The more cynical (and there’s been a lot of that even amongst the popcorn munchers here on Slugger) may interpret Poots’ ‘softening’ as some kind of bargaining plea from posterity, butt he’s also putting down a marker for future events.
When asked about Edwin’s assertion this morning on GMU that Brandon Lewis had assured him there would be significant changes in the Northern Irish protocol he said he would not disclose the nature of private conversations.
In truth, Poots himself cannot know whether there will be significant changes, but objectively it does need significant change and may well be resolved through the activity of the key body in charge of such matters, ie the joint committee.
Just as Lewis is suggesting…
“We want to get this corrected so that consumers and businesses can continue to function as a full and integral part of the UK. We take nothing off the table in that regard… but we want to work this through with the EU.”
One familiar line that struck me from the GMU interview with Poots..
In general, unionists tend to react such that they don’t recognise their own wins and very often overplay other people’s wins. If you look back there isn’t the unionist majority. that existed when arrives drawn up so in the 1970s you know the assemblies and councils and so forth would have had significant Unionist majorities.
However, most people don’t consider a win on Ulster Scots as anything they are remotely interested in. In fact most unionists aren’t really that interested in Irish either, it’s largely the polarising Sinn Féin “crocodile act” they react to.
And I mean ‘act‘ in the vaudeville tradition. Not only is there no Act coming, what Sinn Féin has already agreed will barely enhance the ongoing support for the language already achieved through the direct action of the language movement itself.
He might have been on safer ground pointing out that some elements of the cultural package have already been implemented thereby puncturing the media bubble grown around Mary Lou’s false claims that there would be ILA.
Would he have pulled Paul Givan out of the First Minister’s office? Only if he’d have gotten nothing. Now, by suggesting the British will deliver, he can claim he had it nailed on if they do. And no one will remember what he said if they don’t.
Now it’s all conveniently parked (as far as Mr Poots is concerned) in the someone else’s problem field…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty