Ireland’s relations with Great Britain have again featured in the news this week. A joint letter from DUP and Sinn Fein leaders calling on Brussels to waive checks on imports from UK supermarkets has underlined the need for the Internal Market Bill. This, of course, is direct evidence of the potential for a blockade of food and other goods to the province, at which prospect pro-European outlets formerly scoffed.
In turn, it demonstrates the need for the Internal Market Bill to pass in its current form as a safeguard against the insistence of vexatious checks by Brussels, as we’ve written in the past. The EU’s refusal to give a straight answer to the joint leaders’ letter illustrates handily that Brussels has no interest in the welfare of Northern Irish consumers, and should further strengthen government (and MPs’) resolve.
Rhetoric of a crushing defeat in the Lords notwithstanding, the government still has the majority to resubmit the Bill to the Commons, and thus compel the upper house to pass it without amendment. And despite widespread Remainer glee at the prospect of Biden freezing out Johnson if the Bill goes ahead, as ‘Caroline Bell’ has argued for BfB a Biden victory does not mean that Britain needs to capitulate on the Withdrawal Agreement.
Enforced in its present form the WA clearly breaches the Good Friday Agreement by cutting off Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. More generally, the Democrats are largely in favour of a trade deal with the UK regardless of Brexit, US trade policy is generally driven by internal economic motors, and even the EU itself doesn’t have a trade deal with Washington (and is at present in the midst of nasty tariff war).