The aftermath of Brexit looks like a black comedy, but it’s the people who suffer


If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, it can rightly be applied to dealing with the consequences of Brexit.

One of the underlying problems with the whole Brexit process is that everyone is talking about Northern Ireland, but no one is really listening to its people, those who will suffer from it.

The recent election marked a new dawn in the North — 90 people elected, including 32 women, a record 35%, and the youngest Assembly we have ever elected — but nothing has really changed.

Despite the historic nature of the vote, which propelled the Alliance to third place, the same dispute that we had before going to the polls continues.

The DUP had a terrible day, losing seven seats and blaming everything and everyone for the result.

What has become clear in the days following the vote, the people of Northern Ireland will gain very little.

To no one’s surprise, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson did not take his new MP seat and returned to Westminster, co-opting former MP Emma Little-Pengally there instead.

The party declined to name a speaker and will continue to stonewall Stormont until their concerns over Northern Ireland protocol are addressed.

There are, no doubt, concerns in the Unionist community around the Protocol. Those who consider themselves British are uncomfortable with the idea of ​​severing a link with the British mainland. These concerns are also shared by the Ulster Unionist Party.

The main difference is that the UUP is unwilling to ransom Stormont.

Their leader, Doug Beattie, astutely points out that Northern Ireland needs a seat at the table when it comes to protocol, and without a functioning Stormont, the voice of the people will go unheard.

A total of 53 of the 90 people elected last week support the Protocol. It should be a clear message that the electorate is behind the deal.

All Northerners will live under Protocol – they should be the main players in this spectacle – but the UK government has shown no signs that it wants to listen to anyone other than those who voted for it. Jeffrey Donaldson’s Democratic Unionist Party.

The DUP is in freefall, with infighting, leadership uprisings, votes hemorrhaging, they are quickly running out of options.

Today Boris Johnson is visiting the North.

The British Prime Minister, who brokered the protocol the DUP so deeply despises, is now threatening to tear it up.

Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney has argued that tearing up the Northern Ireland protocol could undermine the peace process and make headlines around the world that the UK government is breaking international laws.

He stresses the need to address the concerns of trade unionists, but he pointed out that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland supported the protocol.

The British Prime Minister, who brokered the protocol the DUP so deeply despises, is now threatening to tear it up.

“Let’s not forget it’s not just about unionism,” he said. “Of course it must be partly a matter of trade unionism, but a majority of people in Northern Ireland voted against Brexit and would vote against Brexit again in the morning if it were offered to them.

“A majority of people in Northern Ireland are in favor of the protocol as they see it doing a reasonable job of dealing with the disruption of Brexit in the Irish circumstances.

“There is a minority, a large minority within trade unionism, which is unhappy with the protocol,” he added.

With the relationship between the UK and the EU in tatters, things don’t seem to be hoping this issue will be sorted out any time soon.

Boris Johnson’s government says it wants to change the protocol because it creates “political instability”, even though Brexit, which it pushed, has caused the worst period of political instability in Northern Ireland since the Troubles.

Brexit has been a pantomime from the start, and the black comedy about it all is that the biggest supporters of Brexit were the DUP itself.

The DUP got Brexit wrong, just as it got it wrong when it rejected the Good Friday deal. The party has been out of step with the public for years.

The fear is that they are squandering any potential opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland.


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