Is Steve Baker Eating his pie Alone?
Sticks and stones may break my bones…but sometimes words just aren’t enough. Steve Baker, NI Minister has apologised to Ireland and the EU for “Not always behaving in a way that would mean they would trust us in the Brexit negotiations.” The problem with that is the UK has never actually earnestly or honestly negotiated with the EU and by extension Ireland, regarding either Brexit or the NI Protocol. With constant threats to activate Article 16, it has shown the EU and Eire that the UK was not seriously negotiating but instead wanted its cake and to eat it too…and the pavlova as well.
The EU has indicated on various occasions that negotiation could easily lead to most of the paperwork being done away with on goods crossing the Irish Sea. it has shown good faith on medicines and various other goods including plants, agri-goods, and more, but that has never been good enough for the UK. As I said, it wants its cake and the rest. What has to happen now is the UK must start negotiating for real. For instance, when Donald Trump was seeking re-election, the UK government under Boris Johnson shut down negotiations altogether for almost six months because Trump promised the UK the ‘deal of the century’. Subsequently, the UK government put all their eggs into the already over-egged Trump which as we know now meant when Trump lost, and the more Irish-aligned Biden took office, it left negotiations six months behind, if not more – time which could have been used to negotiate a deal.
Stevie boy claims he is willing to eat humble pie if it means fixing relations between the UK, Ireland, and the EU. However, I’d bet no one has forgotten that Mr. Baker was once the Chair of the ERG which was one of, if not the most predominant group pushing Brexit forward, the same group which dumped the DUP when they were all but disappeared from Westminster…essentially when they were of no further use to them. Contrary to what some Brexit supporters thought with Liz Truss taking the PM’s office, instead of getting the Iron Maiden who was determined to lay waste to EU Protocol and the EU in general, they seem to have got some kind of fumbling cross between a lump of wood and an economic illiterate.
If Steve Baker thinks a few words apologising for bad faith negotiations while Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor rows back on the 45p tax rate, while his boss throws him under the proverbial bus for a “fiscal event” which the PM, Liz Truss had to personally green light is going to make things all right in a state which has been used as fodder by the British government, then he has another thing coming.
Already today we have had Loyalist influencers say “he can eat humble pie himself”, with others claiming the UK should never apologise to Ireland. That second point shows just how much venom is being displayed that a British Minister would dare to apologise. The superiority from that one stinks. Maybe next time a British Minister can apologise for the British occupying Ireland for centuries and the heartache and pain it brought. After all, if this statelet wasn’t part of the UK we wouldn’t need to worry about Brexit and our past would never have materialised in the way it did. Anyhow, I digress – apologies are all well and good if changes are made and those changes are positive and seek to help the people of the North rather than holding us back as it seems the UK has been doing when looking at the figures on trade and growth since the Protocol took hold.
Realistically, restarting negotiations on the NI Protocol is a positive outcome but having a former Chair of the ERG as NI Minister can only set warning bells ringing for anyone attempting to negotiate anything, especially in the EU. Sitting out of Stormont is all Unionists have left in their “whole imperial arsenal”. They’re becoming an embarrassment in Westminster if they weren’t already and going by interviews of English folk, they’re genuinely sick of the DUP and NI Unionism which more and more are viewed as extremist. With rallies and conversations being organised in Wales, Scotland, and in Ireland on independence from the UK, it is only a matter of time before the EU gains possibly two new member-states while the Northern 6 counties of Ireland rejoin the EU. Ironically, having a border poll and getting a YES vote for a united Ireland would make the NI Protocol redundant and indeed void, solving all our problems on that front…just saying.