Jim Allister: The court finding that the Act of Union is repealed is a moment of truth for unionism

This week’s High Court ruling that the Protocol has repealed Article 6 of the Acts of Union is of immense constitutional significance which no unionist can ignore.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 4:19 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th July 2021, 4:22 pm
TUV leader Jim Allister, former Labour MP Baroness Hoey and former MEP Ben Habib outside Belfast high court after a judge ruled that the Irish Sea border is not unlawful. By Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as established by the Acts of Union, was built on economic and trading parity, with the political Union the consummation of that. Thus Article 6, which guaranteed that trading parity was not just important, it was key. It was the bread and butter essence of the Union. Without it the economic basis of what shapes and binds the Union is gone.

It could not be more stark.

So, anyone who values the Union needs to awaken to the monumental change wrought by the iniquitous Protocol And, those implementing it need to realise they are complicit in dismantling the very Union they profess to support. There is no room for equivocation here, either for Edwin Poots as DAERA minister, or anyone else.

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Faced with the destruction of what they hold dear, Unionists need to fight back politically. In our toolbox, aside from the necessity of peaceful protest, is repudiation of north/southery, while east/west is trounced; if devolution requires implementation of the border posts and the fettering of trade from GB, then, devolution has become a trap for our own self delivered destruction.

Moreover, now that it has been judicially ruled that the much vaunted “consent” promised in the Belfast Agreement extends only to the final handover to the Republic — and constitutional change such as repeal of a key plank of the Acts of Union can take place without consent — then, the very basis of accepting and operating the Belfast Agreement institutions is gone!

This is a sobering moment of truth for unionism. Either we stand up and fight back, or, we roll over, again — bringing closer the final handover.

Jim Allister QC MLA is TUV leader

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