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Eoghan Harris: Jeffrey Donaldson and the DUP deserve the thanks of Irish democrats

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson with fellow DUPs Gordon Lyons and Emma Little-Pengelly
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson with fellow DUPs Gordon Lyons and Emma Little-Pengelly

Alternatively, if an election known as, Donaldson will obtain an prolonged mandate from Survival Unionists, whose morale he has boosted for the previous eight months by persisting on the platform on which the DUP was elected moderately than below a storm of abuse from the DUP collapses Britain and Republic of Ireland.

By Survival Unionists I imply unionists decided to oppose Sinn Fein’s 24-year marketing campaign, which started instantly after the passage of the GFA and was passively backed by Britain, to undermine the standing of unionism, as a prelude to a form of shared authority.

Donaldson’s defiant stance is definitely way more vital than the protocol challenge itself, as a result of it marks a significant backlash by unions towards the passivity of London, the aggressiveness of Dublin and the mainstream media’s willpower to demonize the DUP. Let me take these three actors in flip.

First Great Britain. Over the previous 24 years, successive British governments’ insurance policies in the direction of commerce unionism will be summed up in William Wordsworth’s phrase: “Greetings where no friendliness is meant.” Britain was a reluctant sovereign, a roi fineantas the medievalists would name it, missing the will to defend the Union or to defend those that defend it.

In each disaster, one British foot is at all times on the Sinn Fein accelerator and the different on the union brake. This culminated in Boris Johnson throwing the DUP below a Dublin bus by agreeing to protocol so he might name and win an election in 2019.

Second, Dublin confirmed a shameful willingness to betray the precept of GFA equivalence by arming the GFA, enlisting them in the backstops’ Brexit combat, and mobilizing the EU and Washington in a marketing campaign that it knew would in the end defeat the standing of the commerce union motion can be undermined.

Stephen Collins’ current e-book, Ireland’s Call, Navigating the Backstop, reveals how DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) officers took benefit of Boris Johnson’s lack of curiosity in particulars to tie him into the document.

Basically, Dublin struck a take care of the British to caricature Northern Ireland unionists whom we have now handled as misfits moderately than Irish individuals with whom we declare to hunt unity and owe a political responsibility of care below the HFA. Yes, it was a giant blow to Dublin and the DFA – when it got here to constructing distrust and discord.

Finally, the British and Irish media painting the DUP as a pariah celebration. In a brazen reversal of actuality, the BBC, the Guardian and the Irish Times challenge Sinn Féin’s narrow-minded nationalism as a shiny progressive universalism, whereas the DUP portrays it as a dinosaur of the introverted localism.

The newest proof that the BBC has swallowed the Sinn Fein playbook got here final week when a Today reporter, visibly shocked by Donaldson’s “yes” to a query about working with a Sinn Fein first minister , repeated the query.

Against this backdrop of British and Irish betrayals, Donaldson’s onerous line on protocol was additionally a symbolic onerous line on Sinn Fein’s 24-year marketing campaign to undermine union standing, which lately produced two chilling revelations.

First, Michelle O’Neill’s “No Alternative” of August 2022, which goals to pack all of the IRA’s atrocities right into a single soothing entity: the simply conflict. Second, the LucidTalk ballot confirmed {that a} majority of northern nationalists had totally adjusted their ethical system, doubling their defaulting vote for Sinn Fein, a celebration condoning Provo’s assassination marketing campaign.

Behind these chilling endorsements of what I felt was a sectarian marketing campaign, lies a protracted litany of Sinn Fein hollowing out of union standing, starting from the strategic to the spiteful. Here is a small pattern:

– the IRA’s erosion of early GFA hopes by delaying decommissioning;

– Sinn Féin collapses govt, allegedly over ‘cash for ashes’, then modifications floor to Irish-language legislation;

– The Legacy scandal and the weak spot of the UK authorities in the face of Republicans’ shameless use of lawfare;

– Twenty years of mainstream media in NI (BBC NI, Belfast Telegraph and Irish News) taunting ‘collusion’ and the ‘soiled conflict’;

– Disclosure of “on the run” letters guaranteeing non-prosecution of Provos;

– The relentless prosecution of military and RUC members for illegal killings whereas not complicit in IRA atrocities;

– Sprawling sufferer lobbies and NGOs liked by nationalists like the Finucane Center, Relatives for Justice and CAJ. All largely give attention to state forces and overlook the Republican paramilitaries, the predominant killing drive throughout the riots. All are handled with uncritical deference by the BBC NI and NIO;

– Lawyers from QUB and Ulster University evaluating NI to Pinochet’s Chile;

– Abolition of the statutory British flag days, particularly the union flag of the city corridor;

– Small insults to Unionist heritage. Although Arlene Foster carried out at a GAA match for the Republic of Ireland’s nationwide anthem, Sinn Fein Minister Caral NI Chuilin took her seat at Windsor Park for NI v Faroe Islands solely after God Save The Queen;

– Spiteful nationalist conduct round the NI Centennial celebrations, even stopping the planting of a tree in Stormont.

By standing firmly towards protocol, Jeffrey Donaldson can also be symbolically standing firmly towards Sinn Fein’s subversion of the GFA, a stance important to all Democrats on the island of Ireland.

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