Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Allister now the terrible twins of unionis

Posted By: September 29, 2021


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus

“Belfast Columnist Brian Feeney exposes the dangerous nonsense of Donaldson and Allister on the NI Protocol…The same thing Political Protestantism has always done in Ireland—with England’s collusion, of course—namely, when Catholics/Nationalists/Republicans are seen to make slight progress, preach grievance and warn about the loss of supremacy to their followers. … Get Fascists mobs on the streets …And who knows, they may even storm Stormont!Fr. Sean Mc Manus.


Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, September 29, 2021

On Monday the Irish Times published a joint article by Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Allister thereby announcing themselves the conjoined twins of unionism.

It was an extraordinary farrago of false assertions, half-truths, and downright misleading claims about the Irish protocol about which they have worked themselves into a lather.

What is evident about their decision to pen a joint piece is that unionism is starkly divided with Donaldson weakly and foolishly throwing in his lot with Allister whose playbook he has decided to follow blindly.

There are some easily predictable consequences. First, when you ride a tiger it will turn on you and devour you. Giving Allister a leg up by adopting his ideas and twinning with him means Donaldson has forfeited any DUP policy or strategy. Secondly, the UUP can now stand out clear and independent. The party no longer has to distance itself from the extreme anti-Good Friday Agreement position Allister promotes; Donaldson has accomplished that for the UUP. It seems beyond Donaldson’s grasp that you can’t co-write an article with a man who wants to destroy the GFA simultaneously complaining that the GFA has been damaged.

The arguments they advance in the article range from the spurious to the nonsensical. For example, the false claim that the protocol has introduced “seismic changes in the constitutional position” of the north is demonstrably wrong. They claim the damage is because part of the Act of Union was “impliedly repealed”, neglecting to point out that the High Court added that is well within the normal practice of the British doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and that it has happened several times in the past, not least by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and the subsequent establishment of the Free State in 1922.

What is particularly annoying is the repeated whinge that the protocol was “imposed without the people of NI having any say”. For some reason that didn’t bother either Donaldson or Allister who was delighted to impose Brexit on people here DESPITE the majority voting against it. In fact, Donaldson then went on to try to impose his party’s hard-line version of Brexit because they thought it would result in a hardening of the British border in Ireland.

Indeed, evidence of how determined were the DUP to achieve that objective is provided in the memoirs of Gavin Barwell, Theresa May’s chief of staff. Barwell recalls that at a crucial time in November 2018, after May had concluded her “Backstop” deal with the EU, and was touring the UK to drum up support, “The DUP were so embarrassed by the strong support for the deal from business [in The North] that they came to see May and asked her to stop the NI secretary Karen Bradley and her team from promoting it” – incredibly her own government’s policy which would have avoided an Irish Sea border. That’s how ridiculous Donaldson and his crew are.

They’re still at it. The terrible twins in their Irish Times article demand in their traditional unionist voice the “protocol must go” – just like fifty years ago “O’Neill must go”. Their alternative: guess what? “Mutual enforcement of each side’s regulations between the north and the Republic”; in other words a hardening of the British border on the island. If they don’t get that, which they won’t, well then it’s the traditional Unionist response, walkouts, boycotts, and attempted veto, trying to block implementation of any provisions flowing from the protocol in the assembly. The parting shot in their article is to appeal to the British government to invoke Article 16 and “introduce measures to keep the north a full part of the UK” denying the truth that, unfortunately, it remains so.

That’s another misleading notion: invoking Article 16 doesn’t eliminate the protocol. In fact, it kicks off an elaborate process to establish how better to operate the protocol. Refusal means EU sanctions. Brexit, turkeys, and Christmas.