In England crops are left to rot as there are not enough workers to pick them…

I deplore waste, especially food waste. With so much hunger in the world, it is a scandal how much food is wasted in rich countries. They estimate the average UK family throws out £700 worth of food a year. But what of the food that never even reaches the shops? Euronews reports on the crops left to rot as there are not enough workers to pick them. From the article: Fruit and vegetables are being left to rot in England …

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“He did not read the protocol, he has not read the bill, he does not know his stuff”…

As Labour leader, Ed Miliband’s awkward geekiness never found favour with the English voters but he has grown in stature over the years. His Reasons to be cheerful podcast is an entertaining and informative listen. In his day job role as MP and shadow Minister, he gave Boris quite the evisceration over his handling of NI Protocol. It makes for an entertaining watch. @Ed_Miliband Destroying @BorisJohnson with ease. ?‍☠️pic.twitter.com/1VVzyPlyTN — The Churchill Project (@WinstonCProject) July 21, 2021 But all this …

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The Northern Ireland Protocol: The High Court has its say

Who knew constitutional law could be so dramatic? The High Court has dismissed a legal challenge to the Northern Ireland Protocol by several unionist politicians. The political ramifications are likely to carry us through July, a traditionally calm month in Northern Ireland. As always when there’s a high-profile judgment, people will take what they can and use it for political capital. You wouldn’t think the unionist claimants had lost. Others seem to think the matter is settled and we should …

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Event: Queen’s Policy Engagement June Post-Brexit Clinic Wednesday 30 June 2021 at 12.30pm…

Following on from our long-running series of Brexit Clinics at Queen’s, this new series of public engagement events look at the latest developments in the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU and at the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. Since our last Clinic, the two main Unionist party leaders have stepped down and been replaced, accusations have been made that the Ireland/N.Ireland Protocol is destabilizing Northern Ireland’s future political stability and the post-Brexit EU-UK trade agreement has finally …

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How the NI Protocol protects the Agreement

To the chagrin of Unionist politicians, it’s often emphasised by the four governments (UK, Ireland, EU, and US) that the Northern Ireland Protocol exists to protect the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement. For reasons which are understandable when examined in isolation, Unionism feels let down by the promise of the Agreement. I can see where they are coming from. The Agreement is based on cross community consent; the Protocol does not recognise this. British citizens are asked to …

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Militancy can only expose Edwin Poots’ weakness. Instead he can claim credit if David Frost delivers acceptable mitigation of protocol terms

The tempo of Protocol politics  is quickening. Fresh from  calling into the Arcadia deli on the Lisburn road ( a favourite haunt of  SDLP, Alliance and Green voters no doubt as it once was of mine ),  Brexit minster Lord Frost  has  issued what sounds like an ultimatum to the  EU. “If the Protocol operates so as to damage the political, social, or economic fabric of life in Northern Ireland, then that situation cannot be sustained for long”. The new …

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David O’Sullivan: The EU at 70 – still going strong?

Watch back this evening’s Hume Foundation inaugural European Spirit of Peace Lecture, delivered by David O’Sullivan (former EU ambassador to the US) which looked at the EU 70 years on and asked whether it was going strong. He had cautionary words for those conflating the Irish constitutional issue with practical aspects of the NI Protocol which he said was “unhelpful” and could “destabilise many in the Unionist community”.

If Edwin Poots tried to crash the Assembly it would open the door to a border poll

Let’s assume Edwin Poots is a shoo-in for the DUP leadership. Comfortable in his minor elder statesman role at Westminster, Jeffrey Donaldson hasn’t the stomach for a contest. He might be willing to accept  it on a plate but that’s not going to happen. With more than a hint of desperation, some of us have been foisting the Nixon goes to China model onto Poots, meaning that the hardliner in politics may be better placed to compromise than the liberal. …

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Brexit breakthrough on the protocol? Try this for size

If you’re  one of those souls who follow every twist and turn of Stormont politics, there’s one thing you shouldn’t overlook; that  sorting out the Brexit rows which are stoking division are largely  beyond local control. Another is what Newton reminded us recently, that  Stormont  boycott is now  a risky strategy. The Executive can stagger on for the best part of a year in the absence of one leading party – guess who? –  but with an election somewhere along …

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The road to Brexit – part two…

You can read part one here… The Conservative Party and Brexit In her Bruges speech on 20 September 1988 Margaret Thatcher said[1]: We have not embarked on the business of throwing back the frontiers of state at home only to see a European superstate getting ready to exercise a new dominance from Brussels. The speech exposed the divisions in the Conservative party between Europhiles and Eurosceptics. The date is conventionally taken as the start of the Brexit process[2]. In a …

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The road to Brexit – part one…

Introduction The United Kingdom joined the Common Market (EEC) on 1 January 1973[1]; the prime minister responsible was a Conservative, Edward Heath. Two years later two-thirds of voters agreed with this in a referendum called by a Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson. In 2016, a Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, called a European Union (EU) referendum and narrowly lost. What had happened to the UK and the EU in-between for this to happen[2]? Why did the EEC/EU become such an …

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Mini-super power or Pacific dream?

Security is never far behind trade, indeed the leading conceptual theory behind the European Union is that by creating an intricate network of trade in goods and services the cost of any conflict or even minor security issue would be too great – for even the largest of nations in the network. What then are we to make of “Global Britain” beginning to flex its muscles in the Asia-Pacific region (‘ASPAC’)? The UK has officially applied to join the ‘Trans-Pacific …

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The latest real world effects of the protocol standoff

There’s a mixed picture of trade in and out of both parts of Ireland, some of them temporary and perverse The good news?   Via Sky News   A lot of freight, up by 4.3% in February, is now sent from British ports to  Northern Ireland  on ferries and then driven down into Ireland. More goods are now moving between Britain and Belfast because freight can now be sent from Britain to Ireland through Northern Ireland without complex customs procedures. Ferry data analysed …

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Behind the Paddy’s Day rituals, how deep is the Stormont crisis?

With so much guff, bluff and ritual about it, St Patrick’s Day is a poor bellwether for judging the state of affairs in Ireland remotely – and perhaps no better on the spot either. One glance at privileged youff crowding Botanic Gardens in defiance of lockdown, you might have groaned with me: “ Not the Holylands again. “ However BBCNI’s news story was encouraging. St Patrick's Day: Police clear crowds at Belfast's Botanic Gardens https://t.co/Fp6LvjTOC8 — Darran Marshall (@DarranMarshall) March …

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Boris Johnson has refused Arlene Foster on the protocol. Both governments and the EU should now get off their high horses and fix it.

Time was when prime ministers visited somewhere they used it as the backdrop to make a substantial speech about where they stood on the policy or move things along.  Think back to Tony Blair’s “acts of completion”.  Can you imagine Boris Johnson submitting himself to questions about his post Brexit and pro Union strategies?  Nowadays it’s enough for Johnson to turn up for a box ticking exercise, high viz vested or in a white coat, elbows bumping, for a few …

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Do not let your loyalty become slavery

Seven weeks. That is the number of weeks since Christmas Eve 2020. Remember the day? The UK celebrated the “oven-ready” Brexit deal brokered with the European Union. A deal heralded by the British Government as the perfect Christmas present for all those within the UK. Seven weeks. That is the number of weeks it took for some members of the British Government to start murmuring discontent at their prestigious deal of leaving one union to solidify their own. “Teething issues” …

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Loyalism’s Response to the Northern Ireland Protocol…

We have seen media coverage of the banners, posters and murals being put up rejecting the Irish Sea Border, the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and even in some cases withdrawing support from the Good Friday Agreement and calling for the collapse of Stormont. However, behind this disapproval and anger, we have not seen analysis of why specifically loyalists are rejecting the Northern Ireland Protocol; their understanding of recent political events relating to it and what they propose to …

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Arlene must tell us if she agrees with Peter Robinson’s option of Assembly withdrawal to fight the protocol

Peter Robinson under arrest at Clontibret 1986 Arlene Foster has all but declared the DUP’s lack of confidence in the UK government’s efforts to renegotiate the protocol. From the sidelines her predecessor Peter Robinson is  tempting her to contemplate doing something more dramatic about it than protest. With his acute ear he has picked up the drumbeats not only from the DUP core but from the loyalist undergrowth. Cannily  attempting to insure against taking the blame for another “flegs” debacle, …

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Moderate Irish Nationalism is talking at Unionists, not with Unionists, and that will set us all back.

Philip Wilson is a Belfast-based writer who is involved in Northern Irish politics. He has a Master’s in Politics from King’s College London When Irish Nationalists like Simon Coveney and Matthew O’Toole suggest that Brexit, and not the protocol, is the problem, they deny Unionists their full place in the United Kingdom and implicitly dilute the vote of Unionists as full citizens of the UK. In no sense can this be interpreted as in the spirit of the Belfast/Good Friday …

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Leading constitutional expert backs DUP objections to the Protocol

Prof Vernon Bogdanor   Let us is suspend for a moment blaming the DUP for helping to saddle us with customs forms and phytosanitary checks at Belfast and Larne. Let us praise the SDLP and Alliance for looking for the bright side, at the  competitive  advantage NI business can enjoy NI to EU and GB if only the checks  GB to NI are drastically reduced. Mitigation may yet be the name of the game. But now a thunderbolt has been hurled …

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