Unionists will look weak if they do not resist Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Boris Johnson at a rally in Colchester. If the prime minister wins a sizeable majority, he will have done so by promising the English electorate that his Brexit deal will pass quickly. No manner of protestations by local politicians will change this 'done deal'. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Boris Johnson at a rally in Colchester. If the prime minister wins a sizeable majority, he will have done so by promising the English electorate that his Brexit deal will pass quickly. No manner of protestations by local politicians will change this 'done deal'. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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Teresa May was criticised by many during her failed Brexit campaign because she failed to stand strong, failed to maximise her leverage and was unable to resist the demands of the European elites.

Boris Johnson and his ilk successfully argued that Britain required to keep the political leverage of walking away from discussions with a No Deal Brexit and of withholding agreed payments of £36 billion.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Brexit is a discussion about power. Power has a duality to it, it goes hand and hand with resistance or counter-conduct, one cannot be considered without consideration of the other. For intellectuals such as Dryberg and Foucault, without resistance or its possibility there is only slavery.

The same philosophical rationale applies to the growing existential threat of a unified Ireland and a separate Scottish state.

Part-time, underemployed local politicians might like to consider themselves as High States men (and women) and as diplomats within a rhetorical game of chess.

Resistance, in whatever form, and there are many forms of countering the conduct of power, must never be ruled out if a community’s continued existence is at state. Parréeia is a form of resistance (fearless speech spoken at risk to power). Foucault said that it is different from rhetoric (words that can mean everything and nothing).

Withdrawal from the political sphere is a form of resistance, civil disobedience another, one that produced results in resisting Mrs Thatcher’s ‘Poll Tax’.

The reality of the moment is that Boris Johnson could be returned with a substantial Westminster majority and irrespective of local unionist politicians in Northern Ireland arguing that they will seek to change the current Brexit arrangements that have already been agreed, a new Conservative administration mandated with an increased electoral majority will not renegotiate the current Brexit deal that is currently on the table.

If Boris Johnson wins a sizeable majority, he will have done so by promising the English electorate that his Brexit deal will be accepted quickly by the EU Council, Parliament and Commission.

No manner of protestations by local politicians will change this ‘done deal’. For local politicians to declare in advance of the general election result that there will be no resistance to an economic border in the North Channel / Irish Sea is tantamount to Teresa May rejecting the option of a No-Deal Brexit and tying her metaphorical hands behind her back.

If unionism does not resist (in some form) the pending economic border that Brexit will deliver, it will send a single to Westminster, Dublin and Sinn Fein that the unionist backbone has become spineless.

Unionist diplomacy is often couched in vague and unclear rhetoric. Voters sense that such speech is actually weak and untrustworthy, particularly when they see pledges such as no Irish language act being compromised. This fondness for diplomatic rhetoric was contributed to the emasculation of unionism.

Dr Edward Cooke,

Netownabbey