DUP moves goalposts to scupper Brexit deal – and the Good Friday Agreement


The latest announcement by the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) suggests that the Northern Irish party and its ten MPs are looking for any excuse to defeat Theresa May’s attempts to find a Brexit deal.

EuroNews NBC’s political editor responded to comments by DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds by pointing out that the DUP is ‘still not happy’ – and that this is not a new phenomenon:

dm dodds.png

McCaffrey is correct. Last December the DUP was unhappy about ‘regulatory divergence’ between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as a possible solution to the issue of a hard border in Ireland and Theresa May’s proposed deal with the EU would solve that problem at least temporarily.

But now Dodds and the rest of his party are moving on to a different issue – the idea that the ‘extended transition period’ would reduce the UK to a ‘rule-taker’, subject to EU rules and paying toward EU costs without having a say.

This looks like the DUP is ‘getting in its excuses early’ for wrecking May’s deal, with an eye on protecting itself against the impact of the 2021 census, where more than half of Northern Ireland’s population is expected to be revealed as Catholic for the first time.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), a majority Catholic population would guarantee a referendum on the unification of Ireland – anathema to the unionist party – but a hard border would wreck the GFA.

It’s looking more and more apparent that the DUP wants a hard Brexit – and a hard border – for reasons that Theresa May can do little about.

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  1. DON’T DISS NO DEAL! Do comrades realise that all likelihood “No Deal” is the only way to protect Labour sovereignty over public ownership? EEA, Chequers and Canada+ all scupper nationalisation programmes. Yet such is the appeasement to the Labour Right that the leadership don’t prioritise governmental freedom over public ownership and state aids (two sides of the same coin) as negotiation red lines – or even considerations!

    1. That actually is only true if we nationalise as previously and water gas electric and trains would become locally owned by townspeople or cooperatives, these are totally different and also accepted in the EU.

  2. So what happens if a British gov’t just says ‘we don’t want a hard border & so there will be no border guards or barriers on this side? If Eire or EU want a hard border, they can do it themselves. YP

    1. Except where does that leave your immigration policy? You’re really happy for everyone to just stroll in?
      The heck you are.
      The heck the tories are.
      Despite the BS for the media, come ‘no deal’ the tories will send in the builders to seal off that border, while the EU is still partying from the night before.

  3. The DUP is probably not remotely worried about ‘Catholics’ [sic] overtaking them in the 2021 census. 1) It will take a fair years more for the new babies to reach voting-age. 2) Many voters in Northern Ireland are agnostic, at least, on the issue of united Ireland (however most voters were for Remaining on Brexit). 3) There would have to be separate referendums in both Northern Ireland and in (‘the rest of’) Ireland, and it very unlikely for both parts to accept unifying on these circumstances. The DUP however have always campaigned (and with foreign money) for the UK to Leave the EU.

    1. Twaddle.
      The DUP are shitting themselves about it. The exact date is neither here nor there … but just look at the voting trends over the last few elections: it’s only a matter of time before there’s a Republican majority
      … And if you had a clue, you’d know that despite the DUP rhetoric, the people of the North voted for the EU. Because they aren’t stupid.
      Ireland – North & South – has done very well out of Europe and the Good Friday Agreement, and the average voter doesn’t want to throw that away.

      1. “… And if you had a clue, you’d know that despite the DUP rhetoric, the people of the North voted for the EU”

        Indeed, as I said (if you had read it). Twaddle yourself.

        The DUP are probably more interested in taking the money—they’ll follow it wherever it bids them.

      2. Piffle.
        The DUP aren’t motivated by money – they’d have done what May paid then to do for free. They have their own agenda, which revolves around King Billy.
        Oh, and smashing the Good Friday Agreement.

  4. Steve, if there are two countries next door to each other, operating different rules and regulations, de facto doesn’t there have to be a hard border? For example, Eire and the UK have free movement of citizens within the EU. If the UK leaves the EU, without a hard border what is there to stop EU citizens traveling to NI via Eire and then to the UK mainland? If we don’t want that situation it’s us that needs the hard border not the EU or Eire. The same applies to goods.

    Because of their demands, Brexiters themselves not the EU, have created this insoluble problem.

    1. I think the government and the media have done a clever job in confining this discussion to the issue of ‘the border’. In reality the problem is the union – European or British. The war ended because all sides (except the DUP and the British right wing) recognised there was no need to fight a territorial dispute while all sides were in the EU. If UK leaves EU then there is no longer any justification for peace. No side wants to return to conflict but if UK leaves this is absolutely irrevocable. Just as we are finally pacifying the nationalist rump that has been fighting since the peace we now find ourselves ramping up for war again. PS the war – if it comes, will be fought in a very different way and will be fuelled with all the powerful weapons that the US have given to the Syrian rebels over the last 7 years.

      1. The ‘war’ aka ‘the troubles’ ended because GB was part of EU? I suggest IRA nationalists eventually decided that birth rate demographics in the north had something to do with that, coupled with power sharing. Countries do not need ‘hard’ borders & there are plenty of examples to illustrate as many of my Canadian relatives will testify. You think EU stands for peace?

      2. “Countries do not need ‘hard’ borders” – weird to hear that from a Right-wing Brexiteer. I thought the whole thing was supposed to be about controlling our borders and keeping foreigners out?
        The port of Dover has more steel and more armed immigration controllers than any Shengen nation dreams of – none mandated by the EU, all paid for by us via London.
        This Brexiteer game of blaming EU for wanting hard borders is simply a stupid lie – as we’ll see immediately after Brexit.
        It has always been the EU that was dedicated to removing borders, against our resistance, and not even St Nigel could lie his way out of that.

    2. Sorry Comrade Jack, can’t see the logic. It will be even more ‘fun’ when Scotland goes independent & there will be another ‘hard’ border? Better rebuild Hadrian’s Wall. You know as well as I do, this is Eu policy trying to stop EU break up @ all costs. The only thing that always amuses me is that none of our clever politicians or social commentators saw this coming. Watching the clever hypocrites wriggle & connive is dirty politics in action & a lesson to us all. There is no integrity in this dirty game & any form of nationalism is dangerous.

      1. Steve, as a Brexiter and a contrarian, your comment is full of contradictions, I’ll leave others to spot them.

        You need to step out of the past and look to the future.

  5. I’m sick of hearing Remainers blame Brexit voters and Labour and Corbyn for threatening the peace process.

    1. Ella, Remainers are not blaming Labour or Corbyn for threatening the peace process, they are blaming the Tory right wing, who have always pushed for Brexit, no matter what harm it will do.

      Wasn’t it Boris, Gove and Paterson who said ‘why worry about the Good Friday Agreement’?

  6. Jack, Twitter until quite recently was stuffed to choking with #FBPE remainers dogpiling Corbyn – blaming him for Brexit – claiming it was all his fault for not fighting it hard enough.
    They didn’t care about the threat to the peace process, only about ousting Corbyn.
    Complete crock of an argument of course but there were plenty of rightists ‘following each other back’ so they’d look like a serious movement with ten times their real number of followers – a force to be reckoned with.

  7. Thanks David, I don’t do Twitter or FB etc.

    Perhaps I should have said ‘sensible remainers’ but I accept even most of the non-sensible ones have a vote.

  8. Also interesting to be so quickly labelled as ‘right wing’ by ‘comrades’ if you voted to leave EU. Whatever happened to courtesy & solidarity in healthy & friendly debate?

    1. The truth trumps courtesy and solidarity, every time.
      But I don’t expect you to understand that in a million years.
      No fan of Nigel is a comrade of mine – or anyone on the left, I’d guess.

  9. A troll? Me a troll? Are you implying that I live under a bridge & feed on ‘Billy Goats’? ………besides, your words are exactly what Hilary Clinton said recently about Republicans. What a brave new world without dissent!

    1. I’m not ‘implying’ anything.
      There’s a thick line between ‘dissent’ and trolling; you crossed it a long, long time ago.
      Tragedy is, you aren’t as funny as you think you are.

  10. Nasty! The words ‘Twaddle & Piffle’ just about sums you up. This ‘thick’ line between ‘dissent’ & ‘trolling’, that I crossed a long, long time ago, you must have been following me for a long, long time. I trust you are a member of the Labour Party, so that our paths will cross & you can explain to me in person.

    1. “Two households, both alike in dignity,
      In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
      From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
      Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean…”

  11. Oh dear what’s happening to this site when it should be a comradely engagement with ideas. I voted Remain as a last chance to work with sister socialist parties and unions in the EC to try to end Neo-Liberalism.
    But I accept the result and we must leave – we have had a Peoples Vote (and it wasn’t by the wrong type of people) so let’s have democratic control of labour & capital supply as an example to other countries and we could break free from the EC Neo-Liberal straight jacket.
    Then bring back migration adjustment funds for councils and try to trade unionise migrant workers to build community solidarity whilst having compassion for refugees.
    I remember the old customs channels – one for duty and one for nothing to declare so perhaps we have something like these for entry from N.Ireland and Eire – Northern Irish people and goods just come through but Eire people and goods come through with passports etc?
    Just an idea we could explore?

    1. I think the problem with that (the passports bit, not the comradely engagement) is that Unionist are apposed to showing their passports to enter their own country… the DUP got so many seats at the last election because they ran on ‘soft brexit and no boarder with UK’. while the other parties ran on ‘re-unification in the event of hard brexit’. It seems despite the economic benefits, birth rates, etc. most voters are still Unionists. Its worth remembering as well Unionist still have active paramilitary groups, so having the boarder between NI and UK is just as dangerous as having one in Ireland.

      The only thing I’ve heard that sounds workable to me (besides staying in the customs union) is to have a soft boarder between Scotland and England… probably wouldn’t go down well with English voters, but think about.

      No boarder in NI.
      No boarders between NI and parts of the UK they do the most trade with.
      No IndyRef2 because Scotland would become a new trading center allowing access to UK and EU.
      Less economic back lash for UK as companies would probably just redistribute to Scotland and NI

      Probably not going to happen because, you know, regressive Torie shysters and equal hysteria form both sides of the Brexit debate!
      Just a thought though.

      1. No RR Northern Irish just walk though showing nothing!
        Wonder if we can negotiate with the EC a new ‘Special Island Status’ for islands such as those who incorporate in this case N. Ireland and Eire (copyright Labour) two countries on one island – perhaps on that island there could be free moment of goods and people but checks on UK entry (UK a non-EC country) where N Irish walk through without showing anything but Eire (EC country have to) – just food for thought?
        Oh by the way I have always wanted to say this – Bernadette Devlin MP once said “The bad guys won”” but no Bernadette the bad guys won 25%?

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