In conversation with @3000Versts the recently announced ‘Approach” to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which sits alongside the Withdrawal Agreement that assure the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, is considered long on ambition and short on detail.
As well as significant questions around how the detail will work in relation to aspects of practical implementation, there is also concern expressed on how completing Sovreignties – the EU Single Market and the UK by State and Customs Union – can be ever compatible, or reconciled, or ‘minimised’.
@3000Versts looked at the detail of the Protocol on CapX and issues of Sovereignty raised in the Daily Telegraph, and at CityAM. The podcast mentions that the EU takes an overly absolute and legal view; something picked up on by Newton Emerson in the Irish Times where he conludes:
The EU’s approach to Northern Ireland has been dangerously cynical from the outset. Whatever excuse there might still be for that, there is no longer any excuse for not seeing it.
The podcast also touches on the not inconsiderable cost to consumers that the outworking of the Protocol threatens to offload.
Even when legislation is past, and the wheels set in motion – the train has left the station – it seems that Sinn Fein is all to ready, willing and able to pull the communication cord, or perhaps uncouple a carriage. Certainly, the conductor has a difficult time keeping the train on the tracks. The most recent example, among all to many down the years, is the matter of Legacy ‘pensions’ for victims. Beyond ‘late’ in being provided, Sinn Fein has decided that although agreed in the New Decade New Approach that got the Executive up and running in February it now wants to change the terms and conditions to better suit its idea of itself alone.
Even if it agreed, there is still the matter of affordability, which is impossible to assess. There hasn’t been an actual budget set for Northern Ireland expenditure since 2016. No base line expenditure is known, which means no-one can say what is affordable. Remember that next time a Stormont Minister announces another pot of funding for whatever that day’s special cause might me.
also at Spotify