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Brexit for slow learners Part III

by Frank Schnittger Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 11:03:52 AM EST

Newton Emerson, the most articulate unionist political commentator, has a good piece up articulating the unionist perspective on the current "negotiation" over the protocol. (Irish fury over Frost seems aggravated by London taking unionism's side).

In summary, he thinks Lord Frost is playing a blinder and has the EU on the back foot. Having declared it wouldn't renegotiate the protocol, the EU is now busily doing just that. For him its time to push the boat out a bit further and see what more concessions the UK can get.

As usual unionists live in a small world centred on their own tribal concerns to the exclusion of all else. I have tried to put the "renegotiation" in a larger context in a comment below his article:

It is important to put this "negotiation" in a larger context, which is:

  1. The Polish threat to the entire legal order of the EU, which has the CJEU at its apex

  2. French anger at the AUKUS deal, Jersey fishing rights, and the upcoming French Presidential elections

  3. Political transition in Germany

  4. The Biden administration's hostility to the Johnson regime

  5. A global need to uphold international law in the face of the cynicism highlighted by Cummins' comments that the UK never had any intention of upholding the agreement they signed

  6. UK relative economic decline and associated political fragmentation

  7. The need to distract from Brexit related upheaval in the UK economy

  8. Rampant Irish economic growth and the opportunity for NI to share in it

  9. Demographic and related political change in NI

  10. A growing government financial crisis in the UK which puts the NI subvention at risk

  11. The growth of SF, especially south of the border.

  12. The upcoming NI assembly elections and its role in determining the future of the protocol

The Šefčovič proposals are a last gasp attempt to stop a minor regional problem triggering a major crises with a trade war between the UK and the EU. Newton, like all unionists fundamentally misunderstands how big the issues at stake are for both sides. If these issues can be contained with "practical solutions within NI" then all well and good. If the problems metastasise into a UK/EU trade war, it is end game UK and only relatively minor problems for the EU as a whole. Ireland will survive surprising well no matter what happens, but Frost is playing with fire and doesn't seem to realise it. Newton and unionist leaders are busily providing the firelighters. It will be a bonfire of the vanities. They don't realise what could hit them if these negotiations go pear shaped.

One can question the wisdom of going ahead with the publication of the proposals when the UK government had rejected them in advance, and insisted on making the jurisdiction of the CJEU a red line issue - something with implications way beyond N. Ireland. Timing is everything in negotiations, and you have to wait until your counter-party is in "solution seeking mode" before offering substantial concessions. Otherwise whey will just pocket them and demand more.

For whatever reasons the Johnson regime is currently in conflict seeking mode, and offering concessions now will just feed that beast. But I think Newton is radically under-estimating the repercussions if the negotiations don't go well and the UK triggers A.16. Unlike most trade agreements, the Withdrawal agreement, of which the Protocol is part, allows for proportionate retaliation, if A. 16 is triggered.

And who gets to decide whether any EU retaliation is proportionate? The CJEU. It's hard to see the UK taking the EU to that court if it considers any EU retaliation to be disproportionate. With the incipient signs of the actual implementation of Brexit having a seriously detrimental effect on the UK economy becoming ever more evident, the UK's bargaining position is becoming ever weaker.

Dominic Cummins may have said that the UK never intended to honour the protocol, and insistence on its inviolability is the purvey of small minds and junior lawyers attempting to make a living. He forgot to mention that it is only an overwhelmingly more powerful party to a Treaty which can get away with such transgressions. The UK may be about to find out its real place in the post Brexit world order.

Meanwhile Šefčovič may have set a trap for a UK caught up in its own bombast. No one will be able to accuse the EU of inflexibility or unreasonableness if this all goes south. The ball is now in the Frost/Johnson corner. Will they overplay their hand again?

The irony is that the N. Ireland Assembly due to be elected by May 2022 will have the power to determine the fate of the protocol by majority vote. Based on current opinion polls, pro-protocol parties (Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance) will have a majority in the chamber. Frost's manoeuvrings are designed purely to ensure that even a unionist minority will have a veto on its continuing effective operation - something the EU did not concede in the Withdrawal agreement negotiations. Does they EU really want to open that pandora's box again?

Brexit: This time the United Kingdom may go over the top

David Frost and the Brexit ultras cannot accept they are wrong on single market and NI.
In the last two years the United Kingdom has signed two treaties with the European Union, the withdrawal agreement containing the Northern Ireland protocol, and a trade and co-operation agreement. It is worth recalling this because to listen to the government would give the impression it faces a deeply hostile EU which wants nothing more than to see Brexit fail economically and Northern Ireland suffer most.


Equally it suggests that its negotiating tactics remain the same. If the UK speaks a bit more clearly, sends some more legal text, makes a few more threats, that the EU will finally see reason; it will realise borders are not required for goods going from Great Britain to the EU via Ireland, and the single market will be protected all the same.

It is often stated that Britain has not got over victory in the second World War, but these tactics are more suggestive of the first World War: once more over the top and this time it will be different. And, so far, with the same lack of success. But this time, or at least some time, it will be successful, for anything other than Northern Ireland fully Brexiting on the same basis as the rest of the country will always be a problem to Frost.

Now it may seem incredible that the UK government has not enhanced its understanding of Brexit in 5½ years. Some think that it must be deliberate, an attempt to undermine the EU or Belfast Agreement. Yet, a close reading of actions and words suggests it's more a case of genuine belief.

Most prominent in this regard is Frost's constant underplaying of the risks to the single market to support the argument that a light touch regulatory approach cannot be a threat. In the latest speech he suggests the UK will never check imported products as the EU does, as if this issue is simply unimportant.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 11:34:58 AM EST
Thanks ... shedding some light in the deepest and darkest places in our Milky Way.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 11:51:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm still of the opinion that Boris is using Ulster as a distraction. He doesn't actually care about Ulster or the UK or the "Union", it's just that it suits him to be able to bury awkward stories, such as the recent covid report, by getting headlines about him punching Brussels.

He's entirely situational in his  thinking, what gets him out of the hole today. Any consequences can be dealt with down the road. Strategy and planning are for nerds, who cares when Boris can just pop up and do his "well ...er ....gosh ...crikey" clown act and everybody forgives him?

Frost is just a patsy, a clockwork toy who can be wound and let loose to stomp around a bit. I don't think he cares about Ulster any more than Boris does. But it's another day, another dollar, over the top we go.

Will they worry that they're making a united Ieland more likely? No. Not till it happens. Then Boris will parachute in and, no doubt, do his clown act, and every body will forgive him and Ulster will forget all about it. Who needs a plan?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 12:31:09 PM EST
I was long amazed that a whole political class could behave with such fecklessness. But then there was Trump in 2016 and one clown simply commandeered the bulk of one of the two major parties. A US based analysts has suggested that the way to make the GOP pay a price for their slavish embrace of Trump is to create and run a more traditional Conservative party to attract the votes of the minority of Republicans who are revolted by Trump, as getting those voters to vote Democratic is a very hard lift.

Such a party would likely have its greatest impact in the general elections, by draining votes from the Trump supporting candidate and allowing Democratic candidates to win the general election. Such a strategy makes sense and I wish them well. It would provide a needed alternative for many principled conservatives, including one of my brothers. But I doubt such a strategy would work in the UK, due to the differences in the voting systems.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 04:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pessimism grows in Dublin over protocol
There is growing pessimism among senior Irish Government figures about the prospects for agreement between the British government and the EU on the Northern Ireland protocol, and acute concern over the implications of the continuing dispute for political stability in the North.


And while some officials and under-the-radar contacts continue, even at ministerial level this week - and Taoiseach Micheál Martin stressed the need for dialogue between the EU and UK on Wednesday - the truth is that relations between Dublin and London continue to trundle along at a nadir. Unsurprisingly, Ministers and officials are deeply worried about that.

For months it has been both an analytical problem and a diplomatic parlour game in Dublin, trying to figure out if Boris Johnson's government actually wants a solution to the protocol problems, or is it just interested in stoking division with the EU for domestic political purposes.

Not just in Dublin, either; in his Lisbon speech on Tuesday, the EU's Brexit minister and chief negotiator David Frost specifically denied that Downing Street saw any domestic political advantage in continuing Brexit disputes.

This is widely disbelieved in many EU circles. In Dublin, there are mixed views. One senior official reckons it's a bit of both; part searching for a solution, part happy to continue a fractious process that offers the potential for "Boris bashes Eurocrats" headlines.

What concerns Dublin most is not the British motivation but the results of the continuing conflict over the protocol, and the potential for further political polarisation and destabilisation in the North.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie, highly thought of in Dublin, warned of the need for the EU and UK to open meaningful negotiations in order to find a solution. The possible consequences are clearly on his mind too.

"A brick will turn into a petrol bomb and a petrol bomb will turn into a coffin," he warned.

Under pressure from the protocol disputes, he said, Stormont institutions could collapse; indeed DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has expressly threatened this move. "If Stormont collapses, there'll be a power vacuum and a power vacuum can lead to violence," Beattie said.

This realisation is shared in Dublin and it is what is driving the Government's silent and barely concealed fury with Frost and Johnson.

One senior Government official involved in Northern Ireland affairs tells colleagues on an almost daily basis that the Conservative administration in Westminster are "vandals" when it comes to the Belfast Agreement. They will destroy it without a second thought, the official warns.

Tweets by Johnson's former adviser Dominic Cummings claiming that the prime minister signed up to the protocol as a deliberate act of deception have only heightened feelings in Dublin and around the EU.

"Frost has blown out of the water any idea that they are acting in good faith," said another source. "The only question is how much damage they are prepared to do to Northern Ireland and to the Good Friday Agreement."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 04:41:26 PM EST
with elections next year, I'm not sure collapsing Stormont would help the unionists very much at all.

Every display of all or nothing absolutism makes them increasingly distasteful to a majority of the working population. If they get creamed in the elections, they'll be locked out of govt forever. This is an existential crisis for unionism and they don't seem to get it.

The future and change always create problems for conservatives and the more conservative, the more they try to prevent change. But the harder they try, the greater will be the deluge that wipes them out.

And once they're out of government, the police will have no excuse for not clamping down on the paramilitary bullshit they surround themselves with

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 05:26:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be gratifying to see the marchers put to rout by police. Hard to imagine these geniuses would let the mere lack of a permit prevent them from marching.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 11:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Won't happen. Most loyalists have family in the security forces and regard them as "theirs", and there were calls for the Chief Constable to resign when the police were deemed to be insufficiently enthusiastic abut prosecuting nationalists who flouted public gathering regulations at a funeral...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 10:45:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if the Unionist are voted out of power in N.I.? How about if the N.I. population votes to unite Ireland?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 03:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Things will change, but very slowly at first...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 03:44:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cops here still back Der Drumpfenfuehrer.  That should tell you all you need to know about how much they care who is in office or how "their guy's" supporters behave.
by rifek on Sat Oct 16th, 2021 at 02:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit talks with Johnson about `sausages getting to NI' not ECJ, says Martin
Asked if the EU Commission might be willing to concede its position on the ECJ relinquishing some of its oversight role, Mr Martin said the court had never formed part of the discussions with Mr Johnson around the Northern Irish protocol or the related political difficulties that arose for the British government.

"The main sticking point all along on the ground was around the free flow of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, " said Mr Martin.

"Even with the British PM, in the discussions I have with him in respect of Northern Ireland, it was, emotively, people talking about the sausages getting to Northern Ireland and so on.

"You know what, the sausages can now get to Northern Ireland. I don't want to be facetious about it but the bottom line is we got over that too," he said.

He said that the free flow of goods, medicines, a simplified system for testing animals, were all the key issues.


Meanwhile DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has told European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic the EU's proposed changes to the Northern Ireland protocol "fall short of what is needed".

Mr Donaldson said "short-term fixes" would not solve the problems and what was needed was a "sustainable solution which removes the Irish Sea border and restores our place within the United Kingdom."

Mr Sefcovic is to meet virtually with the leaders of the five parties in the Northern Executive on Thursday.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 04:48:10 PM EST
An, just when we need the spirit of compromise to muddle through, Unionist absolutism rears its grotesque backside and farts out a resounding "NO".

Cos it's all they've ever got to say on any subject

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 05:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 05:34:45 PM EST
Frank: French anger at the AUkUS deal, Jersey fishing rights, and the upcoming French Presidential elections

Minor nitpick: that would be AUKUS; there's no need to belittle the UK with a lowercase 'k' when they're suffering empty shelves already  🙂
Also, the French anger over AUKUS has been mainly directed at Australia and the USA, with the UK's role dismissed by the French pols (beneath our notice). Macron's gov recalled the French ambassadors to Australia and to the US, but pointedly, not the ambassador to the UK - couldn't be arsed...

Still, AUKUS has added to a growing pile of French gov distrust of the Boris Johnson crowd overall, despite a very strong and enduring military cooperation (search for Lancaster House Treaties) that started in the 1960's, before the UK even joined the EU (Jaguar aircraft, Lynx helicopter), but I digress.

Fishing, around Jersey (Guernsey has granted all the requested fishing licenses) but also other UK waters are a surprising point of contention: even though fishing represents less than 0.1% of the GDP of both countries, fishermen are regarded as an important constituency on both sides of the Channel. Fishing issues in UK waters are also important in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark.

And yes, with Macron unofficially starting his reelection campaign, there is little appetite to keep putting up with London's demands, especially when everybody knows they will never accept the NI protocol and will trigger the A16, probably before the end of the year.

The real question is actually whether the EU will really start effective retaliatory measures when (not if) it happens. Just like Poland, this will be existential for the EU.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 06:31:12 PM EST
Any positive outcomes for the French election? Or just different flavors of descent into Bolsanaroism?
by generic on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 07:03:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on who wins next April: most likely outcome is Macron Part Deux, but the extreme right is still a (remote) possibility; the EPP right (Bertrand or Pécresse or Barnier) also a possibility.

Also important are the parliamentary elections that will follow in June: since the beginning of the century, voters have tended to give the newly elected president an absolute majority of seats (FPTP system), but the electorate may go off script.

Today, polls show Macron ahead, followed by Le Pen, Zemmour and Bertrand. For what it's worth, according to the polls taken five years ago, in October 2016, Alain Juppé was leading by a wide margin, far ahead of Macron or Le Pen; he didn't make it through the primaries set up by his LR (EPP) party. Oh, the October 2016 polls were also predicting US President Hillary Clinton...

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 08:14:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 08:40:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adding another major source of irritation in Paris: the Treaty of Le Touquet, for almost 20 years now, has moved the border controls to the country of departure. For travelers from the UK to France, French police and customs officers operate in St Pancras station or in the port of Dover, before you board the Eurostar or a ferry. Same thing in the other direction with UK immigration and customs officers in the Paris Gare du Nord, in the port of Calais etc...

Trouble is that more undocumented migrants are trying to cross the Channel and the burden of controlling them is on the French authorities. The Murdoch press has been barking for years about the feckless French not doing enough to police "our [the UK's] border". There has been several agreements between the two governments to increase the controls, but more migrants are crossing the Dover strait on small inflatable boats.

The UK did agree to contribute about €62 million to finance the French policing, but Priti Patel decided they wouldn't pay up, because - you guessed it - the French side "is not doing enough".

The constant bitching, bad faith and going back on one's word is also taking a toll there: French Interior minister Gerald Darmanin has called for renegotiating the treaty. Many voices in France are now calling to stop policing the UK borders for them and let the UK "take back control" of their own borders, as the slogan goes.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 08:31:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Up to France to end fishing row, says UK government

Fishing row: Jersey fishermen want fishing areas closed | BBC News - one hour ago |

    The Jersey Fishermen's Association (JFA) has called on the government to close its fishing areas to all vessels.

    The group wants several of the fisheries closed for six weeks and demanded the declassification of its waters be removed.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Oct 31st, 2021 at 05:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some claim that the EU has already conceded too much:

Give Brexiters a Millimeter, They'll Take a Mile - Bloomberg Opinion

But even taking all this into account, the scalpel wielded by the Commission -- lifting as much as half of customs checks and almost all sanitary checks on food imports, by its calculation -- could eventually risk cutting through the deal's fat and hitting muscle. Officials grumble of "blood on the floor" in bending rules. The EU risks sacrificing its own internal unity for the sake of the U.K.'s.

It is not enough for Brussels' technocrats to want to be the "adults in the room" at a time when the Brexiters are whipping up public opinion and eyeing divergence from data-protection rules.  At some point the U.K.'s bluff is going to have to be called. Leo Varadkar, Ireland's deputy prime minister, is taking a stab at this: On Wednesday, he leaped on tweets by Johnson's former aide Dominic Cummings supporting the idea that the U.K.'s aim was to go back on trade terms the moment they were signed. "The message must go out to all countries around the world that this is a British government that doesn't necessarily keep its word," he told RTE. If that means contingency planning for a tariff war, so be it.

The again, if the UK intends to trigger A16 in any case, it's won't matter that much. As Varadkar is warning us: contingency planning for a tariff war.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 08:59:46 PM EST
Frost hailed for grit over protocol amid doubt as to sincerity in signing
David Frost's admirers in the Conservative party have welcomed the European Commission's proposals on the Northern Ireland protocol as evidence that his tough negotiating style has worked. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said Frost had shown that the EU understands the language of determined strength.

"He has learned vital lessons from our experience in previous negotiations, when EU officials dug their heels in and laughed up their sleeves as we signed up to their terms. The most important element of the EU's response to British proposals yesterday was not the detail, but the fact that we are now in a renegotiation - something which Frost's critics said would never happen," he said.

But Duncan Smith, who along with every other Conservative MP trooped through the lobbies at Westminster to vote for the protocol less than two years ago, warned Frost against trying to negotiate a series of easements and derogations.

"The EU wants nothing more than to hang on to the notion that the protocol, as originally agreed, remains essentially intact. If he goes down that road it will leave us tied up in complicated EU law and ultimately ruled on by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), no matter the shape of an arbitration panel placed under it," he said.

By offering such sweeping easements to how the protocol is operated, the commission has exposed itself to the charge that, if such changes are possible within the agreement it should have offered them before now. It also runs the risk that an emboldened Frost will simply pocket the concessions and try to wring out more, before collapsing the negotiations over the issue of the ECJ's role in adjudicating how EU single market rules are enforced in Northern Ireland.

In his speech in Lisbon on Tuesday, Frost complained about the EU's frequent accusations that Britain, which introduced legislation last year to overturn the protocol, was a bad faith negotiator. A few hours later, Boris Johnson's former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, tweeted that the British government had never intended to implement the protocol.

Cummings said they agreed to the protocol in October 2019 in order to get a Brexit deal done but had always planned to "ditch the bits we didn't like" after winning a general election two months later. Cummings absolved Johnson of lying on the basis that Johnson didn't have "a scooby doo" what he was signing up to. But the DUP's Ian Paisley said on Wednesday that Johnson had promised him in October 2019 that he would tear up the protocol after signing it.

"Boris Johnson did tell me personally that he would, after agreeing to the protocol, he would sign up to changing that protocol and indeed tearing it up, that this was just for the semantics," he told the BBC.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 10:10:43 PM EST
The UK leadership doesn't seem to realize that Europe is looking East to Russia for trade and not West to the UK. What does the UK supply to Europe that they can't get from Russia?  
by StillInTheWilderness on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 03:49:47 PM EST
Wait what. I don't think there's any real overlap in trade goods here.
by generic on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 03:54:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tax havens

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 04:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 04:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany is short of sausages?
Is China short of rice?
by StillInTheWilderness on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 11:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Export and import figures for the first 8 months of the year have just been released and show a continuing pattern of UK exports to Ireland cratering while Irish exports to the UK boom. A small part of this is offset by a large increase in North south trade. To think that the UK used to have its largest trade surplus with any country with Ireland. Brexit is an example of how to destroy your trading economy in one easy lesson.

Imports from North rise as Brexit rules bite

Although the value of goods exported from the Republic to Great Britain in the first eight months of 2021 rose 21 per cent to almost €9.2 billion, imports slumped 30 per cent to €7.3 billion compared to the same period in 2020.

Among the reasons for the change are the challenges of complying with customs requirements in a post-Brexit environment.

Imports from Northern Ireland to the Republic meanwhile rose 61 per cent over the same period to €2.5 billion, while exports were 47 per cent higher at €2.2 billion.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 04:12:24 PM EST
Some British-based traders have apparently established bases in the North to facilitate trade with the Republic, while some companies in Republic have replaced imports from Britain with imports from the North.

New data from the CSO showed Ireland's total seasonally adjusted goods trade exports increased by over €660 million in August, an increase of 5 per cent over July's figures to a total €13.9 billion.

Imports also rose, gaining 2 per cent or €161 million to stand at €8.2 billion for the month.

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus rose 10 per cent during the month to €5.66 billion.

These figures have to be treated with some caution as they may include transfer pricing shenanigans by global corporations. Nevertheless the trends have been all one way since Brexit.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 at 04:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm trying to figure out the down side to the pro-Protocol parties of starting to scream for a referendum on the Protocol.  The Government will never let it happen, and then it should not be that hard to hang on the DUPes that their former coalition partner has zero interest in the North's opinion or condition and that the coalition was purely for the DUPes' aggrandizement at the expense of the North.
by rifek on Sat Oct 16th, 2021 at 02:17:21 AM EST
The Protocol already provides for the democratically elected N. Ireland assembly to vote on the continuance of the protocol every four years. The unionists (and Tory's) problem is that they can no longer control a majority of the Assembly, and with the DUP currently at 13% in the polls, may soon become a smaller and smaller minority within it.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 1st, 2021 at 05:41:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they bang on the Protocol until it collapses, the North will quickly have the same supply chain issues as GB.  Not a good look, and one it would be easy to tar the unionists with.  The only trap for the nationalists would be having to have a care not to look too happy about it.
by rifek on Wed Nov 3rd, 2021 at 04:49:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only way the protocol can "collapse" is for the British government to invoke A.16 or continue to unilaterally refuse to implement it. If that happens a UK EU trade war will ensue with devastating economic implications for the UK economy and supply chains, but one which will effect northern Ireland hardly at all because of the open border with the south. Anything which exacerbates the current differentiation between the British and N. Ireland economies post Brexit is good for the nationalist cause, as it highlights the advantages of being part of the the Irish and Single Markets.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 3rd, 2021 at 08:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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