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tv   Inside Story  LINKTV  October 14, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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seen much further south than usual. ♪ peter: this is al jazeera. these are the top stories. russia's president denying his country is in an energy shortage, saying moscow is standing by to help. natural gas prices have skyrocketed the eu says. people will need support into winter. a man used a bow and arrow to kill five people and enter several others in norway. a suspect has been arrested. police are investigating whether the attack was an act of terrorism.
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>> the arrested person is a man and that's all i can say about the person suspected in this case. he's been taken to prison. there has been and will continue to be a large police presence overnight. there are many crime scenes. the perpetrator operated over a large area. these places have been secured by police and are being searched by crime scene officials. peter: armed fighters in northern to gray -- togray say they are facing increasing attacks. the prime minister was sworn in for the new five-year term last week. at least 25 people in eastern democratic republic of congo have been killed by armed fighters over the last four days. security forces say the attacks were carried out on several villages by the allied democratic forces group, which is linked to isil. hundreds have been told by fighters from the adf this year. a syrian soldier has been killed and three others injured in an israeli airstrike in central
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syria, according to state media, which reportedly happened near palmyra. it -- there are reports of damage. the eu's top brexit official says many customs checks between britain and northern ireland should be removed. there's growing frustration between both sides about how trade over the border should be controlled. tuesday, the u.k. brexit minister talked about a protocol that created checks on trade between the u.k. and northern ireland. the u.k. wants to see significant change. those are the headlines. don't forget, more details on al we will be back in about half an hour after "inside story." goodbye. ♪
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peter:peter: brexit troubles escalate between the u.k. and the eu. both sides agree customs checks in northern ireland simply aren't working, but they don't agree on the solution. is this a dispute about trade or politics? and couldn't risk the peace in northern ireland? this is "inside story." ♪ peter: hello and welcome to the program today with me, peter dobbie. both sides agreed to trade rules known as northern ireland protocol, good for britain to check at northern ports in
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ireland. the problem remains that you is a single market so trade can run freely across the land border with the republic of ireland. nearly two years after brexit, the u.k. says that arrangement is not working. the government wants a new deal and it doesn't want the european court of justice as agreed on the brexit to have -- under brexit have oversight. over the protocol the eu is offering some customs checks but is calling for compromise. first, this report from andrew simmons in belfast. reporter: as the uk's brexit minister prepared to speak in portable, there was a delivery from the irish is his main supply now, and without it, his delicatessen in northern ireland would be out of business. his main suppliers used to be in the u.k., but the trade border in the irish sea means he can't rely on them anymore. he had been hoping the eu with about to smooth things out with concessions over regulations on
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food exported from the u.k., and streamlined customs checks. but the way the british government is now be -- behaving leaves him and all others in northern ireland in doubt. until now, he and others never realized the role the european court of justice was an issue in the post brexit crisis. >> all i was thinking about his exit, protocol, that is all you hear. it is just something new. another thing to worry about. i work hard in this business. to keep it going, you are left hanging. the politicians need to do something about this. they need to smooth it out. reporter: but there's nothing smooth and what the u.k. brexit minister has to say. he wants to rewrite the protocol with a hard border on the irish border. >> the protocol is not working.
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now proposal looks more like a normal treaty with international arbitration ultimately policed in the court of one of the parties of the european court of jesters. reporter: there's puzzlement in belfast on why the u.k. is taking such a hard line when there seems to be more hope of a compromise from brussels. and so is this last-minute posturing on her -- hand of the u.k. government?if it isn't, there is a serious escalation crisis ahead. this at a time when it it would appear the majority of people in northern ireland want an end to the standoff. protests have been led by unionists, who say they are being cut off from the u.k. before becoming prime minister, boris johnson had told the democratic unionist party three years ago that he did not want to see northern ireland left in the lurch by a border in the sea. >> no british conservative government could or should sign up to any such arrangement. reporter: that assurance fell by the wayside.
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the people of northern ireland could be forgiven for feeling betrayed and while unionist politicians welcomed the hard-line from the british government, there's a feeling of unease for many living here. andrew simmons, al jazeera, belfast. peter: let's bring in our guests today, joining us from belfast, owen reidy, assistant general secretary of the big -- irish congress of trade unions. nicholas whyte, senior director at apcp. -- apco. and we have graham gudgin, research associate at the university of cambridge, and a former special advisor to the former first minister of northern ireland, david trimble. welcome. the eu is offering some tweaks and changes for. . the du p, why isn't that enough? >> we don't know yet.
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we will have a look. it does look as if the eu has made a significant effort to cut down the number of checks on what is coming in from great britain to northern ireland. its internal within the u.k., which is obviously uncomfortable for unionists. it feels like northern ireland is a semi detached part of the united kingdom. my guess is it won't be enough, but we should recognize that the eu is moving in the right direction. peter: nicholas whyte in brussels, why should eu law have primacy in northern ireland? nicholas: because this is what was agreed to. it is a very difficult thing in brussels to avoid the impression that the weight of what's going on here is not reaching a
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particular solution. people seem to be fighting because they have done well with british voters. the european court of justice was part of the northern ireland system, there's been no involvement. so this is an invented problem. we were seeing now that there was generous movement by the eu as already been pre-discounted by the british government, who were more interested in having a final solution. peter: can i contextualize that question and ask again, why should the european court of justice have primacy in northern ireland? the ec j doesn't have primacy in wales or scotland. the u.k. left the european union. why not just say that the edj has primacy in brazil or canada? it wouldn't fly. nicholas: you may not have
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noticed, but there is actually a land border inside the united kingdom on the island. if you want to keep that open, one has to make certain concessions. the u.k. knows full well what it was doing and agreeing the european court of justice should have a supervisory role. otherwise, you have to invent a new arbitration system from scratch. that won't much work because there isn't that much to communicate in bigger treaties which the eu has with larger countries, like brazil or ukraine for that matter, you do set up standalone arbitration panels because there's a lot of work to be done. this isn't a case like this. this is a case where we are looking at the continued application of eu law, applied up until now. why on earth should you invent a new arbitration system rather than the body which already oversees the implementation of eu regulations?
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it doesn't make sense at all. peter: owen reidy in belfast, what has this debate so far done to your members when it comes to jobs, production levels, and if it goes south, and the implement of so-called article 16, because everyone can walk away from this unilaterally if they choose, what would it do to business across the border? owen: there's a gap because we are still at this political impasse, but anything that adds to uncertainty or to the cost of doing business has the potential to not only undermined the standards of labor, but undermine the capacity of jobs to be maintained. obviously, the biggest concern is the political instability that this impasse is continuing to create. it seems to us as an organization that represents workers from both traditions and migrant workers that what we need is a consensus. it seems to me that the u.k.
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government looked for concessions. it seems this afternoon, they will be delivered and that must create context for negotiation and we need to see diplomacy, negotiation, and good faith restored to here and i think the u.k. government has some way to go to get to that place. peter: graham gudgin in cambridge, i was the motivations, as far as boris johnson's government in london, actually comes down to him clearly wanting to safeguard the good friday agreement? if he does that, that plays well to his brexit hardliners in his own party. that plays well to the 52% of the british electorate who voted for brexit, i.e., good politics. graham: well, boris johnson has to protect the good friday agreement, it is a political agreement and important not only to the u.k. but the republic of ireland, the usa and many
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others. the thing to say about this is for boris johnson, very few people in great britain in the 1970's, in the u.k., they don't really care that much about this. he will not carry that many votes. he's doing it out of a sense of morality. to be fair, we can also say he had promised the unionists in northern ireland, and he's trying to redeem that position. the agreed protocol from two years ago, the government was in a very weak position and there was a time of weakness, and it's not working. it's opposed by a large number of people in northern ireland and it's time to change it. in my view, it is in the interests of the eu to change it
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because this is a sore spot that can go on for years. now is the time to sort it out. i believe it can be sorted out. peter: nicholas whyte in brussels, you were shaking your head as graham was talking about boris johnson and morality in the same sentence. nicholas: i am afraid i was. boris johnson knew perfectly well two years ago, as he won an election on the basis of this and is now attempting to reputed. i don't see anything terribly moral about it. peter: owen, you had a wry smile. is there any hint there might be a u-turn if you believe dominic cummings, formerly a source of information, cheek by jowl with boris johnson at number 10, until he handled his involvement with coronavirus raleigh and had to be got rid of, but he's
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basically saying that boris johnson was always going to do you turn on this? owen: i don't think anyone is surprised and i agree with nicholas. the only thing that is consistent is their inconsistency. not so long ago, david france was extolling the virtues of this. if anything, he negotiated and now he's trying to disown it. if a junior trade union official acted that way, they would not last very long. there are issues with the protocol. it is a result of the hard brexit this government sought and insisted upon. some unionists have highlighted legitimate concerns. they need to be taken on board. in the context of the eu today, they will be taken on board and what we need to see now are voices in northern ireland involved in this because this is an issue that must be done with the people of northern ireland and the u.k. government and that
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you need to engage with the political class, employers and trade unions to make sure that the issues with the protocol are addressed so we can all move forward. you are right to say, the belfast good friday agreement has been undermined by brexit and the protocol. i think we can only restore that with voices in northern ireland and people want to form a consensus peter:. nicholas whyte, you have gone from shaking your head to nodding in agreement. when the eu talks about totality, and is also signaling "creative solutions," what might those solutions be? nicholas: this will come down to us technical fixes for the customs administration, which i'm not that familiar with. i understand it will require functioning databases and access to those, but i also want to
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pick up another important point, consultation with northern ireland stakeholders. the eu's proposals today are apparently going to refute a certain level of conservation which so -- so far has been absent from the process. it would have been nice to have heard from them. peter: let's go back to graham gudgin. can the du p put the northern irish border on the north irish sea, between the ireland isles and the british isles? graham: they can't because it separates them from the rest of the u.k. as your viewers well know, there has been an ongoing campaign by nationalists and the republic of ireland to achieve in the long run a united ireland, that the majority in northern ireland do not want and the border in the irish sea, therefore it is
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anathema to unionists in northern ireland, but it will be opposed. it is undermining the good friday agreement, the protocol itself says it is important but it's absolutely doing the opposite and causing serious social disruption in northern ireland and this needs to be sorted out so the majority of both communities in northern ireland don't see this as -- i think almost everyone agrees the single market has to be protected and there has to be some means of stopping illegal goods, but there are other ways of doing that. it is sort of using a hammer to crack a nut. it needs to be simplified and reformed.
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we will see if it is tomorrow when the eu paper is published just how far they are going. peter: coming back to you, this eu olive branch we seem to be discussing, seems to be as well annoying the french. is there a genuine source of annoyance, specifically with this issue, or is it just, forgive me, just the french being the french? or is there kind of a backwash here from other sources of anger in the relationship between paris and london? we have the migrant crisis, fishing permits being debated, and the french for the last three weeks have been hopping mad over the other deal. nicholas: i can't speak for the french. the eu proposals have got french backing, or they would not be in proposed. yes, the relationship between france and london, paris, it is
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particularly bad. it is a combination of issuing permits and seeing the deal, the submarine deal with australia. there's fault on both sides but the current instability doesn't really help and there's a need for more stable footing. it's true to the extent we are looking at a situation where the protocol did not have that much consent in ireland and neither did brexit. peter: owen reidy in belfast, as far as your members are concerned, you have a strong membership in the republic and northern ireland. if it is as simple as the eu being creative with things like the way, for example, cooked meats and sausage meat is labeled -- so sausage meat might go from being labeled as sausage meat, to "national identity food products."
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of course, there are some red top papers in the u.k. that will go mental with joey if and when that happens, of course they will, -- with joy if and when that happens, of course they will, but if that were to happen, why not two years ago? owen: in any negotiation, you need to know if you have an honest partner that adheres to the a grade she -- agreement and we have not seen a good-faith approach for the u.k. government. if i were the u.k. in a negotiation with david frost, i would be cautious about making concessions. it seems any concession you make is rejected before the concession is made. if i could briefly come back on something graham said, i agree when he says the protocol needs to support both communities, but there is a border on the island of ireland, and it's soft, but there has been a border for
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years. it's called evolution. there are rules and laws in northern ireland and scotland and wales. we don't want to see an additional border infrastructure between northern ireland and britain, but we don't want to see it with the republic of ireland, so it's about squaring the circle and moving away from zero-sum when you lose and black and white. i think it's about compromising and people being confident, but that can only happen if they are in power. i don't think everyone in northern ireland, irrespective of political decision, -- position, wants to rely on the u.k. government. peter: there are voices, perhaps not in northern ireland, but elsewhere in the eu talking about potential that if all goes belly up, the potential for a trade war. tariff good out of the u.k., like sausage meat, that is one thing, but if you start imposing
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tariffs on luxury goods, that's a completely different ballgame. how far down that road potentially is the european union prepared to go? graham: not very far, i don't think pair the protocol itself says if i decide in article 16 which will suspend part of the vote and any reaction has to be proportionate, the amount of trade we are talking about is so small and would also have to be small. if the eu wants to up the ante and start a trade war, it would be an extremely silly thing to do. this is a small matter but there's very little danger from the single market. it is trying really for the eu to take a step back and dump it right down. let's get it sorted.
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there always of the single market without having something unique, we have a major customs and trade war within one country that was imposed on the u.k. at the time with great division and the eu needs to recognize that now and sit down and agree with the u.k. so it doesn't upset as many people. peter: nicholas whyte in brussels, i guess part of that process of recognizing what might happen as far as brussels is concerned is a calculation. the calculation has to be, what is the strength of feeling inside 10 downing street? how do they view the stance so far on the part of boris johnson's government? nicholas: that's not to make a mistake that the european union wants to see this settled, but there is a stronger section of the british government more interested in the fight than the
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solution. yesterday's speech by lord frost did nothing whatsoever to dispel that impression. until there's a sense britain is actually interested in negotiation rather than fighting, the fight will continue. peter: is it good news, a win, that we are not starting this process, in the coming days and weeks, with a take it or leave it atmosphere on the part of either side? owen: i heard david frost's speech yesterday and it sounded a bit like a take it or leave it attitude, which was regrettable. i really hope the announcement creates the context for negotiations where people can go into a negotiation in good faith, using the proper diplomatic channels, and without the megaphone diplomacy, and they can try and understand and reach an accommodation and agreement that would be in the interests of the european union and the u.k., and crucially in
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the interest of all the people in northern ireland and the island of ireland. i think that is essential. we need that space now and we need to move away from the zero-sum game. i think the eu also needs to look at what's happening in poland and hungary. the rule ofaw and making sure agreements are honored and the commitments countries enter into are honored is crucial. i think the eu should look at the context of that wider situation, given the u.k. government lot today. peter: 10 seconds each. graham gudgin in cambridge, a year from now, do you think it will be a soft quarter or hard border? graham: the border on the irish sea? peter: no, between northern ireland and the republic. graham: i think it will be a soft border, there's no question of a hard border. there are many ways to salt that out now. peter:peter: hard or soft border, nicholas? nicholas: for once i agree, soft much more likely. peter: owen reidy in belfast.
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you are in the middle of this debate.soft owen: be a soft border north and south and needs to be a softer border east and west. it is in the interests of both communities and everyone in ireland. peter: thank you so much for giving us your insights into this very dense, complicated story, but i think we have managed to break it down into its composite parts, and dare i say we made brexit more understandable than it was half an hour ago. thank you to our guests, owen reidy, nicholas whyte, and graham gudgin. see the show again any at our website, al, and for more discussion go to you can also join the discussion on twitter. for me, peter dobbie, and everyone on the team here in doha, thank you for watching. i will see you soon. goodbye.
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