Here’s Arlene Foster, after the DUP’s meeting with Boris Johnson:
“During today’s meeting, the Prime Minister confirmed his rejection of the Northern Ireland-only backstop and his commitment to securing a deal which works for the entire United Kingdom, as well as our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland.”
So is that it? The hope that, by reverting to the original Theresa May plan which would have given our misshapen corner the best of both worlds – access to the EU market, access to the UK market – is out, out, out? If so, this must be a spectacular example of not looking a gift horse in the mouth but choosing instead to shoot it in the head .
Why would Boris turn away from the only apparent escape route from the hellhe has created, where no deal seems the most likely outcome? Well, maybe he thinks a British general election is coming soon and it might be tight and he wants the DUP votes onboard. Or maybe like Theresa May he actually believes in the sacred Union, even though he should know that a border in the Irish Sea doesn’t mean our m. c. will be constitutionally threatened. The only threat to the present constitutional arrangements will be a border poll. I know that, you know that, Arlene knows that – for God’s sake, even Edwin Poots knows that. Then why so anxious about a border in the Irish Sea?
Because people might get used to thinking about Ireland as one unit, its top bit in Malin Head and its bottom bit in Mizzen Head. There’s a DUP fear that cross-border trade will become too enmeshed, that working together will be so obviously of mutual benefit that those traditionally unionist might ask themselves “What are we doing, letting a shower of Westminster Walkers (I think that’s how you spell it) make our decisions, when we here on this island obviously know what’s best and worst for us?”
But now Boris has, according to Arlene, promised that he’ll not go for a NI-only deal with the EU. If that’s what he actually told her, there are only three possible motivations behind his promise: (i) He thinks the DUP may become necessary lobby-fodder after a general election; (ii) He actually is a unionist, just like Theresa May, and he’s as sensitive as the DUP to anything that might shift Irish thinking by a millimetre towards Irish unity; and (iii) He’s doing what he and Donald Trump do best: he’s lying. He lied about the £350 million a week to the NHS, even though it was plastered in big letters on the side of a London bus. A man who can do that with effortless ease and no shame would have no hesitation, if it suited his purposes, in getting Dominic Cummings to drive the bus while he arranged the ten DUP MPs in a neat row, bound wrist and ankle, the better for Dominic to drive over them then, quickly going into reverse gear, driving over them again, this time backways, just to be sure.