The SKWAWKBOX – along with some of the mainstream press – published this morning the news of the Irish border ‘bombshell’ that could end the Tory-DUP alliance, as the DUP will not tolerate the Tories’ acceptance of Irish insistence on an ‘Irish Sea’ border that will effectively merge Northern Ireland with the Republic behind a single, outward-facing border.
The rejection of the Tory government’s ‘high-tech border’ concept has been voiced by Irish PM Leo Varadkar and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney – but sources close to the matter have alleged to the SKWAWKBOX that another figure stands behind a move that could bring down the government.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier‘s face in the picture above paints an eloquent picture of his opinion of the UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis, but Barnier has also given barely-diplomatic voice to his disdain for the hapless Tory performance in negotiations so far:
Now it appears, if the Irish claims are correct, that Barnier may have decided to kill a couple of birds with one stone.
Barnier is known to have an affinity with Ireland and a high regard for its people, after being impressed by the warmth of their welcome during his visits to the country. In 2000, Barnier gave his solemn word to Nobel Peace Prize winner and then-leader of the nationalist SDLP John Hume that he would never harm the nationalist cause or support anything likely to further advance UK control in the north.
In May, Barnier spoke to the Irish Parliament and vowed that he would not allow anything to threaten the peace process, referring specifically to his conversations with Hume:
I want to reassure the Irish people in this negotiation, Ireland’s interest will be the union’s interest. We are in this negotiation together and a united EU will be here for you.
I was the commissioner in charge of the peace programme and I have not forgotten my conversations with John Hume and David Trimble at that point.
Engineering a rejection of a tech border could allow Barnier to achieve a double ‘win’: keeping his promises to Hume and more recently to the Irish government and people – and by the effect of an ‘Irish Sea’ border on the DUP-Tory pact, bringing down a government that has demonstrated nothing but arrogance and incompetence in the Brexit negotiation process so far.
Were Michel Barnier and his historic and new promises to Ireland and Irish nationalists behind the sudden ‘massive row’ that resulted in last night’s ‘bombshell’ rejection by the Irish Taoiseach of anything but an island behind a single, coastal border with the UK and the rest of the world?
It cannot yet be proven, but it would fit the facts and Irish sources insist they were.
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