LibLink: Christine Jardine: Boris is putting peace process in peril

As Liz Truss prepares to tell Parliament how exactly the British Government intends to ride a coach and horses through the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated by itself, Christine Jardine writes in the Scotsman about the dangers this poses to the Peace Process.

She starts by writing about how she felt when the IRA first announced its ceasefire back in 1994.

But in that moment it seemed, for the first time, that there might be a bright, positive peaceful future for the people of Northern Ireland. For everyone touched by the euphemistically named ‘Troubles’.

Thirty years later, they have reached a point where they have, to a previously unimaginable extent, put the bitterness and pain of those years behind them.

So to be faced with the realisation that it might all be undermined by an unnecessary dispute born of the Brexit debacle and government intransigence is astonishing.

She condemns the Government for the threat it is posing to the Union.

It is hard to avoid the suspicion that a government, under fire, struggling to get on top of a cost-of-living crisis, is using the most socially and politically fragile area of the UK as a football.

More than that, it often feels as if the Conservatives are playing unacceptable games, not just with the people of Northern Ireland but with the Union.

She outlines the potential consequences of the Government’s actions:

If the Conservatives persist with their ideological approach, it could result in a trade war with our closest allies in the EU.

In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, and when we need to work together to support Ukraine and oppose Russian aggression in Europe, it is hard to imagine a more self-damaging approach.

Worst of all, any unilateral action by the UK Government on the Protocol would only increase instability in Northern Ireland.

She calls on the Government to think again, highlighting the obvious solutions that are open to it:

This government must recognise what needs to be done now to protect that achievement. Get round the table, find a political solution with the EU.

The people of Northern Ireland, indeed all of us, deserve no less.

You can read the whole article here.

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8 Comments

  • Barry Lofty 17th May '22 - 2:43pm

    The recent elections in NI should prove to Boris Johnson and his government which way the wind is blowing with regards to his and the DUPs thinking on the Protocol

  • Christine – excellent article, but….. Can we /PLEASE/ stop calling him Boris? Every time I see one of our MPs doing this I really wince. This is not a trivial point. The ‘lovable buffoon’ image is a key part of how he weasel-ed his way into power, and how he delivered Brexit, and he still uses it to avoid questioning now. The quirky eccentric with the funny name and the ruffled hair – “He’s so un-threatening. How can you worry about someone called Boris? Let’s vote for him. It’ll be a laugh.” By calling him Boris we’re participating in all that cr*p, doing the Tories messaging for them.
    When Major was PM we didn’t talk about ‘John’. Nor did we say “Tony is wrong on Iraq”. Nor did we talk about ‘Gordon’, or ‘David’, or ‘Theresa.’ OK some folk called Thatcher ‘Maggie – but I would regard that as additional evidence for my argument. Referring to them by cute first name terms makes them seem cosy and likeable. Why do we play their game??
    Please everyone – call him Johnson. Or Boris Johnson, or the PM. He’s not a child or a puppy. He’s a grown man doing a hugely important job, and doing it badly. That should be our message. We shouldn’t be reinforcing the popular, non-political image he wants.

  • Nonconformistradical 18th May '22 - 7:26am

    @TonyH
    “He’s a grown man”

    Are you absolutely sure about that…?

  • TonyH,
    Christine – excellent article, but….. Can we /PLEASE/ stop calling him Boris.

    But she didn’t. Nor did The Scotsman. If you use the link in the article you can go to The Scotsman and read the article in full. The title of the article has “Boris Johnson” and in the article the Prime Minister is not referred to or named. It is LDV who changed Boris Johnson to Boris.

  • David Goble 18th May '22 - 9:15am

    I can’t help thinking that a lot of these so-called “problems” are being created by the PM to boost his own image. He is using these situations to portray himself as the “defender” of Britain against the “evil EU” in order to give the impression that he is doing something positive; as I’ve said before, this Government has no social conscience!

  • Jenny Barnes 18th May '22 - 9:29am

    “this Government has no social conscience!”
    “Why, they don’t even care if Jimmy Crackcorn” Tom Lehrer

  • @MichaelBG – In that case, my apologies to Christine. And I direct my message to LDV editors instead!

  • Peter Hirst 21st May '22 - 4:37pm

    History will inform us that if BJ had taken all the implications of a hard Brexit into consideration he would never have joined that side. He allowed his political ambitions to override his judgement. He will be judged to have acted callously for a whole variety of reasons.

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