Resorting to insults over Brexit
GERALD GRAHAM (Letters, October 20) accuses me of having an authoritarian mindset for having the temerity to suggest that the DUP must own the consequences of Brexit, as it is they who continued to campaign for a particularly hard form of Brexit even after a large majority in Northern Ireland had voted against. (My letter of October 7th.)
Most of his letter consists of random insults which bear no relationship to what I actually wrote or believe, but his central point is that in voting for Brexit in 2016, the UK voted to sever all ties with the EU in all respects.
This is just plain rubbish. At the time of the referendum all sorts of different forms of Brexit where being discussed from a "Norway option", to a "Switzerland option", to remaining within the Single Market or Customs Union.
Indeed, Theresa May's subsequent proposals included remaining within the Single Market and would have required no Protocol or customs border "down the Irish Sea", or within Ireland, for that matter.
It was the DUP's insistence on trying to reinforce the land border within Ireland by the addition of customs controls which resulted in their voting against Theresa May's proposals .
Boris Johnson, with DUP support, subsequently negotiated the Withdrawal Agreement which contains the Protocol and won an overwhelming mandate and majority from the British people for his rather excellent "oven ready deal".
It is thus Mr. GRAHAM who exhibits "an authoritarian mindset" for rejecting the decision of the British people on how Brexit should be implemented.
Of course, it is open to any party to a Treaty to seek to have it amended, post ratification, which is why the EU and UK are currently conducting discussions to see if any easements can be jointly agreed.
However, both parties have to agree for any changes to be implemented, and it is against international law for any one party to unilaterally fail to implement what was agreed. Even triggering Article 16 of the Protocol allows the other party to retaliate proportionately, and there are fears that this could lead to a UK EU trade war.
Mr. GRAHAM only appears to believe in acting lawfully when it suits him and insulting others when the facts don't support his case.