I SEE Buccaneer Boris and his new crew of Brexiteers are trying to rebrand the backstop as “anti-democratic”.

Quite how the backstop, an essential protection of the Good Friday Agreement, a peace treaty signed by the UK Government 20 years ago and recognised by the whole European Union, supported by a majority in Northern Ireland, recently reaffirmed by former PM, Theresa May during the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations (with then First Mate Johnson still in her cabinet), can be seen as going against democracy is mind-blowing in its patent absurdity.

But in the new age of Boris one of the first casualties is language, which will lose all connection with any rational meaning.

Facts are of little importance to this Westminster Government driven by many pet theories and few concrete plans. And it’s not just the backstop they are attempting to rebrand. Despite no one actually voting for a no-deal back in June 2016, despite most of the electorate and a lot of politicians understanding of the grim reality of crashing out, Johnson and co are arguing that Brexit may actually require no-deal, with the removal of the backstop now the overriding aim of British Policy. No-deal has moved from the “million to one” shot of the leadership contest to the working assumption of Government with little intervening period whatsoever. Johnson cares little for peace and progress just as long as he is on the bridge until the ship goes down.

Northern Ireland, like Scotland, voted to Remain back in 2016. And Northern Ireland, like Scotland, could be not only wrenched out of the EU against the democratic will, but will be sacrificed on the altar of no-deal, just to satisfy Johnson and his uber Brexiteers who have hijacked Downing Street. An elite PM chosen by less than one fifth of 1% of the population, most of whom are white, middle-aged, male Tory members is hardly a democratic mandate, even in the loosest of terms.

To confirm the dissident position of two of the “Fab Four” nations of the UK, Northern Ireland just returned two Remain MEPs at the recent EU elections aligned with their pro-EU stance. In Scotland, we too reiterated our support for the EU with the SNP dominant in these same elections and returning three MEPs. On every available democratic test Scotland and Northern Ireland want to stay in Europe, not to leave. It’s not rocket science.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon challenges Boris Johnson to a debate

READ MORE: Why Boris Johnson is simply a Tory like all the others there have ever been

Democracy is an uncomfortable notion for Johnson. When he says the backstop is anti-democratic, what he means is that it’s just getting in his way. He knows this kind of big, controversial statement gives him traction, that this sort of fighting talk gains him support. He’s got a team of spinners who know how to dog whistle. These cynical, behind-the-scenes data gatherers understand that their fan base loves this kind of anti-democratic talk, it is absolute catnip to certain sections of the electorate who feel marginalised and disenfranchised.

It certainly has worked for Trump, and with populist agitator Steve Bannon’s advice Johnson has been channelling full Trump for quite some time. Now he’s PM, he is moving up through the grimy gears.

So are his grimy cabinet. Johnson has a raft of new ministers, somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, that he can wheel out to repeat this rhetoric, unchallenged in certain sections of the media, in others, the Unicorn fantasy fully supported.

On Radio 4 this week, the new Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Dominic Raab, also described the backstop as “undemocratic”, and then went on to suggest that Northern Ireland might need direct rule from Westminster in the event of a no-deal, effectively and unilaterally suspending Good Friday in the absence of the devolved assembly at Stormont.

If that happens, as well as making an utter mockery of democracy, we are risking the peace in Northern Ireland. But for Johnson, Raab and co, from the safe distance of Downing Street, this is worth the gamble. It is required for their grand scheme to have any chance of working. Peace is a secondary consideration.

The National: Dominic Raab

Imposing direct rule on a nation with its own devolved Government, in a suspended state or not, is a dangerous precedent, especially when Brexit and the Tories are also threatening a full-on power grab of devolved powers at Holyrood. Despite the hiatus of bringing the North into regulatory alignment with the rest of the UK on same sex marriage and abortion rights in the absence of Stormont, full on direct rule from Westminster will not be a progressive affair with Johnson and his lackies at the wheel. Expect draconian changes. Expect the opposite of what’s good for the Scots or Northern Irish.

We’re just collateral damage as they dismantle the democratic structure of the UK to suit their own narrow aims.

Of course there will be blandishments. We should anticipate plenty of shiny beads for the natives as they pillage our land, our resources and our democracy. And we should be ready to expose this fools gold for what it is and any who subscribe to this new version of the Ragman Rolls.

At least most Scots can see it for what it is, we’re not blind-sided by Johnson’s bravado. If the ringing chorus of boos were anything to go by when he met our FM on the steps of Bute House in Edinburgh, can you imagine the reception the new PM might get in other less restrained areas of Scotland?

We know a rogue agent when we see one. Something tells me the Northern Irish are no fools either.

Johnson and his team can try to rebrand the backstop all they like but we’re not buying it.

None of this is new to us, we’ve been suffering from a democratic deficit for decades, as government after government is voted into Westminster not in our name. There’s a large majority of voters in Northern Ireland who feel just the same.

Bluffing Boris and his Brexiteer bandits may only be preaching to the converted but with time running out as we approach Judgement Day at Halloween, they may have to turn to the country to take the final decision on what Brexit actually means.

Ironically it might take a General Election to put these Union jokers back in their box. Democracy, real democracy, may have the last say.