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Brexit brinkmanship again (natch!)… October 13, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Isn’t there a point where the sheer tedium of yet another round of Northern Ireland Protocol talks reaches too much? Apparently not for the British government to judge from David Frost’s latest complaints and demands that ‘a new version’ be produced.

The UK wants to rip up the existing Northern Ireland protocol and replace it with new Brexit arrangements, warning it would be a “historic misjudgment” if the EU did not consider such a change.

“What does it cost the EU to put a new protocol in place? It seems to us, very little,” the Brexit minister Lord Frost said in a speech in Portugal on Tuesday.


“It doesn’t seem unreasonable to us to look at an agreement again if it is obviously not doing what it was designed to achieve.

“For the EU now to say the protocol, drawn up in extreme haste, at this time of great uncertainty can never be improved upon when it is so self-evidently causing such difficult problems will be historic misjudgment,” he said.

But wait, he was one of those who shaped and signed off on it on behalf of the British government. Which makes his following comments utterly bizarre.

“We always sign treaties and in good faith and intend to implement them. I hope that’s a given.

But he added: “We knew that some aspects of the protocol as it stood when they were agreed in October 2019, we knew that these were problematic. We didn’t particularly support them ourselves. We agreed with them because it was the right thing to do for the country overall,” he said.

Which raises all manner of problems – it was right at the time on a protocol which is barely two years old but they didn’t support it?

On RTÉ they note Frost also said:

There was “a widespread feeling in the UK that the EU did try to use Northern Ireland to encourage UK political forces to reverse the referendum result, or at least to keep us closely aligned with EU,” he said.

“And moreover, that the Protocol represents a moment of EU overreach when the UK’s negotiating hand was tied, and therefore cannot reasonably last in its current form.”

That all this is entirely self-serving and self-evidently so appears not to trouble Frost whatsoever. Then again why should it? The UK’s latest problem in relation to fuel supplies – in part a result of Brexit, suggests that they would have been better off to have remained within the Single Market. Which makes the following even stranger.

The Brexit minister said the UK has a “somewhat fractious relationship” with the EU following Brexit.

“Geopolitics has become important again, location matters.

“Brexit has changed [Britain’s] international interests and hence will change our patterns of European relationships. Not necessarily fundamentally, but significantly.”

That is the most empty of rhetoric given that yes, location does matter, but it always did and that a supranational trading bloc sitting on one’s doorstep (and on this island, Ireland) was always going to makes everything more complex.

But then this is also the man who, as Rafael Behr noted in the Guardian…:

On the eve of the referendum, David Frost was chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association and unconvinced by arguments for leaving the European single market. “Even the best-case outcome can’t be as good as what we have now,” he wrote in June 2016.

Well now. This is far from the best-case outcome, and ironic that given he is one of those who shaped it. But perhaps that is, oddly, unfair to the man for as Behr also notes:

I have spoken to ministers, diplomats and officials who have worked with Johnson and they say, with one voice, that he has no interest in the detail of his deals and does not consider his signature on them to be binding. As one former cabinet colleague puts it: “Boris doesn’t give a stuff about Northern Ireland.”

Good to know. Not so great for Northern Ireland or Ireland as a whole. 


1. Klassenkampf Treehugger - October 13, 2021

Does it surprise anyone to discover from Cummings that the Brit government never intended to uphold the Northern Ireland Protocol?

Certainly not me.

Liked by 1 person

EWI - October 13, 2021

This is the same crowd that wanted ‘voluntary’ adherence to the Protocol back then, and now wants to bound free of ECJ oversight. Scoundrels the lot. AT some stage soon the EU is just going to have to say no.

Liked by 2 people

2. Phil - October 13, 2021

It was “right for the country at the time” because the Conservatives might not have got re-elected if they hadn’t been able to say they’d Got Brexit Done – and what’s good for the Conservative Party…

Liked by 1 person

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