Name? Arlene Foster
Westphalian identity? Northern Irish
Why is he in the news? Northern Ireland’s first minister Arlene Foster accused Boris Johnson of dereliction of duty over increasing problems surrounding the Irish Sea trade. Since the beginning of January, supermarkets have been struggling to fill shelves with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Why do we care? In order to honour the Good Friday Agreement between the Irelands, there are no customs checks at the inner Irish border but only between the UK and NI. Many pro-British unionists oppose these new trade barriers introduced between NI and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Why should you care? Well, the protocol; which governs the movement of goods in and out of Northern Ireland post-Brexit, was created to ensure continued free flow of trade across the Irish border. Apparently, it doesn’t. For now, that means less fresh food for the Northern Irish so nothing too serious for you to worry about … until violence breaks out. So on our How much should you care scale this scores a 3/10.
Who else cares? Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland. The Scottish were never a big fan of Brexit to begin with and could use this momentum to restart independence efforts. Sturgeon already announced that if her party wins the elections in May they will hold at least an advisory referendum on leaving the UK. Arlene might be taking notes on this if Boris continues with his “dereliction of duty.”
Any further comments? Did we say anything about violence in why should you care? Well, this morning, both sides pulled their inspectors from the border after violent threats to them were made public. Paramilitary outlaws in the Protestant town have branded them traitors worthy of assault or worse. Oh, and the EU did not make matters better during their little vaccine hiccup with AstraZeneca and threats to invoke article 16 of the NI protocol (aka suspending it).