English nationalism putting sovereignty ahead of any other policy option
As a native of Bessbrook now living in London, I continue to take a keen interest in the political situation in Ireland, north and south. As a result I see little in the northen Irish media about the corrosive effect of English nationalism in the Westminster parliament. For more than 20 years English nationalism has been on the rise, culminating in the hardest Brexit anyone could have imagined either in Britain or in observing it from abroad.
This trend has all but eliminated well intentioned ‘one nation Tories’ from parliament and seen the gradual strengthening of the hard right. It has encapsulated the hapless DUP contingent as well and succeeded in putting sovereignty ahead of any other policy option, always.
It is now in danger of derailing the Irish Protocol negotiations and in doing so exposing the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement to great existential danger.
These people know little about Ireland, north or south. Their interests are singular – England. They will stop at nothing to have their way.
Forget that the protocol was a comprise commitment to ‘get Brexit done’, or that the Good Friday Agreement is lodged in the United Nations as a Treaty. It has already been acknowledged by them that international agreements might or could be broken in the ideological quest for absolutist independence based on sovereignty.
Over in London there is scant knowledge that a majority of people in Northern Ireland as represented by Alliance, Sinn Féin, the SDLP and at least half of the Ulster Unionists, as well as many in the business community, wish the protocol to remain and the government to accept the EU proposals for reforms; nor that they wish to keep Northern Ireland in the Single Market; nor that it is what a majority of its people voted for.
All that these right-wing English nationalists believe is that the DUP and its hangers on are on the side of sovereignty and the maintenance of the union at any price.
They have ever-increasing influence at Westminster. The wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland is certainly not their priority nor is the maintenance of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement – internationally accepted treaty or not.
The only alternative to removing the protocol-related administrative requirements down the Irish Sea and keeping Northern Ireland in the Single Market, which a majority of its people voted for, is the return of a hard border in Ireland.
NHS short-changed again
It shows just what a Pied Piper group of grown-up children Boris Johnson has bewitched over the years, especially since the time of the referendum in 2016, when he changed his position of being a committed Europhile, which he had been all his political life, up to a few months before the public voted to leave Europe. He then suddenly converted into a Brexiteer, a classic gimmick which was added to his impressive arsenal of deceit, subterfuge and downright lies, which masked his previous EU allegiance. God only knows how he got away with this except by lie after lie which everyone seemed to have swallowed. However, the greatest and most egregious fairy story was the slogan plastered on a double decker bus, which stated that £350 million per week saved paying the EU would be diverted to the NHS. Unfortunately, our NHS is currently close to being left bankrupt by his government’s current policies. So what happened to these enormous savings now diverted from the EU, Boris? The saying goes: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. But where do you go when the DUP was constantly fooled into believing in Boris Johnson’s lies?
Well, we are all now paying the price, but how did the working people of the Midlands ever think they could trust a Tory leader with their vote is beyond me – but then, like the DUP, such a group of people are easily deceived by the so simple Boris charm offensive with his ‘getting Brexit done’ no matter what the consequences to the UK. We have not yet finished with the EU since we left, with ‘oven ready and ‘a done deal’ coming back to haunt Boris and chums, including these groups of easily led sheep.
Ballycastle, Co Antrim
Helpful move to protect UK market
Given that goods crossing the land border into the Republic make up only 0.2 per cent of all the goods imported into the EU Single Market, and given that if those same goods were instead sent to the Republic by sea only 3 per cent of the trucks would be inspected at the port, it seems unlikely that they could pose any significant risk to the integrity of the EU Single Market. And given that only a minority of the goods brought into Northern Ireland are destined for onward carriage to the Republic it is obviously disproportionate to subject all of them to EU checks on entry.
However, if the EU is genuinely concerned about the risk that their Single Market could be contaminated by unacceptable items in the trickle of goods coming in across the open land border, then the UK government could easily seek to allay their fears by passing the export control laws foreshadowed in paragraphs 43 and 62 of the July Command Paper.
There would be no need to seek EU permission to pass and enforce those UK laws, it would be a unilateral step on the part of the UK; and in any case why should either Brussels or Dublin object to a helpful UK move to protect their market?
DR D COOPER
Nothing to be
uch has been written about how well Ireland has done since 1921. As someone who was born in the north during the 1960s I have lived through a few decades whereby each day I wondered if death or carnage would arrive in my locality. I see nothing to shout and be pleased about. We were left on our own in a bigoted state.
Clondalkin, Dublin 22