The B Word

Discussion in 'Politics 2.0' started by sydney_horn, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. Tbh I think the ECJ is being raised precisely because it is likely to be an EU red line. They need a perpetual war so that people don't have the chance to stand back and look at what has become of us.
    Bwood_Horn, sydney_horn and Moose like this.
  2. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    I think it’s unlikely either side will allow physical infrastructure to prevent the movement of people but yes, a hard border to trade is looking likely. That in itself will be inflammatory.

    The Brexiteers will simply try to sell this as the EU alone insisting on a hard border.

    This is the more revolutionary aspect of Brexit. It cannot do without easy European trade but cannot philosophically accept the terms put forward by that club. We are really no further beyond ‘cherry picking’ and seek to test the EU’s will to prevent this at every turn.

    The goal is seamless trade with the EU, with no fetters on how we trade with anyone else and no reciprocal obligations on our borders. The EU members to pay for an orderly union that we benefit from, but adhere to no rules of.

    Simplistically attractive, but gives not a care for why the EU can’t do that, can’t allow the end of its control on standards and level playing field. Conflict inevitable.
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  3. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    Yes, I fear that this is the case.

    The ECJ involvement was always a prerequisite for NI to operate within the SM. The only possible compromise I think the EU could offer would be to allow some UK representation on any disputes involving NI business.

    But to expect any body, other than the ECJ, to rule on EU SM disputes is ludicrous and the UK negotiators know it.
  4. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    The statements in the post above do not represent the reality of the situation.

    The goal is seamless trade WITHIN the UK, not with the EU.

    The goal of the EU may be seamless trade with Northern Ireland, but it does not have the consent of the Northern Irish people, in breach of the GFA.

    Seamless trade with the EU is not a UK goal.

    The UK has no natural internal borders, so to refer to there being so as a fact, as is done above, is a misrepresentation of the truth.

    There is, and always has been, a political and geographical border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

    If people are not even willing to discuss the stuation without insisting on acceptance of fantasy misconceptions over reality, then we are never going to get anywhere.

    The first thing any negotiator, on either side, would say to the above post is, "we do not recognise the situation you are describing".
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  5. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    And the EU negotiators know that, without the consent of the Northern Irish people, it is a breach of the GDA.

    That is undeniable, and was known by the EU before they signed a protocol that promised to honour the GFA.

    Again. Respect for the GFA is a prerequisite. EU restrictions on the trade of goods within the UK is discretionary.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
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  6. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    That's going mental is it? The left on here go ten times worse than that on posts about the Government preventing big businesses from employing cheap labour.
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  7. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    You’ve said this or similar a few times in a row now and I’m not sure if you mean what you’re saying. The European Union wasn’t a signatory to the GFA. It absolutely cannot be in breach of a treaty it wasn’t it a party to. The UK government was however a signatory to the GFA and so if it has signed a later treaty with the EU which conflicts with the GFA, it’s the UK that’s breaching the GFA.
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  8. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    If it is being suggested that the NIP breaches the GFA then that is nonsense as explained here:

    Not one court has found in favour of this argument so far and that is very unlikely to change.
  9. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    It has nothing what so ever to do with the courts. If the people of Northern Ireland feel that the EU's activity has created a situation whereby it may fairly be considered an enforced back-door sessation of Northern Ireland from the Union, then that is what it is. If it were down to what the courts think, then that would suggest that any concept of consent in the GFA would be entirely redundant.

    Right now, if the people of Northern Ireland believe the Union has been put under threat because the protocol undermines the provinces' membership in "entirety" of the Union, then that is the case.

    It is not illegal for the EU to ask for certain laws to be followed, or for the UK, with the consent of Northern Ireland, to act within them; particularly if it is in the understanding that the bloc will engage in further negotiations. That is diplomacy and politic. That does not mean that there is no breach. It is currently, with diminishing good will, being engaged with by the UK, but is reaching a point where the expectancy that the EU would honour its committments to the GFA, by engaging in negotiations to sort out the issues, have petered out altogether. Any court action, following execution of article 16, combined with protests from the Northern Irish Government, will hardly fail to recognise that rules restricting trade within the UK represent a dimunition of Northern Ireland membership of the UK in its entirety. Entirety is the word used in the GFA, and it shouldn't be simplistically mistaken to be referring to geography.

    The EU's Commitment to the GFA is a requirement. The laws that the bloc expects Northern Ireland and Great Britain to honour, are entirely discretional. The EU could drop them tomorrow. A court of law, I believe, would entirely agree with that, even if it recognised that the EU had its own good reasons for acting in its own interests.
  10. Steve Leo Beleck

    Steve Leo Beleck Squad Player

    You're making the mistake of taking the DUP/Unionist view as representative of the whole of Northern Ireland.

    There's not a lot of polling on the issue but the most recent one I can find on it shows that this isn't the case at all. As expected, it's very tight, the key bits being:

    When asked whether the Protocol is appropriate for Northern Ireland, 47% agree that it is but 47% disagree. Similarly, 43% think that the Protocol is, on balance, good for Northern Ireland, whereas 48% think that it isn’t. Nevertheless, 56% agree that the Protocol provides Northern Ireland with a unique set of post-Brexit economic opportunities.

    A majority of respondents (57%) say that they would like to see the UK agreeing to regulatory alignment with the EU... Only a minority (38%) said that they would like to see such checks and controls moved from ports and airports in Northern Ireland to the Irish land border.

    It feels like an intractable problem and one where there is no way of satisfying both sides... as predicted pre-Brexit vote. And it shouldn't be forgotten that Northern Ireland voted to stay in by a clear margin, they've been utterly shafted by people that didn't take the time to consider the effect it would have on them, or saw it as acceptable collateral damage.
  11. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Can you point to the specific bit of the NI Protocol that says this? Because I can’t see one.

    I can see text in Article 1 that says the Protocol ‘respects’ the GFA and that it “sets out arrangements… to protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions.” ie. Both the UK and the EU signed up to the premise that the NI Protocol as negotiated already protects the GFA. Other references to the GFA remind the UK of its obligations (for example Article 2) but there’s no mention of the EU having obligations because it wasn’t a party to the GFA:


    And the High Court has already agreed (in court proceedings brought against the UK government, not the EU) that the Protocol changes the Act of Union which joined Ireland to Great Britain in 1801:

    But the High Court also concluded that must have been Parliament’s express intent in agreeing to it and so gave precedence to the most recent legislation. And additionally found it did not put the UK in breach of the GFA.
  12. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    From the protocol…

    1. This Protocol is without prejudice to the provisions of the 1998 Agreement in respect of the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent, which provides that any change in that status can only be made with the consent of a majority of its people.

    2. This Protocol respects the essential State functions and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.

    3. This Protocol sets out arrangements necessary to address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, to maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation, to avoid a hard border and to protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions.

    That, clearly and without question, represents a commitment, not a casual aside.

    Again, it is not down to the courts to decide that the status of Northern Ireland has changed. If consent is secondary to the courts, then consent has become redundant.

    The GFA states that Northern Ireland’s status as a member of the Union applies to the province in its entirety. Again, that is not a geographical reference.

    Without prejudice, in all its dimensions, in its entirety.

    I do not think anyone can seriously say that the status has not changed, when restrictions on trade within the UK have emerged from the EU’s rules, which have been tolerated in the hope that the EU would seek to mitigate, along with the UK, the clear, the threats that signing the protocol presented. It cannot be denied, because of those lines, that the EU was not aware that it would have to renegotiate the protocol.

    It can prevent further breach tomorrow. But it cannot dismiss its stated commitment to the GFA without rejecting the protocol.

    I agree with one of your earlier posts, in which you said the protocol was signed in the expectancy that things would be ironed out later. Given that the protocol clearly requires respect for the GFA, I cannot see how the EU does not consider that it has a part to play in that.

    Instead they seem to have brought a mangle to an ironing party.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  13. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    I wouldn’t disagree with most of that. But I think it is worth pondering that Brexit, among the devolved communities, was seen as a protest vote. That is not dismissive, it just reflects that such decisive votes to remain are clearly, even in your post above, not reflected in polls on remaining in the Union, not in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

    If the people were shafted, why do they express having been shafted in a reduction of support for remaining in the single market, EU laws and oversight from the ECJ?
  14. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    And that poll was taken in June, before the supply issues in GB (far less impact in NI) and the recent EU proposals that have been strongly welcomed across the NI business community.

    I suspect that support for the protocol would be a lot stronger now.

    You are spot on with regards the DUP. Sometimes you would think they are the only voice in the NI government. But they are not. They are not the government. Stormont is a power sharing administration. The DUP do not speak for that government or a majority of the people.

    All the DUP can, and probably will, do is collapse the government by refusing to take part which will end up with the Secretary of State taking executive power. Not great democracy for the people.

    Trade is not a devolved power. The NI government or people do not get to vote on trade deals. Neither do GB citizens.

    The only exception to this in NI is if, under the GFA, there is a change to the status of the NI constitution that requires the people's consent.

    The DUP have tried this and have been laughed out of court. There is no constitutional change to the status of NI under the NIP. NI still remains within the UK under the Westminster government.

    But, as you say, most importantly what do the people of NI think? Well the people I know, including business owners, are more concerned about practical day to day life. They don't give two monkeys about the politics.

    That does not mean that they are not politically astute. They knew what Brexit meant for them and that's why they voted against it. And they know how disastrous any infrastructure on the border on the island of Ireland will be.

    I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the people of NI would overwhelmingly support the NIP over a return to a hard border. That is the choice Brexit has given them.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  15. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    The other thing to remember about the DUP is that they fought tooth and nail against the GFA. They never wanted it and voted against it.

    It's absolutely hilarious now that they are attempting to use it to block the NIP as though it is some how sacred to them! They want a hard border. They always have and always will and will use any tactic, however undemocratic, to achieve it.
  16. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    What an absurd argument.

    On this premise, we can assume every other party desperately wanted it, and are now whinging when their own law gets used against them.

    It was sacred to them before, so why, all of a sudden, is it no longer sacred? It is a far starker case of hypocrisy when those that wanted the agreement most, apparently, then complain about being asked to adhere to it.

    They want no border. They always have and always will and will use any tactic, however democratic, to achieve it.

    That someone thought to belittle the DUP, for standing up for its own beliefs, in such a self defeating manner would be unbelievable anywhere else.

    Countries wanting a border? Whatever next?
  17. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    Sorry, but the argument above is totally skewed, complaining that there is only a binary choice whilst rejecting every other choice.

    It also claims the limitation to such a choice is down to Brexit, yet the UK Government has been pleading with the EU to negotiate a third choice since before the protocol was signed, in the knowledge that it breached the GFA. With that promise to protect the GFA in all its dimensions, a renegotiation was a clear understanding of signing the protocol, yet the EU has decided it will go no further, despite its current position being retrograde to the position it initially set out.

    The argument just dismisses the GFA as an inconvenience and is as partisan and inconsiderate of any differeing view as you could imagine.

    Who would doubt that a renegotiated protocol that allowed an open border and removed trade restrictions would garner the most votes from the people of Ireland? The argument above tacitly recognises this, as anathema to the poster's cause, by talking around it as if it doesn't exist. i believe similar arguments were made about renegotiating the withdrawal deal, negotiating trade deals, and all the other 'impossible' things the Government has achieved in the last few years.

    The only reason renegotiation is not an option, is because the EU refuses it.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  18. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    Yes they can. I don’t see how the ‘constitutional status’ of NI has changed? It remains constitutionally part of the U.K.

    I agree its economic status has changed. But are trade restrictions ‘constitutional’?
  19. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    First events announced for the Festival of Brexit due to take place in 2022. British weather and a grow your own (cannabis?) are two of the feature events.

    The festival will take place in a busy year for Britain. It will be the Queen’s platinum (70th) jubilee and the BBC’s centenary, and the Edinburgh international festival will be 75. There will also be the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
  20. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    I think it’s in question. If it was a commitment it would be worded as such (“The United Kingdom / The Union / Both parties shall…”)

    It reads very much to me like a joint position, with both parties saying at the outset that ‘this protocol’ they have signed up to does or intends to do those three things in respect of the GFA. Setting it out like that stops any court interpreting it otherwise because the parties have explicitly stated their intent for the Protocol to be interpreted in that way. That’s why Article 1 has the title ‘Objectives’.

    It is not down to the courts to decide to change the constitutional status of NI. That can only be done by following the mechanism set out in the GFA.

    It is however down to the courts to decide if the constitutional status of NI changed, if that question is in dispute. Which according to the DUP it is.

    Possibly getting me confused with someone else.
  21. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    Exactly as the High Court said in it's judgement.

    The DUP want a hard border so they need to bring down the NIP or GFA by claiming they are not compatible.

    Fortunately they have failed completely in that endeavour so far.
  22. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    It is without prejudice to the GFA, and the GFA refers to Northern Ireland in its entirety. I believe that covers it.

    They may not have signed the agreement, but they signed a protocol that promised to protect the GFA in all of its parts.

    It is not down to the courts to say whether or not the GFA has been breached, not in the slightest. In terms of individual cases, the courts can clarify whether or not the agreement has been breached to the point where damage has been done to a party, but that has no baring on the status. At the moment, all major parties have accepted the breaches as within tolerance, but without the EU doing another thing, the UK can declare the breaches no longer tolerable, invoking article 16. The courts may choose to say no damage was done, but they cannot say there was no breach.

    I believe it is fair to describe the EU as being in breach of the GFA. Signees or not, they pledged to protect every part of it when they signed the protocol. The protocol does not trump the GFA by coming later, as the very first line in the very first article states that what follows is done without prejudice to the agreement, and therefore to Northern Ireland in its entirety.
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  23. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    The GFA refers to Northern Ireland in its entirety. If they are restricted in open trade with other parts of the Union, in a manner that the rest of the UK is not, then their membership is compromised, and their status changed.

    I am happy for you to say it is not, but both of our opinions mean nothing in this.

    Article 1 of the protocol signs the EU up to protecting all the benefits of the GFA when it purports to be operating under the protocol. It is not just about constitution.
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  24. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    So far they have tolerated the EU's behaviour at the behest of the UK Government in order to allow the parties, who are knowingly in breach of the GFA, to renegotiate the protocol. That is why we are where we are, that is why the language being used by is such that it is.

    I think it is grossly unfair to make such accusations.

    The UK is trying to create a workable protocol, the EU is saying, nah, we don't fancy that.

    This is starting to remind me of the arguments being made about why the EU shouldn't budge on the level playing field. It turned out in the end that not one person on here making that argument had the slightest idea about the effects of the level playing field. Not even realising that it would have a massive impact on every future trade deal we made, despite that being the whole point of the argument against.

    I suspect we are in a similar situation now.
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  25. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    This is a depressing piece. I don't necessarily agree with all of it but, as a former UK/EU negotiator, the author knows the EU and UK mindsets so his views have to be respected:

    If he's right then this dispute isn't going anywhere and it's only a matter of time before peace and the GFA agreement are under serious threat in NI and the UK/EU are in a trade war.

    And the sad fact is that the NIP is not only working for the people of NI, it is giving them economic opportunities that could see the 6 counties thrive for the first time in a very long time.

    Instead they are being sacrificed on the alter of political dogma, much of which is being championed by people that don't even live in NI or understand it's history.
  26. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    This, however, is more encouraging;

    It suggests an arbitration system that only involves the ECJ on disputes that directly relate to interpreting EU law.

    If that is what the UK is offering then I think there is a good chance that the EU will accept it imho.

    As the article says, a similar system was proposed for Switzerland where EU and Swiss judges would sit on the arbitration panel and only refer disputes to the ECJ for a "primary ruling" on matters of EU law.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021
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  27. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    At the very least, this suggests there are serious talks going on, and that compromise may be reached.
  28. I see they've rebranded the Festival of Brexit as 'Unboxed'.

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  29. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    I actually chortled at that. GoBE's best video post by a mile.
  30. HenryHooter

    HenryHooter Reservist

    The usual remainer utter BS. The article quite clearly is reporting the UK perspectve to New Zealanders, and even then, the only opinions it covers are those of NFU certified "Insulate Britain" crusties. Have a watch of the sequence. How many of those people are representative of the farmers you would see at a County show? But not one of them would be out of place sitting on an M25 slip road.

    As for the New Zealand perspective? The only time that is mentioned, it is described as win-win.
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  31. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

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  32. sydney_horn

    sydney_horn Squad Player

    It's equally bizarre that Morrisons decided to do it and people were bothered enough to complain about it!

    I would agree with the comment that most people want to know where there food is coming from not where it's not coming from though.
    Moose likes this.
  33. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

  34. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

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