlier, former army general Lord Richard Dannatt addressed concerns that a hard border could result in a return to the Troubles.
He served as chief of the general staff between 2006 to 2009 and recently revealed that he had been questioned by two investigators from the PSNI about an event in 1973, on his last day as head of the army.
"I don't want to see a return to a hard border. It would be a political failure by our own government and by the European Union if that was to be the case," he said.
"Over 650 British servicemen lost their lives over the 38-year campaign to produce the much more harmonious society that there is in Northern Ireland now. I don't want to see politics bringing a regression and the return to bloodshed."