THIS Conservative Government is playing fast and loose with all recognised principles of law and statesmanship and that is a policy in which Ireland will be a casualty.
They have introduced asylum flights to Rwanda, in the same week as introducing illegal amendments to the Protocol, in the same month as illegal legacy legislation. All policies are grave, break international law and treaty, and are without modern precedent. Forcing them through at the same time is nothing short of a deliberate blitzkrieg on law and rights. This is a thought-out strategy which is proving effective, as there is no indication that this assault can be stopped in the short term.
Simultaneously there is a pincer movement on the Good Friday Agreement. On the one front we see the ridiculous but, so far, effective support of DUP nihilism. The moves undermine the Protocol, but more importantly undermine the basic principles of negotiated settlement and political agreement in favour of bloody minded ‘we do as we want’ tactics.
This displaces the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement with a lie that it is promoting “community consent”, but in fact reinserts the unionist veto into northern politics. The Protocol legislation places DUP self-interest above every other interest on the two islands. It puts Britain at risk of a trade war with the EU. It puts the local population of the North at risk of economic ruin. It puts the progress on sustainable peace at fundamental risk. All so that the DUP position is protected in a changing constitutional environment.
 On the other front, legacy legislation undermines the European Convention on Human Rights, subverts the rule of law and discards the rights and needs of those who suffered most during the conflict. It is a self-serving tactic for the mandarins in Whitehall who believe that, like Boris Johnson during lockdown, they did nothing wrong and would do it again. Law and accountability are pesky inconveniences to be discarded. And if it undermines our peace agreement, so be it. So what if young people living on the island of Ireland see that the rule of law is an optional extra? So what if that leaves the narratives of those who wish to justify violence with no response? We are only Paddies after all.
Good people who would normally be focused on these areas are challenged as everything is happening at once and resources are beyond stretched. This lack of resource means these Nazi military tactics on human rights, law and our peace agreement are having success. 
What is at stake at the minute is not just Stormont and whether those elected in May will be allowed to fulfil their mandate, as though that is a small thing. This is a fundamental assault on the Good Friday Agreement, democracy and the rule of law. It is the intention of those behind these crises to cripple human rights law. They want to see the independence of the courts diminished. They wish to change the body politic and undermine our powersharing administration. It’s time to stop pussyfooting around what is happening right now and wishing it were different, or pretending that ­momentum will make this alright on the night.
We need to face into this as we would any blitzkrieg or pincer movement – united, together and with determination that it can never succeed.