The desperate have an affinity for flirting with danger. The less they have to lose, the higher they raise the stakes. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has become familiar with tight corners. But his exit strategies can end up in a hot mess for others to clean up.
With his back to the wall, and the ground and confidence he once had crumbling beneath his feet, he seems to wrestle with anything that might hold him in power.
News that he is preparing legislation to give ministers sweeping powers to tear up the post-Brexit trade deal in the North; provoking another showdown with Brussels has proven its worth. But it’s also irresponsible and shamelessly self-serving.
Since Brexit, Mr Johnson has played fast and loose with agreed terms.
The fact that the deal was both signed and sealed in an international treaty seemed to further arouse his disregard.
He welcomed all the freedoms Brussels offered and seemed to enjoy playing both sides against the centre.
The more he got away with ignoring his side of the bargain, the more he beamed.
Never mind that lives and livelihoods are caught up in the boast.
Now that his “Partygate” violations have been declared and his popularity plummeting at an alarming rate, he must forge new alliances to save his neck. The fact that he is taking these steps while the most important elections in the North have weighed on us for generations makes it all the more reprehensible.
The new Northern Ireland law will effectively scrap plans for checks and balances on goods coming into the north.
Without the protocol – which allows this without a land border – a new mechanism would have to be put in place.
Whitehall is doing so in anticipation of what it sees as a constitutional crisis should Sinn Féin be the dominant party after the election and unionists refuse to enter the assembly. But the move would not just be a violation of an international treaty and bad faith; it would also reward unionists for not accepting the democratic process.
All of this is undermining stability and peace in the north.
The Good Friday Agreement challenged and supported participants across the spectrum.
If London figures this is a good time for a move to drop the protocol because Brussels is too distracted by the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis or rising inflation, it could be unpleasantly surprised.
Switching off the protocol by unilaterally using the UK law mechanism is a slap in the face to both Ireland and the US EU.
To risk so much for brazen political expediency is a step too far.
All bets will certainly be off if the EU retaliates by suspending its trade deal with the UK over London’s failure to honor its commitments. The future must certainly focus on joint solutions, not on going it alone.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/boriss-back-to-the-wall-over-partygate-pressures-41578976.html Boris has his back to the wall because of Partygate pressure