Irish protocol issues

It really wasn’t rocket science, was it?h

EFTA, became the EEA, I think, and thats probably what Scotland would seek to join first

The causes of the outbreak of WW1 and WW2 were very different.
The former was really jingoism and today wouldn’t have happened.
WW2, was more about stopping an evil regime with immoral principles trying to dominates Europe and beyond, which became increasingly evident as cleansing of Jews and eastern Europe became evident.
WW2 was a good war if a war can ever be termed that.

Every war has a good and a bad side - but often not clear until the victors define it.

The comments earlier in the thread by David and myself raise the question of whether WW2 was a ‘good war’.

There are clearer examples of ‘good wars’ - like the Spanish Civil War, in which a democratically elected government was attacked by a fascist army - but it is notable that although many brave Brits volunteered to fight the fascists in the international brigades, the UK government did not intervene, and indeed offered some succour to the fascist side - and it is well known that there was also much support for the Nazis among the UK establishment, including the royal family.

Given this, and the past record of many politicians, including Churchill, it would I think be naive to attribute wholly good motives - like the fight against fascism - to the declaration of WW2. The fear that Germany would succeed in establishing a land empire in eastern Europe (which was after all its explicit aim), and that this would rival the UK’s (or France’s) overseas empire, was probably the more important motivation at the time.

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Sort of agree in as much as Nazi Germany wanted to create an empire and mainly by violent invasion of neighbouring countries. Accepted that Britain and France had built empires and not always by peaceful means, and the moral of often doing it by relocation of white settlers which led to domination with the benefits being disputed…but would India be where it is now without the Raj?
An often forgotten medium outcome of WW2 was the withdrawal of Empire by UK (Macmillan’s Wind of Change) and France (Algerian near civil war), that was a result of a changed post WW2 world…and America’s dislike of European empires…( France and UK : Suez!)

Just simply reinstate the old border but don’t man it. If the EU demands there is a border between the North and the South , then let them man it and pay for it.

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This would be illegal Dewi - and not only in relation to international treaties with the EU, but other aspects of international law too - such as the WTO rules so loved by brexiters.
The UK could, of course, abandon all standards of ethics and legality and common sense, and turn itself into a pariah state like North Korea - but then you have to ask what would be the likely outcome of a real trade war with the EU and the rest of the world?
North Korea, remember, always had the support of it’s huge powerful neighbour, China, but it’s difficult to see any country supporting the UK in the scenario you propose.


Naturally these border issues were all pointed out to the government before the agreement

Yep. As Paul’s post and Mat’s graphic pointed out earlier in this thread, we always knew the brexiters were trying to ‘square the circle’.

From Stay European
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Playing with fire in Northern Ireland

“What is causing all of this tension is Brexit, not the [Northern Ireland] Protocol. The Protocol is an attempt to try to reduce tension and solve problems linked to Brexit.” - Simon Coveney, Irish foreign minister

The border crisis is even more acute in Northern Ireland, where supermarket food shortages have been worse and loyalists have threatened staff at the Irish Sea border (the one Boris Johnson agreed to and now denies the existence of).

Northern Ireland’s police chief says the atmosphere is “febrile”. “The list of problems go to the issues of identity and the constitutional future of Northern Ireland. These are the issues that were at the core of the Troubles,” one official told the Guardian .

There is a lot of misunderstanding about Northern Ireland. At its most basic, Brexit means a border between the EU Single Market and the UK has to go somewhere. (Inside the EU, free movement meant the location of the border wasn’t an issue.) It can’t be a ‘hard border’ with the Republic of Ireland as that threatens the Good Friday Agreement.

So the border has been placed in the sea – which unionists, who want Northern Ireland treated the same way as the rest of the UK, have taken as an existential threat (even though, foolishly, their political party the DUP propped up the Tories throughout the Brexit process).

There is no answer that keeps everyone in Northern Ireland happy – apart from, once again, the whole UK rejoining the Single Market. This video is a useful primer.

After the EU last week briefly considered using Article 16 (which lets either side break the deal on the UK-NI border), the UK government has responded with howls of outrage and… its own threat to invoke Article 16. This would do nothing but make matters much worse, and return to the situation last year when the government tried to tear up the Withdrawal Agreement. As we have been saying for a long time, Brexit is playing with fire when it comes to peace in Northern Ireland.

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a short sentence that sums it all up perfectly…its a circle that can’t be squared.

That’s a bit of a generalisation that NI Protestants see themselves as British. And as for the cultural roots thing of being Scottish, well that’s another very broad sweep, Geof.

The thing with Northern Ireland is that there is a very specific culture, influenced by history, heritage and community - a mélange if you wish - that people looking in from the outside don’t care to see. To label it as one or another is incorrect, and neither is it helpful. It’s the same concept for views on religious beliefs, and how that equates to political choices. Catholics and Protestants are automatically placed in either a Nationalist or Unionist ‘box’ by onlookers and commentators, and again this is not factual. Those who hold powerful positions, those who suggest a course of action, influence decisions or declare support for or against one ‘side’ or another are often unaware, or don’t care.

The extremely complicated situation in Northern Ireland is one that many do not truly understand. Without that deep sense of understanding, there are few that can grasp the nuances and importance of that concept. In addition, the very recent ‘history’ has influenced for the most part, a sea change, an over-arching desire for ‘normality’ - an uneasy peace and some sort of economic stability - to return, and it is way overdue for those above who think they are familiar with the intricacies and peculiarities of this part of the world to take a step back from, a long hard look at, and a proper analysis of life and lives in Northern Ireland.

Then maybe, there will be less prejudice and misinformation, and more care as to how facts are positioned, framed and postured.

Recent events have shown us that ‘fake news’ is a thing. How and where and when someone delivers words has an impact on those in its range, and too often there is the potential for serious harm, even loss of lives. Sweeping statements can be factually incorrect, invoke anger or fear, and potentially harmful to the very cause for making that statement.

We are all however entitled to our opinions, and yes, general discourse is a great method to debate and discuss. For me (and many others like me, who rarely engage publicly on this topic for multiple reasons) your statement is incorrect Geof. This is not a slight, merely something that, in the spirit of this forum, I feel I must remark upon.

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But you say a lot - and make an awful lot of assumptions about the depth of others’ knowledge and experience as opposed to your own - without actually saying anything about how exactly my, or others’ posts have been ‘incorrect’.
Please do contribute to the discussion, rather than just disparaging it, by telling us exactly what you think is incorrect.

I’m guessing nobody would like me to lighten the atmosphere here with a rendition of ‘Wee Willie’s lost his marley’ (he lost it doyn a gra’n, doyn on the Shankill road, by the way - other roads are available depending on all sorts of things).
:heart: Norn Iron.


I was born and lived in Northern Ireland until recently. I worked on the front line for almost 34 years, engaging with individuals and communities, seeing first hand the problems and issues that were, and still are, specific to that part of the world, in addition to normal run of the mill social and economic concerns. I was blown up, shot at, had bombs placed under my car, was threatened by ‘both sides’, had to move house twice and in addition suffered what became ‘normal treatment’ as a child - beaten up, spat at, stolen from - for someone who was neither Protestant nor Catholic, but the product of a mixed marriage. I did not fit into ‘a box’. I was sent to a ‘good school’ (because I passed my 11+ and it was an honour for my family for me to have this great opportunity, humble folk as they were) to soon discover I was there not just to study hard, but to be brainwashed and indoctrinated into physically demonstrating hatred for the ‘other’ side. I was taught a skewed version of history, fed stories of glory and war, and was encouraged to take up arms. This happened quietly, and on ‘both sides’.

I was warned that I would be kidnapped, tortured and potentially killed if I ventured into the wrong part of the country. My car was marked and I was often followed. The list goes on. I won’t bore you with what my children growing up had to experience.

So you might say I have first hand experience of what it was like growing up in Northern Ireland, of living there as an adult, being a spouse and a parent, an employee, a volunteer with sports and youth groups, and community worker across ‘the religious and political divide’, and of all the nuances, subtleties and differences that came with it. I saw all sides, not just the commonly-thought two, and yes, I grant you from an unusual, though not unique perspective. There are others like me.

So I do feel I am qualified to challenge your statement that NI Protestants identify as British. It is not correct, Geof. Some do. Not all. In the same way, not all Catholics identify as Irish. It is a commonly misinterpreted notion that it is that simple.

On top of that, the assumption you have made that NI Protestants, through geographic, cultural and family links are more ‘Scottish’ is wide of the mark. A tiny handful of people I came to know and work with in the communities, who for many reasons could have had the potential to affiliate to/feel this way, did not. Some actively distanced themselves from that idea. Northern Irish was the preferred ‘label’ if that’s what you wish to do.

I don’t believe I mentioned any other posts being incorrect. Just yours.


As you say Daisy, there are others like you - yours is a very familiar story to me.
Clearly you have a different view to mine - but you still offer no actual argument or evidence - you merely state, for example, ‘Some do. Not all.’ Well of course - there are always exceptions, but that doesn’t mean all generalisation is incorrect, does it? Nothing you have said provides compelling evidence that in general NI protestants don’t identify as British (which does not exclude, of course, also identifying as Northern Irish, just as identifying as British does not exclude also feeling English).
As to Scotland - it really is closer to NI geographically and in many, many other ways - it’s industrial history and many other histories - immigration, religion, etc - than either NI or Scotland are to the centre of ‘British’ culture - in so far as it has one - in London and the home counties. It’s really, really difficult for me to see what leads you to strongly disagree with this.

But rather than start bandying about statistics relating to historic occupations or religious affiliations or whatever in say Belfast and Glasgow as opposed London - in a thread about brexit! - might be best just to agree to differ!

Very interesting @Daisy_Johnston .

It is beyond me to understand why there is an Irish problem and why the six counties of Ulster now don’t want to unify as a nation with the south, particularly as the south has become a very modern and forward looking EU state.
Me thinks there is a small group of uber (mainly) religious loyalists who have an affinity with Britain when in fact a rapidly ncreasing majority (younger ) question why.
It would be interesting to do a proper poll on the mainland of attitudes towards the union. And unification would very conveniently solve the Brexit border issue which is where this thread started,

I think reunification is only a matter of time John, and I think the EU is still crucial to this.
In the years after the Good Friday Agreement I was involved in many discussions with colleagues from NI on what had fundamentally enabled it - and the consensus seemed to be that the EU was probably the most important factor - not so much because of any role it had played in NI itself, nor the fact that it tends to remove all internal borders. but precisely because of the transformation it was facilitating of southern Ireland into a modern, prosperous and attractive society (much more prosperous now, by the way, than the UK).

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