For those of us who campaigned for Brexit and who are ideologically committed to the idea of national sovereignty and independence, it is a historic moment. What once seemed like a fringe political dream is about to become reality.
I have to admit that there were times I doubted whether the establishment would let it happen, in the end they have had to- not by choice but rather they have been crushed under the defiant spirit of 17.4 million British people who refused to be bullied by the EU, the political class and the liberal elite establishment.
I think back to that historic night when the results came in, I remember the sun just coming up as the BBC called it for Leave. You could see the traumatic shock on the faces of the liberal elite media establishment, which only fuelled the meltdown in the metropolitan liberal dominated world of social media; the twitterati broke down in hysteric mourning which gradually grew into a fever pitch of what has become commonly known as ‘Brexit derangement syndrome’.
How dare 17.4 million ordinary people intervene in the political project of the liberal elite- all of those who voted for Brexit were labelled stupid, racist or gently informed that we didn’t know what we were voting for. The message was clear; the liberal elite know best and us little people should vote again- and again- until we delivered the ‘right’ answer.
And so began a three year political war. They tried everything, from ‘peoples votes’ to lawfare and threats of insurrection. They told us if we didn’t change our minds we would starve, we would have no medicine, the stock market would crash, and the sky would cave in.
As a unionist in Northern Ireland Brexit provided, and still provides, an opportunity to fatally undermine the ‘process’. I have repeated this often, but it is always worth recapping. Opposition to the process is not opposition to peace, the entwining of both together into the phrase ‘peace process’ is little more than a linguistic moral blackmail tool designed to suggest you can’t have one without the other.
The ‘process’, which manifests itself in the structures born out of the Belfast Agreement, is a transitional phased approach to incrementally driving Northern Ireland out of the UK and into a United Ireland. The pre-text to the process was all-Ireland harmonisation in the context of the wider EU project. Therefore, Brexit ripped the overarching structure out of the process. That, in of itself, is worth celebrating tomorrow night.
That is why nationalism and the Irish Government kicked back so hard; they know that a full and proper Brexit demolishes their transitional ‘process’, and the idea that Northern Ireland has some hybrid British Irish status.
However, the British Government, at the 11th hour, caved into nationalist threats of violence. The context was simple; if there was a border where it should be- between the sovereign territory of the UK and ROI- then nationalism would engage in violence. And so, we were all expected to therefore ensure that no border would exist which would upset those who may otherwise terrorise us. Instead the UK Government, within the NI Protocol in what has since become known as the Betrayal Act, decided they would drive Northern Ireland into an economic United Ireland by dividing the UK internal market in order to appease nationalism.
The powderkeg precedent set has not been missed. Indeed, it will be foremost in the minds of the unionist and loyalist community as we enter the next year of negotiations. The grassroots unionist/loyalist community will resist, fiercely, the imposition of any economic United Ireland. That should come as no surprise.
I note that some career peace processors, who likely understand little about the Betrayal Act or the legislative provisions within it, or for that matter the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal (beyond what they are told to think by the NIO, DUP or funders), have expressed their annoyance at the terms ‘economic United Ireland’ and ‘Betrayal Act’.
They don’t like this rhetoric apparently. Apart from the fact that their opposition to such terms is proof enough in of itself that the truth is hitting home to the ‘process’ establishment, I would like to hear those who dislike the ‘rhetoric’ to set out their analysis of the Betrayal Act (and New Decade, New Approach) legislative provisions and explain for us all how creating an economic union on the island of Ireland, divided from GB by a customs border, is not an economic United Ireland?
Such realities may threaten the process (which let us remember is designed to incrementally ease us into a United Ireland), and failure to play along with the process may threaten Government funding, but that really shouldn’t be all that important, sure it shouldn’t?
The standard response to such challenges of course is, as aforementioned, to entwine peace with the process and say the anti-process ‘rhetoric’ threatens peace or seeks to bring us to conflict. Even though such a response is primarily derived from ‘process stockholme syndrome’, it is an intellectual brain fart devoid of any logical basis. If your argument is you can’t challenge the process because that may threaten peace, then you provide a veto to those who would threaten violence, and surely that’s the opposite of genuine peace?
Unionism has a huge opportunity with Brexit. The underlying structure of the Belfast Agreement, European harmonisation, dies at 11pm tomorrow night. As a first stage that is to be celebrated, it opens an opportunity to derail and impede the one-way process and perhaps save unionism from the only end laid out in the Belfast Agreement.
The second stage is perilous, but then again, the path to freedom is never easy, is it?
If the Betrayal Act provisions come into force, then unionism and loyalism must resist them on every level. Failure to do so would not only put our place in the union on life support, but what would the point of unionism and loyalism be if we were to merely accede to the destruction of our place in the union?
There is opportunities to remedy the situation prior to inevitable resistance when protest becomes the only option left; legal challenges is one avenue being pursued however the commitment of the British Government to legislate for unfettered access to the United Kingdom internal market, coupled with the fact we remain inside the UK customs territory, is one way in which we could be steered out of the storm and onwards to the open seas of freedom.
At 11pm tomorrow night we should celebrate- not because we have reached the promised land (breaking free from the process)- but because we have broken free from the overarching captors, the European Union. All-Ireland harmonisation in the context of a political European Union is finished.
We are in no means out of danger; an aggressive Irish Government are bearing down upon us aided and abetted by a pro-process establishment in an effort to launch a land grab, our friends in the Conservative party, it appears, stand beside the foe, but those are challenges to be faced down and navigated in the year ahead.
For now, we should rejoice at a battle won. The liberal elite establishment is defeated. Their precious globalisation agenda, their hyper-liberalism and their precious European Union has been dealt a shattering blow. Things will never be the same again.
As Brexit day comes upon us breath in the fresh air of freedom, look to the open seas and most of all, reaffirm our commitment to the only union that matters- the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Ulster Covenant is the ideological birth certificate of unionism- the commitment to resist any weakening of the United Kingdom is as strong today as it was in 1912.
Happy Brexit Day!