We will need every possible vote against the NI Protocol when the election comes

A letter from Joshua Lowry:

Monday, 14th June 2021, 11:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 8:16 am
Letter to the editor

Why are you a unionist?

For me the answer is quite simple: it’s better for the lives and livelihoods of the people who live here to be part of the United Kingdom.

The Northern Ireland protocol won’t benefit either of those things. A fact I know through my own experience. Working in an electrical wholesaler ordering goods from GB to Northern Ireland is more difficult, affecting costs and in turn livelihoods.

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Were it not for grace periods I doubt I’d have received a Covid 19 vaccine.

Not everyone agrees about the protocol: they may not have felt its effects, or believe the issues are temporary teething problems. They may trust the politicians who campaigned for these ‘safeguards,’ that the protocol is preventing worse problems. Though even those leaders have stopped calling for “rigorous implementation.”

If we’re to have any hope in removing the protocol, those people also have to recognise that that’s bad for their lives and livelihoods. And that what comes next won’t be worse.

The loud drums the flag waving, as much as I personally love it, will turn many of the people, who we need on our side, off. If the imagery of balaclava clad men turns my stomach what must it do to our neighbours? Or victims within our own community for that matter?

If our response to these things being bad is to make them even worse, even if only temporarily then we’ll lose more support for our cause than we’ll gain.

What will those who’ve been blissfully unaware of the issues surrounding the protocol think when grace periods end after a summer of raising tensions? Johnson, Varadkar and their local cheerleaders won’t get the blame.

We’re due an assembly election very soon. That assembly will vote on many aspects of the protocol. We will need every possible vote against it at that time.

Some are questioning unionists’ credentials because they don’t want to make the lives and livelihoods of our people worse. But If more people believed Unionism genuinely wants to make their lives better then we might win those votes, instead of losing them.

Joshua Lowry, Bessbrook

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