Boris Johnson has managed a rare achievement in modern politics: having travelled to Northern Ireland for talks on how to restore the devolved government there, he managed to upset everybody he met.
The prime minister’s visit comes after the Democratic Unionist Party blocked the election of a Speaker to a new assembly at Stormont last Friday, meaning it cannot function.
The DUP – and other unionist parties – want changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol of the UK’s agreement to leave the European Union, which they say creates a hard trade border between the Province and Britain.
Johnson claimed to be there to build a consensus with political parties in Northern Ireland – but faced considerable distrust because they all know his foreign secretary, Liz Truss, is expected to make a statement on the government’s plans to act on the protocol on Tuesday – possibly overriding parts of the Brexit deal.
So, while they disagree on the issue that divides them, the Northern Irish parties seem to be united in their distrust of the man with ultimate power to act on it.
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Johnson of unacceptable and obstructionist tactics, placating the DUP and giving “no straight answers”: “The British government is in a game of brinkmanship with the European institutions, indulging a section of political unionism which believes it can frustrate and hold society to ransom.”
The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said he would judge Johnson on his actions, not words: “We cannot have power-sharing unless there is a consensus. That consensus doesn’t exist.”
Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry was no more positive: “We’ve seen a lot of soft words from the prime minister, an attempt at some sort of consensual way forward, but those words belie the fact that tomorrow Liz Truss is set to make a statement to parliament setting out the basis of the UK taking unilateral action on the protocol.”
And Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood said: “If the British government tomorrow signal their intent to break international law by legislating to rip up the protocol at Westminster he will not have the support of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.”
Johnson was jeered by about 200 people as his cavalcade arrived at Hillsborough, including campaigners for Irish language legislation, anti-Brexit activists and victims’ campaigners objecting to the government’s proposed legislation for dealing with legacy cases from the Troubles.
So in fact, Johnson has achieved a positive result.
He has united the people of Northern Ireland. None of them would trust him further than they could spit a rat.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:
Johnson is an international disgrace…He and his criminal Cartel posing as the British government has turned Britain into a laughingstock on the world stage….Why is this government(and I use the term loosely) allowed to remind in office, and not thrown out!
The man without a plan is still hoping the EU will come up with something for him. His incompetence knows no bounds. I can honestly say that I could do better – and I have no illusions about my own abilities in political leadership, but Johnson does.
Like many I am unsurprised at this and could see it coming. But what DOES surprise me is the willingness of the Boris Fanboys to always defend the indefensible no matter what it is. Whilst Labour got a few more councillors last week they still haven’t increased their vote share from how Corbyn performed at the last GE which should be ringing alarm bells as with Johnson being incompetent at everything and partygate STILL rumbling on Labour should have VASTLY increased vote share. I don’t foresee a Labour victory under Starmer, and to be fair, he doesn’t deserve it..