Am I alone in thinking much of what gets said and is purportedly done regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol sits within the BS category rather than out and out lying?
There’s a very perceptive letter in the Guardian this morning from John Morrison which pretty much covers a politics which is getting thinner and thinner by the day. He writes:
Our outrage about the government’s Rwanda asylum policy is just playing into the hands of ministers, who want to be seen to be doing something determined, regardless of the consequences.
At the same time, novelist Caitlin Macy over in the Wall Street Journal argues that we’re all getting a little overemotional about everything (and it’s actually meaning less and less), even love…
Are today’s more aggressively overt claims of love merely an elaborate social ritual? Are they an attempt to control others—to keep people close? Are they simply the triumph of cheesiness and the idea of “niceness” that lies at the heart of Americans’ conception of themselves?
While I find that on average it lowers my blood pressure to see lots of hearts—to both heart and to be hearted—I can’t seem to lose the feeling that it’s all a crock. Perhaps if we weren’t so quick to love, we’d be slower to hate as well. In both cases, less just might turn out to be more. [Emphasis added]
Less is definitely more, in an era when more and more people believe they can achieve success (political, social, commercial) by simply winging it. The Guardian again on the type that succeeds and…
Then there is the other kind of winging it story – the kind that ends in ignominy. Remember the safeguarding minister, Rachel Maclean, tying herself in factually inaccurate knots when asked about stop-and-search powers?
The Australian journalist Matt Doran, who interviewed Adele without listening to her album? Or the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, claiming Channel 4 was publicly funded, then that Channel 5 had been privatised?
This is toe-curling, embarrassing stuff. And it has a long shadow that it throws across the past agreements “within and between these islands”.
So to the protocol. As Newton Emerson [who else? – Ed] pointed out in The Irish Times yesterday, the bill could take up year in stand off with the Lords, and EU retaliation would be grindingly slow. So forget the BS…
Brussels and Washington are waiting to see if Tory infighting disposes of Johnson, the bill or both. Neither cares about unionists but they have to pretend to, having claimed to care so often.
Everything points to a new agreement that can be spun as addressing DUP concerns, although semantic distinctions may be drawn over what constitutes ‘renegotiation’. There has to be a new agreement eventually because the protocol as originally agreed is unworkable, as all sides have quietly conceded.
The DUP is being given a ladder to climb down on the understanding that it has to climb down soon. It would be absurdly parochial of it to think it will get a better offer.
Wake me up when its all cooked?
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