Here in Northern Ireland, Brexit is the issue, feeding and amplifying the underlying source of tension that dominates all else: the constitutional question of sovereignty. There is already talk, repeated back to me in Belfast and rural Fermanagh, of blockading the ports into Northern Ireland to make the new economic border checks unworkable. In loyalist parts of Belfast, they are determined to show he has no mandate from them. Yet, should it not after December 12—should Johnson, instead, emerge with a Conservative majority to impose his deal on Northern Ireland—unionism will be politically powerless. Like nowhere else in the United Kingdom, the past is alive in Northern Ireland. As a result, unionist politicians in Northern Ireland are now asking their supporters to unite and rally to the age-old cause, the union, just when the government, its government, is perceived to have abandoned it.
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