Tag Archives: Ireland

EU to launch court action against Liz Truss’s smuggler’s charter for Northern Ireland

I can’t say I blame the European Union chiefs.

As mentioned on This Site before, Liz Truss’s plan to ease the burden on businesses caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit deal effectively creates a “smuggler’s charter”.

It creates the concept of “green lanes” and “red lanes” for trade, with goods coming from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) into Northern Ireland and which are staying there using the green lane – meaning no checks and minimal paperwork, while goods moving from Great Britain through NI into Ireland or the wider European Union would use the red lane –  continuing to be checked at ports in Northern Ireland.

How would anybody know the “green lane” goods were stopping in Northern Ireland – or even whether the goods in the lorries were really as described in the paperwork?

I previously suggested that, alongside plans to ease checks on goods coming into the UK from the EU, this could create a people-smuggling pipeline all the way through to Ireland, wrecking any strategy to prevent it put up by Priti ‘Send ‘Em To Rwanda’ Patel.

The UK also wants the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) to have no future role in deciding disputes involving the protocol, with an independent arbiter sitting in judgement instead.

Independent, as defined by whom? I can see legal disputes over who should judge rattling on until Doomsday.

In response, the EU has indicated it will restart legal action it began in March last year, when it accused the UK of delaying, without consultation, the enforcement of parts of the protocol relating to customs checks – and may go further by taking the UK to the ECJ over claims it did too little to set up border control posts and share data with the EU.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the very law intended to remove the UK from ECJ judgments led to it facing just such a fate?

The problem facing the UK’s Tory government – particularly those dunces Liz Truss and Boris Johnson – is that unionists in Northern Ireland are likely to tear up the Good Friday Agreement if they can’t get free trade between the Province and Great Britain.

That could lead to a resurgence of the infamous “Troubles”.

Sadly, the Labour opposition has no better ideas. Keir Starmer has said negotiation with the EU is the best way forward – but advocated using “guile”, which implies that he wants to deceive the EU into giving UK vested interests what they want.

Level heads can see that no workable solution is being suggested by anybody. They all seem determined to upset each other rather than find a way forward.

How sad to see our supposed national and international leaders squabbling like children.

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Why is Keir Starmer calling for the Northern Ireland Protocol to be fixed BY DECEPTION?

Deceiver: Keir Starmer.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has said that a new law is not needed to fix problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol; the UK can achieve it by deceiving the European Union.

Read:

Proposed legislation to disapply part of the Northern Ireland Protocol is not the way forward, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

Sir Keir accepted there were practical problems with the protocol but said he thought they could be fixed through negotiations, “guile and hard work”.

The protocol legislation is expected to be published on Monday.

Guile” is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the practice of deceiving people or using other dishonest methods to achieve your aims, or the ability to deceive people for this purpose.

So by advocating guile in negotiations with the European Union, Starmer is suggesting that the UK’s representatives should lie.

Now we have proof that he is untrustworthy, from his own lips.

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Ultimatum over NI protocol shows rebel Tories do have power. But how to express it?

A Democratic Unionist Party MP who warned rebel Conservative MPs not to oppose legislation on the NI Protocol as a way “to keep poking Boris Johnson in the eye” has admitted that the Tory rebels now have power to influence policy.

But how will they use it?

The plan to change the Protocol is hugely controversial in Northern Ireland and Liz Truss’s proposal to impose unilateral alterations – in defiance of the European Union – threatens to destabilise not only trade with EU nations but also the Good Friday Agreement that keeps the peace in the Province.

Sammy Wilson’s ultimatum may be premature as he hasn’t even seen the details of the changes Truss is proposing.

But he’s certainly right that Tory rebels should not be seen to oppose Boris Johnson’s policies merely to “keep poking Boris Johnson in the eye”.

This Writer has suggested that a better use of any power they have is to halt the inhumane policy to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

Any interference in Northern Ireland would merely muddy the issues without helping anybody at all – least of all the people of the UK.

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‘Trussted trader’ plan for Northern Ireland is a smugglers’ charter

Liz Truss: she once warned that Brexit would seriously harm the UK. Did she know that she would be inflicting some of that harm?

Why doesn’t Boris Johnson’s government just legalise smuggling and have done with it?

Jacob Rees-Mogg has already abandoned checks on goods entering the UK from the EU, meaning anything may be imported from that bloc without anyone checking if we’re getting what we’re being told we’re getting.

Now, Liz Truss is telling us she wants to impose a new “Trusted Trader” “green lane” for goods coming into and leaving Northern Ireland, meaning that organisations bringing items across from mainland Britain will not have them checked, either.

That will establish a possible smuggling route from mainland Europe, not only into mainland Britain but also through it to Northern Ireland and the republic (because there are no checks on goods going between the Province and Eire).

Anything could go through unchecked – including people.

Oh – the plan to change the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally may also trigger a trade war with the European Union – the EU said it would “need to respond with all measures at its disposal” if the UK went ahead with the legislation.

And it may well upset nationalist leaders in Northern Ireland – including the party with the largest representation in Stormont, Sinn Fein – who had no objection to the Protocol as it is now.

Nice one, Liz! You should have stuck to cheese.

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Boris bombs in Northern Ireland talks – he has managed to upset everyone

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald meets Boris Johnson: she said she received no straight answers from him. Great result! The rest of us have to put up with outright lies.

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.

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The elephant in the room: why are the Tories trying to sideline Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland: most people here aren’t bothered about the protocol that puts a trade border between the Province and the rest of the UK. Are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s block to the restoration of the Stormont assembly because it aligns with their own differences with the European Union?

Isn’t it strange that the Queen’s Speech made no mention of the Northern Ireland Protocol that is currently the greatest threat to peace in the United Kingdom?

Prince Charles, standing in for Her Majesty, announced no fewer than 38 planned new laws – and not one of them explained how Boris Johnson’s government plans to tackle the constitutional crisis that has flared up in the Province.

I think it’s because Johnson doesn’t know what to do. He has painted himself into this corner with his silly rushed Brexit and now he can’t get out of it.

For those who don’t know: the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit agreement keeps open the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by creating a hard trade border between the Province and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Last week’s local elections returned a majority of members to the Stormont assembly who approve of that agreement – but Stormont is run on a power-sharing basis, and the second-largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party, is refusing to nominate any of its members to the new administration until a deal is struck that dismantles the border with the rest of the UK.

Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein, who is set to be the new First Minister, has said it is the responsibility of Boris Johnson and his government to resolve the problems over the protocol – by negotiation with the European Union. This has created something of a domino effect.

The EU itself has acknowledged that the Protocol has created difficulties – and offered proposals last October to ease the burden of checks and paperwork.

The EU said it would mean inspections of food products would be reduced far below what is usually required at single-market borders, but the plan came with caveats and the UK said the EU needed to do more.

Now, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has said the UK may decide to scrap the protocol altogether – and a source close to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was considering legislation to scrap parts of the Brexit treaty unilaterally – without seeking agreement from the EU.

In turn, the EU’s chief negotiator, Maroš Šefčovič, has said that the EU had already “shown a lot of flexibility by proposing impactful, durable solutions and we stand ready to continue discussions. We need the UK government to dial down the rhetoric, be honest about the deal they signed and agree to find solutions within its framework”.

This has been interpreted as a threat of a possible trade war if Truss goes ahead and trashes the protocol.

It’s a big mess – of Boris Johnson’s making. But some have suggested that the only people with whom the UK government should be negotiating are the DUP.

The majority of people in Northern Ireland support the protocol as it stands – or at least, they have voted a majority of representatives into Stormont who support it – and some say this means the DUP should accept it as it is, and not use it to disrupt the power-sharing agreement that helps to maintain the fragile peace the Province has enjoyed since 1998.

It seems only six per cent of the NI electorate see the protocol as a major issue, which suggests that the problem lies only with the DUP.

This Site has previously mentioned rumours that the DUP is only using the protocol as a means of ensuring that the unionist party will not take a position subordinate to nationalists – even though the titles of First Minister and Deputy First Minister are practically meaningless; power is shared between the two major parties.

The possible consequences for Northern Ireland could be catastrophic. But surely, nobody wants a return to the situation before the Good Friday Agreement, do they?

So perhaps NI Secretary Brandon Lewis simply needs to take a robust stance and present it to the DUP. Or are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s rebellion because it suits them to?

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Test for democracy in Northern Ireland as Sinn Fein set to win most assembly seats

Northern Ireland will have a nationalist leader for the first time in its more-than-100-year history after last week’s local elections. But will the unionists accept it?

Ever since the power sharing agreement was set up that made the NI Assembly in Stormont possible, the leadership has been held by a Democratic Unionist Party representative.

In practise, the post is interchangeable with that of the deputy leader, but the role is also symbolic – and the unionists may decide they don’t like the symbol they’ll be asked to support.

This Writer has previously heard rumbles that suggest the unionists would abandon the power-sharing agreements if they can’t be the leaders; that would have serious consequences for the representation of democracy. How can an elected assembly be democratic if only one party can be allowed to take the leadership?

It seems those rumours are not set to become reality quite yet. But the unionists are demanding changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol that prevents a hard border between NI and the Republic of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland inside the European Union’s (EU) single market for goods. It also creates a new trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The demand isn’t unreasonable; there should not be a hard trade border between one part of the United Kingdom and the others.

But it is a part of the agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland in 1998 that there should be no hard border between it and the Republic.

And the UK’s departure from the European Union means that a border where goods and people passing through are checked has to be placed somewhere, because the Republic is a member of that bloc.

It’s a problem that can’t be solved, it seems. Certainly the UK’s Tory government seems to have no intention of trying, with promoted-past-his-pay-grade Northern Ireland Secretary Damian Lewis hinting that there will be no plan to introduce new legislation on the protocol in the Queen’s Speech next week.

There may be leeway for discussion; new assembly members have until the end of 2024 to vote on whether to continue with the parts of the protocol that create an internal trade border within the UK.

One aspect of the change to a majority nationalist assembly that is unlikely to cause trouble – at least for now – is Sinn Fein’s aspiration to unite the Province with the Republic once again.

The law rules that the UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary may only agree to hold a referendum on reunification if it seems a majority of people in the Province are likely to support that change – and that hasn’t happened yet.

The most recent opinion poll, published in April, puts support at around 33 per cent.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald has said planning for a unity referendum – also known as a border poll – would come within a five-year framework.

So it seems that, even if a way can be found to resolve problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol, arguments are likely to break out over reunification.

It seems clear that Northern Ireland’s history will continue to be difficult for some time to come.

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#KeirStarmer tries to rewrite history so his buddy #TonyBlair can have a #knighthood. FAILS

Keir Starmer and Tony Blair: this image is satirical, of course, and is in no way intended to represent the relationship between these Labour leaders.

Why do politicians always think they can overwrite history with their own versions?

Keir Starmer was doing it on Good Morning Britain today (January 4), in a bid to justify nominating Tony Blair for a knighthood.

The New New Labour leader was responding to a petition calling for the knighthood to be revoked, that had received more than half a million signatures at the time.

As I type this, nearly 650,000 names have been attached and it is one of Change.org’s most popular petitions of all time.

Starmer spoke about what he saw as Blair’s achievements – but unaccountably failed to mention the biggest reason people are complaining: his decision to drag the UK into a war in Iraq that killed a million people for no reason – because it was based on a lie.

The charitable version of events has it that Blair believed false evidence that had been presented to him as proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and its then-leader, Saddam Hussein, was willing to use them.

But this can’t explain away the fact that, advised to wait for a UN resolution supporting military action, Blair didn’t; it seems he pressurised advisers to say he could proceed with out it, and acted on that advice when they provided it.

And Starmer’s whitewashing of the Northern Ireland peace process is also a crock.

Research carried out by This Writer a few years ago, and presented on This Site, showed that Bill Clinton was the main instigator of moves that led to the Good Friday Agreement. When Blair became prime minister, he handed responsibility over to the late Mo Mowlam.

She, in turn, relied on help from people who were on good terms with the various organisations that needed to be involved.

This included one person who, it seems, was instrumental in bringing republicans to the negotiating table. He had spent years acting as a go-between in an effort to keep people talking and the possibility of peace alive. His name was Jeremy Corbyn.

So if anybody deserves an honour for the Northern Ireland peace process, considering Ms Mowlam has passed away, it would be Jeremy Corbyn, not Tony Blair.

The irony is that Mr Corbyn wouldn’t accept it because he knows what it represents.

So perhaps the video clip of Starmer on Good Morning Britain should be corrected – to something like this?

But that wouldn’t persuade people to let Blair have his knighthood, would it?

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#LizTruss threatens #EU with #Article16. It’s more likely she’ll send #cheese to #NorthernIreland

Liz Truss: the queen of cheese once warned that Brexit will seriously harm the UK. Now it seems she is to be the instrument of that harm.

Sorry, everybody. I tried to take Liz Truss seriously but I couldn’t.

The woman who got upset about the amount of cheese the UK imports, and then signed a deal to export it to a country that is mostly lactose-intolerant, has been appointed as the lead negotiator on Brexit after Lord Frost quit.

Frost had been the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator but quit after the deal he negotiated proved unworkable – particularly with regard to the Northern Ireland protocol. He said Boris Johnson had only agreed to the protocol in order to “get Brexit done” and had known it could not possibly work.

Now, Truss has been handed the gargantuan task of making it work – before a hard border is set up between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

And people have been laying bets on how long it will be before she triggers Article 16.

For clarity, Article 16 of the NI Protocol says that the UK or EU may take safeguarding measures – without agreement with the other side – “if the application of the protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”.

Any changes would be restricted to what is strictly necessary in order to remedy the situation. And if the UK invokes it, the EU may retaliate if its own rights and obligations are prejudiced by those changes – triggering a catastrophic cascade.

And Thicky Lizzie threatened to trigger it straight away:

Apparently she thinks this is a great way to take the Prime Minister job that Boris Johnson will soon be relinquishing:

However, there are doubts as to her ability to do the job:

And this brings me back to the headline.

How long do you think it will be before she tries to apply a cheese-based solution to the problem?

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.

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Brexit: Northern Ireland protocol has made UK untrustworthy to other nations

He WAS lying (allegedly): I know this image was about Covid-19 but it turns out to have applied for Brexit as well. Who knew? (Pretty soon we’ll be able to apply it to everything he says.)

Look how the Brexiteer right-wingers close ranks when their Holy Grail comes under criticism:

Dan Hodges, who claims to be a columnist for a national newspaper, reckons that Remainers are terrified that the UK’s Tory government and the European Union could come to an agreement over the now-thoroughly-unworkable Northern Ireland Protocol.

Jonathan Lis tells it like it is:

You see, it seems Boris Johnson – who works part-time as the UK’s prime minister, let’s remember, told a Northern Irish politician that he did not intend the NI Protocol to be workable, before his Brexit was voted through by Parliament, protocol and all, with his (public) blessing:

It seems the PM’s former right-hand-goblin, Dominic Cummings, has confirmed this:

What are representatives of other nations supposed to think?

I would say they’d think exactly what the former Taoiseach of the Irish Republic – now its deputy prime minister – Leo Varadkar has said:

Mr Varadkar said:

“Surely the message must go out to all countries around the world that this is a British government that doesn’t necessarily keep its word and doesn’t necessarily honour the agreements it makes.

“And you shouldn’t make any agreements with them until such time as you’re confident that they keep their promises, and honour things, for example, like the protocol.”

Meanwhile negotiations on a new NI Protocol have commenced – and already the commentaries suggest that Mr Varadkar’s is the prevailing view:

Aren’t those last comments interesting? In fact, the Brexit we ended up with – that Boris Johnson negotiated – turns out to be almost exactly the same as the “no deal” Brexit that his own government’s Operation Yellowhammer documents predicted in 2019 – and Jeremy Corbyn publicised in September that year:

He was ridiculed at the time. But he was right.

Two and a half months later, the UK elected the liar opposite him. And now nobody else in the world will believe us again.

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.

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