Editorial tells Donaldson to “wise up” and ignore Johnson

Posted By: February 21, 2023


Distributed to Congress by the Irish National Caucus

It is something to behold when The Times of London has to warn the NI Unionists of the danger of Boris Johnson “playing the Orange card” —like the execrable Randolph Churchill. …The ultimate proof that England’s game in Ireland is up.”—Fr. Sean McManus.

Editorial tells Donaldson to “wise up” and ignore Johnson

John Manley. Irish News. Belfast. Tuesday, February 21, 2023

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson should “wise up” and ignore interventions by Boris Johnson on the forthcoming protocol agreement brokered between the UK and EU, according to The Times.

Regarded as the voice of the British establishment, the London-based newspaper describes the recent negotiations between London and Brussels as “proof… of the redemptive power of dialogue over dogma.”

But its leader warns that as the shape of the accord emerges “familiar suspects ready themselves to wreck it”.

“Motivated by cynicism and the certainties of old, they ignore what negotiations have achieved,” it says.

While critical of what it terms European Commission “intransigence” around the protocol, the paper highlights “recent significant EU re-concessions [sic]”, including ending checks on goods destined solely for the north, data sharing and “recognition that the European Court of Justice may rule on the operation of the protocol only in rare cases referred by Belfast judges.”

The Times says the Rishi Sunak-backed deal will “free Northern Ireland from EU interference while recognizing, as every constitutional bargain since the days of Edward Carson has, its singularity.”

The leader argues that because the British government has given the DUP “much of what they asked for” over the past year then Sir Jeffrey’s party should “respond in kind.”

“He is assailed by Paisleyite hardliners with whom he has little in common and Conservative opportunists who ought to know better,” it says.

The so-called Thunderer questions whether the arrangements in the revised protocol are “reason enough to deny Northern Ireland a government”?

“Grandstanding opposition may spare him [Sir Jeffrey] the ire of east Belfast’s hard men but cannot save Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom,” it says.

“Nor, for that matter, will Boris Johnson, whose friends warn that Mr. Sunak’s compromise is unlikely to pass muster.”

The newspaper is critical of the former Tory leader’s weekend intervention in which he urged the British government not to abandon the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

“Like Randolph Churchill, Mr. Johnson has concluded that the ‘Orange card’ of unionist discontent trumps all else in pursuit of power,” it says.

“Yet having agreed the 2019 deal that cut Northern Ireland adrift, Mr. Johnson alone bears responsibility for the constitutional crisis Mr. Sunak may soon resolve. He is the last person to whom anyone, especially Sir Jeffrey, should be listening.”

The leader concludes: “As the endgame approaches, Downing Street must now hold its nerve.

“Mr. Johnson should keep his counsel. And Sir Jeffrey and the DUP, as his constituents would put it, should wise up.”