Jim Allister: It is wrong to say the protocol isn’t working, because it is – just as planned

The Protocol is not working, it is said.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:32 pm
Edwin Poots and his successor as DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson. Mr Poots promised 'good news' was coming on the protocol, yet it only functions because his department operates checks at the Irish Sea border posts it built. It is time for the largest unionist party to show meaningful leadership

I disagree. It is working exactly as intended! It was always intended to break up the UK and realign our trade and economy with the Republic. And, that is precisely what it is doing.

Nor, could it be otherwise. Once Northern Ireland was placed in a foreign single market for goods and under a foreign customs code, and all the laws that shape these, then, inevitably, diversion of trade would follow and crippling of trade from Great Britain, as articulated so vividly by M&S last week, was assured.

These are not unintended consequences. But the planned outworkings of a protocol which partitions the United Kingdom with GB legally regarded as a third or foreign country vis-a-vis Northern Ireland. This is the living manifestation of the repeal of Article 6 of the Act of Union which our recent High Court action exposed.

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Her Majesty’s Government (HMG)knows all this. Though last week’s command paper acknowledged as much, the fact that they decline to trigger Article 16 and instead procrastinate, seeking more negotiations with an EU that has the UK where it wants it, demonstrates that mere words not action is its chosen path. Meanwhile the iniquitous protocol beds in.

So how is the hand of HMG and the EU forced on this vital issue? Simple - by now refusing to implement the protocol, in all its parts. That’s how we bring matters to a head.

And that is where Edwin Poots, the man who when fleetingly DUP leader promised ‘good news’ was coming, becomes relevant. The protocol only functions because this DUP minister’s department operates checks at the Irish Sea border posts the same department built.

Yes, there may be legal consequences for failing to implement the Union-dismantling protocol, and even the loss of ministerial office, but what matters most here? No unionist minister should need to even ponder that question.

When our forefathers were faced with being manoeuvred out of the Union they risked everything, leaving no one to doubt their resolve. All we in this generation are called to do is to refuse to implement our own constitutional destruction.

So long as unionists facilitate and implement the protocol, then, so long will the protocol be with us.

It is time for the largest unionist party to show meaningful leadership!

Jim Allister QC MLA is TUV leader

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