The DUP feels the heat




              I suppose when you find yourself up a very smelly creek, you take assistance from anyone willing to give it to you.  And so no doubt Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is doing little somersaults and hand-stands of celebration when word came through that former Home Secretary Priti Patel has denounced the EU for its cruel willingness to allow NEI to trade in the EU. For pretty Priti, this isn’t an advantage, it’s a life-threatening disadvantage. The EU has turned into a nasty octopus which has spread its ‘tentacles of EU control over Northern Ireland”. Maybe hold the handstands, Jeffrey, for the moment.

The thing is, Jeffrey and the DUP some time back devised their own life-choking tentacles, when they set the a number of  questions that’d have to be answered  before the DUP would return to Stormont. You’ve probably forgotten them (maybe even Jeffrey has forgotten them) but here are some:

  • No new checks of any sort on goods being traded between GB and NEI
  • Compatibility with the Act of Union which says all parts of the UK should be on equal footing when it comes to trade
  • Avoiding any diversion of trade where NEI customers are forced to switch to non-GB suppliers
  • No border in the Irish Sea
  • NI citizens to have a role in any new regulations which impact them
  • No new regulatory barriers between GB and NI unless agreed by the NI Assembly


Don’t feel badly if you’d forgotten several of them – Jeffrey is doing his level best to forget most of them. Of course there’ll be checks on goods between GB and NEI – that’s what the green lanes/red lanes talk was all about. Of course the Act of Union won’t apply  – it stopped applying roughly one hundred years ago, with partition of Ireland.  No NEI customers forced to switch? Ok, you can have that one. `No border in the ….Sorry, sorry, Jeffrey, but you were having a laugh with that border-in-the-sea denial.  That one’s here to stay.No citizens to have a role in relevant new regulations? Ha! We’ve been having those for at least 100 years – get used to it.  No new barriers between GB and NEI? Ah no, Jeffrey. GB will do what suits GB and the DUP will just have to suck it up.

But good news – Chris Heaton-Harris has declared that talks with DUP are at ‘their final, final stages’. You can’t much more final than that, except you wanted to go for final final final.

The DUP faces a choice. Either it can go back into Stormont and then split, letting the Old Guard of Paisley, Wilson etc go take a flying tuck.  Or it can refuse to go back into Stormont, in which case it will leak supporters the way the Big Grand Coolie Dam leaks water. Either way, Jeffrey, it’s  going to hurt.

Once again, the old dictum will be fulfilled: every time unionism stands up and stalks off in a high dudgeon, it comes back weakened even further.

And to think that this whole stinking miscalculation centred on the EU being really bold and giving us in NEi  spectacular trading arrangements. Some people there just ain’t no pleasing.


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