The Uncuts 2020 (part III)

U-turn of the Year: Boris Johnson and the Northern Ireland Protocol

‘You turn if you want to,’ Margaret Thatcher famously declared at the 1980 Conservative conference, ‘the Lady’s not for turning.’

Only she was.

Having let ten republican hunger strikers go to their deaths a few months later, she quietly relented on their central demands to be treated as political prisoners.

And having promised Ulster unionists that she would not play footsie with Dublin, Thatcher foisted the Anglo-Irish Agreement on them out of the blue in 1985 – guaranteeing the Irish government a say over Northern Ireland’s affairs.

Following in his heroine’s footsteps, Boris Johnson has also pulled off a similar U-turn, with the smell of burning rubber still hanging in the air.

The Northern Ireland Protocol guarantees there is no hard border on the island of Ireland by introducing a border in the Irish Sea instead – a key demand from Brussels, with adroit lobbying from Dublin and a not-so-subtle intervention from US President-elect, Joe Biden.

It means that Northern Ireland effectively stays inside the ambit of the EU when it comes to the import and export of goods.

This is not, shall we say, what Boris Johnson promised when he addressed the Democratic Unionist Party conference in 2018.

Back then, he told delegates that special arrangements for Northern Ireland would mean consigning it to the status of an ‘economic semi-colony of the EU.’

This would be ‘damaging the fabric of the Union’ and mean regulatory checks and customs controls between Britain and Northern Ireland.

‘No British Conservative government could or should sign up to anything of the kind,’ he said.

You do not need a crystal ball to work out what happened next.

To say there is apoplexy among unionists and loyalists over Boris’s betrayal is an epic understatement. (And we are talking David-Lean-Lawrence-of-Arabia-epic).

Yet, there are fewer and fewer unionist sympathisers in Westminster and so no-one is particularly miffed on their behalf.

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3 Responses to “The Uncuts 2020 (part III)”

  1. John P Reid says:

    Mr second referendum for remain, losing labour The Red wall, whipping members to vote for The deal
    Wasnt a u-turn, lol

  2. Anne says:

    The DUP voted against the Brexit deal. it is indeed unusual for the DUP to vote against The Tories, but they were annoyed about having a boarder in the Irish Sea, It was not all that long ago when Mrs May was very much dependent upon the DUP vote. How a year can change things. What does this mean for Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster was on The Andrew Marr show talking up the benefits of The Union, but will this be enough to save it as it stands. The DUP hold only a one seat majority in Stormont. The growth in a united Ireland is growing. This is because of Brexit and Johnson’s broken promises. North Ireland voted to remain in the EU. We will see.

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