Divisive issue gives DUP unacceptable veto on post-Brexit backstop
Boris Johnson just does not know Irish politics and playing it along with British politics is a dangerous game. Sylvia Hermon, Independent Unionist MP accused him of, ‘dancing to the tune’ of the DUP, but really it was by combining their red line on the Irish Sea with a time-limit backstop in a way that they could sell his Brexit proposals to their supporters.
Unlike the Sunningdale 1973 and Anglo-Irish 1985 agreements their supporters have been fairly muted.
Johnson’s plan of forcing an election prior to Brexit day has been guillotined. He has hung his reputation, die in the ditches comment on getting the UK out of the EU on October 31. Time is of the essence. Boris is running down the clock. Out with no-deal will likely end his premiership and possibly lose an election. Out with a deal, he needs to go with a proposal to the EU that they may consider, reform the existing agreed backstop, get around the Benn Act and hopefully get the UK MPs to vote for it. This is high stakes political poker at its best.
As predicted, the British diplomacy has come to fore. The Irish government have been left in a tough position of choosing between again defending the backstop that is the only available option on the table that safeguards the Good Friday Agreement or embrace Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals. These proposals have failed to get support of the north of Ireland business people, civil groups or anyone with a brain. Of course the DUP have come out in support of the proposals. Why not? It has given them power to block the continuation of the north of Ireland specific customs and regulatory measures contained in the Brexit proposals, whereby the assembly will have a vote on whether to extend the suggested “two borders/four years” arrangements beyond an initial time frame of 2025. This doesn’t make sense other than pander to some sort of time limit to a backstop.
A backstop with a time limit actually ceases to become a backstop. It’s a very divisive issue and effectively gives the DUP an unacceptable veto on post-Brexit backstop arrangement, as Sinn Féin and other nationalist parties will unlikely vote to remain aligned to Britain if given a choice of that or the EU.
JAMES G BARRY
Time for secret journeys shrouded in stigma to stop
When the Irish electorate voted by a landslide in May 2018 to repeal the constitutional prohibition on abortion, it was a long overdue recognition that women can be trusted to make decisions about their pregnancy in the context of their own lives.
When abortion is decriminalised on October 21 anyone who is pregnant in Northern Ireland will finally have the right to make their own decisions at home and with the support of their healthcare service.
If someone in Northern Ireland does not want to have an abortion, they are already free to make that decision for themselves.
If a doctor in Northern Ireland does not want to carry out an abortion, they are already free to follow the General Medical Council guidance on conscientious objection to a particular procedure.
But these people opposed to abortion as part of the healthcare service are also demanding the right to be free to impose their beliefs on everyone else.
They demand to be free to perpetuate the double standards of exporting women from Northern Ireland to other jurisdictions and forcing people to take medication without medical support, in secrecy and fear of criminal prosecution.
It is time for this to stop. For the secret journeys, shrouded in stigma and shame, to stop.
Get back to Stormont for just one day
One of the best-known questions ever posed in the history of mankind was Jesus’s question to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane when he returned to find them all asleep: “So, could you not watch with me one hour?” Jesus was facing the most terrible of deaths at the hands of those he was keeping in creation.
As this part of Ireland faces a similar fate, can we ask our politicians to please get back to Stormont – for one day. They don’t have to do anything – just be there. In that way, we can abort the draconian abortion legislation being imposed on us by a Westminster government who have no care for any of us. This is the most liberal and aggressive piece of abortion legislation in the entire world.
If our politicians remain asleep to the mayhem that is going to visit us on this issue, this is the question that will be their legacy:
So, could you not watch with decency, democracy and the unborn one day?
Randalstown, Co Antrim
Boris is not a hero
I live in a part of the greater Shankill area in Belfast where almost everybody voted ‘leave’ in 2016. However, no-one wants Boris Johnson to get the praise and the glory for taking the UK out of the EU.
BoJo is not a hero, he is not a ‘second Churchill’ and the European Union is not ‘Hitler’s empire’.
No-deal scenario will see EU become our masters
Those from the Irish unity community currently tripping over themselves to be pro-EU should be cautious.
In a no-deal Brexit scenario it will be Dublin, forced by Brussels, erecting the customs infrastructure in order to protect the EU single market. Why would the British government want to build a new customs’ infrastructure?
In such a scenario the British could export cheaply manufactured goods and non-regulated agri products over their border here, while having their customs checks coming the other way at their ‘mainland’ ports.
It won’t take long before people turn on the EU, the way the nationalist community turned against the British army at the beginning of the conflict, when they were initially viewed as protectors. Brussels is not our ally, they would be our masters just as eagerly as the British in order to protect their own selfish interests.
A wise man once said “neither king nor Kaiser, but Ireland”. Words to remember in the not too distant future.
Strabane, Co Tyrone