Joe Biden needs to wise up about Brexit
Joe Biden should be the responsible adult in the room over Northern Ireland. He needs to see that the reckless EU is only interested in playing politics with peace in its ongoing petulance over Brexit
Ever since negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal started - and even prior to the Withdrawal Agreement - the EU has continuously tried to promote a possible border between Ireland and Northern Ireland as the most significant issue, using it as a tool to undermine the entire Brexit process.
This was a tactic that ‘Remainer’ former Prime Minister Theresa May was only too happy to endorse, inevitably resulting in the false idea that Brexit threatens peace on the island of Ireland becoming widely popular. However, in one country more than any other, this scare story has taken hold with those at the very top. This country is the USA, where despite extremely tenuous links in some cases, many in positions of power have an obsession with Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement.
One of these is newly elected US President, Joe Biden, who despite his Irish obsession, also has heritage from England. The fact that Biden's Irish and English ancestors left their homelands nearly 200 years ago, doesn’t stop the President from trying to intervene on an issue which he and many other Americans fail to properly understand. This mentality will only be encouraged further after the President joined the recent EU Council Summit via videoconference on March 25th.
This comes at a significant time because April 1st, 2021 marks the date on which the Northern Ireland Protocol sets out that additional checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland (both of which are part of the United Kingdom) should begin. However, as is the right of any sovereign country, the UK Government has refused to start these checks which would regulate the movement of goods between different parts of the UK, while effectively keeping Northern Ireland entirely under the control of the European Union even though we have officially left the EU.
This is very obviously the correct decision from the perspective of the UK, and it actually reinforces the principles set out in the Good Friday Agreement by ensuring Northern Ireland is not separated from the rest of the UK. But American Congressmen - and President Biden - have leapt to their feet, parroting a line about threatening peace in Ireland.
Perhaps they should listen to people from both sides of the debate in Northern Ireland and see what is actually going on, rather than simply accepting the one-sided briefings they receive from EU officials whose only goal is to undermine the credibility of the UK on the world stage.
It is not the UK which is threatening the Good Friday Agreement, but the EU’s rigid approach to negotiations and their attempts to enforce the Northern Ireland Protocol with no regard for how it impacts people’s everyday lives.
Even Lord Trimble - who was one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland - has joined legal cases against the Northern Ireland Protocol, saying it tarnishes key sections set out in the peace process, especially those around the principles of consent and the constitutional ties between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
These are words backed by the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Arlene Foster; and MP Sammy Wilson who, when writing for Get Britain Out recently, called for the Protocol to be scrapped because of clear attempts to separate Northern Ireland away from the rest of the UK, even going as far as calling the Protocol “Brussels’ Bullies Brexit Bitter Revenge”. This is a statement which cannot be denied when the Protocol states that future EU laws, which no one in the UK or Northern Ireland is able even to discuss – let alone vote on – will apply to Northern Ireland. This is a fact which totally contradicts the basic premises of the Good Friday Agreement.
But this is not just a unionist issue. There are many on the separatist side who also believe the entire border question has simply been treated as a political tool of the EU to try and cling onto the UK in some way or other. However, despite this clear rejection of the Northern Ireland Protocol as the best way forward to maintain a smooth border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it seems the EU - and those in the USA who see themselves as ‘Irish’ - will not listen to reason or reality, choosing the old partisan approach which lacks ambition or ingenuity entirely.
After all who can forget Joe Biden’s response to the BBC asking him for an interview shortly after he was elected as President – “The BBC? I’m Irish.”!
Time and again Biden, and others in the USA, have tried to blame the UK for creating tension on the island of Ireland. However, as can clearly be seen when the details are examined, there is only one side of the Brexit negotiations which has sought to sow division and doubt over peace in Northern Ireland - the European Union.
As it stands, the Northern Ireland Protocol blatantly ignores the ‘principle of consent’ set out in the Good Friday Agreement and undermines the constitutional link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The UK is working to find an alternative which avoids the need for border checks, while also delivering on the democratic will to fully Get Britain Out of the EU. This is no mean feat however, and we must make sure those who clearly do not understand the political realities, have no influence on our decision making.
Jayne Adye is the Director of the leading grassroots, cross-Party, Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out
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