When President Biden arrived in Ireland on his way to the G7 Summit, he quoted the poem ‘Easter 1916’, by W B Yeats, remembering the brutality of the UK in Ireland, in an emotional address.
By the time he got to England things had become colder, much colder. This from Alain Tolhurst in politics Home sums it up well:
If hopes were not already dashed that Biden would side with London, then an eye-catching story in The Times on Thursday morning, just hours before he was due to meet Johnson in Carbis Bay, finished the job.
It revealed America had issued a stinging rebuke accusing the UK of imperilling the Good Friday Agreement, with senior representative Yael Lempert sending a “demarche”, a rarely-used formal diplomatic message.
Sources in the administration tried to row back, briefing heavily that what was being said behind the scenes was no different to what was being said in public, and there were no “threats or ultimatums” being doled out.
But The Times stood by their story and in any case the damage was done, the first-ever in-person meeting between the two men overshadowed by claims of inflaming tensions and putting at risk the Good Friday Agreement, of which America is a guarantor.
Indeed, impossible to deny that this demarche (Lempert’s first to UK) was ordered by the White House as a means of conveying just how aggravated Biden personally is by government conduct on NI – this, from the Whitehall memo of the meeting, is how it was put to Lord Frost.
In truth it was long in the making, as US politicians and senior Irish-American figures have had months of detailed talks with groups in Northern Ireland about the protocol.
It has also been seen as another victory for Ireland’s secret soft power, and their understanding of how to harness the might of the European Union and America to their benefit on Brexit.
Two years before the UK even voted to exit the EU the Irish government had been working on Brexit strategies, with officials cornering British counterparts at summits to find out what would happen if Leave won. The Theresa May years were subsequently characterised by Irish diplomats outmanoeuvring the UK on Brexit.
Last month Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney held meetings at Shannon Airport with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, where they “reaffirmed their commitment to protecting the gains of the Good Friday Agreement for all communities in Northern Ireland.”
By contrast, the UK government only announced this week that it is sending an official to Washington for three months to communicate its position on the protocol to US policymakers.
Despite repeated suggestions in recent years Ireland’s interests would be sidelined, the EU has shown it is willing to go to the mattresses over the single market and how it relates to the border, and with a committed hibernophile in the Oval Office, they have America’s support too.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzGkXmcLLcTWWjnzPxCNVqvjGksv
The BBC, as before with many of Johnson’s fumbles, including the thousands dead from his Covid strategy, has always taken his side or looked the other way:
Even, in a desperate attempt to undermine Biden’s identification with Ireland:
Still ahead in the polls, Johnson has the BBC to thank for at least some of that.