N.Ireland is once again the rope in the UK/EU tug of war.

(we've been here before, several times 🙄😩)

Both claim to be acting on the grounds of the Good Friday/Belfast 1998 Agreement.
🇬🇧🇪🇺🇮🇪

Both have a point…

But it’s complicated.

A twitter thread.
#Brexit #GFA
1/13
The Belfast/Good Friday #Agreement has 3 strands.

These strands represent the lines of division that gave rise to the #conflict:
* unionist/nationalist within NI,
* north/south across the border, &
* British/Irish.

The B/GFA formalised cooperation across these lines.
2/13
Crucially, all are #interdependent.

Underpinning it all is the British-Irish relationship
🇬🇧🇮🇪

That relationship was improved & became closer as a result of being ‘partners in the EU’ 🇪🇺

The EU was also a go-to model for some of that cross-border & multilevel cooperation.
3/13
There are as many references to the UK in the B/GFA as there are to the EU (15).

These are mainly in relation to the new institutions’ consideration of EU issues👇

The principle of #coordination is key.

& the EU dimension is most important to north/south cooperation.

4/13
+ B/GFA makes the European Convention on #HumanRights [Council of Europe, but a legal obligation of EU membership] a #safeguard for the B/GFA.

To ensure that ‘all sections of the community are protected’.

This is why it is included in the NI/IRL #Protocol.

5/13
But above all else, the #principles that underpin the B/GFA are key.

See the Declaration of Support signed up to by the parties & both govts:

“to strive in every practical way towards reconciliation & rapprochement within the framework of democratic & agreed arrangements.”
6/13
"Democratic & agreed arrangements" are absolutely key here.

There's something unimpeachable about what is negotiated, what is confirmed by democratic process.

It cannot be in tune with the B/GFA if it undermines democratic & agreed arrangements.

Who would disagree?

7/13
Second: ‘partnership, equality & mutual #respect’ as the basis of relationships across these islands.

What ever smacks of distrust, inequality, disrespect is undermining of the B/GFA.

This includes #Scotland & #Wales… they are equal members in the British-Irish Council.

8/13
Third: ‘exclusively #democratic & peaceful means of resolving differences on political issues’.

Elected representation has to matter.
Democratic process must work.
The rule of law must be revered.
Publicly promulgated. Equally enforced.

Undermine that & the B/GFA withers.
9/13
One thing m.important than we may have thought before:
There are no formal dispute resolution mechanisms in the B/GFA.
The courts overseeing it are national supreme courts, not an international court.
If UK or Ireland breaches it, there are no intl. legal means of recourse.
10/13
There is another principle worth mentioning: #consent.

“Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom & shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people”.

Nothing in the #Protocol changes the constitutional status of NI.

11/13
We are left on the faultline of future UK/EU relations.

But when all is said & done, the most critical relationship for peace in NI is the British-Irish relationship.

Devalue, jettison, undermine, stymie that relationship & you'll undermine the foundations of peace in NI

12/13
The softer the Irish land border & the softer the Irish sea border, the better it is for N.Ireland.

We can’t help it.
We’re perched in between.
#BritishIrishBoth

Try&pull one way or the other & we’re in trouble.

The only way ahead, in tune with the B/GFA, is #compromise.
13/13

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More from @hayward_katy

17 Sep
First reaction to this UKG statement on the 'Notwithstanding' clauses:

It is quite the opposite of reassuring.

TL;DR Less of a climbdown than a feint.

#Protocol

1/

gov.uk/government/pub…
The statement shows the UK Internal Market Bill was only the half of it...

At the end it promises more such moves to come in the Finance Bill,
"inc. the same Parliamentary process that the Govt has committed to for the UKIM Bill" to related to "tariffs on GB-NI movement"...

2/
This is a statement for those not familiar with the NI/IRL Protocol - i.e. it is aimed at MPs who may still have niggles about the whole 'putting law-breaking into law' thing.

It is certainly not one intended to address the key matter, or to rebuild necessary trust with EU.

3/
Read 8 tweets
7 Aug
The #Brexit #Protocol Press Release from UK Gov today was titled
“Major £650 million investment for Northern Ireland” 💸
Which is one way of putting it.

Another might be: “This is costing us a pretty packet… & we’re only warming up”.

Thread (containing a beautiful SLIDE!)
1/8
Most of that £££££ is to fund a Trader Support Service #TSS to help businesses manage the new regime for getting goods into NI from GB & RoW.

The TSS is "new & unprecedented".

See @AnnaJerzewska's razor sharp analysis of quite what that means.

2/8

So.
Never been done before.
It's only being announced now.
Still at procurement stage.

Yet UKG promise it will be operational in September.

Movement of goods from GB-NI will be depending on it come 1 January 2021.

Let’s just say, we are cutting it fine.

3/8
Read 8 tweets
16 Jul
The UK Govt is publishing a white paper today on the UK #InternalMarket

Press release 👇talks about powers going back to the #devolveds & jobs being protected

This isn't quite how the devolved govts see it 🧐

Here's a quick overview of the challenge:
1/
gov.uk/government/new…
The European single market enabled frictionless trade within the UK even as devolved pwrs grew
🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

#Brexit opens the possibility for growing divergence & internal barriers to trade.

It's a knotty challenge to meet, given serious economic, policy & political differences.

2/
How can the #UKIM challenge be met?

@UKandEU @McEwen_Nicola
@DanielWinc & I outline 4 poss. approaches (& strengths, weaknesses, likelihood)

UKG White paper is option 1, but with elements of 2 & 3 included.

It's ambitious.
& bound to be contentious.

Here are the 4 options:
3/
Read 11 tweets
19 Jun
So what's happening to views on Irish unification in NI?

More from @ARK_info #NILifeTimes survey #nilt2019 📊

This incl. long-standing Qs plus some new ones about whether certain things would encourage or discourage people from voting in favour of a #UnitedIreland.
THREAD
1/7
#NILifeTimes (face-to-face, random sampling) has different results from internet polling e.g. @LucidTalk re: proportion wanting Irish unity.

It's reasonable to say our figure (c.1/4) prob. too low, theirs (c.1/2) prob. too high, & the 'real' figure is somewhere in-between.

2/7
The great value of NILT is that it is a time series survey, ie. same Q & method over 20+yrs.

Overall, there hasn't been a dramatic surge in support for Irish unity.

Devolution remains preferred long-term policy (even though it wasn't functioning when Q asked).
#nilt2019

3/7
Read 7 tweets
17 Jun
So here goes...
The 1st of 4 threads on political attitudes in @ARK_info NI Life&Times Survey #nilt2019 #NILifeTimes @UKandEU

This one is on *Brexit & Irish Unity*

TL;DR: #Brexit means differences between Unionism & Nationalism aren't just about aspiration but expectation.
1/7
The slight majority see #Brexit as having made a United Ireland more likely.
But the absolute majority see it as making no difference to when they're in favour of a UI.

Decline since 2018 in those thinking Brexit makes a UI less likely (10%) & makes them less in favour (12%)
2/7
There are interesting party differences here, which fall not so much on unionist/nationalist lines as pro-Remain/Leave.

Majority of SF, SDLP & Alliance supporters believe Brexit makes Irish unity more likely.

For SDLP this = a 25 point & SF an18 point increase since 2018.

3/7
Read 9 tweets
15 Jun
Ireland has a sparkling new Programme for Government on the table 🇮🇪✨#programmeforgovernment
@fiannafailparty
@FineGael
@greenparty_ie

What does it say about #NIreland & about #Brexit?

A #thread on the stand-out points.

(H/T @ConorHouston_ for the starting link!)

1/10
On #Brexit future UK-EU:
-IRL sees itself at the ‘centre of negotiations’
-Will maintain ‘constant’ contact with EU's UKTaskForce
-Wants close #UK-EU relationship
-Has all EU’s 🇪🇺priorities in there as its own…
Plus🐟😬
-Notes full implementation of WA = key to an FTA
2/10
On implementing #WithdrawalAgmt IRL:
- Promises ‘active participation’ in Specialised Committee
(which means, according to UKG promise, NI Exec reps should be present too)

- Emphasis on rights dimensions of #protocol

- To seek ‘strong commitments’ from UKG to #ECHR (hmmm)

3/10
Read 10 tweets

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