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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 ARGeezer - Apr 29 15 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Apr 29 38 comments
by Oui - Apr 27 1 comment
by Oui - Apr 30 13 comments
by Oui - Apr 27 16 comments
by Bernard - Apr 19 6 comments
by gmoke - Apr 24
by gmoke - Apr 23
by ARGeezer - May 61 comment
by Oui - May 358 comments
by Oui - Apr 3013 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Apr 2938 comments
by ARGeezer - Apr 2915 comments
by Oui - Apr 284 comments
by Oui - Apr 2716 comments
by Oui - Apr 271 comment
by Oui - Apr 248 comments
by gmoke - Apr 24
by Oui - Apr 2330 comments
by gmoke - Apr 23
by Oui - Apr 2114 comments
by Oui - Apr 2036 comments
by Bernard - Apr 196 comments
by Oui - Apr 1911 comments
by gmoke - Apr 18
by Oui - Apr 1610 comments
by Oui - Apr 1527 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Apr 1520 comments