When it comes to money and power, real power, like imperial power, not Micky Mouse or parish-pump “power”, there’s always a deal to be had.
Since the partition of Ireland the number of “agreements” that have been engineered and given important sounding names, would fill a thousand large skips with paper. For the amount of private deals, nods and winks, we have run out of numbers to count. But they all have one thing in common: they ensure that those in power remain in power. They also ensure that capitalism and imperial interests are protected and expanded.
Brexit kicked off a whole other paradigm here in the North, not to mention between Britain and Europe. Both sides using the shenanigans in the North as bargaining chips to ensure a better deal for themselves.
All the great catch-words and phrases were continually invoked. Hard border, no border, frictionless border and sea border. And of course, the GFA pacification process had to be protected at all costs. Or at least that’s the yarn those in power are spinning. Then there was the Protocol which was initially backed by everyone, including the DUP. They calculated, wrongly, that it would cement the 1922 British border in Ireland. The imperialists were smarter than that. They, including Washington and Dublin, knew well that that would result in new mayhem in the colony and could well have implications in the 26 counties and further afield. All that could upset the work that had already been secured around the pacification process. Those now tamed and ‘doing the bidding’ of the imperialists might, just might, rebel. Enter the Protocol.
This agreement again ensured that Europe still had a foot in the Brexiteers’ camp. And even more importantly the Brexiteers had access to the 500 million people of the European market if they so desired, and they do. This was played down, but too many of the big economic hitters in the UK knew that Brexit was, economically, a major mistake. Even the loyal Ulster business class could see that. But that could never be admitted to those of the “Little Englander” mentality. And the DUP chose to ignore that and represent it as a diminution of the North’s sovereignty. Once they were not in control of Stormont, the demographics were against them and the border (economic) was in the Irish Sea, there was rumblings in the loyalist working class heartlands that had to be defused. No Unionist political party wants to be labelled as “lundies”. But they are in a corner.
The central negotiation to get their “business deal” over the line was between Britain and Europe, with Dublin and the US holding a watching brief. The DUP and Unionists/Loyalists were not at the table, nor were they wanted.
So now we have yet another important sounding, if tactically named, agreement: “The Windsor Framework”. This is the supposed compromise to soften the blow on Unionist sensibilities around being British and “Loyal”. Rishi Sunak sold it as “the world’s most exciting economic zone”. Exciting for whom exactly? The business class of course. Sure he did his “Windsor sales dance” in front of an audience of compliant workers at the Coca-Cola plant in Lisburn, and no doubt a few captains of industry were there too. No doubt the real meeting happened with them elsewhere.
No mention from Rishi though of the loyal Ulster folk or what the working class would gain from this. But why would there be? Sure this agreement, like thousands of others, is not about the working class. The only thing that matters is what matters to the business class and their multinational business friends. The “drip-down” economics dressed up as more jobs will seal the deal. The poor and working poor are just collateral damage.
Have any politicians anywhere voiced the opinion that the Windsor Framework should be centred around the actual material needs of the people of the North and indeed the South too? Doubt it. Will wages improve to 2 or 3% above inflation in Ireland, as a result of their Framework? No. Will there be an end to homelessness, inequality, exploitation or a noticeable improvement in people’s health and well being? Certainly not.
And in the background and part of all of the imperialist manoeuvring is the Dublin ruling class. There are clear and frightening indications that the Dublin government wants to finally end any semblance of neutrality, to suck up to Europe, no matter what the cost. They want to be seen as ultra-European with their unquestioning sleeveen mentality. This despite the majority of the sensible people of Ireland wanting neutrality to be the rule.
They are now using the Ukrainian proxy war to speed up their race to join NATO to please their American masters. The ruling class in Dublin, subservient to imperialism to the end, do not care that Ireland would therefore become a target for attack; and care even less that working class sons, daughters and grandchildren will be sent to the slaughter in foreign wars. Wars fought by the working class who will kill the working class on each side, on behalf of the rich.
Once again the working class, the poor and working poor are in the frame for more of the same.