Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeNewsThe EU’s designs on Northern Ireland threaten the peace

The EU’s designs on Northern Ireland threaten the peace


AS WE know all too well, Prime Minister Johnson is persisting in his betrayal of the Northern Irish Unionists and adamantly refusing to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, hiding behind the same old empty statements that the government is ‘considering’ this legal action in view of the simmering crisis directly caused by the NIP. While he sends weapons to help the Ukrainians fend off Russian invasion, he aids and abets the ‘war without fighting’ to annex Northern Ireland by the EU via economic pressure. 

Democratic governance is to be upheld in Eastern Europe, but denied to this UK province. The consent of the Unionists has never been sought or given to the sea border, or to Britain enforcing EU customs checks on goods from the mainland UK to Northern Ireland, at great cost and under the aegis of the European Court of Justice. In fact the Withdrawal Agreement and NIP accepted checks being made, but not how they were made, hence the early talk of ‘light touch’ checks.

Lord Frost’s departure from the role of chief negotiator with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol, after briefings by civil servants against his robust stance, led to Liz Truss taking over. She has softened the UK line with the EU, and achieved nothing at all. Governmental determination never to trigger Art 16 of the NIP, as did the EU during its vaccine attack on the UK, remains firm, so it seems. This treaty provision clearly is the legally valid solution to the growing crisis in the province caused by the NIP and its deep threat to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the delicate peace. President Biden bears a lot of blame for his support for NIP – excluding that inconvenient Art 16 – and its pressure on Unionism. Sinn Fein is likely to become the largest party in NI at the upcoming elections, destabilising the situation even more, although delighting the EU.

Lord Frost managed to gain ‘grace periods’ of the full application of the worst of the NIP, but the principle that NI is under the ECJ jurisdiction economically remains solid, an outrageous situation for a sovereign state. Now we hear that the government is supposedly preparing legislation to allow ministers to unilaterally disapply elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol. This tactic was attempted earlier and hastily withdrawn as an illegal breach of an international treaty, and the public must wonder if it is just more smoke and mirrors to avoid the proper legal provision of Article 16. Liz Truss is a soft touch, and Whitehall would very probably refuse to co-operate in ‘disapplying’ EU regulations: they have sabotaged the application of many Brexit freedoms already. This looks like more governmental deception to hang on to disillusioned Brexit voters who have given up on PM Johnson’s commitment to end vassalage and ‘get Brexit done’. Whitehall has ensured that the UK is keeping well within the EU regulatory gravitational pull, ready for rejoining some years hence, as Lord Macpherson, former Permanent Secretary to the Treasury has said. Juliet Samuel, who heard his talk at the Policy Exchange, reported: ‘Lord Macpherson claimed that he has now “moved on” from his Project Fear days. His secret to peace of mind, he revealed, is his belief that in 20 years’ time, the Conservative Party will have moved on from “this thing” and “we’ll be much closer to Europe”. The only thing that our super-incompetent Civil Service is good at is hobbling the application of Brexit across all the departments of state.

In Northern Ireland this is a matter of civil peace and order. The NIP is fast destroying the Belfast Agreement, as Baroness (Kate) Hoey said plainly on discovering that Unionist consent can be overridden in the Belfast Agreement, for which she campaigned alongside David Trimble: ‘No self-respecting unionist can ever again operate the institutions of the Belfast Agreement . . . It is finished.’ Joe Biden, try to listen: your bias to Sinn Fein and your support of the NIP has almost certainly destroyed the Good Friday Agreement – congratulations. We can only wonder if this was the intent of Brussels, and indeed of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office apparatchiks who helped write the NIP. Their NIP has very probably killed the power sharing agreement of the Belfast Agreement. Why on earth did the UK agree to the NIP and Withdrawal Agreement? Baroness Hoey offers a very plausible thesis that Leo Varadkar used the threat of renewed IRA violence to PM Johnson. 

Unsurprisingly there is rejoicing in the Republic at the way things are going, that is towards a de facto annexation of NI by Brussels with UK collusion. This rejoicing is entirely misplaced: the NIP has broken the GFA, and power sharing is dead as a result. Sinn Fein’s bloody history is being covered up and rewritten as it were a liberal democratic civil rights movement. 

No one can affirm that the EU is the bringer of or guardian of peace in Europe. It savaged Greece by its illegal attack on Greek banks and ruined the country quite happily. It has befriended Russia and made itself dependent on Russian gas, sending Putin deeply mixed messages on EU policy towards Ukraine and the Russian invasion. The repeated claim, trumpeted so long by UK remainers that the EU brings peace in Europe, is now completely smashed. The EU project tramples over democratic governance time and again.

Basically the EU wishes to relate to the UK as the enforcer of a tribal vendetta, a mafia-like protection racket seeking to keep its victim in its power. The tragedy for the British people is that the UK government is appeasing this hostile agency. PM Johnson continues to bluff, deceive, lie, and betray Northern Ireland. This latest half-baked and unconvincing legislation ‘being considered’, just before elections, is more of the same. Article 16 is the legal means of ending the Johnson vassalage policy. His refusal will be part of his rapidly forming legacy of the breaker of the Union.

Northern Ireland has been put into a horrible situation by the EU and a pusillanimous UK.  Jenny McCartney summed it up in UnHerd: ‘The landscape in Ireland, North and South, is not what one would have hoped for in 1998 . . . an increasingly unmoored, isolated unionism, twitchy loyalist paramilitaries, a triumphalist Irish republicanism, and a democratic Irish electorate potentially sleepwalking towards installing a government organically linked to a long and bloody sectarian campaign.’ 

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Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is a Theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman

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