Obviously, the Brexit Protocol has no direct everyday or economic effect on GB. Its only function in a GB context is as a handy flashpoint theoretical sovereignty issue which enables Ms. Truss to burnish her nationalist and anti-EU credentials for the purist Brexit peanut gallery.
However, it does have a direct everyday, economic effect on the North of Ireland. Apart from those who are paid out of the public purse (such as Baroness Hoey or loyalist activist Jamie Bryson et al), and who in consequence do not care about the N Irish economy, ordinary people in NI, businesses in NI, are <positive about the Protocol>.
“80% of manufacturers are protocol pragmatists,” said Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing NI.
“They want the protocol to work, they recognise that there are opportunities here, they want to get on with business. They need the mitigations and the simplifications that we’re all aiming for.
“It’s very difficult for businesses to stick their head above the parapet and actually talk truth to power. That’s why organisations like us exist, so we can articulate their views and try to make sure the policy makers make the right choices.”
While some unionist politicians speak of the Northern Ireland Protocol as a constitutional and business wrecking ball, Mr Kelly said the vast majority of his members view it very differently.
He said they view it as an opportunity because it guarantees continued access to the European single market as well as Britain, giving them an advantage over competitors in England, Scotland and Wales.
“Having unfettered access from sales from Northern Ireland into GB and access to the EU market is absolutely critical for us grasp the opportunity that we have,” he explained.
That’s the view from businesses in the North of Ireland. They like the Protocol.
Meantime, back on Planet Europhobe, regardless of what the inconveniently-positive NI business community may think, Liz Truss is determined to save NI from the nasty Protocol, even, or perhaps especially, if we neither want nor need such a dismally-calamitous “rescue”.
Fingers firmly in her ears to all noises from NI (unless it’s noises off from her useful idiots in the dinosaur-denying DUP), Truss says it is her “absolute priority” to resolve the “unintended consequences” created by the protocol to “maintain peace in Northern Ireland”.
Spoiler alert – it is illogical and hypocritical for any Brexiter to cry crocodile tears about peace. Truss couldn’t care less about “peace in Northern Ireland“. Given the central role of the EU in providing an overarching framework within which Irish and British nationalities could (and did) co-exist harmoniously in the North, it is rank hypocrisy simultaneously to be pro-Brexit and pro-peace in the North. The 2 things are fundamentally at odds. Brexit was a careless English nationalist 2-fingers to the very idea of cross-community harmony in the North.
Leaving that fat lie to one side though, Truss also claims, vaguely, that the “issues” apparently created by the Protocol are “myriad and manifest”, referring to citing issues such as bureaucracy on sending parcels between Northern Ireland and Britain and problems procuring kosher food.”
Hmm. Whenever I see phrases such as “myriad and manifest”, but with little by way of supporting detail, I become sceptical.
Let’s look at Truss’ “issues”:
1. “Difficulties importing kosher food from GB”. Yes, there have been issues – but there is a simple solution – import the kosher food from the South of Ireland instead. There are around 100 elderly Jewish people in N Ireland. By contrast, there are several thousand Jewish people in S Ireland, and the numbers of S Irish Jewish people are growing. Obviously, all S Irish people are continuing to have kosher food; exporting a small amount to NU is no big deal. The issue up to now has been how Britain-oriented NI’s elderly Jewish Unionist community has been – up to now, unbelievably it has never occurred to them to liaise with the Irish Jewish community down the road from them in S Ireland. As the <Jewish Telegraph Agency> noted:
“… supplies are being closely coordinated between Dublin and Belfast, and Belfast’s Jews are traveling down to Dublin to collect products like matzah for Passover. “That dynamic is definitely playing out among the Jewish communities,” said Maurice Cohen, the head of Ireland’s Jewish Representative Council. “Before, we very seldom cooperated on much – if anything at all.”
Kosher food is kosher food, regardless of whether it comes from Britain or from S Ireland. Problem solved. There’s only a “problem” if, like Truss, you can’t think Southwards.
2. “Bureaucracy on sending parcels between Northern Ireland and Britain”. I’m in a good position to judge. Unlike Ms. Truss, I actually live in N Ireland. I checked my Amazon.uk account just now, and I ordered nearly 100 items from GB suppliers during 2021. Many were books, electrical equipment, and garments. However, some were relatively unusual, such as a bale of straw, a vintage garage foot pump, a barometer, and even a custom motorbike.
Every single one of these various and varied items arrived promptly, without a hitch. No delays, no extra paperwork, no extra duties.
If there is “bureaucracy” as alleged by Ms. Truss, frankly, I have completely failed to see any evidence of it whatsoever.
So we’re left with “myriad and manifest”, which to me sounds like the kind of evasive piffle-paffle waffle resorted to by Mr. Johnson during his frequent bouts of filibustering extemporisation.
As far as I am aware, Truss has never even been to the North of Ireland. She knows little about the place, and cares less. All that’s happening here is that, in pursuit of personal power, and determined to curry favour from the English nationalist right in her party, the flip-flopping Truss is prepared to damage the North’s economic interests to achieve such ends.
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