It would be an extraordinary irony for the very union the DUP holds so dear to become threatened by the Brexit they have done so much to championby Peter Mandelson / February 26, 2018 / Leave a comment
Tony Blair is not fond of hyperbole. So when he said the other day that “there are politicians prepared to sacrifice the Good Friday Agreement on the altar of Brexit,” adding that “this is irresponsibility that is frankly sickening,” you know something bad is going on.
Remarkable as it is, it seems there really is no price too high for some Brexiters to take the UK out of the EU, including the reintroduction of a hard Irish border and the political repercussions for the island’s political stability.
Indeed, the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, Owen Patterson—a former Northern Ireland secretary—and the Labour MP Kate Hoey seem to relish the prospect. If their recent pronouncements are to be believed, they apparently see it as an opportunity to bring down the Good Friday Agreement altogether.
Of the three, Hoey has long harboured a bitterness towards the GFA—not because she is a devotee of the killing and maiming that it ended but because she thinks the Agreement legitimized those in the Republican movement who perpetrated this violence. She is not the sort to move on.
Hoey also resents the other chief feature of the Agreement, which is a shared responsibility with the Irish government in Northern Ireland’s affairs.
Her views are shared by the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, the DUP, and it seems—more surprisingly—by the former unionist First Minister ousted by the DUP, Lord Trimble, who was an architect of the Good Friday Agreement.
Trimble knows how inflammatory the border is and how Republicans would use its reappearance to support their cause. Inevitably, it…