Current Affairs Politics

Desperate Brexiteers Attack The Good Friday Agreement

Many commentators are expressing surprise and dismay that a number of Brexit-supporting politicians and journalists in the United Kingdom are voicing “reckless” opposition to the ongoing work of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, the regional and international peace accords which effectively ended three decades of conflict in the UK-controlled north-east of Ireland. However that opposition has been vocal throughout the last twenty years, championed by such Europhobic luminaries as the Conservative Party lawmaker Michael Gove, Britain’s current Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In recent days we have seen his words echoed by a host of right-wing figures on the other side of the Irish Sea, including the newspaper columnist and Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, the reactionary Labour Party backbench MP Kate Hoey and the British-apologist writer, Ruth Dudley Edwards.

Back in the year 2000, while analysing the burgeoning peace process between Ireland and the United Kingdom, Michael Gove linked the UK’s “appeasement” of the Irish Republican Army with the country’s membership of the European Union. This, in part, informed his rabid hatred of the continental bloc, making him one of the driving forces behind Britain’s rejection of its EU partnership in the referendum of 2016. For the Surrey MP, along with his fellow British nationalists in the often shadowy Brexiteer movement, the Good Friday Agreement and its addenda represent an infringement of the UK’s sovereignty and a sign of its political and military failings during the so-called Troubles.

This can be seen in an opinion piece for the Evening Standard in London by Matthew O’Toole, a former chief press officer for Number 10 Downing Street, who points out that the 1998 pact is an:

…international treaty between the UK and Ireland. Until the agreement both the UK and Republic of Ireland claimed jurisdiction over Northern Ireland. This was a product of Irish partition, which gave independence to most — but not all — of Ireland. The majority — but not all — of those living in Northern Ireland wanted to remain within the UK.

Under the agreement Northern Ireland will remain in the UK until a majority vote otherwise, but its citizens have the legal and permanent right to be British, Irish or both. The Irish government retains a say in the running of Northern Ireland.

This is why hard Brexiteers have set their sights on the Good Friday Agreement: because it implies the UK’s sovereignty cannot be untrammelled, even after Brexit. UK sovereignty is, in one corner of the realm, qualified by the rights of one group of citizens and by another EU member state that has a say in the administration of that region.

[That is] …why some Brexiteers detest it.

And that is why the elected members of the ultra-right Democratic Unionist Party, who campaigned against the Irish-British peace process in the late 1990s and early 2000s, are now joining with the Tories and unionist fellow-travellers in Britain, attacking the very mechanisms which brought about a negotiated end to the 1966-2005 conflict.

23 comments on “Desperate Brexiteers Attack The Good Friday Agreement

  1. It’s not just the sovereignty of the UK, nor of Great Britain, it’s more specific than that. These people hold as an article of faith the inalienable right of the English to do exactly what pleases them, and to expect that the rest of the world accommodates itself to them. They are utterly deluded.

  2. That’s a very interesting article, Mark; thanks for the link.

    The professor is more eloquent than I can be, but I think he expresses the situation very clearly. I’d agree that UKIP is really EIP. One problem is always going to be the numerical superiority of the English compared to the Scots or N Irish, and with this the inevitable financial muscle.

  3. I voted to leave the EU I know no one who is against the good friday agreement more bullshit from the left plus you irish are own by the eu you change your money to euro and you keep going on about the the english we are not telling 26 counties what to do the eu is, and when you have more muslims with the help of republicans and the queer fella who runs your country wants more in your country will be like ours, muslims raping demanding more rights. thank god we are getting out of the shithole the EU.don’t come crying to us when the muslims start attacking your people. it is going to happen look at europe patriots are on the march we will defend our homeland from islamic extremists while republicans sit on their arses drinking tea with them plus do you really think the loyalists are going to walk into a united ireland have a word with yourselves they can see what’s happening a muslim invasion and you thick left wing cant see it coming, reap what you sow.reply to my comment all you want i don’t read over posts i leave GOD BLESS THE PATRIOTS WHO DEFENDS THEIR HOMELANDS

    • All of which sentiments are exactly why some Irish people are rather more sanguine than not about the UK leaving the EU. If you could just agree to move the “border” to the Irish Sea and let us get on with reunification-by-osmosis over the next two decades, we’d be very grateful. In the meantime feel free to do whatever you want, build a 10 meter high wall around the periphery of your island, with yourselves locked safely inside. We really wouldn’t be that bothered if you could just do it in an orderly, peaceful and cooperative manner.

    • Seán Mac Ḃloscaıḋ

      I had no idea President Trump read this blog…

  4. bullykiller

    Ireland will always be a scapegoat for these putrid supremacists. They detest our desire to do what is best for our people. They will always play the Orange card in the North and in Scotland. Their hatred for Ireland and the Irish will always be there. Our Challenge is to help our own people, who admire certain aspects of British popular culture, understand that there will always be a hardcore element in the British Reich who will work against our interest with relish. This will always be the reality despite there being many people of goodwill towards Ireland among the British.
    We have to show an iron resolve now to protect the GFA and our fellow citizens in the North of Ireland.

    • Unfortunately the lunatic right are making the running in British politics at the moment, the Tory backbenches, the DUP and UKIP, and Christ knows how many “think tanks”. The place is a reactionary spin that would even make Margaret Thatcher feel a bit queasy.

      • No they’re not really, the Tories are being reasonably restrained on most issues. Labour sold their people down the river and like their Irish friends are in the wilderness because of it. The SNP just gobbled up a huge Labour stronghold. The Brits haven’t all gone crazy, it all just needs another election to realign itself. The UKIP are getting votes because frankly no other party listened to genuine concerns about the direction of Europe.

        • Yes, but it is the Tory backbenches, genuine nutters like Rees-Mogg, who are pushing for off-the-cliff Brexit, allied to ideological true believers like Michael Gove and rank opportunists like Boris Johnson, who are calling the shots. Do you think that the UK will continue with the same high standards as the EU on agriculture, hygiene, the environment, employment laws, post-Brexit? To survive the country will have to take a dive to the regulatory bottom, become a low-regulation, low-wage economy attractive to outside and domestic investment.

          The only hope the UK has of continuing high-yield economic relations with the EU is by off-setting high-cost export issues to European markets by keeping production costs as low as possible at home. If British workers pay the cost, then trading with the EU in the event of a failure to agree favourable trade agreements might be sustainable. The extra money will have to come out of somewhere for UK manufacturers/producers.

          The Tories, UKIP, DUP et al know this full well. They are just hoping, wishing, for the global market to save the UK. But the same conditions will apply. Britain will become a “China” on the north-western edge of Europe. If it can.

          • A “China” on the edge of Europe, much like Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland…

            • All of which are in the EU or EFTA or some other agreement, and follow/parallel EU regulations. The Brexiteers want out of the EU and have expressed no interest in EFTA or regulatory alignment/equivalences.

              • It’ll be bendy banana a go-go.
                Ara, they’ll go along with Europe for the most part. Much like the above-mentioned countries they’ll cherrypick what they think is best and go their own way the rest of the time. It would be to no-ones benefit for them to ruin their economy.

              • Maybe so. As long as they keep their chlorinated chickens at home! 😉

  5. bullykiller

    Let me see now John, who would I rather have running my Country, the Queer one or your beloved masters? That is a hard choice to make with my limited intellect. I will have to pass. too difficult!

  6. Dara O Rourke

    There will be no cherry picking bradhar. Britain will not be some Norway , booming away on the edge of Europe. For one thing : they pissed away all the oil money. Norway nationalised their industry. Hong Kong might be a more apt comparison. Quite a successful economy , if you don’t mind sleeping in a stairwell….

  7. There’s no reason to think Britain will go like that. They had serious social protection a long time before they got involved in Europe after all (I wonder has it got worse or better since joining the EC?). Now, the Tories would like that eroded but that’s the age-old to and fro of British politics. There’s no reason to think the electorate would stand for it – see May’s remarks on the NHS recently for example.
    I don’t think their economy is going to tank necessarily either. Time will do.

  8. Arghh. tell.

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