What the UK general election means for Northern Ireland | FT


[MUSIC PLAYING] LAURA HUGHES: We’ve
come to Northern Ireland to look at the impacts of
Brexit and the upcoming general election on the region. Behind me is the Peace Wall,
a symbol of the troubles that this part of the
UK has faced for years. Well be talking
to those fighting on both sides of the debate
to see what’s at stake, and what it means for the
future of Northern Ireland. [MUSIC PLAYING] Before 2017, the DUP were
a relatively unknown force in British politics. But all that changed when
Theresa May came back from a general election
without a majority. [MUSIC PLAYING] The DUP’s 10 members
of parliament gave the conservatives
the majority that they needed
to stay in power, through a Confidence and
Supply Agreement that guaranteed this region of
the UK one billion pounds. But Brexit made
that relationship increasingly difficult
over the last two years. And the party voted down
Theresa May’s Brexit deal on three separate occasions. Then Boris Johnson came
in, and he did a deal that Mrs may wouldn’t
have dared to do. It involved putting
a trade barrier down the Irish
Sea, something that is unacceptable to the
DUP, who have consistently argued that Northern Ireland
should leave the European Union on exactly the same
terms as the rest of the UK. It was the DUP’s vote that
made a real difference when Boris Johnson put his
deal to the House of Commons. It failed, meaning
that there was no other course
of action to take but to call a general election. [MUSIC PLAYING] JEFFREY DONALDSON: So this
is back in the early 1990s– mid 1990s, meeting Bill Clinton
when he became interested in the peace process. This was our first meeting with
Tony Blair when he was leader– became leader of the opposition
before the ’97 general election. I was elected in ’97. Here’s the challenge. If the economy is harmed
by Boris Johnson’s deal, that’s going to undermine
political progress in Northern Ireland. It is going to undermine
political stability. And I think the prime minister
should sit back and take note that none of the main
parties in Northern Ireland support his deal. Is that really what
he wants to impose on Northern Ireland, a trade
border in the Irish Sea, when he said there wouldn’t be one. When he said no
conservative prime minister could agree to a border
in the Irish Sea. And yet, his deal
does precisely that. LAURA HUGHES: Is he
risking the Union? JEFFREY DONALDSON:
Well, he’s certainly risking political stability
in Northern Ireland. And I think this
does harm the Union. Anything that creates a
separation between Northern Ireland and Great Britain
has, I think, the potential to undermine the
integrity of the Union. And it’s not just
Northern Ireland. I think if the prime minister
proceeds on this basis, it will probably
enhance the calls in Scotland for a
referendum there. The SMP are going
to, I think, latch onto this deal as an excuse
for having a referendum. So the prime minister
needs to be very careful. [MUSIC PLAYING] LAURA HUGHES: For
the smaller parties in Northern Ireland, the
nationalist ones and also the pro-Europeans, this
election is a chance to get rid of the DUP. And across the region, we’ve
seen an informal alliance spring up between the SDLP,
Sinn Fein, and the Greens to stand against the
DUP and try and get rid of a couple of their
members of parliament. Northern Ireland actually
voted to stay in the EU, and nationalist
groups here argue that the DUP haven’t
represented the best interests of the region. [MUSIC PLAYING] The Brexit deal on
offer has fueled nationalist parties calls for a
reunification poll in Ireland. I’m about to talk to a veteran
Sinn Fein politician who was interred by the
British government twice during the
years of the troubles. ALEX MASKEY: This was 1981. Kieran Doherty was a
personal friend of mine. Was in prison with
him myself, interred. This was a firing party, just
before he was then taken down onto the [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] and, if you like,
the militant republicanism were never comfortable
bedfellows. So that was a major choice
to be taken by Republicans, on the back of the
hunger strikes, to say, well, we’re going to develop
an electoral strategy. Our politics has been polluted,
if you like, because of Brexit. For us here in the north of
Ireland, the majority of people here voted to remain. That means a majority of
nationalists and unionists voted to remain within the EU. This has forced people
from the unionist community to be pondering, where are their
future interests best served? Is it in the union with Europe,
or the union with Britain? LAURA HUGHES: Do you
think also that Brexit has made a reunification
poll more likely? ALEX MASKEY: Well, I
think it has sharpened the focus of a lot
of people’s mind, in terms of what
the future lies. The last number of years here,
certainly sounds Good Friday, has meant there’s been
a number of changes in the mindset of a
lot of people here. Because clearly, when
you have a peace process, you have more or less, and
certainly not exclusively, an end to violence
on the streets and the British military
presence, and so on. When much of that has been
very significantly reduced thankfully, then people
started, and been able to have a way to raise
[INAUDIBLE] and their politics. [MUSIC PLAYING] LAURA HUGHES: But Brexit
that isn’t the only thing on voters’ minds as they head
into this general election. The storm in Assembly, Northern
Ireland’s regional government, has been suspended
since January 2017, after a dispute between
Sinn Fein and the DUP. How has Brexit
impacted this election? ADRIAN GUELKE: Well,
in a curious way, less than you
would think, simply because everybody’s agreed
that this is a horrible deal. So what’s the argument about? The paradox is, if people
elect the Sinn Fein MP, there actually is one
less vote against the deal in the cut of work. So it’s an odd situation. So there are other issues that
are quite important as well, for Northern Ireland electors,
which is the fact that we’ve had no government since January
2017, which is a long time to go without a government. So there are other
questions that will influence how people
vote, other than Brexit. And there is, I think, also
sort of fatalistic attitude amongst people in
Northern Ireland that Brexit is nothing
they can do anything about. And that fatalism has
grown with the sense that the English are not
paying any attention whatsoever to opinions in Northern
Ireland about this any longer. LAURA HUGHES: No major
political party here supports the prime minister’s
Brexit deal in this election. It’s a deal that could
have huge ramifications for the future of the
Union and Northern Ireland. But if Boris Johnson returns to
the House of Commons this month with a majority,
there’s a question over who’s going to
be listening to them. [MUSIC PLAYING]




Comments
  1. DUP are a joke nothing but sectarian idiots, they loved Bojo when he promised them all these unrealistic mumbojumbo solutions, it took them a while to realize they were being played. A united Ireland is inevitable in the next 5 years as the younger generation see the fall of sectarian orange men and their union. NI should never have been undemocratically partitioned. The British are laughing at these silly Northern paddies who think they're part of the empire. Remaining colonies never achieve anything other than remaining slaves, Why would anyone not want independence and live their best lives? Ireland needs to unite and build their own country free of tribalism, your population is to small to be divided over petty insignificant differences in the grand scheme of things.

  2. Boris Johnson's Brexit deal DID NOT fail in the House of Commons. It was passed. I can't believe how effective this particular lie is becoming. It was Johnson who held back Brexit, not the opposition, not parliament. Why is the Financial Times lying about this and playing into false Tory propaganda? Why?

  3. The deal didnt fail johnson withdrew it when it was going to be scrutinized!
    So thats not a good start.
    I worry for my home Gibraltar! We are a community of 30,000 with fascist sPain as neighbours waiting to boycot deal for brexit and make demands for Gibraltar, Boris Johnson will sell us out in a heartbeat!
    Just like he did Northern Ireland!

  4. As Always The Working Class That Have Been Robbed Under The Crusaders Will Incur Extreme Disruption In Inflation And Shortages Increasing The Struggles Of The Public ! Those In Power Will Be Profiting From Lowering Wages And Imports & Exports & Common Travel Expenses Accelerate with Greater Risk ! Those That Have Seen The Natural Migration And Opportunity That Greenland Offers In Rich Minerals & Clean Beaches That Lays In The Path Of A established Shipping Lane Have Already Been Making Future Plans ! While Trying To keep Commonwealth Out of the Loop ! Pilgrims

  5. 😂🤣
    Minute 0:20
    Wait a second..
    You're gonna show a peace wall, and then speak of fighting with debates. 😒
    I think I see the conflict.🙄
    According to the textbook definition of the word "ire" .
    This word means: "anger" .
    Add the land to it. 😲
    In conclusion, you have "Anger Land".
    Oh dear. 😳
    Sounds like a reject "Candy Land" board game. 🍭🍬
    Hmph.. 🤔
    I think I'll just add this to the "weird toys" section where my own hometown is.
    It's all good. 😁👍
    Love from 💕
    Michigan
    USA 🇺🇸
    Peace🌿 🕊

  6. The real tragedy for the DUP et al is that the English don't want them, they're seen as an embarrassment and a millstone around the the neck. The irony is that if a peaceful reunification was negotiated and implemented they'd get more love and appreciation from the Irish!

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