So what did we learn on Day One of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s leadership?
Well, this isn’t going to be a new, dynamic DUP which is ready to lead the battle against the Protocol that’s for sure. No, instead it’s simply more of the same — just in a different wrapper.
This is the “I can’t believe it’s not Arlene” DUP because this is Foster reincarnate, this is still the party that implements the protocol rather than fights it.
Just look at Sir Jeffrey’s speech to see how this man of inaction is going operate — it should be a wake-up call for unionists everywhere.
Is he and the DUP going to threaten to abandon North-South bodies while our East-West relationship is trashed? No!
Is he and the DUP going to stop implementing the Protocol and stop the border posts (which they built) operating? No!
Is he and the DUP going to threaten to withdraw from the Executive if the Protocol remains? No!
Then just what are they going to do? Well, he tells us in his speech.
“I intend to keep in constant contact on these issues to ensure the unionist case is heard where it needs to be heard.”
That’s it – Sir Jeffrey Do-Little is going to keep in constant contact. Wow, I am sure London, Dublin and Brussels must be quaking in their boots.
Is the latest DUP leader also really suggesting that Boris and co don’t already know what the unionist case is? If that’s so, then it doesn’t say much for him, the rest of his MPs nor his previous party leaders.
The fact is London, Dublin and Brussels know exactly what our issues are but they also know they are dealing with a impotent party, a party that is more determined to keep its ministerial cars than it is to pose any threat to the protocol.
Read on in Sir Jeffrey’s statement you come across another interesting line — “...there is still some way to go to reach an outcome that we can live with”.
I am honestly not sure just what the DUP thinks “an outcome we can live with” is, but given what they have done so far, that line fills me with fear and dread. I have no doubt we will hear many fine words from the newest of the new DUP leaders in the weeks and months ahead (assuming he lasts that long) but words are not enough.
It is time for strong, clear and decisive action. Sadly for unionism we won’t get that form the DUP.
The protocol is safe in their hands, the Union is not.
Tom Smith, Councillor Ards and North Down Borough Council, ex DUP
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