Political arithmetic gifted to the Demographic Unionist Party the position of Northern Ireland chief negotiator with the Conservative government in the Brexit talks, majoring on concerns over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (RoI).
The DUP spokespersons agreed that a soft Brexit was essential and a soft border to boot. Political analysts nodded approvingly, muttering that the DUP members were correct. They were wrong!
This is the border that needed billions of pounds of spending to defend against the IRA terrorists who had a safe haven in the Republic of Ireland and were treated with kid gloves by a long list of weak Taoiseachs and Tanaistes.
The questions are:
How will the large quantities of oil and drugs historically smuggled across the border be controlled?
How will the people smuggling be stopped? Since the 39 Vietnamese people died aboard the refrigerated lorry in Essex, we have learned of linkages with the RoI involving illegal immigrants being smuggled through Northern Ireland and into Great Britain.
There are several well documented reports, since the Essex tragedy, of various groups of illegal immigrants being apprehended at ROI ports.
No doubt these fugitives headed north to Northern Ireland hoping to cross the Irish Sea to GB. I do hope someone is keeping an eye on the border — the real border.
Academic studies estimate the number of Vietnamese people living clandestinely in the UK could be as high as 20,000 with many smuggled in with the promise of work in nail bars or restaurants or trafficked to work in cannabis factories or as prostitutes.
The Pew Research Center claims the number of unauthorised people living in the UK could be between 800,000 and 1.2 million.
Now that gaining access to the UK is becoming increasingly difficult the route by the backdoor through Northern Ireland may become more enticing.
This backdoor was deemed important enough to protect during the Second World War when a hostile power was threatening the United Kingdom. I categorise the government of the ROI today as a hostile power with leadership more dangerous than De Valera and his sidekicks.
The DUP don’t realise that the government of the Republic of Ireland will increasingly promote cross-border projects funded by the EU after Brexit is delivered. The EU will be only too willing to collaborate in undermining the integrity of the UK.
So far as negotiating is concerned the DUP has let unionism down.
It was on the DUP’s watch that a border down the Irish Sea was imposed on Northern Ireland. A crazy proposal that defies logic.
The party has continuously used the spectre of SF gaining the first minister’s position as its main election argument, leaving the door open for the Alliance Party, a non-unionist party, to gain electorally.
Meanwhile the SDLP who toyed with political connections with southern parties surprised everyone and opted for being joined at the hip with Sinn Fein.
The SDLP and Sinn Fein will promote a united Ireland and I believe that the Alliance Party will join them when it suits politically.
This leaves the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party to support the Union.
Why then do DUP politicians treat the Ulster Unionist Party as a pariah – they give more respect to members of Sinn Fein despite that party’s members protestations to the contrary.
It’s not too late to deliver Brexit as the referendum result decreed, with all of unionism pulling on the same end of the rope to achieve a just solution for Northern Ireland.
United we stand divided we fall is the maxim. Especially with Perfidious Eireann on one side and Perfidious Boris on the other.
George Shiels, Ex UUP councillor. Maghera