OPINION: TUV Councillor Stephen Cooper on why he believes Brexit is unsettling Nationalists
The real Brexit fear
Stephen Cooper is a TUV Councillor representing Comber DEA. He is an opponent of the Belfast Agreement which he describes as an “appeasement process” and he formerly worked for Robert McCartney QC.
The response from Unionism to the recent report on Brexit from the Republic’s Senate has been mediocre at best.
Perhaps unsurprising, given the obvious bias towards Irish Nationalism inherent in its rather optimistic, some would say utopian, direction of its thrust.
There are two glaring facts which are entirely omitted from the report, either deliberately, or indeed, because neither of them would fit in with its general proposal of uniting N.I. with the Republic.
The Belfast Agreement is cited as the raison d’etre of the committee responsible for the report, set up to scrutinise and prepare guidelines on the implementation of said agreement.
It is obvious to even the most basic student of NI politics, that the BA came about mainly to prevent further economic damage to the heart of London by republicans, and was the pinnacle of the so called ‘peace process’ and the low point of any moral opposition to terrorism by any British Government.
That IRASF openly and repeatedly state that the BA was not a settlement, but merely a staging post to provide them a vehicle to achieve a United Ireland through political leverage within the structures therein, and the legislation, namely the NI Act 1998, which is the only mechanism in NI’s history able to deliver precisely that, is overlooked and ignored.
This salient fact is crucial to understanding what drives the appeasement process we are locked into, on the back of blackmail and the threat of further violence, and a return to what is coined by the media as, ‘the bad old days.’
The second missing piece of this complex puzzle is the effect of Brexit, from a Unionist perspective.
I view Brexit as a wonderful opportunity to consolidate the Union.
We entered the EU as the UK, we will leave the EU as the UK.
As part of the UK outside the EU, NI will integrate further with our GB counterparts, and in doing so, prevent any attempt from Dublin to try and link us with the Republic and the rest of the EU.
It is this crucial aspect which is causing the most unease amongst Irish Nationalism.
Nationalists know fine rightly that a core out-working of Brexit will result in distancing NI from the Republic, who will find themselves left inside a failing and costly experiment, looking enviously over the border at a thriving UK, independent and in full control of fiscal policy, global trade deals and vitally, our legislative authority.
As a Unionist, I see this as strengthening the case for remaining within a vibrant and growing UK, and entirely dismissing any logical reason or case for considering a United Ireland.
For those in Dublin, desperately flailing for special status and other equally silly ideas, it’s time to face up to the facts.
We are remaining in the UK, and we are leaving the EU, not the other way around.