As we look to be getting closer to breaking the Brexit deadlock it appears that one of the major benefactors of the current deal will be the very reason for the present delay – Northern Ireland.
Suddenly this country, which makes up only 3% of the UK population, is going to be offered one of the greatest opportunities to redevelop their economy over the coming decades.
For what the DUP see as being a casualty of Brexit, I see the new proposal of a trade border in the Irish Sea not as a negative but as a huge opportunity for the country. Should the deal pass in the coming weeks or months, they will become one of the most investible countries in the whole of Europe. Who, running a business, would not be interested in an English-speaking country with the same time zone as London with no border to Europe and frictionless trade with the rest of the United Kingdom?
Suddenly, rather than pushing Northern Ireland towards reunification with the rest of Ireland and breaking the union, I can see it becoming an ‘western powerhouse’ with the ability to attract a broad range of businesses across the United Kingdom and Europe who need a location that centralises their operations. As we know through economic growth comes regeneration and an increase in spending in public services; a virtuous cycle as people invest into an area.
This opportunity hasn’t been lost on the SNP, who although calling for a further referendum to leave the Union, has asked why they haven’t been given the opportunity Northern Ireland has been offered. Obviously, the unique geographical position of Northern Ireland makes this opportunity pretty special, so why now are the DUP not in favour of supporting such a potential seismic shift in their country’s fortunes?