So-called ‘progressive Europeans’ are using the Belfast Agreement to derail Brexit

So-called ‘progressive Europeans’ are using the Belfast Agreement to derail Brexit

Lord Adonis tweeted that after three days in Northern Ireland he had decided that the DUP wanted a hard border for ‘cultural/political reasons’; but like just about everything else pertaining to Brexit, he is wrong.

The DUP haven’t set out to achieve a hard border, but rather a hard border is increasingly inevitable due to the actions of those Remainers that are seeking to use the border issue to not only de-rail Brexit, but also to wedge Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom via the backdoor.

Lord Adonis followed his Saturday contribution with yet another petulant sideswipe on Sunday when he proclaimed that the DUP’s commitment to democracy was ‘questionable’ because they opposed a ‘people’s vote’. Let us remind ourselves what this ‘people’s vote’ idea actually is. It is the latest attempt by the Remain campaign to thwart the democratic will of the people, by cloaking such a malicious agenda in the language of democracy. In this context it is absurd since Lord Adonis is a man who has wholly committed himself to overturning the democratic will of the people.

Remainers such as Lord Adonis have become so utterly obsessed with stopping Brexit, they will do literally anything to thwart the democratic will of the people. They are incapable of accepting that the ordinary British people took a decision with which they disagree. The ‘elite’ have nearly all adopted the doctrine of ‘progressive Europeanism’; some out of what verges on communist dogma, and some because it seems fashionable. That this corrosive ‘progressive Europeanism’ perpetrates an act of self-harm on their own country by virtue of eroding sovereignty in favour of political and economic integration into an EU super state, is little more than a passing thought for the most extreme Remainers.

The Belfast Agreement is held up as a holy writ, yet despite this it is systematically falling apart at the seams. The British Parliament already has unilaterally taken budgetary decisions – and will soon legislate for the appointment of a Policing board and other public positions. This is Westminster unilaterally legislating on devolved matters and such a course will soon require the amendment or repeal of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. This, one would imagine, would be done unilaterally without the approval of the Irish Government and would therefore conflict the British-Irish treaty and as such signal the end of the Belfast Agreement.

For many unionists such as me, the end of the Belfast Agreement is no bad thing. It gave life to a ‘process’ that requires ‘progressive Europeanism’ in order to survive. It allows Irish Nationalists to advance their goal of a united Ireland by virtue of open borders, all-Ireland harmonisation and political integration within the context of the European Union. It is therefore no surprise that Irish nationalists would make common cause with those ideologically committed to the doctrine of ‘progressive Europeanism’. Both sides of the same ideological coin are wholly committed to undermining the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

The ‘progressive Europeans’ are therefore using the Belfast Agreement as a battering ram to derail Brexit. It is true that the ‘spirit’ of the Belfast Agreement dies with Brexit; it is not possible to reconcile harmonisation and political integration with the coming reality, namely that Northern Ireland – as an integral part of the UK – will be separated with the Republic of Ireland by an EU land border.

We have also heard the case repeatedly made for Northern Ireland to have ‘special status’. This, proponents of such a suggestion would tell you, would allow Northern Ireland the best of both worlds. Yet if it is such a fantastic opportunity, then why are the Republic of Ireland not asking the European Union for such a ‘special status’ for themselves?

I argued during the Brexit referendum, as someone wholly committed to the repeal of the 1998 Act and withdrawal from the British-Irish treaty, that Brexit has the double bonus of delivering the United Kingdom’s independence, and undermining the ‘spirit’ of the Belfast Agreement.

The Belfast Agreement is a political text, and is largely based on assumptions, ambiguities and fudges. The legal basis, namely the Northern Ireland Act 1998, is all that matters in law. Brexit does not actually undermine the Act, which unambiguously vests parliamentary sovereignty with Westminster and makes clear Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom.

Brexit undermines the constructive ambiguity that underpins the political Belfast Agreement. That is why nationalists of all shades are increasingly apoplectic as the realisation dawns that their ‘harmonisation’ project will be dealt a fatal blow by Brexit.

Remainers sought to cling to the constitutionally destructive ‘backstop’ because it provided them with a means to thwart Brexit. Irish nationalists clung to the ‘backstop’ because they believed it was a backdoor way in which they could wedge Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and into an effective economically united Ireland.

It was crucial that the ‘backstop’ option was completely rejected. Northern Ireland, as an integral part of the UK, voted to leave the European Union. The referendum was a UK-wide vote, and the absurdity of the argument made by those who would seek to break it down into regions and even towns and cities, is evidently apparent.

As we move forward, it is important that the will of the British people is respected. That means leaving the Customs Union, leaving the Single Market and being outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That means securing our borders and the integrity of the UK’s internal market. If delivering the democratic will of the people necessitates a hard border, which would ironically be required by the EU’s treaties, then so be it.