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The end of the Good Friday Agreement | Ben Habib

Over three years have passed since the Northern Ireland Protocol was conceived to rip Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. It was the EU’s aim to punish the UK for voting to leave and Northern Ireland was the price they extracted. There can be no one in our government who does not understand this, yet they sit idly by while the province’s plight worsens.

Endless pointless negotiations have taken place with Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the EU. These negotiations cannot achieve anything because Sefcovic has a mandate only to tinker at the edges of the Protocol. He recently said with political will the differences between the EU and the UK over the Protocol could be addressed. He means the opposite. He hopes for the customary absence of political will at Westminster and a British capitulation. Sefcovic is certain to get what he wants.

Meanwhile, Chris Heaton-Harris and Steve Baker have converted from being Brexiteers to Irish nationalists. Heaton-Harris keeps berating the DUP for not re-forming Stormont. He threatened to call elections unless the DUP immediately came to heel. It is lost on him that it is not the restoration of Stormont which is required; it is the restoration of Northern Ireland to its rightful place within the United Kingdom. It is also lost on him that there can be no legitimate democratic elections in Northern Ireland for as long as it is itself deprived of democracy through the imposition on it of foreign laws adjudicated by a foreign court.

The Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly frames his comments about discussions with Sefcovic within the context of upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. He seems to be deliberately ignoring that it is the Protocol which breaches that Agreement. So when our government concedes the Protocol, Stormont will be dead and buried; and with it, the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

There is no hope of Sunak standing up for our country. He is a bean counter. He has no affinity for the integrity of the United Kingdom or its sovereignty. He claims to be a Brexiteer but his actions indicate otherwise. He will be prepared either to ditch Northern Ireland or align the entire UK with the EU to mask the effects of the Protocol.

What he fails to appreciate is the simmering resentment he and his predecessors have caused. People are sick of the broken promises and betrayal by Westminster. They want Brexit properly delivered. They want Northern Ireland back in the UK. They want EU laws off our statute books. They want our government to control our laws, our borders, our cash and our fish.

What this Conservative and Unionist government has delivered is a fractured country, a broken economy and a promise of much more pain in the future. As rare as it is, this latter promise I am sure they will keep.

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