( A three-minute read)
My recent Beady Eye post attempted to explain the origins of the Northern Ireland border.
THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT ATTEMPTS TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM.
Up to the Good Friday agreement Northern Ireland was in effect a one-party state, in which half of the population was routinely discriminated against.
The agreement marked a commitment to “the mutual respect, the civil rights and the religious liberties of everyone with Britain agreed to incorporate the European Convention of Human Rights into the law of Northern Ireland.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Belfast Agreement, more commonly known as The Good Friday Agreement.
SIGNED ON THE 10th April 1998. It effectively brought an end to The Troubles, which had raged in the region for thirty years. It was widely seen in Britain, as elsewhere, as a significant act of statesmanship, supported by both main parties.
A devolved assembly was established for both sides to govern together and while unionists were assured of their British identity, a united Ireland was acknowledged as a legitimate political goal for Republicans.
As the Irish border is becoming a critical issue in the Brexit negotiations, it now appears at risk.
CONDEMNING THE AGREEMENT TO THE POLITICAL SHREDDER.
Some 71 percent of people in Northern Ireland voted to accept the agreement in a referendum, with the DUP (NOW BRIBING THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY TO THE TUNE OF 6 BILLION TO REMAIN IN POWER) being the only party to reject it.
The system of power-sharing government it established in Northern Ireland has not functioned for over a year.
However, the collective failure in Northern Ireland will not be blamed just on Brexit nor on the DUP but on the EU if it agrees to any border visible or otherwise.
The harder the border between north and south, the more reckless the UK’s decision to leave the EU will be judged.
A significant amount of direct funding is at stake: the EU provides Northern Ireland with nearly a billion euros a year for agriculture, employment, and projects related to the peace process.
Of course, no one talks about the other border between Gibraltar and Spain where British territory also has a historic claim placed on it by a foreign power, namely Spain.
It will “make the Irish problem look like a picnic”.
96 percent of Gibraltarians voted to Remain in 2016.
Of course there are differences between Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, obviously, based on geography, economics, and history. Gibraltar isn’t in the UK, but as a close overseas dependent territory, it may as well be.
The EU has given Spain a formal veto over Brexit if Madrid is not happy with the Gibraltar dimensions of a Brexit deal. The Irish didn’t get that.
Gibraltar could easily be treated much like other EU microstates such as Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, and Andorra; EU members in all but name, albeit with no formal voting powers.
SO WHY NOT NORTHERN IRELAND?
GIBRALTAR REPRESENTS one tiny strip of land, two vetoes and three governments trying to achieve the impossible WHILE NORTHERN IRELAND REPRESENTS A HISTORICAL DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN AGAIN.
Makes you wonder if all this collateral damage TO ALL CONCERNED is worth it.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.