The Northern Ireland department of the Centre for the Union has published a preliminary briefing paper in relation to this morning’s Supreme Court judgment in Allister et al  UKSC 5. You can download it now:
The key points from the judgment are as follows:
- This may well be a legal loss, but it is a political win. The true pernicious impact of the Protocol on the United Kingdom’s constitutional status is clear for all to see. It can no longer be denied. Rather than impede the progress of the anti-Protocol movement, this judgment will only fuel the resistance of every person who values the Union.
- The Government, despite themselves claiming they hadn’t, may well have legally subjugated the Acts of Union, but something being legal and it being morally and constitutionally proper are worlds apart. The Government will now have to bear the political cost given that their true extent of their constitutional vandalism has been exposed.
- Those in unionism who supported the Belfast Agreement did so on the basis the principle of consent safeguarded the Union. The Supreme Court has made clear that is not so. The apparent safeguard in fact only directs itself to the final surrender of sovereignty. That means law making powers could as easily be handed over the heads of unionists to Dublin, as they have been to the EU. That is not a sustainable foundation for power sharing, and therefore- in the absence of fundamental structural reform- the Supreme Court judge would seem to make it impossible for any self-respecting unionist to continue to support the 1998 Agreement, based as it is on such a fundamental deception.
- The court has found that cross community consent did not even need to be expressly disapplied, because the all-conquering provisions of section 7A of the Withdrawal Act did this by implication anyway. Of what use is cross community safeguards to unionists when the first time unionism seeks to rely upon them, they are simply disapplied?
- This judgment has cleared away the undergrowth and constructive ambiguity. It exposes the forked tongue nature of the Government, the Protocol and the Belfast Agreement. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the Supreme Court has delivered a large dose of reality to anyone who believes that the Protocol or the Belfast Agreement offer anything to unionism or the Union.