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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

Opposition to Irish Protocol is Political, Not Economic by Andrée Murphy

While Facebook and Wattsapp went down for six hours this week Twitter came into its own and a most startling video of English men discussing the Protocol at the Conservative Party conference emerged.

Now as dry as this sounds, please don’t switch off because the comments made at this event are going to be repeated and written down in the history books.

The gist of it is this. English men representing British policy makers and traders came together with Arlene “I praised the Protocol, but now oppose the Protocol” Foster (remember her?) and David “I wrote the Protocol, but now oppose the Protocol” Frost and talked about, yes, the Protocol. In the meeting they bewailed the actions of businesses on the island of Ireland who are finding new supply chains, away from Brexit Britain, which are North South.

This reasonable business practice, facilitated by the British EU negotiated Protocol, is undermining the Union in people’s heads, so is, according to them, bad.

Just stop for a moment and think about the implications of this. Gone were the faux arguments that the Protocol is not working in terms of trade, goods on shelves or tractors.

This was plain and simple an issue of whether people’s heads are in the Union with Britain or not.

Their dry conversation in Brighton exposed the colonial mindset that has informed British policy in Ireland since the days of Cromwell and Victoria. There is zero respect for the Irish or the Irish making decisions in their own interest. A table of English people, with an Ulster Irish woman, expose their opposition to the Protocol as modern colonialism aiming to de-incentivise trade routes, and stop the Irish doing what is good for them because it potentially undermines the union. And they said it without a drop of irony.

It can only be compared to “stop the Irish feeding themselves, our troops need their corn” or “don’t let Catholics get education or equal votes, they might get too uppity”. In Tory England’s post-colonial state of nervous breakdown there was no one in the room to shout, “would you ever listen to yourselves”. Thankfully though Twitter is there for that.

It is clear how Tory England view us, they don’t care about us, at all. They didn’t care that we voted to remain in Europe. They didn’t care that our institutions were collapsing under the weight of neglect of peace agreements. They didn’t care that Dublin and Europe were pleading with them to negotiate sensible withdrawal treaties that preserved the miracle of long-term peace on this island. And they still don’t care. They realise full well that Brexit is a trench they have dug for themselves, and their economy is dying in, but will never admit it.

They understand full well that Europe and the island of Ireland is moving in without them, glad to have minimised the contagion of Britain’s self-flagellation. They also understand that their precious union is collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions.

The admission, or exposing, of this Raj mentality though should not be dismissed. It is a moment for all of those who give Britain, and unionism, a by-ball on Protocol arguments or give those arguments legitimacy. Pure racism cannot be tolerated. For that is exactly what opposition to the Protocol is now exposed as being.

First published by Belfast Media Group

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