There is good reason to reverse Border Force climbdown

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It was almost as soon as Sinn Fein and the SDLP complained about a recruitment drive for Border Force office jobs that the British government climbed down.

Applicants for the posts have to have a British passport, at least two A Levels or equivalent qualifications, or have served as a Border Force officer for at least two years, or have served as a police officer or member of the British Armed forces.

But after complaints from nationalists the criteria was changed to only having to have “a passport,” not a British one.

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In Northern Ireland, unlike Great Britain, the A Level exemption to police officers and members of the armed forces was dropped.

Once again, the ever vigilant Jim Allister MLA is one of the first people to spot this shameful climbdown from London.

When Sinn Fein create a scene, the British government goes into a spin — a situation that is all the more regrettable when it is a Tory administration propped up by the DUP.

This swift climbdown again helps to create a situation in which former members of the security forces, who have put their lives on the line, can in no way and at no time be put in a preferable situation to anyone else.

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It further thwarts the logic of the military covenant, which in any event is not allowed to operate fully in Northern Ireland, unlike the rest of the UK.

The climbdown is shameful and reversing it would be farcical, because it would mean that there had been two sudden reversals of policy. But it should nonetheless be reversed at once, not only due to the merits of the case for reversal, which are obvious, but also because it is always important to send out a signal to republicans that creating sudden political scenes will not lead to reward.

Unless such a signal is sent out, Northern Ireland is set to find itself in a state of perpetual political stalemate and crisis, with no prospect of local government, which would be used to vindicate the SF argument that NI is a failed entity.