Desperate, reckless May’s GFA bluff risks Northern Ireland peace


The Telegraph’s article on Sunday

Desperate Theresa May’s latest flailing move – she is considering trying to amend the Belfast peace agreement, or Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in order to escape her self-made ‘backstop’ dilemma – is a futile ruse that gambles the peace in Northern Ireland for a change she has no chance of making.

The move is a bluff – the Telegraph correctly observes that May would need the agreement of all parties to the original GFA and she has no prospect of obtaining it – so it constitutes another desperate bid to extort support for her deal by evoking fear of potential consequences or dangling an unreachable carrot to fool the DUP and hard Brexiters into backing it.

But coming barely a day after a car bomb exploded in Derry, even a bluff on such terms is astonishingly reckless.

To underscore the futility of the move, the EU has already dismissed it as a “non-starter” – and even the Tory-supporting Telegraph has conceded that she admitted she is just trying ‘anything’ in desperation:

Senior EU sources said it was a non starter while even UK Government sources were “sceptical” that it would work. The fact it is even being considered underlines the political crisis now facing the Prime Minister.

On Sunday night, Mrs May held a conference phone call with her Cabinet. One Cabinet minister said the outcome of the call was “essentially one more heave on the backstop”.

Mrs May is said to have told them her plan was to do “something” on the backstop. Asked if it was something specific or just “anything”, she is said to have told them “the latter”.

The Telegraph 20 Jan 2019

May’s naked desperation, utter incompetence and bankruptcy of ideas would, if there was any decency remaining on the right in Parliament, long ago have seen her resign and ask the Queen to dissolve parliament.

But contempt for parliament and our democracy is far from the most damning aspect of this revelation, as the Tories once again show themselves perfectly willing to gamble lives, peace and security on a huge scale for their own narrow purposes.

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  1. It’s becoming increasingly clear that May is really going for a no deal. As she has repeatedly said, “No deal is better than a bad deal.” And that’s what she came up with, a bad deal.

  2. New referendum or not is largely irrelevant to what has to be the main objective now – deferring or withdrawing Article 50. The original La La Land time framework must rank in the top ten of the most stupid and irresponsible governmental moves in the past few centuries. Well up there with Suez.

  3. For those who haven’t seen it, this extract from an interview with Donald Tusk is an interesting take on the history of Brexit :

    “I asked David Cameron, ‘Why did you decide on this referendum, this – it’s so dangerous, so even stupid, you know,’ and, he told me – and I was really amazed and even shocked – that the only reason was his own party, [He told me] he felt really safe, because he thought at the same time that there’s no risk of a referendum, because, his coalition partner, the Liberals, would block this idea of a referendum. But then, surprisingly, he won and there was no coalition partner. So paradoxically David Cameron became the real victim of his own victory.”

    So much for then worth of a first class PPE degree after the feather bed of Eton in the field of politics.

    1. He did not expect to win in 2015 outright, Conservatives campaigned little in Clegg’s constituency because they thought they might need him.
      Conservative recovery there helped to cause his defeat in 2017.

      1. The Tories in Hallam generally stepped back to allow Clegg a clear run. But the other factor was that Labour voters who had previously voted LibDem tactically to keep the Tories out switched back to Labour as the prospect of winning became a real possibility and Clegg’s credibility was blown after his alliance with the Tories.

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