“What did we do to the Members on those benches over there to get ripped off by this protocol?” Asked Ian Paisley in Parliament yesterday. “Ask your hearts what have we done?”
It is a cliché at this point to quote Edward Carson’s speech “What an idiot I was …”. It is boring. We all know by now. I prefer the piece after this famous line:
“And of all the men in my experience who I find most despicable are those who sell their friends to reconcile their enemies, and perhaps worse, the men who climb a ladder in whose power Even I may have been Part of a humble rung, and when they come to power, kick the ladder down without worrying about the pain, injury, calamity, or damage they do to those you have helped gain power .. ”
You didn’t do anything to the Tories, Ian. You were a useful Ulsterman. That’s what happened.
It’s like seeing someone return to the ex who keeps treating him like crap. When will the DUP realize: The Conservatives are not your friends. Drop them Throw them away. Appoint a friend to stop you when you return there.
What drives you crazy is that we all know they will be back. Paisley’s testimony is likely to go as far as the DUP will go in terms of criticizing the Tories.
Since the protocol went into effect on January 1, 2021, images of empty shelves have dominated the news. This could be a side effect of Brexit in general, or a side effect. Either way, businesses panic and we are a boat away from our entire supply chain that falls into the Irish Sea. Who knows what the log will look like in a few years. The current situation is worrying.
Who’s to blame? According to the DUP, we should point the finger at Alliance, SDLP and Sinn Fein.
“We take no pleasure in saying,” said Sammy Wilson with apparent delight, “we have told you. The Alliance Party, SDLP and Sinn Fein have stood up for Protocol and have continued to defend it.”
In parliament Stephen Farry, Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna voted against the withdrawal agreement. In the assembly, Sinn Fein, the SDLP, and the Alliance voted to withhold approval of the laws implementing the protocol.
When Wilson says the three Remain parties fought for protocol, it means that they wanted Northern Ireland to be treated differently than the rest of the UK. He’s right, but he can’t draw a straight line between that position and where we are now.
The requirement that NI should be treated differently from Britain brought a maritime border into play. It is also fair to say that the consequences of a maritime border were not really recognized when the matter was raised during the backstop debate.
But let’s be serious: the only reason the three Remain parties backstopped is because they were told the alternative was a hard line. That was put on the table when Theresa May decided to pull Britain out of the customs union and single market. The DUP supported that. They also supported every unrealistic solution that was offered to tackle a tough border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. When May proposed a deal that took a maritime border off the table, the Remain parties didn’t support him or the DUP. The party hedged its bets on the ERG and here we are.
If you look at the path to protocol that Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar agreed, the DUP has played a significant role. They didn’t get what they wanted, they may have been abused, but their actions were key. Not Alliance, not SDLP or Sinn Fein.
You may think I loved listening to paisley yesterday. I really didn’t. Northern Ireland has always been ignored by politicians in Britain and the people have suffered. This is just another manifestation of this attitude.
However, let’s be clear that the DUP cannot blame the remaining parties and exempt itself. Why don’t they direct their anger at the people who started the Protocol in the first place? Even the EU is more to blame than the political parties in Northern Ireland.
Lick your finger and hold it in the air. The parliamentary elections are on the way. Someone will have consequences at the ballot box. The blame game continues.
Fine. Great. Do it. We all point our fingers and I know who I’m blaming. But please, we can’t do this forever.
It’s not just the DUP that needs to drain the Tories. Political unionism must reject them in every way. Drop them not only because they are responsible for austerity, poverty, windrush and every other atrocity inflicted on this country over the past decade, but because they are not worth the energy and political capital. I’m the girl who’s holding her buddy back at the club because her ex got to the bar … except for me and political unionism. Drop them Do it now.
The house is burning. The man who lit the match is on Downing Street. We fight while the roof collapses. We’ll all burn if we don’t pull ourselves together.
Sarah is a writer and lawyer from Belfast.