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You link to a good article by Jonathan Powell where he writes as a British unionist. He argues that the continued operation of the Protocol should be subject to a cross-community rather than a majoritarian vote of the assembly, on the grounds that that is what is required for devolved issues under the Good Friday Agreement.

But Brexit was never a devolved matter - if it had been N. Ireland would have remained fully paid up members of the EU. When it comes to constitutional matters, the GFA provides for a 50%+1 vote for sovereignty to be transferred, i.e. a purely majoritarian decision.

Whether that is a good idea or not is a matter of debate, but that is the Constitutional Status quo. N. Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom until 50%+1 decide otherwise.

It could be argued that the Protocol institutes a sort of half way house - A N. Ireland outside the EU with the UK, but remaining within the Customs Union and Single Market. The UK remains the sovereign power implementing customs rules by agreement with the EU.

That all of this discommodes the DUP is transparently obvious. Their concept of majoritarianism was always winner takes all, and they opposed the Good Friday Agreement because it guaranteed "equality of Esteem" to nationalists and promised UK neutrality in the event of a referendum.

But the DUP weren't simply betrayed by Boris. They were enthusiastic cheerleaders for Brexit because they thought it would erect a hard border within Ireland. They vetoed Theresa May's deal because it required no such border.

So ultimately it was the DUP which forced a transition towards something they feel could be a slippery slope towards a united Ireland. Let that be a lesson to them: Try to have everything your own way all the time, and you risk losing everything.

Deep down the DUP know they overplayed their hand and made a colossal misjudgement on Brexit. Arlene Foster, as leader, is now paying the price. They can retreat deep into their sectarian bunker, but that won't bring their majority back, and they could even lose their status as the dominant unionist party.

It is not schadenfreude to observe they have reaped what they have sown, and will have to live with the consequences. Yes this could be unsettling for the peace and the status quo, but how could this ever not going to be the case as N. Ireland transitioned into having a nationalist plurality?

Seen within the larger historical narrative, a transition towards a united Ireland is as inevitable as the eventual Chinafication of Hong Kong.  It is a question of how well that transition can be managed, and how well minority rights can be safeguarded.  After all, the GFA can continue to apply after re-unification.

But Jonathan Powell is deluded to believe that we can go back to some pre-Brexit status quo as if Brexit never happened. Brexit broke the constitutional link between the UK and the EU, and hence between the UK and Ireland. The Protocol is merely papering over the cracks.

We cannot fix what Brexit and Britain broke, and I suspect they know that and don't want to either. They just like to create the illusion that this is now, somehow, our problem to fix. The protocol is that fix. Suck it up. Make it work. It is the new reality until a majority of the assembly or the people of N. Ireland decide otherwise.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 at 10:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My only concern with that is that it seems the Boris Johnson's days as PM are now numbered. Which means that he will be replaced, and probably by Michael Gove.

Gove is a fanatic. A convinced supply sider and a fundamentalist Unionist with a hatred for the compromises in the GA. If he gets into number 10, then there will be problems in Scotland, but that will be dwarfed by his attempts to impose a hard border between Ulster and the Republic. And he WILL try to do this.

Boris may be an absentee landlord when it comes to ...well, most things, but Gove has, imo, been the driver of all the disruptions with the Irish Sea crossing. He sees advantage to the Union in such a tactic.

He will, of course, fail. The US will guarantee that absolutely. But he will try and his failure will be messy for Ulster and ruinous for unionism.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 at 11:23:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will defer to your greater knowledge of internal Tory party politics, but viewed from this side of the water Boris looks safe at least until the next general election. He has managed to mobilize a voter base beyond the traditional Tory heartlands, and a continued Tory majority depends on that. Keir Starmer doesn't seem to be offering much of an alternative for the moment anyway.

Either way Gove holds no terrors for the Irish political class. He may be smarter and more hard working than Boris, but he was prepared to try to make the Protocol work and knows where the balance of power between the UK, EU and US lies for the next few years at least. He would have his hands full developing any kind of a positive relationship between the UK and the EU and US in any case. The UK has few friends in high places anywhere now, whether that be in the EU, US, China, Russia, and even the Commonwealth.

If I am right, the UK economy is now in long term relative decline. Trying to maintain a place at the top table in international affairs while your tax base is shrinking is going to be his no. 1 priority. His commitment to Union with Scotland is undoubted, his commitment to union with N. Ireland less so, and only because it could set an unwanted precedent for Scottish independence.

So the British and Irish governments will cooperate to keep the lid on things for as long as possible. N. Ireland will eventually reap some benefits from Single Market membership and things could settle down for a while. Boris, Gove, Sunak, Raab, Hunt, Patel, whoever. It doesn't seem to matter much who is PM from an Irish perspective, and nobody holds out much hope that Starmer would be any different. Globally the UK has slipped down the priority issue list faster than most Brits could have imagined. Let's not confuse polite diplomacy with substance. Brexit may have poisoned relations at a leadership level, but Boris' vaccine nationalism has poisoned them at every level imaginable.



Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 at 12:47:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The knives are clearly out for Johnson. This week's manufactured media outrage almost rose to the levels reserved for apostates like Jeremy Corbyn.

It was a shame that more than 120,000 people died of Covid unnecessarily. And the PPE supply corruption was similarly unfortunate. But when his girlfriend described the aspirational (John Lewis) furniture choices of the Tory party faithful as a "nightmare" - that was beyond the pale.

Of course it's opportunistic nonsense. But it's also clearly a campaign, with simultaneous synchronised attacks from all sides, many repeating the same talking points.

The Tories can afford to do badly in the local council elections, and poor performance - encouraged by the campaign - is an ideal pretext to remove last year's man.

But to what end? None of the alternative leaders are vote winners who can pander to the Idiot in the Street like Johnson does. Gove is repulsive and literally slimy, Sunak is cheery but brown, Patel is psychotic (and brown, and a woman, although that's not a bad thing if you're a certain kind of Tory), Williamson is slightly less sentient than a sandwich, Raab would do - chin and skin colour tick the right boxes, as does his heritage - but he used to be a lawyer and would fare poorly against Starmer.

There are various possibilities. One is that democracy is over, Gove will be installed as Dictator for Life by Murdoch, and the war on Europe will commence.

The other is that Murdoch is losing it, and he wants to see some changes before he goes. Gove would do, but not for any good strategic reason. Just because.

Another is that Brexit Loyalist Raab is being lined up as front man, and Gove/Cummings will be running things from behind the scenes.

The various Lords who make these decisions were mad enough to push Brexit through. They want someone who is a committed loyalist, not just a narcissistic opportunist like Johnson. Someone fresh would (checks notes..) "restore some gravitas to the role of PM", and would make Brexit seem more like an adult project than a toddler tantrum.

Or so the theory goes. It's not obvious if the plan will work. But either way I would be hugely surprised if Johnson survives the year, never mind makes it to the next GE.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 at 01:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The various Lords who make these decisions were mad enough to push Brexit through. They want someone who is a committed loyalist, not just a narcissistic opportunist like Johnson. Someone fresh would (checks notes..) "restore some gravitas to the role of PM", and would make Brexit seem more like an adult project than a toddler tantrum.
Sounds like Jacob Rees-Mogg is their man.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 at 06:29:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JRM would love the job, but he would be too easy a target. He's neither appealing nor particularly bright - just undertaker posh, condescending, and sneery, which wouldn't go down well with the proles.

TBH he probably thinks it's beneath him. I expect he believes he's destined for greater things.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 at 07:01:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's also an antisemite (or is that OK if you're a Tory?)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 at 07:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of course it's okay to be AS if you're a tory. During all the allegations of AS against Corbyn in the run up to 2019, those paying attention were able to discern a pattern of AS behaviour from the tories that was completely blatant.
It was the press willingness to ignore this that convinced me that the attacks on Corbyn were never about Labour  AS (which has been subsequently shown to be either fictional or nothing to do with Corbyn)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 3rd, 2021 at 11:36:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the great propaganda coups of recent years has been to equate anti-zionism with anti-Semitism. The irony being, of course, that the Palestinians are a Semitic people as well which makes Zionists the greatest anti-Semites of the modern age. Racism and Apartheid are ok so long as its done by Zionists.  It was good to see Biden pay his respects to Carter recently, the only major US figure to call Zionists out on this and who had been ostracised by Democrats for his troubles.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 3rd, 2021 at 12:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The various Lords who make these decisions were mad enough to push Brexit through. They want someone who is a committed loyalist, not just a narcissistic opportunist like Johnson. Someone fresh would (checks notes..) "restore some gravitas to the role of PM", and would make Brexit seem more like an adult project than a toddler tantrum.

Considering the perpetual reluctance to dig down and work at Brexit, is this the same attitude, just a step higher? They want gravitas etc, so just fire the current front man and get someone who can do the job. Who would do it and how they would make Brexit appear an adult project, that is for the little people to work out. Maybe they could do some technical solution at the Irish border? The powers that be are more idea people.

by fjallstrom on Sat May 1st, 2021 at 10:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently there are plenty of methods for getting the poor people to pay the rich peoples' bills. So a nice old gentleman with a top hat and a sash and a huntin' and fishin' estate in the Cotswolds would be about right. Rule Britannia and all that. Sounds pretty adultish.
by asdf on Sun May 2nd, 2021 at 03:22:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some, in the Sunday Times think he'll get away:

Offered without comment, since I'm not familiar with the current political mood in England.

by Bernard on Sun May 2nd, 2021 at 08:00:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's a good piece. For some, especially on the left and far right, politics is a morality play, and the good guy wins. But most people are losers and have no chance of winning if they play by the rules. So they admire someone with the chutzpah to try and wing it breaking all the rules. It's what they would do if they had the chance. For them, politics is also an entertainment not to be taken too seriously. Someone who can be entertaining is to be preferred to the wonk (aka Gove) who may be hard working and mostly right, but is also as boring as hell and no fun to be with. Many people can imagine enjoying a pint with Boris. Starmer or Gove? Not so much.

Of course there will be a price to pay for electing the entertainer. But most people don't make the connection between food banks and Boris' antics. When the UK economy implodes it will always be somebody else's fault. The remoaners, probably, or a vindictive EU. Those Scottish backstabbers or the terrible Irish. Most people don't take full responsibility for their actions. Boris represents them perfectly. Unless its you queueing up at the food bank.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 2nd, 2021 at 10:41:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're both right and wrong.

Billionaires are the pipers, the Tory party in Westminster, let alone the voting public, are merely the functionary monkeys who dance to the tune played.

So the viewpoint of the hearty yeomanry of Doncaster is entirely irrelevant. This is a war in the air between the billionaire supporters of TWBJ (the Barclay bros, tax exile owners of the Telegraph) and the billionaire supporters of Gove (Rupert Murcoch, Dark Lord of the rest of the media).

The stories in the press are not about affecting electoral performance, that's irrelevant cos that's just a popularity contest with the paups. They're about determining whether the billionaires will persevere with TWBJ as damaged goods, or move to Gove as a clean-ish pair of hands.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 3rd, 2021 at 11:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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