Donnybrook: Bolton Bats Biden

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Donnybrook: Bolton Bats Biden                
By John Myers

Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton attacked President Joe Biden as being “Clueless” for his support for Ireland, The Good Friday Agreement, and the Northern Ireland Protocol.  While Biden was in Cleveland recently touting his completed legislation that bailed out the multi-employer pension funds, Bolton was opining in his column in the Daily Telegraph, a widely circulated British tabloid, that Biden’s foreign policy should be focused on rebuilding the “special relationship” with London.  

Bolton would have Biden slavishly defer to the UK and let them ignore and undermine an international treaty, The Good Friday Agreement, that the UK negotiated, and U.K. Parliament approved.  We remember Bolton’s short tenure as President Trumps National Security Advisor ending with his criticism of the U.S. House’s 2nd impeachment trial against President Trump for not digging deep enough while hypocritically refusing to testify before the House.

All a shameless dance to promote the sale of his personal memoir. Former Republican U.S. Senator and former Ohio Governor George Voinovich famously spoke of Mr. Bolton while opposing his nomination to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations when he said: “There is no doubt that Mr. Bolton has serious deficiencies in the areas that are critical to be a good ambassador.  … he is a kiss-up, kick-down leader who will not tolerate those who disagree with him and who goes out his way to retaliate for their disagreement. … He would have been fired if he worked for a major corporation.” 

Sharp words from a Sen. Voinovich known for his diplomatic language, but he knew his target.   In the meantime, those that care about the Emerald Isle will continue to welcome President Biden’s strong and clear support for Ireland. 

Beyond Bojo   
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as predicted, resigned from his position as head of the Conservative and Unionist Party, paving the way for his departure from 10 Downing Street shortly.  Clear words from Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald: “Boris Johnson’s interaction with Ireland has been entirely negative and he will not be missed.” 

The Irish Leader further shared that Ireland will be looking for a successor Tory government that “will respect international law and fulfill its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.”  And she sent a strong admonition that “Ireland will not be the Tory collateral damage for its Brexit.” 

It is clear any new leader should shoulder their responsibility to push the Unionist into the Northern Ireland Assembly and get the Executive up and running. One could hope that the legislation recently introduced to provide for the U.K.’s unilateral withdrawal from the Northern Ireland Protocol is pulled or at least tabled. 

One could hope that the legislation was only introduced as a sop to the Unionists due to BOJO’s weak position and as an attempt to flex some negotiating muscle to the European Union leadership regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol.  Westminster must stop molly-codling the Unionist and communicate that the Protocol is here to stay. 

The sooner the new government sends a message to the Unionists that it’s time to get the Northern Ireland Assembly in operation and put the Northern Ireland Protocol into full effect the better. It is hoped that any new Tory government will want to restart the current dismal relationship with the E.U. and the Dublin government.

As of this writing, there is a long list of potential candidates to replace BOJO; it truly is an open race. BOJO was such a huge side show, no other Tory leaders were able to establish their own identity. Any Tory member who gets eight fellow Tories to support them can officially enter the race.

The 358 members of the Tory Party will then have a series of secret votes, until the list is whittled down to two top candidates. Those two candidates will then go before the rank-and-file members of the Tory Party.  There is upwards of two hundred thousand members who could vote on the next leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party; the winner of that vote would then be ratified as the new Prime Minister by the Tory members of Parliament. 

Dail Dysfunction
The parliament that sits at Westminster is in tumult, The Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont is not currently functioning, and Dublin’s Dail may not be far behind. The multiple party coalition government of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens is fraying at the edges. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein continues to top all the polling.  Stay tuned.

The Northern Ireland Troubles Legacy and Reconciliation Bill was drafted by outgoing Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis, a bill that all N.I. parties have rejected. Essentially, it is a bill written to give immunity to any governmental actor who was involved with the State sponsored violence during the Troubles.  It is an attempt to look like the British Government is looking to reconciliation, but, it is a one-way attempt to sweep state involved actors’ misdeeds under the rug. 

Members of the U.S. Congress have spoken out against the U.K. legislation, calling out in alarm the unmitigated harm this legislation would cause to the long-term effort to bring the Northern Ireland communities together. It is hoped that any new Prime Minister will pull this legislation as part of a reset of relations with Belfast and Dublin.

This amnesty bill was led by Brandon Lewis, who resigned as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as part of the whole BOJO resignation drama.  BOJO appointed Shailesh Vara, an arch Brexiteer as his replacement. SDLP’s Leader, Colum Eastwood, stated: “had not been impressed with Vara’s grasp of Northern Ireland issues” and does not anticipate he will be in the post “too long”. 

Vara is the 7th Northern Ireland Secretary of State in the last ten years, exhibiting Westminster’s lack of concern or respect for the six counties. At a critical point in its history, the Tory party continues to show its indifference and just tread water related to Northern Ireland.


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