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Letter to the Editor...

Dear sir,

Your correspondent Noel Dorr, former Irish ambassador to the UN, takes Boris Johnson to task for claiming that  agreeing to the Irish backstop arrangement would "mean violating the Act of Union of 1800, and the very basis on which this country [the UK] is founded". ("Unionists have nothing to fear from backstop deal with Brussels", Opinion, 17/10/2018).

He notes that the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement is enshrined in an international Treaty lodged with the United Nations, was implemented in Ireland by some quite radical changes to our Constitution, and was enacted into law in the UK by Northern Ireland Act 1998,which repeals and supersedes all previous relevant UK legislation. It therefore defines "the constitutional status of Northern Ireland" quite differently to the rest of the UK.

Seamus Mallon once famously described the Good Friday Agreement as "Sunningdale for slow learners", in reference to the very similar agreement in 1973 which sought to end the N. Ireland conflict but which was sabotaged by unionists. Perhaps the Irish Backstop will come to be known as the Good Friday Agreement for slow learners when it is finally agreed as it merely underlines the fact that the constitutional position of N. Ireland is already quite different from that of the rest of the UK, and that continued access to the Single Market and Customs Unions for N. Ireland is a very beneficial economic arrangement of no constitutional significance whatsoever - in the same way that Greenland is still part of the Kingdom of Denmark even though it has withdrawn from the EU.

Hopefully it will not take the 25 years it took for the Good Friday Agreement to replace the Sunningdale agreement for the UK (and the DUP), to come to this realization, as we may be in for a period of very antagonistic "no deal Brexit" relations in the meantime.

Fintan O'Toole notes that "the latest Future of England survey has received some attention for the breathtaking revelation that fully 83 per cent of Leave voters and 73 per cent of Conservative voters agree that "the unravelling of the peace process in Northern Ireland" is a "price worth paying" for Brexit that allows them to "take back control".(The DUP has entangled its destiny with the English Shinners, Opinion 16th. Oct.)

It is to be hoped that the British people themselves will not have need of a peace process any time soon if the consequences of a "no deal Brexit" are as severe as many people fear. It is always easier to pursue a particular course of action when it is other people who will have to suffer the consequences.

Kind regards,

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 18th, 2018 at 12:05:26 AM EST

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