A negotiated agreement is the only way forward for the Northern Ireland Protocol

We know that a parallel universe is an adjacent dimension with an alternate reality. It’s a self-contained plane of existence that coexists with one’s own, at least the tinkerers assure us.

aoiseach Micheál Martin must have wondered how he found himself trapped in such a sphere as he crossed the border yesterday for talks about the north.

After meeting Mr Martin, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said there should be no “tinkering around the edges” with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It must be replaced by regulations that “respect the integrity of the UK internal market”.

Meanwhile, the most drastic and nefarious about-face in modern economic history took place in London to save the same market from entering a black hole. While the spin doctors insisted the ministers were “in step with the PM”, MPs said she had no leg to stand on.

In the big politics and turmoil in London, “fringe tinkering” was hardly an issue. Britain’s most conservative newspaper The Daily TelegraphThat has both campaigned for Brexit and supported it to the max this week has acknowledged that its main economic goals have failed.

“Britain’s transformation into the new Italy is almost complete,” read the headline of the article, which drew numerous parallels between the economic decline and political instability of both countries. It had four prime ministers in six years and four finance ministers in four months.

The powerful Conservative backbenchers’ committee of 1922 – which organizes leadership contests – has reportedly already been holding secret talks about Ms Truss’ defenestration.

Amid the uproar, Mr Donaldson insisted there was “no quick fix” to the problems created by the protocol. Anyway, it’s also a function of Brexit. Nor does it bother that his party is still blocking power-sharing. London has also committed to amending the deal either unilaterally or in EU talks. Once again, given the UK government’s uncertainty, a surreal element of the proceedings is hard to overlook.

But whatever the chaos at Downing Street, it is deeply unfortunate that government in the North has stalled for so long.

Its people and democracy itself demand more.

Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O’Neill makes a fair point when she says the North shouldn’t be the “collateral damage”. A negotiated way forward can end the impasse. Otherwise, a new election will have to be called by the end of this month, with who knows what. But a deal can still be made. The tearing up of the truss budget shows how desperate the situation is for a government surviving by the hour. Mr Hunt has spoken of his country’s “watering” financial problems.

But markets are suggesting Mr Hunt may be on the mend. Economic and political stability must be restored. And that can certainly only be helped by signaling that binding international agreements will not be changed except through respectful negotiations.

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/a-negotiated-deal-is-the-only-way-forward-for-northern-ireland-protocol-42074120.html A negotiated agreement is the only way forward for the Northern Ireland Protocol

Fry Electronics Team

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