It is time for the more enlightened parts of the DUP to make themselves heard

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
Share this article

The DUP seems to have gleefully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, once again. Frankly, it seems to be their modus operandi.

The decision for them to make on the Withdrawal Agreement should always have been political and stategic, not an odd mixture of the legal and knee-jerk.

Should we really contract-out decisions on our future to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and other lawyers?

It was far more important to find a political way to avoid hard Brexit and relaunch our country, even if that involved the extremely unappealing but nonetheless manageable “backstop”.

I had always been for compromise. Despite Brexit harming the economy and national unity, I had hoped for a compromise that could deliver it without too much harm. But the DUP and the Tory ERG have now made that impossible.

So, it’s now time to work for a final say vote, completely overturning the unwise path that we have taken.

We may well find that events at Westminster now head in that direction, or at least towards permanent Customs Union membership and a degree of regulatory alignment for the entire UK.

Almost all the downsides of EU membership can be mitigated by enlightened Westminster policies, leaving us with all the benefits. Apart from the sovereignty idealogues, Brexit in England was largely a function of disempowerment, of some people feeling left behind. Decent housing, health, education and training policies can fix that. They always could.

Northern Ireland, not for the first time, is more complicated. Here support for Brexit is a function of confusion in the DUP leadership. It’s time for the more enlightened parts of the DUP to make themselves heard. The old guard contains many honourable people, but they need to shift their approach.

Who, in all honesty, would not go back to 2016 and change the referendum outcome ? We now face the horrendous possibility of a border poll getting closer when it was not even thought about in sensible circles before the vote. We have done this to ourselves. It is a truly spectacular own goal for which it’s difficult to find historic parallels.

So, let’s reverse the whole nightmare and stay in the EU.

The economy would boom, and the UK’s union would be strengthened. On a lighter note, once firmly back in for good we could resume our role as one of the great EU powers and settle a few scores with Leo Varadkar. To be fair, he has probably worked for compromise behind the scenes. But his public persona has been lacking in statesmanship and surprisingly annoying, to put it mildly.

A UK back in the EU would put Mr Varadkar back in his place. It might be worth it just for that!

John Gemmell, Shropshire