DUP fully aware of protocol advantages

Posted By: December 04, 2022



Distributed to Congress by Irish National Congress

“The London government still peddles the Big Lie that

 the Protocol is the problem in Northern Ireland.

In this article, Brian Feeney in his usual no-nonsense way

dismisses this nonsense.”—Fr. Sean McManus

DUP fully aware of protocol advantages

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Michael Russell, president of the SNP speaking at the Ulster Hall last week, lamented that while both Scotland and the north of Ireland were dragged out of the EU against their express will, Scotland has no special arrangements to mitigate the economic, personal, and societal losses that have followed.

He pointed out that here [Northern Ireland] of course we have.

What is particularly appalling is that the people who loudly rail against the protocol also know perfectly well that the special arrangements contained in the protocol mitigate the impact of the disastrous Brexit deal as far as possible. Yet we have this astonishing, though not surprising, campaign of intellectual dishonesty waged since February 2021 by the DUP and their extremist supporters in the TUV. We know they can see the advantages because until the end of January 2021 the DUP was telling people correctly the protocol was a gateway to opportunity.

Two things happened in rapid succession. First, an opinion poll indicated that a large number of DUP supporters believed the vaporings of the TUV one-seat wonder [Jim Allister]; but secondly, senior Conservatives including the negotiator of the disastrous Trade & Cooperation Agreement, David Frost, encouraged the DUP to oppose the protocol and they visited the north to lend support to the most vociferous opponents. They did so because they saw that egging on unionist opposition provided a weapon to use against the EU to dismantle part of the Withdrawal Agreement they had never intended to honor. Once again, the DUP suckers and dumb loyalist rioters in April 2021 were used as cannon fodder.

The hypocrisy from the British government was astounding in its transparency. The DUP can be ridiculed for their stupidity, ineptitude, and gullibility, but the Conservatives knew exactly what they were doing. As Vaclav Havel wrote about the Czech communist party, “they didn’t even pretend to pretend.” Their line against the EU was as follows, OK, so you want to protect the Good Friday Agreement? Right. We’ll concoct the circumstances where we can create and publicize the fiction that the very device you created to protect the GFA – the protocol – is damaging it, and furthermore, we’ve got the dupes (or should that be DUPs?) to do it. The stratagem was so transparent even the Americans could see through it from 3,000 miles away. Accordingly, Joe Biden instructed his chargé d’affaires to warn off David Frost in June 2021.

However, despite the fulminations of the DUP through spring and summer 2021, we know that what passes for the leadership in the DUP were fully aware of the advantages of the protocol they were damning. We know because at the time his leadership of the DUP was reaching terminal velocity that summer, Edwin Poots was writing to the British government asking for special arrangements for farmers here to prevent them (including him) from being dragged out of the EU subsidy system. In other words, he was asking, wait for it, for people here to be treated differently from people in GB, exactly what he spent all that year protesting against.

Of course, he didn’t make a public issue of it.

We’ve now reached the point where important figures in finance, business and government are saying publicly Brexit has been a monumental failure and polls show most people in Britain think it was wrong to leave the EU. Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister says, “Everyone went through the pandemic and goes through the war in Ukraine. Ireland is the best, UK the worst performer. What’s the difference? Brexit and only Brexit is devastating the British economy and destroying young Britons’ future.”

Obviously, Jeffrey Donaldson thinks all these people but he are out of step.