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DUP opposition to the Protocol

A Chara,- Newton Emmerson writes that "No serious observer disputes the protocol has a democratic deficit." (Positive movement on protocol a tough sell to unionists who know desperate DUP spin is coming, Opinion, Jan 26th.).

Indeed, but this is because the protocol is part of the Brexit which was imposed on NI despite 56% voting to remain. Where was the concern for cross community consent then?  

As referendums are advisory under the UK constitution, there was nothing to prevent the UK pursuing different arrangements for NI, or indeed Scotland for that matter.

But the DUP blocked softer forms of Brexit which would not have given rise to the need for a Protocol because they wanted to undermine the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (BGFA) and re-institute a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Mr. Emmerson also seems to forget that the Assembly has the power to vote on the continuance of the protocol on a regular basis, but the DUP are blocking the Assembly because they are afraid of losing that vote, just as they are blocking the Executive because they don't want to serve with a SF First Minister.

Essentially the DUP want a unilateral veto on the protocol as a precursor to seeking the same on a border poll. They claim it is a constitutional issue and yet the BGFA provides for a 50%+1 vote, not cross community consent, on the constitutional issue.

Mr. Emmerson discusses the Protocol as if it's all about the DUP. It's not. It's about the UK and the EU having agreed a solemn treaty also ratified by 28 governments, 29 parliaments, and the UK electorate in a general election called over Boris Johnson's oven ready deal.

Furthermore, it's about the technicalities of customs arrangements which require constant review by customs experts in response to regulatory divergence, risk assessments, intelligence reports, and discoveries of contraband produce within the single market.

Apparently 27 countries are supposed to put the integrity of their Single market, their standards, their consumers, and their own industries at risk, so that the DUP can save face.

The BGFA is a solemn international Treaty which the DUP has refused to implement. Not only strand one - the Assembly and Executive - but strand two - the north south institutions, in defiance of a Belfast High Court finding that they were legally obliged to implement same.

The Irish people changed their constitution in a referendum in order to support and implement the BGFA. If unionists are not going to uphold their end of the bargain, the UK is technically in breach of that international agreement.

The BGFA makes no provision for "Direct Rule" as an alternative to implementing the Assembly and Executive. It is never mentioned in the text.

The EU should implement fines and trade sanctions against the UK until such time as it is fully in compliance with the BGFA and the Withdrawal Agreement.

Rewarding intransigence by the DUP is the road to more intransigence.

Let's stop this self-indulgent, narcissistic, inward looking, other worldly, counter factual, mollycoddling of people who never fully supported the BGFA in the first place and show them the consequences of breaking international law.

Once the UK is in full compliance, we can discuss the finer details of how to tweak the implementation of the protocol for the convenience of all concerned without putting the integrity of the single market at risk.

Is Mise,

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 29th, 2023 at 10:43:21 PM EST

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