Archive for the 'Good Friday Agreement' Category

The UKSC Ruling on Article 50 and the Future of Northern Ireland

So the GFA and the subsequent agreements based on it were a way of guaranteeing (to the unionists) that NI would stay within the UK but also of guaranteeing to the Irish nationalist people that while they had to stay in (for them) the wrong country, their identity would be respected and NI would be linked to the RoI through a series of cross border talking shops and the role of the RoI state as a guarantor of the GFA.
So everything went relatively OK for a while. Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley developed quite the bromance and later even Mc Guinnness recognized Peter Robinson was doing his best in spite of the backwoods element in his own party.
All this allowed
Sinn Féin to deal with its own internal tensions, centered on the fact that they had settled for administering British rule rather than overthrowing it. Fundamental to this was the increasing irrelevance of the border in the context of ever closer union between the EU nations. The border would still be there but you’d never notice it if you didn’t want to
But Arlene Foster is not Ian Paisley or even Peter Robinson. She has, either through conviction or necessity, reflected the views of the Protestant supremacist elements in her own party. The DUP is basically UKIP in its culture and attitudes. Not an inch! is its attitude to things of symbolic importance to nationalists like giving some sort of legal status to the Irish language. So gradually Sinn Fein tired of this.
And then came the referendum and then the as for cash scandal and then Mc Guinessess’s health problems. And Sinn Fein basically said, “Fuck this for a game of cowboys” and brought down the executive. When this happened the SDLP, the moderate nationalist party in NI called for joint administration of NI by Dublin and London. That’s the SDLP eh, which was probably founded with a helping hand from MI5, back in the day. SF are in danger of being outflanked on their green side by the SDLP.
And now the UK Supreme Court has ruled that regardless of the GFA or anything else, Northern Ireland can be yanked out of the EU without consultation with the NI Assembly, that from the point of view of Brexit it’s no different from Essex. So, all that talk about not reintroducing a hard border etc NI is being dragged much farther away from the rest of Ireland than it was before and the courts have confirmed that there’s nothing the NI Assembly can do about that. And
So what would you do if you were in SF or the SDLP? What would your argument for going back into government with in NI be, given that one of the central planks of the GFA had been kicked away and that the principal unionist party was doing an ever more convincing imitation of being a Protestant/Unionist supremacist movement?
As long as the bulk of the republican people continue to support SF there’ll be no major upsurge in violence. But we’re now in totally uncharted territory and there’s good reason to very concerned.

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