Payback time for the DUP

 Today, hardline Brexiteers in the ERG (a Conservative party group who will use anything and anyone, no matter what ensues, to fulfil their Britannia Unchained fantasies and ideology) and their henchmen and women in the DUP  had  their demands satisfied. They warmly welcomed the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill to Westminster parliament.

It shows that:

  • the European court of justice will not have a role in Northern Ireland
  • a green/red lane  set-up i.e. no checks on goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland; checks for those going to the Republic of Ireland

Query:  What does a lorry with a mixed load do? Which lane does it use? British? Irish? Both?

  • the NIP has no effect in the UK
  • UK ministers reserve powers to override other parts of the NIP (and presumably any other International Treaty) if they deem it necessary.

Remember: 1) domestic legislation cannot overrule an international treaty – it if could, no government in its right mind would ever sign one.

2) Any attempt to vary the provisions NI Protocol by use of UK law is illegal as it violates  Article 27 of the Vienna Treaty governing Treaties. A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty. This rule is without prejudice to article 46.

Back in 2017 the DUP negotiated a £1 billion“Confidence and Supply” agreement, as brokered by Jacob Rees-Mogg of the ERG, to prop up PM May’s minority government.Mutual interests converged and the deal was done.

True to their supremacist instincts and desire to wield power, the DUP and NI Unionism in general have carried on pushing with the ERG for the hardest of hard Brexits ever since.

The NIP blocked Unionism’s drive to conserve power and hegemony i.e.  Unionist /Orange Order leadership or dominance over all others, in NI.  The border shifted to the Irish Sea, thus subverting their place in the UK. NI remained in the Single market and Customs Union, thus  potentially subverting their unfettered power in NI.

Add in the SF victory in the May 2022 Local Assembly  elections, coming top in the number of seats, flanked by the constitutionally neutral Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. The only surprise was how long it took for the UK Government to prepare its long-announced NIP Bill to redress Unionism’s “manufactured grievances”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and the EU, Liz Truss said the government is basing its move on the “doctrine of necessity,” saying it has no choice but to act.

The UK government’s “doctrine of necessity”  means the necessity of Johnson keeping his job by placating the ERG and DUP.

It means the necessity  for the ERG and DUP to lie,  cheat,  break the law, anything, to gain power and keep hold of it.

Remember: Legally, necessity rarely excuses a breach, and only when (inter alia) the State’s act is the only way to safeguard an essential interest against a grave and imminent peril, and when no other essential interest is seriously impaired by the breach

Well Unionism would say their essential interest in NI was in grave and imminent peril, wouldn’t they? Because it is, isn’t it?

 If the UK Govt  hadn’t acted to prop up Unionism in NI, they were facing a SF administration in Northern Ireland, further loss of Unionist supremacy and a probable SF administration in Dublin within a couple of years.

Which certainly wouldn’t suit the Minister for the Union, PM Boris Johnson himself.

Or the DUP which has no intention of ever playing “bridesmaid” to Sinn Fein in Stormont

Brexit, the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) and the Conservative Party

The Conservatives have paid, and look as if they are going to keep on paying, a heavy price for  their 30 years of anti-EU madness.  It has destroyed one Conservative PM  after another. The total stands at present at 4 and counting: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, David Cameron, Theresa May  – all   wiped out politically  by the party’s divisions over the EU.

The Conservatives have  managed to get Brexit done and  expel most of the “soft” Brexit supporters and Remainers  from the party. Yet now it’s the turn of  their latest  leader  PM Boris Johnson  to  ride for a fall over the NIP, spurred on by the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and the European research group (ERG) of Brexiteer Tories  who are convinced Brexit cannot fail and the harder the Brexit, the better.  

As well as Tory Brexiteers, senior government figures are reported to have extensively consulted the DUP on the substance of the new  Brexit law. People in Northern Ireland are not altogether pleased that only the DUP is being ‘consulted’ on such a sensitive bill. They don’t like the DUP’s opinion having preferential status over other Northern Ireland Assembly parties like Sinn Fein, Alliance or the Social Democratic and Labour Party. Or that the DUP minority opinion is allowed to override the expressed will of the majority (SF, SDLP, Alliance) who are happy enough with the NIP.

Remember: The majority of people in NI and the Stormont Assembly they elected a few short weeks ago want the NIP and they want it to work .

Comment: Widespread dissatisfaction with PM Johnson’s policy over the NIP sends out very negative signals for the future of NI and its place within the UK. Power-sharing would be impossible with 1) a hard border on the island of Ireland and 2) DUP rule strong-armed into place via Westminster against the democratically expressed wishes of more than half the population in Northern Ireland.

Query: What happens if SF, SDLP and Alliance then withdraw from the Stormont Assembly?

On the other hand, PM Johnson’s  Brexit bill probably won’t get through the Houses of Commons and Lords.  The more extreme it is,  the less chance it has of becoming law as PM Johnson lacks the numbers to push it through due to the 148 Conservative MPs who Voted No Confidence in him Monday last.  Should it get through, its passage through the Houses of Parliament could take up to one year. It will be challenged on legal grounds. Apart from the DUP and TUV, it isn’t wanted in Northern Ireland and would be unworkable in practise.

PM Johnson argues it is needed to persuade the DUP to join the power-sharing executive in the Stormont Assembly.

Comment: It will fail in this purpose because the DUP have no intention and no incentive to get Stormont  Assembly up and running.  Once they are in, PM Johnson won’t be “consulting” them any more. The Stormont Assembly  will have a SF First Minister and the DUP will be relegated to Deputy First Minister status.And the DUP will have no other leverage.

Effects: Unilateral legislation riding rough-shod over the NIP to please the ERG and the DUP  will infuriate the EU and the USA, trigger trade retaliations and block the UK’s participation in the €95bn Horizon research scheme.  It would recklessly jeopardise the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and future Trade Agreement with the USA . Brussels will implement sanctions and has even threatened a trade war  – but is likely to wait until the Bill passes – if it does.

PM Johnson  was told that any breach of the Northern Irish protocol would be “economically very damaging, politically foolhardy and almost certainly illegal”.

Yet he appears hell-bent on pressing on with it even though he knows, and his Cabinet knows, and the Conservative Party knows they  either accept the NIP or embark on a trade war with the EU, a war they cannot win;they  either accept the NIP or abandon all hopes of a Trade Agreement with the USA, an agreement they will not get; they  either accept the NIP or trigger Irish Re-Unification, a process they cannot stop.

Refs

https://www.ft.com/content/0dee56c0-fdfa-11e8-ac00-57a2a826423e

https://www.ft.com/content/5aae5ac9-9af9-4a81-8cf6-5abcfef75d1d

https://www.ft.com/content/1acd84fe-bac8-4e16-b4b7-750016d37ee8

Q and A – Brexit’s Curse

 

Dear Ben

I’m very confused as to what’s going on with Brexit, the UK Government and its Constitution at the moment.

Ben: Don’t worry. You’re  meant to be. For several reasons.

It’s just the out-playing of the Brexit Curse

1) PM Johnson’s  position is utter nonsense. We don’t know whether negotiations with the EU are on-going or not. The EU doesn’t know what the UK wants. It has just produced a series of “non-papers”  with “non-ideas” in them and told EU negotiators not to show them to the EU Heads of State.

Comment: For the series “here’s what we might want, but don’t tell anybody because we know it’s stupid. That’s why we won’t admit we want it”

Last Thursday the Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay appeared to threaten Ireland with medicine shortages and Spain with devastation to its fruit and vegetable exports, as well as its tourism and fisheries industries.

Comment:  The UK doesn’t seem to realise  that for the first time in centuries it can no longer boss the EU countries about, play one off against the other or threaten them  to get its own way

2)Brexit has shattered  the entire concensus UK governance was based on.

Risultati immagini per splintered mirror

It has split people and political parties down the middle. The Tories are floundering and flailing. The LIB-Dems want to revoke Art 50 notification of Brexit.

Labour wants to negotiate a New Deal which it may, or may not support, in a people’s Vote  Referendum.

The SNP wants no Brexit even though it could be a trigger for IndyRef2.

The DUP wants NI to be exactly the same as Great Britain – even though it’s not in so many areas – power-sharing. petition of concern, LGBT and women’s rights. language rights etc,.In trying to out-English the English, the DUP support the ERG, a No Deal Brexit and to Hell or Connaught with the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

Comment: It’s just starting to dawn on the DUP  that Brexit-related unemployment, impoverishment and havoc, which the majority of people living in NI don’t want under any circumstances,  do not constitute a   vote winning strategy

3)Brexit has widened the gaps between England, Scotland N.Ireland and, to an ever-growing extent, Wales. People are starting to realise what the  negative fall-out  of Brexit will be, in whatever shape or form it takes. Non-English and non-Unionists resent being taken out of the EU at England’s decision  and being told their votes and opinions don’t count.

Comment: Support is rising for Scottish Independence, Irish Re-Unification and even Welsh Independence as they attempt to remain within the EU. The UK Government and Unionist parties have decided there will be no IndyRef2 for Scotland or Border Poll for Ireland. There’ll be no way out of Brexit Britain for them – not under any circumstances

4) Brexit has smashed the  so-called British Constitution and its Conventions to smithereens.

Risultati immagini per splintered looking glass

That was the looking-glass the UK used to tell itself and anyone who would listen how wonderfully democratic and civil it was and how its way was the only way to do things and order society.

Comment: The wonder is that so many people accepted this self-assessment and believed in the image for so long  – without ever  questioning it. 

Why was Parliament prorogued?

Ben: The Government says to prepare a Queen’s speech.

Others say to silence parliament.

The Supreme Court Judges will tell us why next week.

Agreement with the Government signifies parliament can be suspended whenever, and for as long as. any future Government may want.

Agreement with the plaintiffs means Parliament will  be re-opened and that the PM “misled” Her Majesty

Did he?

Ben: Doubt it. She knew what she was doing. If she didn’t  . .. there’s a strong argument that abdication is needed

Did the Queen know what she was doing when she  intervened in the Scottish Referendum?

Ben: What happened?

As the  Queen was leaving Crathie Kirk near her Balmoral estate  after the Sunday morning service, she  told a well-wisher: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.

What did that mean?

Ben: It was a warning along the lines of “Be careful about what you’re going to do”. Nobody says that if the other person is going to do what the speaker approves of

 Comment: She interfered because she could and she wanted to.

  She had to agree to set up that scene and be filmed as she spoke the (in)famous words.

Why can nobody say what they’ve spoken to the Queen about?

Ben: Because she doesn’t want them to. If nobody knows what she says or thinks she can   project the image of an impartial Sovereign who is above the fray of politics

But is she really?

Ben: She has been meeting the Prime Ministers of Her Governments every week for the past 60+ years.They regard the meetings as a privilege  because “I’m the only non-Royal that gets to see her regularly”

I doubt if their conversations have been limited to “Terrible weather we’re having! More tea? How are the children?”

Otherwise busy PM’s would have reduced the number of meetings or bowed out of them totally long ago.They would have regarded them as a tedious task, rather than a privilege

Since they haven’t, I presume she tells the PM what to do about the various issues that arise at each meeting. And s/he agrees to carry out the Sovreign’s will

Conclusion

The Brexit confusion has been created as the UK Government desperately flounders in a situation of its own making, flailing its arms, kicking and stamping its feet to create chaos. Brexit, besides shattering links with the EU,  risks breaking up the UK, tearing the veil of secrecy from Monarchy, and exposing how a non-codified Constitution is manipulated to suit the Monarchy and its Government.

Journalists, pundits and spokespersons are focusing on separate pieces and shards of glass

Risultati immagini per splintered looking glass

No one is making any previsions about what’ll happen in the next few hours, never mind the end of October when the latest EU extension ends.

Finally ….

The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“A curse is come upon me,” cried
The  UK’s Prime Minister.