The screw is being turned on the DUP

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Duke of Marmalade

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The DUP are probably being irrational as per usual, I concede. But Simon Varadkar who we expect to behave better are being even more irrational if they are prepared to plunge Ireland into a No Deal rather than even contemplate a tweak to the WA. The fact is Simon Varadkar has made this a Celtic/Rangers match. And Old Firm matches are totally irrational emotional affairs.

On NI voting against Brexit, I presume Little Worsted on the Weade (if it exists) voted 90% Remain, it doesn't mean they want to be treated separately from the rest of GB now that Brexit is going to happen.

There is nothing in the letter of the GFA preventing a trade border on the island (border not mentioned) and similarly there is nothing in the letter of the GFA preventing a sea border between NI and GB (arguably not a constitutional issue). But if the land border is in breach of the spirit of the GFA then the sea border is at least equally so.
 

WolfeTone

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But Simon Varadkar who we expect to behave better are being even more irrational if they are prepared to plunge Ireland into a No Deal rather than even contemplate a tweak to the WA.
Except they aren't. The WA is an international political agreement. It is not an election manifesto to be torn up on some rabble rousing.
The British government, on the authority of its parliament, negotiated and agreed the WA. Its parliament, rejecting that deal has little to do with EU or Ireland. The backstop, applicable to the whole of UK, is a UK term, not Irish or EU term. If the UK want to alter it, offer an alternative prosposal. If acceptable at negotiating level, the WA can re-open for approval for the EU.
Abolishing the backstop in its entirety is not acceptable. This has been conveyed to the British. A NI only backstop, a tweak, would appear to be acceptable to EU.
Perhaps it should be put to a vote in the UK parliament?

it doesn't mean they want to be treated separately from the rest of GB now that Brexit is going to happen.
It doesn't mean that the people of NI are not prepared to be treated differently from GB either, does it?
Between the Shinners, SDLP, Greens, Alliance, moderate unionists and the farming community, my bet is on people of NI being prepared to accept the backstop over a no-deal crashout.
But again, we are speculating. Sticking to the facts, the DUP represents a minority view in NI with regard Brexit.

There is nothing in the letter of the GFA preventing a trade border on the island
Probably best to clear this out of the way. The trade border already exists. Different currency, different VAT, different tax etc.
It is by virtue of the SM, CU that such a border is effectively invisible. Its this invisibility that everyone wants to retain. The backstop facilities this until such a time as a free trade agreement is agreed between UK/EU (what is it about the prospective free trade agreement between UK/EU that makes me think it will be near identical to the SM/CU?)

But if the land border is in breach of the spirit of the GFA then the sea border is at least equally so.
Probably best to clear this out of the way. The sea border already exists. By virtue of a mass of water that will be difficult to disappear.
Nevertheless, why would such a sea (trade) border be unpalatable to unionists? There are no communities living in the sea. The sea was a practical oasis of content during the Troubles. Even the IRA never attacked the sea, and they certainly didn't use it for safe-houses or training, arms dumps or refuge.

If there is no need for border checks on land between RoI and NI, as DUP claim, then there are no need for border checks for goods and services between Belfast and Liverpool, or elsewhere.

The sea border is, excuse the pun, a red herring.
 

Early Riser

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On NI voting against Brexit, I presume Little Worsted on the Weade (if it exists) voted 90% Remain, it doesn't mean they want to be treated separately from the rest of GB now that Brexit is going to happen.
NI is not, and never has been, part of GB. It is part of the UK. Unlike Little Worsted, it was created by the partition of Ireland. NI has always had a population divided by identity and allegiance - often violently so. The GFA enables both of these identities to feel respected. The backstop does not change the constitutional position of NI in the UK (central to unionist identity) but a border in Ireland will be a return to the past for those of a nationalist identity.

There is nothing in the letter of the GFA preventing a trade border on the island (border not mentioned) and similarly there is nothing in the letter of the GFA preventing a sea border between NI and GB (arguably not a constitutional issue). But if the land border is in breach of the spirit of the GFA then the sea border is at least equally so.
There is a big practical difference between border checks in the Irish Sea and checks along the land border. The latter is over 300 miles long and has an estimated 270 existing crossing points. An extensive physical infrastructure will be required for this, no matter what technology is in play. Agricultural goods may currently cross this border several times between point of farm production, to processing and to retailing. On a broader scale, a border such as this is an invitation to smuggling and organised criminality.

There are a limited number of access ports between NI and GB. Animals and certain agricultural goods are already subject to checks at this border (whether on ferry or at port) and this does not seem to have created an identity problem for the DUP. Admittedly there would have to be considerably more checks in the event of a NI only backstop, but logistically it would be much simpler and less disruptive and, as the principle is already in place (uncontroversially), it should be much less of an issue in terms of unionist identity
 

cremeegg

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NI has always had a population divided by identity and allegiance - often violently so.
Always ? Hardly, think of Henry Joy, and that other fellow, not the one who conquered Quebec, his cousin. I know I saw his name somewhere recently.
 

WolfeTone

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The "spirit" of the GFA is a notion to foster improved community relations between a divided people - on land. Through trade, community co-operation, social and cultural acceptance.

There are no such divisions in the Irish sea. As such the "spirit" of the GFA does not apply to trade borders, invisible or liquid, in the Irish sea.
 

Early Riser

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NI has always had a population divided by identity and allegiance - often violently so.
Always ? Hardly, think of Henry Joy, and that other fellow, not the one who conquered Quebec, his cousin. I know I saw his name somewhere recently.
Try not to be a pedant it doesn't make you any friends. North was still North, and Ireland was Ireland.
To reiterate, NI has always had a population divide by identity and allegiance - often violently so. Since its foundation until the present. Henry Joy is neither here nor there with regard to this. Sorry if pointing this out seeems pedantic. Friends now? :p
 

Duke of Marmalade

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Between the Shinners, SDLP, Greens, Alliance, moderate unionists and the farming community, my bet is on people of NI being prepared to accept the backstop over a no-deal crashout.
That is an interesting call. It seems to me that a referendum in NI on whether or not they want a NI only backstop has potential to break the logjam. If NI says No to a NI only backstop surely Simon Varadkar would have to climb down and vice versa the DUP would be isolated if NI said Yes. And Westminster would surely go along with either result.

So how would that vote go? If the issue had not been so highly charged it would probably have been a Yes as the practical interests of unionist farmers and businessmen would override DUP bigotry. Unfortunately Simon Varadkar have ensured that the vote would probably split along tribal lines.
 

cremeegg

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To reiterate, NI has always had a population divide by identity and allegiance - often violently so. Since its foundation until the present. Henry Joy is neither here nor there with regard to this. Sorry if pointing this out seeems pedantic. Friends now? :p
Due to the activities of the United Irishmen, of whom Wolfe Tone and Henry Joy McCracken were leading members, the sectarian divide in northern Ireland in the late 18th century was reduced to the point that the London government was seriously concerned that it could no longer pit Catholic against Protestant.

By the time of the formation of the northern Irish state in the 1920s sectarian divisions were certainly well re-established.

But we all knew that didn't we.

Your comment "NI has always had a population divide by identity and allegiance - often violently so" suggests an immutability about the divide which I do not think is borne out by history.

If you disagree you would be better served by explaining why rather than resorting to throw away comments such as "Henry Joy was dead over 120 years before NI came into existence."
 

Early Riser

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Your comment "NI has always had a population divide by identity and allegiance - often violently so" suggests an immutability about the divide which I do not think is borne out by history.

If you disagree you would be better served by explaining why rather than resorting to throw away comments such as "Henry Joy was dead over 120 years before NI came into existence."

This is a thread about the backstop to prevent a hard border in Ireland in the context of the GFA. The GFA itself was intended to resolve a violent conflict based on sectarian divisions that had been present throughout the existence of the NI state.

I have not suggested that sectarian divisions are immutable in Ireland - I haven't even suggested that they immutable in NI. That is in no way inconsistent with the statement that you seem to find contentious - "NI has always had a population divided by identity and allegiance - often violently so". The GFA at least took much of the violence out of that conflict. The possible imposition of a hard border threatens that and alienates one section of the sectarian and political divide.

I am familiar with the history of the United Irishmen, including Henry Joy. I frankly don't see its relevance to the backstop - nor does it change the facts of sectarian division (often violent) throughout NI's existence.
 

WolfeTone

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It seems to me that a referendum in NI on whether or not they want a NI only backstop has potential to break the logjam.
I suspect such a referendum is dead before it could even crawl. I can already hear the cries of "you cant treat us separately" from DUP.
The numbers game in HoC dictate that it is not an option. And aside from all that, even if such a referendum were contemplated, there would be the small matter of Scotland, the second of four countries in the UK that voted to Remain. Preferential treatment for NI with the option to remain in SM/CU will not be tolerated. Even the Scottish Tories are rebelling against BJ, suggesting the sentiment for Scottish independence would harden on foot of a no deal Brexit.


But in the interests of exploring all options and possibilities, I suspect you may be over-egging the impact of Varadkar and Coveney comments on the outcome of any vote. When you strip it down, Leo and Simon are simply taking a stance that any Irish government, of any political hue would take.
The contention seems to emanate from DUP circles at the sight of croppy boys refusing to lie down.
But such controversy is a wisp relative to the controversy that would emerge in Unionism if the British parliament were to legislate for a NI backstop referendum.
The concept of "not being treated separately" would be obselete.
 

WolfeTone

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This is incredulous. This is Brexit mania.
Less than a week after Brexiteer PM Boris Johnson stated that his government would refuse "under any circumstances" to impose checks on the UK/EU land border, his new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, publishes this;


Not one mention of Ireland.
Not one mention of NI
As if the issue that has dragged the WA into delay after delay doesn't exist.

Either Priti - of unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials and in favor of a return to capital punishment (regardless of innocence or guilt) - is determined to treat NI separately, or, we are heading for a hard border in Ireland.
 

WolfeTone

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Gosh, she wants everybody to face capital punishment:oops:
It was Ian Hislop of Private Eye and Have I Got News for You that pointed out all the miscarriages of justice that his publication helped to highlight and subsequently overturn. Miscarriages that, under Priti's rules, would have led to death sentences of innocent people.
Unperturbed by this reasoning, Priti proclaimed that capital punishment acts as a deterrent , somewhat ignorant of the fact that countries that have capital punishment, still execute people for crimes undeterred.
 

mojoask

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This is what I believe is going on and the most likely outcome...

1. Make the "Irish" backstop the problem (if you listen carefully, he's not saying it's the only problem, it is however the most sellable and solvable (see below)
2. Talk tough with the EU (& Ireland), threaten no deal (this is a bluff, but the English electorate will lap it up)
3. Dump the DUP. Capitalise of the above, call a GE and form a government capable of getting a deal through parliament.
4. "Solve" the backstop by turning it back into it's original NI only format
5. Deliver Brexit / Enjoy being the "hero"
 

Purple

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But such controversy is a wisp relative to the controversy that would emerge in Unionism if the British parliament were to legislate for a NI backstop referendum.
Maybe they should have a UK referendum on the Backstop (the UK wide Backstop) and find out just how precious most people in Britain think their precious Union is.
 

EmmDee

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This is what I believe is going on and the most likely outcome...

1. Make the "Irish" backstop the problem (if you listen carefully, he's not saying it's the only problem, it is however the most sellable and solvable (see below)
2. Talk tough with the EU (& Ireland), threaten no deal (this is a bluff, but the English electorate will lap it up)
3. Dump the DUP. Capitalise of the above, call a GE and form a government capable of getting a deal through parliament.
4. "Solve" the backstop by turning it back into it's original NI only format
5. Deliver Brexit / Enjoy being the "hero"
I agree to some extent. The backstop is a useful tool to talk about (if it wasn't that there would be something else) in order to (a) ensure nothing gets signed with the EU and (b) force Parliament to block a no deal outcome through a vote of confidence or hijacking another piece of legislation. Then call an election claiming to be the true party looking to deliver Brexit - only prevented by the nasty EU and HoC - taking the wind out of the Brexit Party to a large extent.

They must be looking at Labour and thinking the earlier the better to take them to a general election - before Labour sort themselves out. And the rest of the opposition is fragmented across 3 or 4 parties which in a FPP system is an ideal situation if you're on 30% or so.

The must also be thinking they could solve a host of other problems such as reliance on the DUP and leftish Conservative MP's (keep an eye on the deselections) giving them a free run at a host of policy changes.

This would be a nightmare for the DUP as well. They'd have no leverage, no cash to spread around and probably a disgruntled electorate. I think they'd see how much BJ actually cares about NI. I really don't see why they would think this would be a good outcome for them
 
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