Boris Johnson plans a post-Brexit festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland schedulled for 2022 to celebrate independence and sovereignity of UK from the European Union; former prime minister Theresa May’s grand idea which the PM had been advised to skip///BY CRIMSON TAZVINZWA
Dean Creamer, a delivery director for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is the point man of planning for the £120m project – dubbed the “festival of Brexit” by critics – which is due to take place in 2022, according to the Guardian reporting.
However, figures from arts institutions have privately expressed concern about the project, which some say is likely to alienate remain-supporting visitors at museums and galleries that are expected to take part.
There had been previous warnings that the idea – announced by May in 2018 as an initiative that would “strengthen our precious union” – could inflame tensions in Northern Ireland, coming a year after the centenary of Irish partition and on the 100th anniversary of the start of the Irish civil war.
Jane Bown’s photographs of the Festival of Britain, 1951
Jane Bown took at least 155 frames of the 1951 Festival of Britain on her Rolleiflex camera. The pictures show the startlingly modern architecture of the festival site, but also lots of the things she loved shooting, including children and people at leisure. These photographs now reside in the Occasions section of her extensive archive, which is held at the Guardian News & Media Archive.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan will tear apart the United Kingdom///JONATHAN POWELL
Tony Blair’s first visit outside London after his election landslide in May 1997 was to the Royal Ulster Agricultural Show in Balmoral, near Belfast. Among the prize bulls, he tried to reassure unionists that they were safe under a Labour government, and in his speech he said: ‘“None of us in this hall today, even the youngest, is likely to see Northern Ireland as anything but a part of the United Kingdom.” It worked. Now, after Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, the unionists can no longer be so sure.
With the race to pass the legislation paused, we can stand back and judge the deal on its merits. For if there is to be an election it will be a referendum not on Brexit but on Boris Johnson’s deal. And this deal is a threat to the union — not the European Union but the continuation of the United Kingdom.
The vast majority of the text is identical to Theresa May’s deal, and the problems it will cause for our society, political system and economy have been repeatedly rehearsed.
Indeed, that was voted down three times in the House of Commons, including twice by Boris Johnson, and was judged enormously unpopular in opinion polls.
What is new is the removal of the UK from the Customs Union and the provisions on Northern Ireland. As the DUP plaintively points out, these have not been debated and nor is there any economic assessment of their implications for Northern Ireland. Nor has there been any proper consideration of the unintended consequences for the future of the United Kingdom.
The Northern Ireland measures are not what Boris Johnson wanted nor the result of a clever negotiating strategy. He proposed something completely different. He wanted a hard customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland. That was what won him DUP support.
But at the last minute, in a panic to achieve a deal by the arbitrary date of October 31 he had set himself, he capitulated and accepted the EU proposal of a hard customs and regulatory border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Thank goodness he did jettison his earlier ideas because a hard border in Ireland would have posed an existential threat to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). But he should have thought more carefully about what he was putting in its place. It is clear from his answers in the House of Commons this week — where he falsely denied that Northern Ireland business would have to fill in EU forms to send goods to the UK — that he has no idea what he has agreed to. A grasp of detail is not his strong point.
The Northern Ireland peace process is a carefully balanced seesaw. What Johnson has done is leap from one end of the seesaw to the other, disrupting that balance. And the implications for the future of the UK are serious. A border in Ireland would have been a threat to the identity of nationalists in Northern Ireland as Irish.
A border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is a threat to the identity of unionists as British. They legitimately fear that this is the beginning of a slippery slope to a united Ireland, and that is why we have once again started hearing worrying noises from the Loyalist paramilitary groups. As the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland warned last night, this could lead to civil disorder or worse.
The new border Boris Johnson has created is not just wider than he claims — and certainly not a transitional arrangement as suggested — but will grow wider over time as the UK diverges from the EU in terms of regulation and tariffs. More and more goods will be put on the list of those that need to be checked. The problem is not just for business but the very idea of a border separating unionists from the country they want to be united with.
The UK Government is obliged under the GFA to hold a border poll if there appears to be a majority for a united Ireland. The numbers are already moving in that direction as a result of Brexit, as Catholic voters are forced to choose between continuing in the EU and staying in the UK. Those numbers will continue to move as a result of demography and continued incorporation into the single market and customs union.
The impact of all this on Scotland is obvious. First the SNP government is bound to demand the same treatment as Northern Ireland, which is going to enjoy a soft Brexit while Scotland will face a hard Brexit, despite voting in broadly equal proportions to remain. And when Boris Johnson denies them this, as well as refusing a further referendum, he will add to their list of grievances and drive up support for independence still further, which has already risen to 50 per cent in recent polls. So, the one thing the Johnson deal will do which the May deal did not is set out a plausible path to a united Ireland and an independent Scotland. Is that really what English and Welsh Brexit voters intended? I don’t think so.
Of course, the best way to decide this question would be in a further referendum rather than an election which will mix Johnson’s deal with other issues, like the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn. But if you live in England and Wales and feel strongly about the continuation of the United Kingdom, this election may be your last and only opportunity to vote to stop its destruction. Because afterwards the only people who will be able to vote on it are those who live in Scotland or in Ireland.
Jonathan Powell was chief government negotiator in Northern Ireland 1997-2007Bo
Eight of the 39 people found dead in a lorry trailer in Grays, Essex on Wednesday, are women, 31 are men and all are believed to be Chinese nationals Essex Police said.
The 39 people found dead in a refrigerated trailer in Essex were Chinese nationals, it is understood. Police are continuing to question lorry driver Mo Robinson, 25, who was arrested on suspicion of murder. Officers in Northern Ireland have raided two houses and the National Crime Agency said it was working to identify “organised crime […]
Boris Johnson stood up at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, just hours after MPs rejected his timetable to ram his Brexit deal through parliament by October 31.
The PM faced questions from all sides over the next steps for Brexit, as he looked set to break his promise on getting Britain out of the European Union by Halloween.
But there were a number of things he said that raised eyebrows in the House of Commons – because they simply weren’t true.
He said his Brexit deal got through parliament last night.
Pointing to Labour, Johnson said: “They said we couldn’t get a new deal, Mr Speaker, and we did! Then they said that we’d never get it through parliament, and they did their utmost to stop it getting through parliament, and we got it through parliament last night!”
But he didn’t. The deal didn’t get through parliament. The second reading of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill was approved by MPs. But there were still several stages to go before it became law – not least, the detailed committee stage in which MPs planned to table a number of highly controversial amendments.
He said there would be no checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain after Brexit.
“There will be no checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and there will be no tariffs between Northern Ireland and Great Britain because we have protected the customs union,” Johnson said.
In fact, there will indeed be checks if his deal becomes law. His own Brexit secretary Steve Barclay said so on Tuesday, when he appeared before the House of Lords EU committee.
“Just to be clear, the exit summary declarations will be required in terms of Northern Ireland to GB,” Barclay said.
He said the Scottish parliament had no role in approving the Brexit deal.
“The Scottish parliament has no role in approving this deal – on the contrary it is up to the members of this parliament to approve the deal,” the PM told the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
But the Withdrawal Agreement Bill lists a number of provisions in which a “legislative consent motion” is required from Scotland and Wales.
He said that parliament, not him, had requested a Brexit extension from the EU.
“Alas we cannot now know what the EU will do in response to the request from parliament, I stress it wasn’t my request, to ask for a delay,” Johnson told Tory MP Ken Clarke.
It was actually his request. The PM sent three letters to the EU on Saturday night – but the important one was a letter from him asking for a “further extension” under Article 50.
There might have been no actual signature – and it was a photocopy – but the letter was from, you guessed it, “the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
The vehicle is believed to have come from Bulgaria and entered the UK at Holyhead in north Wales on Saturday.
Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said: “This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened.
“We are in the process of identifying the victims, however I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process.
“We believe the lorry is from Bulgaria and entered the country at Holyhead on Saturday 19 October and we are working closely with our partners to investigate. We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue.
Police are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch with them, and have put a cordon in place and access to and from the industrial park is closed.
Mr Mariner added: “I appreciate this cordon is going to disrupt the activity of local businesses in the area and we will work to ensure that disruption is kept as short as possible. We are working with Thurrock Council to mitigate against any impact our investigation scene will have locally.”
The journey from Bulgaria to the UK via Holyhead has been described as an “unorthodox route” and it is thought the lorry would have come in from Dublin.
Seamus Leheny, Northern Ireland policy manager for the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: “There is a direct route to Holyhead from Dublin.
“If the lorry came from Bulgaria, getting into Britain via Holyhead is an unorthodox route. “People have been saying that security and checks have been increased at places like Dover and Calais, so it might be seen as an easier way to get in by going from Cherbourg or Roscoff, over to Rosslare, then up the road to Dublin.
“It’s a long way around and it’ll add an extra day to the journey.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex. I am receiving regular updates from the Home Office & will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened.
“My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “shocked and saddened” by the news. Ms Patel is MP for Witham, which is in Essex.
She tweeted: “Shocked & saddened by this utterly tragic incident in Grays. Essex Police has arrested an individual and we must give them the space to conduct their investigations.”
In a further statement, the home secretary said police were working with Home Office immigration officials “to establish how this horrific event came to happen”.
Ms Patel will also issue a statement in the Commons after Prime Minister’s Questions.