Both the UK and EU are putting forward ideas to change the Northern Ireland Protocol that aims to prevent a hard border being set up between the province and the Republic of Ireland. The problem is obvious: they don’t agree.
Worse still is the admission by Brexit Secretary Lord Frost that the UK only signed up to the protocol, back in 2019, because Boris Johnson was in a hurry to “Get Brexit Done”.
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) October 12, 2021
The implication is clear:
Johnson has only ever seen Brexit as an electoral tool – to fool voters into electing a Conservative government. He never really supported its agreements.
Let’s remind ourselves of what Johnson said about the deal in 2019, and what he has said about it since:
As Boris Johnson prepares to break his own Brexit deal, the one he agreed, signed & sold to the public & Parliament as a negotiating triumph less than a year ago, every UK News Channel should be playing this compilation. But just in case they don’t you know what to do.. pic.twitter.com/MaSjnjr972
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) October 12, 2021
So it was a “great new deal”, but only up to the point at which it was implemented, after which it was a barrier to trade. A barrier that Johnson and Frost created!
Frost has now turned on the deal that he himself, personally, negotiated, saying that it is no good. It seems the whole world has responded with incredulity at the sheer cheek of this man, many agreeing with Neale Richmond’s analysis of him, below:
— Neale Richmond (@nealerichmond) October 12, 2021
Frost reckons the NI Protocol is unworkable and blames the EU for imposing rules that restrict the flow of UK goods across the artificial border that Johnson put in the middle of the Irish Sea after lying that he’d do no such thing.
He has devised an entirely new protocol that strips the European Court of Justice of its governance role and proposes international arbitration of the way provisions in the protocol are implemented.
But the EU has said it would be very hard to see the Protocol surviving without ECJ oversight and was set, today, to propose its own changes:
The proposals are understood to include a unique deal around agri-food – which includes agriculture, horticulture, and food and drink processing – aimed at sharply reducing the checks on products moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
There will also be an arrangement to allow the continued sale of chilled meats from Great Britain in Northern Ireland; these products were facing a ban.
The EU has also said it is going to change its laws in an attempt to solve regulatory issues which are posing a threat to the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.
Clearly there are huge differences between the two sides and these are likely to lead to weeks of negotiation, with the future of peace in Northern Ireland – as provided under the Good Friday Agreement that many signatories have already abandoned – in the balance.
For Johnson and his government, the damage has already been done. Their contradictory behaviour has been universally condemned by opponents and former allies alike, both within and outside the Conservative Party:
They signed the NI protocol to postpone the admission that Brexit is damaging & daft. And they’re trying to renege on the NI protocol to postpone the admission that Brexit is damaging & daft. No matter that trust is a moderately important diplomatic currency…
— James OhBrien (@mrjamesob) October 12, 2021
I don't say this lightly. But UK's destructive downward spiral is only accelerating. Johnson Government is consciously endangering peace process in my NI homeland. I hope EU, US & Ireland's many other friends fully grasp seriousness of threat & recalibrate behaviour accordingly.
— Michael Dougan (@mdouganlpool) October 12, 2021
The absolute state of David Frost trashing the deal he negotiated + hailed as a triumph – despite many, yours truly included, warning it was a dud – *and worse* now using it to further undermine our relationship with some of our closest friends in an increasingly dangerous world https://t.co/tuswxzh8Sn
— Gavin Barwell (@GavinBarwell) October 12, 2021
Particularly infuriating is the Johnson government’s refusal to discuss any of its policies without lying about them – including this one:
When @DavidGHFrost is asked if the UK signed the Protocol in good faith, he could not stop himself smirking.
— David Gauke (@DavidGauke) October 12, 2021
Clearly there was no good faith and the plan was always to cause trouble in Northern Ireland and to rip up the agreement later.
And what about Bernard Jenkin’s appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight?
Bernard Jenkin on Newsnight last night admitted that the Northern Ireland Protocol is a badly negotiated agreement that was only acceptable at the time to get Brexit done because Britain was in a weak position viz the EU. What? I thought we held all the cards!
— Richard Thompson #FBPE #facciamorete #FBPPR (@RichardPTh) October 12, 2021
Bernard Jenkin #Newsnight
“Brexit Deal was signed at a time when Gov was weak & gripped by a constitutional crisis, the EU took advantage”
EU trade agreement was signed *year* after his party won a maj 80 seats in election to *get Brexit done* Shamelesspic.twitter.com/czfAkqpZ9B
— Deirdre Heenan (@deirdreheenan) October 11, 2021
Notice the faux pas at the end when he said, “We tried to make it worse – work.”
But Jenkin wasn’t convincing. Too many of us have had our eyes opened to the harm these lying clowns have caused, and we’re not going to believe any more.
Some of us have been proved to have been right all along:
Those who predicted austerity would do irreparable harm to this country's social fabric have been vindicated;
Those who voted Remain in 2016 EU referendum have been vindicated;
Those who predicted a UK public health disaster because of lack of preparedness are vindicated…
— Professor Christopher Painter (@PrfChrisPainter) October 12, 2021
We are realising what Johnson has been able to do, simply by lying repeatedly to us – not only about Brexit but about everything else he was planning to do:
We're being mugged in broad daylight
1) our loved ones dying
2) our pensions stolen
3) our NHS privatised
3) our children unprotected
4) Our elderly & vulnerable abandoned
5) The UK diminished & traduced in every way possible
How much longer do we sit back & accept this?
— Barbara (@BarbaraSutton15) October 11, 2021
And we see the consequences:
Since waking and putting on #r4today I’ve heard that Frost is about to tear up his own Brexit agreement, Sunak has no money left and Johnson has presided over the worst public health disaster in UK history…
— Bob Hudson (@Bob__Hudson) October 12, 2021
The trouble now is those tribal members of the public who simply won’t accept the evidence that is now in front of them.
I'm running out of steam. The evidence is there that Johnson failed in his handling of the pandemic, yet people still say he did his best. The evidence that Brexit is a disaster is clear, yet people are still supportive of it. What will it take? It's demoralising and exhausting.
— Craig Cooper 💙 (@craigcooper78) October 12, 2021
And some will carry on supporting it, even when their own standard of living plummets.
All we can hope – those of us who seriously want a better future for our bitterly divided and misled island nation – is that enough people have realised the depth of Johnson’s – and Frost’s – betrayal to make a difference before it is too late for us all.
But the clock is ticking…
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