The corrosive effect of English nationalism in the Westminster parliament
17 January 2022
As a native of Bessbrook now living in London, I continue to take a keen interest in the political situation in Ireland, north and south. As a result I see little in the Northern Irish media about the corrosive effect of English nationalism in the Westminster parliament. For more than 20 years English nationalism has been on the rise, culminating in the hardest Brexit anyone could have imagined either in Britain or in observing it from abroad.
This trend has all but eliminated well-intentioned ‘one nation Tories’ from parliament and seen the gradual strengthening of the hard right. It has encapsulated the hapless DUP contingent as well and succeeded in putting sovereignty ahead of any other policy option, always. It is now in danger of derailing the Irish Protocol negotiations and in doing so exposing the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement to great existential danger.
These people know little about Ireland, north or south. Their interests are singular – England. They will stop at nothing to have their way. Forget that the protocol was a comprise commitment to ‘get Brexit done’, or that the Good Friday Agreement is lodged in the United Nations as a Treaty. It has already been acknowledged by them that international agreements might or could be broken in the ideological quest for absolutist independence based on sovereignty.
Over in London there is scant knowledge that a majority of people in Northern Ireland as represented by Alliance, Sinn Féin, the SDLP and at least half of the Ulster Unionists, as well as many in the business community, wish the protocol to remain and the government to accept the EU proposals for reforms; nor that they wish to keep Northern Ireland in the single market; nor that it is what a majority of its people voted for.
All that these right-wing English nationalists believe is that the DUP and its hangers on are on the side of sovereignty and the maintenance of the union at any price.
They have ever-increasing influence at Westminster. The wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland is certainly not their priority nor is the maintenance of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement – internationally accepted treaty or not.
The only alternative to removing the protocol-related administrative requirements down the Irish Sea and keeping Northern Ireland in the Single Market, which a majority of its people voted for, is the return of a hard border in Ireland.
Latest Downing Street party
12 January 2022
The latest drinks party in the Downing Street garden reportedly attended by both Boris Johnson and his future wife Carrie Symonds when everyone else in the country was in strict lockdown, is absolutely typical of the double standards and hypocrisy of this government and Tory MPs.
It is truly remarkable that Tory MPs are apparently able to keep two seemingly contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time. On the one hand they have refused to wear masks in the House of Commons and complained about the way that covid regulations constrain their ‘liberty’ and limit their freedoms. Yet on the other hand they support Home Secretary Priti Patel’s draconian legislation that would greatly restrict peaceful protest and give the police greater powers.
So yet again the government are making clear that in their view, there is one rule for them and another for everyone else. That they are entitled and above the law. Freedom for them and restrictions for everybody else.
Their ‘freedoms’ are what is important to them, the rest of us can go hang! The whole unedifying Owen Paterson saga where Johnson and his subservient Tory minions sought to control the whole judgement process on abuse of power to suit their own interests was absolutely typical.
The British people are growing to realise that frequently Boris Johnson uses a convenient ‘crisis’ to distract attention from his sleaze and corruption, often when Tory ‘freedoms’ are seen as providing another way to further entitlement and wealth.
Another sleaze outbreak appears in the media and we then have endure yet another lecture from Johnson from lectern on why everyone must obey the rules, just to distract us from his latest entitled debacle!