Editorial: Asda labels move is a taste of the looming Irish Sea border

Morning View (Photo: gina)
Morning View (Photo: gina)

At that point much of the Northern Ireland Protocol will begin to kick in. Its implementation will be amended by the Windsor Framework, which was announced earlier this year to great fanfare by the government. What this all means is that a major trade barrier will be introduced between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, the like of which has not been seen since NI was established in 1921. Indeed, the like of which has perhaps not been seen internally in any major country on earth.

The framework was a modification of the protocol, which was never fully implemented, and which represented a level of intrusion to internal UK trade that almost everyone, including moderate Irish nationalists, came to realise would have been intolerable (incidentally making a mockery of both Boris Johnson, who agreed the protocol in a cavalier way before claiming that it was not a border, and of those local political parties that called for the protocol’s rigorous implementation).

But been many factors are behind how we ended up with a barrier to our most important trade, that with Great Britain, high among them business representatives who supported first the backstop (with its imperative that there must be no change at the Irish land border), then the protocol, now the framework. While the latter is somewhat better than the former it will still lead to the implementation soon of a situation that will be far worse than that which prevails now, under grace periods (rightly introduced unilaterally by London).

Asda has begun labelling food it is selling in NI as 'not for EU' to prevent it crossing into the Republic. We are weeks from a new crunch, with many businesses saying they are not ready, and indeed little public discussion of what is looming.