IT IS odd that no commentator or politician concerned with the Northern Ireland Protocol ever places it in its geopolitical context. The last annexation of a territory in Europe was that of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.
Before that, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, having been removed from Belgrade’s control by the UN and Nato after the Milosevic war, and given to ethnic-Albanian control, with tens of thousands of Kosovan Serbs driven out, in 1999. The US was the nation enforcing this bitterly resented settlement on the Serbs. An Albanian cultural cleansing of many Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries followed, and the situation there now is extremely tense. Now in Northern Europe an international conspiracy seems to be succeeding to remove Northern Ireland from the UK, not by fighting as in the two examples above, but by a ‘war without fighting’, see my TCW Defending Freedom article describing this subtle process.
Geopolitically the US has turned dark green under its viscerally Irish President, who famously said that no Protestants were welcome at a meeting: ‘No Orange here.’ The 27 member states of the EU are hell bent on this punishment beating of the UK for daring to leave the EU, quite legally, under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The NIP is also a key part of the EU desperation to keep the UK in alignment with EU regulation, with no say in those regulations, as a trade colony rather than a free and serious competitor nation state. President Biden and the Irish politicians see this a great chance to take NI into the Republic, after a short period of economic annexation and control by the EU. The EU propaganda machine, co-opting the US into this coercive game, says that this deliberate squeezing of the Unionists in NI is all in the interests of helping peace, blatantly inverting the truth. NI is being split from the UK by a border given over to EU customs rules and controls, annexation without fighting.
But the NIP includes an article designed for unilateral use in case the Protocol were to cause friction and social disruption, Article 16, which the EU has already triggered during the Covid crisis to prevent vaccines getting into NI and the UK, thus accepting that a customs border could be agreeable to the EU between NI and Eire. The UK has completely failed to capitalise on this accidental revelation that such a border cannot possibly happen to protect the Single Market. Article 16 has for months now been available legally to the UK, which has again and again threatened to use it, evoking threats from the EU of a trade war. Lord Frost has been successful in holding this Article 16 option open, which would mean the end of the ECJ controlling NI customs and law. But suddenly we are hearing of a ‘compromise’, of Michael Gove undermining Frost’s insistence on the availability of Article 16, and the PM continuing to dither, delay and obfuscate.
What would this ‘compromise’ give us? We would be allowed to ‘export’ medicines to NI, to our own country. How generous of the EU. It would take longer for the European Court of Justice to tackle disagreements, but it would have the final say and the UK still has no say at all. This ‘compromise’ is yet again a pig in a poke. I suspect that the PM is about to surrender yet again, and this time it will be the death knell for NI, the finalisation of the PM’s series of lies and betrayals of the Province. The PM has neither the backbone to face up to the EU nor is he that bothered; he is unprincipled and lazy, casual about losing a Province of the UK. Red Wall voters won’t mind much, he thinks – but they are patriots and he is probably wrong. The PM said after COP26: ‘We can lobby, we can cajole, we can encourage, but we cannot force sovereign nations to do what they do not wish to do’ – but he is allowing the EU/US conspiracy to do precisely that, to take part of our country from us, and in the process create mayhem and violence when peace was happening: the NIP is breaking the Good Friday Agreement for sure.
We have lots of evidence that the EU was going to attack NI under the guise of negotiations, most recently a video clip of Michel Barnier telling his colleagues that he wanted to ‘use and isolate’ NI for EU advantage, and to keep this situation going as long as possible: ‘For me, there is also a strategic and tactical reason, which is to use Ireland for the future negotiations. Isolating Ireland, and not closing this point, to leave it open for the next two or three years.’ Is this the remark of an honest diplomat keen to uphold peace in NI?
We also have evidence gained by the experts writing for Briefings for Britain, for example Caroline Bell’s reports from the French Senate, showing how France intends to use energy blackmail on the UK in 2026, and how it will take away trade from the UK into Ireland through the NIP, as Clement Beaune remarks: ‘On Northern Ireland, the Protocol is creating trade frictions, but it is our best protection. It must be respected, even if an extension to the grace period is possible.’ The NIP is designed to create, not solve, trade frictions and the UK will lose trade to its own country. How any UK government could have signed up to this Versailles type of treaty is shocking.
More recently BfB has exposed Irish ambitions behind the NIP to strangle UK-NI trade flows, thus increasing Eire-NI trade flows and gradually integrate NI to Eire economically. This emerged in a long essay by Irish journalist Tony Connelly as explicated by BfB. I would recommend this be read in full, and spread abroad, such is its significance. Here is a key passage:
‘But at this point, the very-well connected Connelly then turns to his EU sources, one of whom makes a remarkable admission. A diplomat from a sizeable EU country states: “Divergence is going to be a problem anyway . . . if the UK is going to diverge then Max Fac is going to fall away. It won’t be sufficient if they start diverging.”
‘This statement needs careful analysis. What the source is saying is that the various proposals the EU are putting forward to ease the operation of the protocol and improve trade flows between Great Britain and Northern Ireland – which are sometimes referred to as ‘Maximum Facilitation’ or ‘Max Fac’ – are contingent upon the UK as a whole continuing to remain tightly aligned with EU regulations. If the UK diverges significantly, the EU will withdraw the easements, and in so doing reimpose the current difficulties in Northern Ireland’s trade with the mainland.
‘This is a clear admission that the EU sees the new proposals for easing the protocol’s trade restrictions as a means to stop the UK diverging from EU regulations. The new proposals, if enacted, would thus be a Sword of Damocles hanging over the UK – threatening Northern Ireland’s trade, prosperity and political stability to achieve the goal of UK convergence with EU regulations. Northern Ireland would be the pressure point the EU squeezes every time it feels the UK is slipping out of its regulatory grasp. A more dishonourable, reckless, and cynical strategy in a divided society with a history of communal violence is hard to imagine.’
So the NIP is all about keeping the UK under the regulatory control of the EU via their control of trading and customs between NI and the UK, that is to say between our country and our country.
Later the BfB notes an Irish terminological usage that would seem to show an Irish motivation to constrict NI trade with the UK and lead to NI integration with Eire. I conclude with another shocking passage:
‘Further on in Connelly’s article, we find sources from within the Northern Irish ‘business community’ enthusiastically talking up the diversion of Northern Ireland trade away from Great Britain and towards the EU – something which the protocol cites as grounds for invoking Article 16 and suspending parts of its provisions. Connelly’s source argues that the longer the protocol operates, the more diversion will occur: “At a certain point not too far away,” says the source, “there won’t be any commercial unionism to save, because companies will all have made their practical commercial arrangements to deliver within the protocol. Most have already done so”.’
The key thing here is the term ‘commercial unionism’. The use of this term makes it overwhelmingly likely that the source is an Irish nationalist. This industry source clearly views the protocol as a vehicle for progressing nationalist aspirations by cutting Northern Ireland off from trade with Great Britain. So here we have confirmation of another of the arguments Briefings for Britain has made about the real purpose of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
These explosive views highlight aspects of the Protocol and the new proposals which are uncomfortable truths that no UK government can ignore. They call into question whether it is worth the UK government pursuing negotiations with the EU on reforming the protocol.’
Unless Article 16 is triggered, the ECJ remains and NI is lost, and that is why the EU is so desperate for the Gove fake ‘compromise’.