Boris Johnson flies in having committed his government to a legacy plan that could destroy the reputation of the security forces

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
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It is almost unreal to think what is set to happen today.

Boris Johnson flies into Belfast, for what is likely to be declarations of success and smiling photographs.

Sinn Fein are no bedfellows of the Tory prime minister, but should have no difficulty with his presence, given that he betrayed the DUP by flagrantly lying to them about never accepting an Irish Sea border, then implementing a full trade one within weeks of entering Downing Street.

The change he agreed to is of much greater constitutional significance than the Anglo Irish Agreement, which brought 100,000 people to a rally at Belfast City Hall and led to years of united unionist boycotts of Tory ministers. That was the public reaction to the betrayal of unionists, rewarding a state that had done next to nothing to stop IRA terrorists, and continued to do almost nothing after the deal was signed in 1985.

But worse than all this, almost unbelievably Mr Johnson has now committed to the disastrous Stormont House Agreement legacy structures, reviled by almost anyone who has studied them and who believes that the UK prevented civil war in the face of decades of IRA terror.

Is Mr Johnson even aware of what has been agreed?

Simon Coveney, always moralising and always interfering, yesterday made clear on BBC TV that Dublin sees this as a commitment. There is some talk about maintaining a local consensus on the legacy plan, when in fact there is none.

The UUP bravely stood out against the legacy proposals, although its decision to enter the executive will be read as a support for a deal that commits to the plan even though the party specifically condemned them again on Saturday.

As the tweet below from Doug Beattie shows, accusing Julian Smith for having been untruthful for saying legacy would not be part of the deal, some politicians are going to continue to call out this massive scandal. Thank goodness.

The complexity of the legacy plan means that most people in Northern Ireland probably have little idea of what could yet materialise in terms of official demonising of the security forces and, by default, justification of terror.