Boris Johnson’s plan for Brexit plays to rest of the world like a chaotic rendition of Rule Britannia

EDITORIAL


THE UK has been treated to a return to the pre-pandemic normality of yesteryear – Brexit is back.

On Monday evening, Conservatives voted against the “oven ready” deal promised in their own manifesto and forced through the internal markets bill.

With this act, Boris Johnson has ripped up the Withdrawal Agreement he secured from the EU last year. 

Throwing the Northern Ireland Protocol into doubt and again ratcheting up fear of a hard border on the island of Ireland — damaging the peace unpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.

In their determination to ditch aspects of Northern Ireland deal, Number 10 has even heavily signalled the government is prepared to go full ‘rogue state’ and break international law.

All living former Prime Ministers have come out against the move.

Starting with interventions by Theresa May and Gordon Brown last week and followed up by John Major and Tony Blair who jointly penned an op-ed for the Sunday Times.  

While David Cameroon appeared on TV Screen on Monday to complete the set.

Recriminations from his predecessors have done little damage to Johnson, in fact, the controversy serves a clear purpose. 

Johnson is able to cast himself as a break from the tired politics of the past, one of norms and consensus which did not deliver for Britain.

While many Tories voters – one would suspect – hold a secret desire to see Britain bend the rules if not waive them completely – think Last Night of the Proms.

Meanwhile, Blair in another one of his frequent ‘rare’ interventions on Brexit sought to take the moral high ground in a row over international law.

This is the man that championed an illegal war that caused the death of half a million people.

Internationally opposition to Boris Johnson’s wayward manoeuvring on Brexit has more cut through.

Britain’s co-signatories to the Good Friday Agreement take their obligations to the settlement with a seriousness matched only by the levity of their Westminster counterparts. 

Dublin made the maintenance of the Good Friday Protocols the centre of their demands for unfettered movement and trade between North and South.

In doing so Ireland has shown substantial diplomatic weight on the international scene for a county of its size.

Just as Johnson’s Brexit path threatens to deflate any remaining soft power Britain has managed to maintain in Europe.

America under Bill Clinton played a pivotal role in ending the Troubles and the modern-day Democratic party is sensitive to the feeling of Irish-Americans.

Brexiteers have long coveted a UK-US trade but one now seems in jeopardy after House Democrats under Nancy Pelosi declared any such deal would be vetoed if Johnsons was seen to undermine the Northern Ireland Settlement.

Across the Atlantic and the Channel, trust between the UK and its biggest and nearest trading partners risk is being undermined.

Coming amid a pandemic and at a crucial reset point in relations, Johnson relaunch of the Brexit issue is to have long term destabilising implications. 


Featured Image: Pixabay

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