Unionist Voice Policy Studies has today published a supplementary report following on from the publication of ‘Vetoing The Protocol’ published on 6 January. As a result of UVPS legal action and the arguments set out in the initial report, on 25 January 2022 the DAERA Minister Edwin Poots referred Protocol implementation to the Executive. In the absence of cross community support for the continuation checks (which is impossible as unionism will veto it), there will be a Ministerial direction to halt all checks.
You can download the latest report: Protocol Supplementary Report 26 January 2022 UVPS
Foreword by Ben Habib
There is a sickness which pervades our liberal class. It is a disdain for the United Kingdom; for its history, its culture, its people and its unity. Somehow, these people, who themselves pervade our media, the civil service and governing institutions, have made it unfashionable generally to be proud of being British.
Patriotism has become a dirty word. Pride in our country is frowned upon. So deep is their disdain that they have no trouble in conceding rights, hard won and established over centuries, to foreign powers.
It is largely these people that wish to surrender our sovereignty to the European Union. They call it shared or pooled sovereignty. They lack confidence not just in the United Kingdom but in themselves. For if they had self-confidence, they would never give up something as precious as the right of self-determination within our sovereign unit: the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It is these same people that care not for Northern Ireland’s position in the UK as an equal member alongside England, Scotland and Wales.
There may have been some justification for the Belfast Agreement. I myself could not see it at the time. The IRA were beaten and we volunteered up defeat out of the jaws of victory. But be that as it may, the Belfast Agreement was put in place and it has endured for nearly a generation.
The Protocol, which falsely claims to protect that Agreement, is yet another entirely unnecessary step towards Irish Nationalism and the destruction of the United Kingdom. The Protocol is perfectly designed to break the East/ West dimension of the Belfast Agreement. The border down the Irish Sea is the only example in history of a country voluntarily partitioning itself without a single shot being fired.
It is a tragedy for those of us that love our country; pro-unionists feel that love much more acutely than many in Great Britain. Certainly, their love is unrequited by Westminster. It has been thus for at least the last 40 years. If this was not the case, Northern Ireland would economically be head and shoulders ahead of Ireland. It is not because successive governments have ignored it. There has been a dearth of investment in every form of infrastructure and tax rates have been way ahead of Ireland, deterring the private sector. With an open border to Ireland, Westminster’s policies in Northern Ireland have robbed it of any chance of rapid advancement. Politicians and civil servants alike see Northern Ireland as a deficit economy/ as a drain on the Treasury but they only have themselves to blame.
And now, with the Protocol, Northern Ireland is being pushed into the arms of Ireland economically, judicially, and constitutionally. We are witnessing the reunification of Ireland without so much as an enquiry of its unionist constituency. Cross community consent, a cornerstone of the Belfast Agreement, has been set aside.
The Protocol is nothing short of constitutional vandalism.
Jamie is absolutely right that those in the civil service who would support such measures must be named and shamed. Westminster is not coming to the rescue. Pro-unionists and their representatives in Stormont and Westminster must take the lead.
Time is short.
Politically, as far Her Majesty’s Government is concerned, the battle for our union is almost lost. As I type, Liz Truss is meeting Maros Sefcovic. The mood music is not good. It seems our government is not prepared to invoke Article 16 to suspend the Protocol. Instead, it seems we are very close to a deal with the EU. That deal could only mean an ongoing role for the European Court of Justice and probably alignment with EU regulations and laws on foodstuffs, livestock, medicines and the like.
There is no will in HMG to put the customs border where it should go and where a border has existed for over a hundred years. This border is explicitly recognised in the Belfast Agreement but that seems lost on our government and the civil servants tasked with implementing Brexit. Yet again the self-loathing classes in our midst are prevailing.
There is a chance [if the courts act equitably, a good chance] that the judicial review of the Protocol launched by myself and others saves the day. But it is less than ideal to have to rely on the courts for something which is inherently political and should be resolved politically.
Without pro-unionists and their leaders making their voices heard and heard loudly, the United Kingdom will be shorn back to just Great Britain; the Saltire of St. Patrick will fall from the Union flag.