Tag Archives: Northern

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.

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NI protocol: Frost’s new plan gets cold reception from EU. Rightly?

Lord Frost: he has turned his back on ‘Building Back Better’ and he isn’t ‘Getting On’ with anything – particularly the EU and Northern Ireland.

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”.

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:

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:

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:

Particularly infuriating is the Johnson government’s refusal to discuss any of its policies without lying about them – including this one:

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?

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:

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:

And we see the consequences:

The trouble now is those tribal members of the public who simply won’t accept the evidence that is now in front of them.

It is.

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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Article 16: after the Tories got everything they wanted from Brexit, they want to change it

You get what you vote for – and the UK voted for an utter imbecile: stunts like this allowed Johnson to push through a Brexit deal that he hadn’t bothered to read (because he’s “not a ‘details’ man”). Now the UK – and especially Northern Ireland – is suffering shortages of vital supplies including medicines because of this man’s stupidity.

This is what happens when you let stupid Tories mess around with the fundamentals of your life.

Boris Johnson is threatening to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland protocol of his own Brexit agreement because it is doing exactly what he negotiated. That’s what it means when he says he’s threatening to trigger Article 16.

That is to say, the loss of imports into Northern Ireland that has put the province into crisis is a logical result of the agreement that Johnson not only negotiated, but demanded that the public endorse in the 2019 general election and that MPs vote through after.

And look what it did to the people there. Trade is being choked off – particularly the supply of medicines, at a time when Covid-19 has restricted healthcare:

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”:

Irish minister for enterprise, trade and employment Leo Varadkar is on the record as having said that, if the protocol is stopping Northern Ireland from getting medicines from the UK, the province can get them from the Irish Republic (the EU) instead. That’s diversion of trade:

Some commentators are saying the entire NI protocol would be suspended. They are mistaken.

Article 16 makes it clear that any changes will 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.

So this is a realistic appraisal of the options:

This means the creation of that hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic that the NI Protocol was written to avoid – angering US President Biden and ending the prospect of a trade deal between the UK and the United States. Boris Johnson would have nobody to blame but himself.

Could it be avoided? Apparently not:

TL;DR means “too long; didn’t read” and here it implies that the people who are calling for Article 16 to be invoked haven’t actually bothered to read up on what it is and/or what its consequences will be.

So brace yourself – especially if you live in Northern Ireland.

Because of Boris Johnson’s stupidity – and the desperation of English Tory voters to “Get Brexit Done” without actually knowing what it meant – you are facing a winter of deprivation and despair.

Don’t let Johnson tell you he didn’t want it because his actions show that he did. The evidence suggests that he is simply one of the many who couldn’t be arsed to read his own agreement and still does not understand what it means.

You get what you vote for – and in 2019 the UK voted for an utter imbecile.

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After Eustice said Biden didn’t know what he was talking about, Johnson lies about him

‘Get out!’ says Biden after Johnson breaks wind through his mask.

How long is Joe Biden going to put up with schoolboy antics from oiks like Boris Johnson and George Eustice?

US President Biden made it clear in interviews earlier this week that he would discuss the possible threat to peace in Northern Ireland posed by Boris Johnson’s stupid Brexit agreement with the European Union, when he met the UK prime minister.

The official record of the meeting also makes it clear that this is what Biden did: “President Biden reiterated his longstanding support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace.”

But Johnson said it wasn’t discussed:

It’s bad enough when this compulsive liar chokes out a howler like that about a fellow politician here in the UK.

But to disrespect the most powerful human being on the planet in that way, at a time when Johnson is in the United States with his begging bowl out, pleading for a trade deal to get him out of the Brexit-shaped hole that he dug for himself, is plain lunacy.

Oh, but don’t tell me… he’s doing his best.

EXTRA: Just when you think he can’t get worse… I’ve just read this headline: “PM urges humankind to ‘grow up’ – and quotes Kermit the Frog – in call to arms on climate change.” Words fail me.

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Environment Secretary ‘Useless’ says it’s BIDEN who doesn’t understand Brexit NI protocol

A long record of defending the indefensible: Environment Secretary George Eustice has previously stated beliefs that children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

What stunning arrogance from a man who has been dubbed “George Useless”.

Environment Secretary George Eustice took to our airwaves to try to minimise the damage done by US President Joe Biden’s words on the Northern Ireland border and trade with the UK after Brexit – and made matters much, much worse.

Biden has expressed concern that peace in Northern Ireland could be jeopardised by the “Northern Ireland protocol” between the UK and the European Union, that regulates imports to and exports from the province.

It keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU’s single market for goods to ensure free trade across the Irish border, but has led to additional checks on goods being traded across the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has drawn criticism and protests from unionist politicians in Northern Ireland who have called for it to be scrapped.

Boris Johnson swore to everybody who asked – before Brexit happened – that there would be no border checks between GB and NI… and it now seems clear that he was either lying or did not understand his own deal.

The UK has requested a fundamental renegotiation but the EU has refused – and with good reason. Boris Johnson was desperate to rush his Brexit into being, back in 2019, ensuring that many of his MPs did not understand what they were supporting. Any problem now is his responsibility and he will have to live with it – including any problems it creates with the USA.

Eustice turned up on TV and on the radio to suggest that Biden was “wrong” and had, himself, not properly read the details of the agreement that was negotiated, in a series of interviews that will make Boris Johnson’s current meetings with the US president much more difficult:

Eustice’s attitude was that this matter did not concern the US President…

… but that makes no sense at all when the UK is also trying to negotiate a two-way trade deal with the United States (over which Biden is, again, doubtful).

Eustice admitted, “It’s just not a priority for the US administration.”

And Boris Johnson has also said, “The Americans do negotiate very hard.”

It seems nothing has changed since former president Barack Obama said the UK would be at the back of the queue for a bilateral deal.

So of course the Johnson government has a Plan B, which is to join a trade bloc – like the one the UK has just spent five years leaving:

So the situation is this:

If the UK doesn’t get a trade deal with the US because its deal to leave the EU has created problems in Northern Ireland, then Boris Johnson will try to talk the UK into a trading bloc like the EU.

So what was the point of the last five years of fuss and palaver?

In other news, Julia Hartley-Doodah tackled Eustice on the really important issues:

Wow. If only some of our political interviewers could be bothered to dissect the Tories as thoroughly on issues like Universal Credit, rising bills and – yes – Brexit!

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Northern Ireland and Scotland want a referendum on leaving the UK. And Wales?

The ballot box: come on, Wales – let’s have a chance to tell Boris Johnson to get stuffed!

Welsh people are showing surprising loyalty to the United Kingdom after being progressively abused by Tory governments since 2010.

They are lagging behind Northern Ireland and Scotland, where polls show a majority of people in both countries want referenda on whether to quit the union.

In Northern Ireland, 68 per cent of people are demanding the right to choose whether to stay in the UK or join the Republic of Ireland.

Scotland will get its referendum if Nicola Sturgeon has her way.

Only Wales is dragging its feet over the chance to show national displeasure with Boris Johnson’s travesty of leadership – widely believed to be the worst government in UK history.

The latest poll in Wales shows just 28 per cent of people wanting independence.

It makes you wonder where people here get their news.

Source: 68% in Northern Ireland want referendum on leaving the UK

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No justice for anybody as Tories announce blanket amnesty for crimes in NI ‘Troubles’

Northern Ireland: I’ve chosen not to publish a representative picture of the Troubles for reasons of taste.

Boris Johnson’s government has confirmed that it is planning to end all prosecutions relating to crimes committed during the so-called ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland.

The decision has been widely condemned. It seems the government has set out to upset everybody except the criminals among both the security forces and paramilitary groups.

Groups representing the victims, together with representatives of the executive parties at Northern Ireland’s Stormont government, have expressed their opposition.

It seems victims’ groups haven’t even been consulted.

Labour leader Keir Starmer raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions today (July 14): “I worked in Northern Ireland for six years with the Policing Board and the police and I have prosecuted terrorists as the Director of Public Prosecutions, so I know how difficult and sensitive the issue is. But a blanket amnesty, including for terrorists, is plain wrong.

“It is absolutely clear that the Government’s amnesty is not supported by the political parties in Northern Ireland and it is not supported by victims’ groups. Last Thursday, I spoke to victims of terrorism at the WAVE Trauma Centre in north Belfast; they have not even been properly consulted on the proposal.

“If things are to move forward in Northern Ireland, any discussion has to start with the victims. Politicians in London cannot simply draw a line under terrorism and other crimes and then force it on those most affected.”

He quoted Julie Hambleton, whose sister was among the 21 people killed in the Birmingham pub bombings, and who said: “Tell me Prime Minister, if one of your loved ones was blown up beyond recognition, where you were only able to identify your son or daughter by their fingernails…would you be so quick to grant their murderers an amnesty and propose such obscene legislation?”

Johnson had no comfort for Ms Hambleton – and admitted it: “Nothing I say or can do now can in any way mitigate her loss.”

But he said: “The people of Northern Ireland must, if we possibly can allow them to, move forwards now.

“There are many members of the armed services who continue to face the threat of vexatious prosecutions well into their 70s and 80s and later. We are finally bringing forward a solution to this problem to enable the Province of Northern Ireland to draw a line under the troubles.”

And he tried to turn the issue into an attack on Starmer by saying the plan had “a wide degree of support, if I may say so, from former Labour Prime Ministers and former Labour leaders who are of considerably more distinction than the right hon. and learned Gentleman”.

Is this true, fact checkers?

Johnson concluded: “Someone with greater statesmanship and clarity of vision would have seen that and given the proposals a fair wind.”

So, politicians who live and work in Northern Ireland – not to mention the victims of the crimes he is wiping off the record – lack statesmanship and clarity of vision, according to Johnson?

Forgive This Writer for putting forward an opinion on this matter, but it seems to me that Johnson is trying to put a stop to prosecutions – along with civil cases and inquests – because they seem too much like hard work and he can’t be bothered.

The BBC has reported that

Northern Ireland’s five main political parties, the Irish government and several victims’ groups have been highly critical of any suggested blanket ban on prosecutions for Troubles-era offences.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the “the proposals for an effective amnesty for Troubles-related crimes are totally unacceptable”.

Sinn Féin president Mary-Lou McDonald said … the move was “an act of absolute bad faith by the British government”.

Victims of the Ballymurphy shootings in 1971 also expressed anger over the reports.

[And] Amnesty International rejected the proposals as showing an “appalling and offensive disregard for victims”.

The only voice raised in support of the proposals was that of Lord Dannatt, a former Army chief, who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles – some of whose officers and men would have been under threat of prosecution if this amnesty does not happen.

And even he admitted that it “isn’t the solution to everyone’s problems”!

This is another back-of-a-fag-packet plan that reeks of Tory corruption. If they can’t make money out of a process, they simply aren’t interested.

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Should Northern Ireland split from the UK to end deadlock with the EU and keep Biden happy?

Deadlock: The EU has a trade agreement and couldn’t care less if it harms Boris Johnson. And Joe Biden’s commitment to co-operation with the UK may waver if a solution can’t be found and the Troubles return. What if the Province splits from the UK – for the good of its people?

It makes a nice story on the eve of a G7 summit – especially one taking place in the UK. And that’s what the BBC propagandists want.

But while US President Joe Biden and the UK’s pipsqueak Boris Johnson might agree that trade problems in Northern Ireland due to last year’s UK-EU deal need to be solved, we have no reason to believe they agree on how.

The European Union has no problem with the current situation. All the problems were created by Boris Johnson because he rushed through a trade deal, either without understanding it or without caring what was in it – to meet a deadline he thought he needed to maintain public confidence.

Even the BBC had to admit it:

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in July what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.

“We have a trade deal – it has been painfully discussed for years… if six months later, they say: ‘What we negotiated with you, we don’t know how to respect it’, then that means that nothing is respectable anymore.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Northern Ireland protocol – the name for the post-Brexit trading rules – was the “only solution” and should be implemented fully.

Biden’s interest dates from the 1990s, when his forerunner Bill Clinton worked with people on all sides of the Northern Ireland question to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles”.

The BBC (again) has already published details of a planned speech in which Biden was set to voice concerns that deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol could jeopardise peace in the Province.

Sadly, with Biden taking pains to stress that he is not “warning” the two sides in any way, the EU unwilling to give any ground at all, and Johnson incapable of understanding the complexities involved, it seems there may be “Troubles” ahead once again.

There is a simple way out, of course: Northern Ireland could vote to leave the United Kingdom.

I’m not even suggesting that this means joining the Republic of Ireland.

The simple fact is that the people of this region have suffered terribly because of the “Troubles”. If I was living there, I would be furious that Johnson’s insensitivity has put NI back in the firing line and would be prepared to consider any alternative to prevent it.

And there’s no reason they would want to stay in the union – Johnson has created a situation where they are actually worse-off, the longer they put up with the current situation.

If Northern Ireland quit the UK but did not join the Republic, Biden would be happy; future violence could be averted. The EU would be happy too – it would make trading much simpler.

The only loser would be Boris Johnson. He would become the prime minister who forced the nation to split – and voters are not likely to forgive him for that.

It would be poetic justice. He thought he could get away with any old rubbish. He thought wrong.

Source: G7: UK and US in complete harmony over Northern Ireland – Boris Johnson – BBC News

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If the Tories knew Northern Ireland protocol was a bad deal then they failed in their duty to the UK

The culprit: Boris Johnson screwed up Brexit by agreeing a trade deal so bad that it could end the fragile peace in Northern Ireland, just because he wanted to hit a deadline he had set for it. And he simply doesn’t care.

According to Tory Lord Barwell, it is wrong for Brexit minister Lord Frost to say the government underestimated the amount of restriction traders would suffer when moving goods to Northern Ireland; Boris Johnson knew the effect would cause serious harm all along.

Barwell says Johnson agreed that part of the Brexit trade deal solely because he “wanted to get Brexit done”.

So he went with a bad deal – knowing that it was bad.

He signed it because he wanted to hit a deadline.

And he signed it, reckless as to the effect it would have on trade in the province.

Worse still, he signed that deal in the knowledge that it would destabilise Northern Ireland and could end the fragile peace that has held there since 1998, because his deal rides roughshod over that deal’s conditions.

That is serious dereliction of duty, if true.

Barwell went on to say he thought Johnson had intended to “wriggle out” of the NI protocol later.

How’s that going for him, then?

Lord Frost, who negotiated the protocol, wrote [that] the UK had sent a “detailed proposal” for a veterinary agreement [but] “we have had very little back” from the EU.

He’s unlikely to get anything more. The EU has fulfilled its responsibility to its member states, and as an added bonus, a former member state that left has managed to create a hugely difficult problem for itself, that may be impossible to resolve.

If Barwell is correct, then the dire deal is entirely Boris Johnson’s fault, and the consequences of that deal – no matter how bad the situation becomes – are his fault as well.

And people were fooled into voting Tory because they were told Jeremy Corbyn would make a mess of Brexit.

Feel free to remind your Tory friends of that – and remind them that it was voting Tory that made sure that Brexit turned into the diabolical fiasco that it has become.

Source: Brexit: UK government knew NI Protocol ‘was a bad deal’ – BBC News

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Mercer sacked over unequal treatment in prosecutions of armed forces veterans

Mercer: it’s right that he should leave the government – but it’s for the wrong reason.

The Minister for Armed Forces Veterans has reported that he has been “relieved of my responsibilities in government” because he disagrees with Tory policy on prosecutions for historic crimes.

This is extremely dodgy ground. It seems clear to This Writer that, if a serving member of the forces has committed a crime while on active duty – but the evidence only comes to light later – they should still face prosecution for it.

The Tory government sees the matter differently and has included in its Overseas Operations Bill measures to protect veterans from prosecution if the alleged crimes were committed more than five years before any allegations are made…

… except for those who served in Northern Ireland. They have been excluded from this measure, meaning long-retired personnel could face imprisonment for alleged crimes committed decades ago.

Nobody deserves to face the extreme distress of court proceedings and possible imprisonment over false allegations, of course.

But nor should anybody receive an automatic free pass if they did commit crimes, no matter how long ago they happened. Think of paedophiles whose abominable practices with children only come to light decades after they took place.

So Mercer is right to go – but he’s going for the wrong reason.

He should be leaving because personnel who served elsewhere are being let off – not because those who served in Northern Ireland are still on the hook.

He should also be leaving because the government hasn’t bothered to devise ways of weeding out unfounded, frivolous or malicious attempts to prosecute veterans, but has instead opted to offer (potentially) amnesty to criminals.

But nobody can say his views weren’t known. He offered to resign from Theresa May’s government in 2019 over the same issue. So it is perhaps unsurprising that he has now left Boris Johnson’s government after it refused to pay attention to his concerns about the same issue.

Of course, we don’t know the exact circumstances yet. First we were told Mercer was on the point of resigning, then we were told he had been sacked, then that he had actually resigned, and then in his resignation letter he said he had been “relieved” of his responsibilities.

Still, this is another departure over government policy, following that of Samuel Kasumu – who actually quit after Boris Johnson’s cronies rewrote a report on institutional racism in order to pretend that it no longer exists in the UK.

We may conclude that the Johnson government is highly prejudiced. Not only is it deeply racist, but it also discriminates against forces personnel depending on where they served.

That’s not a good look for a government that desperately wants to appear friendly to those in the services after years of scandal over veterans who were left homeless after their discharge.

Mercer himself won’t be short of cash after losing this job – if he’s still got his £85,000-a-year job as ‘non-executive director’ of a cyber-security firm.

So don’t worry about him. Worry about people who have been wronged by our armed forces who won’t get justice – and about veterans who are being wronged by a government that is still allowing vexatious prosecutions against them.

Source: Johnny Mercer: Tory MP resigns as defence minister – BBC News

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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