Thursday, 25 February 2021

NI Protocol: Alternatives?



By Willie Drennan

I have been railing against the NI Protocol from the moment this devious assault on fundamental principles and rights was announced.

Pro-EU and pro-Protocol people often chide, scoff and smugly ask “what are the alternatives?”  Fair enough.


Basically, I have long held optimism that Brexit, after initial dangerous times, could lead to Glorious Opportunity  for the ancient divisions in Ireland to be permanently sealed away behind some glass case in a museum. More on that coming up.

First of all, on the short term, there are simple alternatives to the ludicrous Sea Border aspect of the Protocol. There is really no need at all for a hard border – anywhere within the British Isles. The movement of goods between EU and any part of the UK can be registered, monitored, traced and checked at any point of transaction: at source and destination or at at any point of transport in between.

 Occasional physical checks on vehicles transporting goods in either direction can take place at any time and anywhere. Such checks do not need to take place at a border post to disrupt flow of travel. All this can be assisted by mutual cross-border enforcement and sharing of cross-border intelligence.

The short-term alternatives and mutually beneficial solutions could really be that simple if there was a genuine will for them to happen.


The longer-term and even more crucial problem with the Protocol is more complex to remedy. The Protocol rides roughshod over the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement of 1998, The Act of Union of 1801 and the ignored  Common Travel Area.


Politically, a petition to invoke Article 16 of the Protocol has been received by the UK government and will hopefully be debated at Westminster. Article 16 allows a unilateral challenge to any aspect of the protocol that appears to cause economic or societal harm. This in itself will not solve the problems of the protocol as any discrepancies are first of all debated by the EU's Joint Committee, then by the EU's Arbitration Panel, and all over-seen by the EU's European Court of Justice. The EU have good reason to confidently believe they have the legalities all sussed.

It is still important for Article 16 to be triggered and debated so that the public can have some understanding of what has taken place and what is going on.


A legal action against the protocol has also been initiated and has the wide support of Unionists in Northern Ireland as well as prominent people in Great Britain. This is on the basis that the NI Protocol breaches the Act of Union, implemented in 1801, and the Agreement of 1998.

Once again the EU, the Tony Blair Institute, pro-EU political elites in UK and Irish Nationalists all believe they have all the legal loopholes covered: as part of their Weaponisation of the Irish Border Strategy.  They probably have good reason for their smug confidence because they know that the Belfast/ Good Friday Agreement was necessarily vague: with essential “constructive ambiguity” and unconstructive ambiguity.  

This essentially means it can be interpreted in any way by any justice system that might want to interpret it to suit their needs. The Protocol gives license to the EU and its ECJ to use, abuse and interpret to suit its agenda.


The UK courts may rule that the NI Protocol breaches both the Act of 1800/01 and the 1998 Agreement.


In which case alternatives need to be sought regardless of what the EU think.


On the other hand the UK courts may decide that the protocol breaches the purpose and spirit of the previous legislation, or something similar in their jargon, but does not legally breach anything.


In which case alternatives still need to be sought regardless of what the EU think.


I say this as it will still be the case that the vast majority of unionists will remain convinced that the constitutional promises made to them have been blatantly breached. Regardless of what any court decides the legal position to be, the Belfast Agreement and NI Protocol will be unsustainable and unworkable anyway.

So, regardless of judicial or political de:isions, the pro-EU and pro- protocol contingent are quite right to ask what the alternatives are to the EU's elaborately-contrived grand scheme.

On the short term what is required is cool heads all around. On the longer term everyone on the island of Ireland, and indeed everyone in the British Isles as a whole, need to consider and debate a way forward that could be mutually beneficial and economically stabilising. We should all be thinking about alternatives to the Protocol that would offer peace and stability for future generations.

In recent times relationships within Northern Ireland and relationships between the Republic of Ireland and the UK have been positive and mutually respectful - perhaps more so than at any time in history. Well, that was up until recently when the EU managed to pull the ancient trick of divide and conquer. EU supporters will of course blame it all on Brexit and pro-Brexit politicians, but that is now a redundant debate because we are where we are.

This is what is happening on the island of Ireland right now. Along with elite politicians and their devotees in Ireland and UK, the EU has stolen the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement from all of the people

The Irish political elite are no longer either Free Staters or Irish Republicans. They seem to have lost respect for their forbears who campaigned for, and fought and died for, liberty from a foreign power.


It will seem unrealistic to project for an independent Irish nation once again, in these times when a clear majority still seem to support the notion that “Ireland is the EU” -  to quote Leo Varadkar. But there is a movement for Irish freedom and it is surely bound to grow the more it becomes evident the EU couldn't care less about the Irish people. The movement for "Irexit" is surely bound to grow as it becomes more evident that the EU will use and abuse the people, in any of their states, whenever considered necessary to solidify and expand the EU's power base.


This should be at least considered as a potential alternative.


This would mean that, while the Republic of Ireland would have its independence again, the people in Northern Ireland would have the same connection to the rest of Ireland as the rest of the UK would have. 

The border would be back to being invisible while people in Northern Ireland would retain its present place and democratic freedoms within the United Kingdom.

An independent ROI would have free trade with its closest market and benefit from an independent UK's new trade deals across the globe.

An independent ROI would secure the Common Travel Area Agreement with the UK as it would no longer be susceptible to potential EU interference.

Should there develop a clear desire for a border poll, as allowed for in the 1998 Agreement, that could take place in a more suitable peaceful and stable environment. The people could decide if they wanted to change who they paid their taxes to, and which flags to fly, at that point. A Border Poll/ 2nd EU Referendum is currently highly improbable for obvious reasons.

It is even possible that an independent Ireland could have a different relationship with the EU than the UK currently has: as part of EFTA perhaps? It is even possible that an independent Ireland could have the best of both worlds if the majority in Ireland wanted that.


All this may seem just fanciful, unrealistic day-dreaming, but at least it as an attempt at positive alternatives. The situation that the EU is currently imposing offers more of the same old story of having unnecessary bitter divisions thrust upon us by external authoritarians: the same old story of the people being divided and conquered yet again.






Sunday, 7 February 2021

NI Protocol: Endgame of Border Weaponisation

 





The N1 Protocol is the outworking of the EU's weaponisation of the Irish border and the weaponisation of the Belfast Agreement.

The weaponisation was a classic, straightforward divide and conquer strategy: the type that's been around since time immemorial. The island of Ireland was a sitting duck with its built-in ancient divisions. The ancient divisions have been in healing mode for some time: but not long enough that they couldn't be stirred up again.


The Belfast Agreement/Good Friday Agreement has two names for good reason. The language of the Agreement was necessarily complex, vague and duplicitous as it had to mean one thing to nationalists and another thing to unionists. Just about everybody in Northern Ireland came to understand this, to tolerate and accept this, as the compromise that was essential to lay the foundations stones for return to a normal peaceful society - after 28 years of futile conflict that left families and communities devastated and traumatised..


It has worked fine until the EU got its grubby hands on it - to pursue its agenda of solidifying and expanding its power-base. I'm not a lawyer but I am convinced that this Protocol totally wrecks the spirit, principles and purpose of the Belfast Agreement/ Good Friday Agreement.

Why did the UK government sign up to this?



The Sea Border is but one symptom of this toxic Protocol that should be deemed criminal under international law. The madness of the Sea Border is currently being well highlighted on social media – to include the fact that British soil is now no longer permitted on British soil. I know. It really is almost unbelievably stupid.

Why did the UK government sign up to this?




The fundamental problem, among many problems, is that there is no escape mechanism for Northern Ireland. The supposed vote after four years is a total farce. It's an elaborate con. The Protocol breaks the cross-community Consent Principle of the GFA in hopes that a majority vote in Stormont will deliver a vote in the EU's favour. Failing that they have set it up that the EU's European Court of Justice gets two years to interpret the legally-vague GFA - however it sees fit. They get their way regardless. There is no escape mechanism for not just Northern Ireland, but for the whole of the UK.

Why did the UK government sign up to this?


There is no need for hard border anywhere for movement of goods. Especially not within the UK.

If EU wants to check goods coming in from UK they can do that at any point of transaction – at source, during transit and at point of delivery - via a basic laptop. Occasional physical checks can be carried out anywhere. No need for this to happen at a border between UK and ROI which is legally bound to remain open due to the Common Travel Area.


Lorries containing goods not registered will be breaking the law and jeopardising their company. Small quantities could be delivered into ROI by smugglers in the boots of their cars. They can also be traced and dealt with by law as well. Irish smugglers know this. They take the risk anyway. They can't help themselves. It has been in their blood for generations.


The relentless hard border fear-mongering is a blatant scam, a ruse. It is really all about the EU affirming its authority and control, backed by their globalist partners in mainstream media, USA and China; and their cohorts within the UK and Irish establishments.


Even in the scenario where the EU would insist on having tariffs on goods: that can all be collected and paid for online. This is the 21st Century. If EU/UK officials had wanted to, they could have set up a relatively hassle-free system for trade between UK and EU four years ago.


Northern Ireland is their trophy. It has been their glorious victory that gives them global bragging rights on how they they tricked the rebellious Brits. It is their master stroke that enabled them to bluff Brexit voters in UK into thinking that they had achieved a real Brexit – when the EU was really still in a position of influence and jurisdiction over many aspects of British law. It is what they needed to discourgae other EU states from jumping ship. It is the proof they needed to demonstrate that it is not a good idea to mess with the EU overlords. 


The EU devotees within the UK obviously told the EU not to be worrying about the daft plebs in Northern Ireland. Most of them, they probably thought, wouldn't notice or wouldn't care. The ones that did care would huff and puff a bit but they could be easily bought, bluffed or otherwise sorted. That last bit could be their downfall in their devious, otherwise immaculate strategy – the weak link in their grand scam.



There is currently a petition to trigger Article 16 of the Protocol. This allows for the Protocol to be challenged in Westminster. The petition reached its threshold of 100,000 votes within 36 hours of it being posted. This is important, if for no other reason than spotlighting the absurdity of this Protocol. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove will do their utmost not to trigger it as they signed up to it.

Why did the UK government sign up to this?


Hardcore EU devotees within UK and their global mainstream media are all promoting the notion that the Protocol is here to stay, that it can't be tampered with. The Tony Blair Institute confidently and smugly explains why the EU has all their i's dotted and their t's crossed.

They have good reason to be so smug of course, for now. They know that any contention to the Protocol gets dealt-with initially by the so-called Joint Committee that the EU set up. After that any unresolved contention would go to the Arbitration Panel that they have also set up. There will be some UK representation on these quangos. When we find out who the UK representatives are we can expect solid pro-EU quangos. Anything else would be a shock. Even then after all that it, would go to the EU's very own European Court of Justice to pass judgement. It could take years.

Why did the UK government sign up to this?


The Act of Union of 1801 can be breached without most politicians even noticing - without mainstream media even noticing.

Why did the UK government sign up to this?

I have also been amazed that the Common Travel Area gets overlooked by virtually everyone except the EU. They get the significance of it alright. That's why, in the Protocol, they now represent their member state in the CTA.


The CTA that has allowed millions of Irish people to move, settle down, work and vote within the UK. Due to the CTA there are now more people living in GB who can have an Irish/EU passport than there are Irish people currently living in the Republic of Ireland. And it works vice versa of course. It has worked very well for all concerned since 1923.. Now that it has essentially become an agreement between the UK and the EU, everyone in the geographical region of the British Isles should be concerned.


A minority among Leave voters in GB may think it matters little if little Northern Ireland is annexed by the EU. They need to understand that the Common Travel Area between the UK and the EU will still be in place no matter what transpires. It doesn't require a very imaginative brain to envisage potential problems when, under the Protocol, no unilateral changes can be made to the CTA. The EU owns ROI. The ROI currently is the EU. Leo Varadkar boasted that “we are the EU”. There's nothing to stop the EU creating new laws that may impact upon the CTA. In that scenario there is nothing, under international law, that the UK, or Ireland, could do about it. Time for people in GB and on the island of Ireland to start thinking about this, for the sake of the next generations.



Annexation of part of the UK into the EU without the consent of the people in that part of the UK is underway. They are currently trying to achieve, via sleazy disingenuous covert methods, what the IRA spent 28 years trying to do and what the Nazi's spent 6 years trying to do – break up the UK through bombs and bullets. The new 21st Century approach to war is through stealth and deception; the rewarding of the devoutly obedient and the cancellation of the dissenting voice. It is not very lucrative for the global arms industry, but less messy.

Why did the UK government sign up to this?

The facts are that the people of the UK voted to Leave the EU. We haven't actually left yet at all. EU laws, regulations and even EU VAT still apply within UK's internal market, within UK internal affairs. Not to mention UK sea territory. Capitulation on fishing territory and fishing rights is worthy of another asking of the question, Why did the UK government sign up to this?


The fact is also that the majority of people in Northern Ireland have no desire to leave the UK. Unionists are angry. Very angry and getting even more angry by the day.

Nobody in Northern Ireland voted to leave the UK. We did not vote for the Protocol.


This is being forced upon us against our will. It really no longer matters that the EU believes they have this all cleverly tied-up under international law. If their chicanery means that they, and the UK government, have broken other internationally recognised treaties – the Act of Union of 1801, the CTA and GFA – then surely international law would not uphold such a colossal miscarriage of justice: such a blatant onslaught on civil liberty, democratic right and human right? I hope not, as that would set an international precedent for global chaos.


Bin It, Boris. Do the noble and honourable thing for your country.


There is no need for this to be an Orange and Green issue. There is no need for either Orange or Green on the island to succumb to the EU trap. In these times, this issue is now about the EU, as part of global central authority, versus the people. If foreign powers can get away with using and abusing people on the island of Ireland, and on the island of Britain, in this day and age – it sets a dangerous precedent for the next generations to come.


This is a battle for liberty and democracy versus new-age serfdom.


I feel another blog coming on.

Friday, 5 February 2021

Lockdowns - The Script.




By Willie Drennan

Below is the draft script of a recent broadcast from the newly formed Braid Brodcasting Cooperation (BBC).  The script is not exactly as spoken on the broadcast - it never is with me - but it's near enough.


Welcome to Broadcast Three in a series of unique broadcasts, blogs and videos of the Braid Brodcasting Cooperation – in cooperation and collaboration with other freelance, free-thinking independent musicians, creative writers, song writers, poets, playwrights, visual artists etc - not to mention other rare colourful characters and outside-the box thinkers.


The main purpose, the main goal, is to produce and preserve a rich tapestry of content to cherish cultural heritage, the Arts and creative alternative thought,   all served up with copious amounts of live music and recorded music.


That's the plan and that will be the nature of this beast. The first two broadcasts attempted to establish this format,  this approach and style. It has just been myself, on my own, so far due to the Lockdown restrictions but very soon I plan to be sharing the brodcasts with other musicians and other invited guests. And I'm learning the technology as I go along. So Bare with me. But first of all I need to get a couple of things of my chest - starting with the local and global Lockdowns.