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Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has been touring Northern Ireland and commenting upon the NI Protocol, which continues to be a source of friction and dissent in the province.

So who is his excellency? Read his responsibilities here and form your own conclusions.

His official title bestowed by Ms von der Leyen is "Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight" (I'm reminded of Jim Hacker being the minister for the Department of Administrative Affairs, but I'm sure the vice-president has far greater responsibilities. Let us hope that he doesn't have the monopoly on foresight). There is more of course, but I'll let those interested follow up the link.

Facts4EU present their analysis of his remarks to Queen's University Belfast in the context of Northern Ireland history and present day life, and it's becoming hard to dissociate the vice-president from the Orwellian concept of the Minister of Truth. 

An interesting exploration of the EU approach to Northern Ireland. 

"Plus ça change ..." as they say.

Is the writing on the wall now for the NI Protocol?

Perhaps Lord Frost will give it a well overdue coup de grâce?

Like/dislike this video here.



It seems an aeon since we voted to leave the EU.

It took three years of obfuscation that threatened the collapse of Parliament before we finally voted (for a least the third time) for us to leave, even on Boris' compromised Withdrawal Agreement that it seems nobody fully understood.

As a result the EU has been leveraging that verbiage to keep Northern Ireland within the EU, no doubt with the support of the Irish government who would like to end up with a united Ireland under their control. I suspect that they should be careful what they wish for - a united Ireland might not be the panacea that brings an end to the "troubles".

For a review of roughly where these negotiations now stand and whither they might be (still painfully slowly) moving, the Express published a piece by Jayne Adye of Get Britain Out.

It's worth perusing, and it reiterates the same point that we have known all along - the UK must take and keep the initiative in these ongoing battles of the negotiation and the parallel public narrative - against the ponderous bureaucratic monolithic EU, how difficult can that really be?



Briefings for Britain report that Lord Frost is going to give the protocol pot a good stirring.

Apparently this momentous news has made little impact, even though it creates radical simplification of the customs border down the Irish Sea.

Will the EU nod it through?

Or is everybody of note on holiday and haven't yet assimilated the proposals?

We await developments.



Migration was a key issue of the Brexit debate, and now that Brexit is, if not finalized, at least acknowledged by the world's governments, our government is now responsible for the control of immigration.

As the increasing flow of would-be immigrants in inflatable boats crossing the Channel, kindly shepherded by the French Navy and British Border Force, attests, they don't seem to be making a very good job of it.

Of course the cross-channel flow of illegal immigrants is simply the most visible manifestation of the problem and many suspect that government incompetence may not be the only factor at work here.

Migration Watch has made it their business to crunch the numbers and come to some conclusions.

No doubt in due course the 2021 census will provide further fuel for the debate.



Yesterday's regular Brexit Watch Tea Time email briefing highlights the news that Ben Habib, Baroness Hoey Jim Allister and others had their application for judicial review of the Northern Ireland Protocol rejected by the Belfast High Court.

"In a momentous constitutional ruling, Mr Justice Colton found that the protocol – which creates the Irish Sea border – conflicts with the 1800 Act of Union, but that legislation enacting the protocol in Parliament has repealed part of the Act of Union"

The plaintiffs had argued that the constitutional Act of Union of 1800 and the Good Friday Agreement were both breached by imposition of the Protocol, since constitutional change normally requires explicit amendment of constitutional legislation.

Judge Colston disagreed, ruling that by passing the EU Withdrawal Agreement the UK Parliament had implicitly changed the constitutional settlement.

Whilst this seems to fly in the face of all precedent (not to mention many assurances given in the UK Parliament), this particular hearing was likely irrelevant, since whichever party lost the case the next step would be to appeal, so the road is now clear to take that next step.

One obvious problem for the current ruling is that under the Belfast Agreement, constitutional change explicitly requires the formal agreement of the people of Northern Ireland, which was not sought, since the government "thinking" at the time was that the NI Protocol would not conflict with the constitutional settlement.

Some might be forgiven for thinking that the government position as supported by the High Court is equivalent to both having one's fudge and eating it.

Still, perhaps this particular aspect of requiring the agreement of the people was also implicitly revoked by an uncomprehending UK Parliament, soothed by the government's lullaby of unquestionable assurances as in its desperation to be seen to "get Brexit done" it passed the EU Withdrawal Agreement?

Read the Belfast Newsletter report here.