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It's hard to see the DUP in anything other than a wrecking role, if the Ireland economic zone goes through (as it must). Hard to see how either a Conservative or a Labour government could buy them off.
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
But Stormont never had a say in their formulation as part of the UK in any case, so the more appropriate bodies, established under the Good Friday Agreement are are the Strand 2 (North South) bodies:
North/South Ministerial Council
North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association
North/South Consultative Forum
And the Strand 3 (East West) bodies
British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference
An expanded British-Irish Inter-parliamentary Body
These institutions have been criminally neglected since the GFA was signed and giving them responsibility for trade would give them some much needed relevance (without giving the DUP a veto).
The other advantage of this arrangement, from a UK government perspective, is that they could claim to have taken the Backstop out of the hated Withdrawal Agreement and come to a bi-lateral arrangement with the Republic of Ireland instead, via an amended Good Friday Agreement.
Of Course the Good Friday Agreement is an international Treaty, lodged with the United Nations, and no less binding on future UK governments than the withdrawal Agreement. The EU would have to agree or act as co-guarantor (together with the existing guarantors, the UK, Irish, and US governments) but that could be buried in the small print.
I don't think British people or their government have a problem with trade being managed on an all-Ireland basis and the GFA can provide a democratic and accountable framework for doing so. But that would provide the DUP with a unilateral veto, and therein lies the rub...
Index of Frank's Diaries
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