Backstop to the Backstop

Monday afternoon Theresa May in parliament looked like a rabbit caught in headlights because it became clear she had no answers. There was plenty of blusters, but it was also clear that she was very unsure of herself. Taking stock on some of the comments made reveals the misdirection by Tory politicians. Do you remember Liam Fox claiming that a free trade deal with the EU would be “the easiest in human history?” Alternatively, David Davis who envisaged that we would by now have signed dozens of free trade deals with many countries, in fact, they were queuing up to sign trade deals with us. The Tories have employed the tactics of smoke and mirrors while concealing how hapless they have been.

I remember May’s speech outside No. 10 after she lost the last election, I thought the tone of her speech rather than being conciliatory was aggressive and quite inappropriate for someone who had just lost the general election. I went back to look at it again, and I note this extract:

“If we don’t get the negotiation right, your economic security and prosperity will be put at risk, and the opportunities you seek for your families will simply not happen. If we do not stand up and get this negotiation right we risk the secure and well-paid jobs we want for our children and our children’s children too.”

She’s right. By her own measure let her be judged. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) seems to be now calling the shots on the Irish border. The issue lies around the backstop to the backstop, after leaving the EU if the UK fails to secure a free trade deal by the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland would have to remain in the EU’s customs union if the UK decided it could. Off course now Scotland also wants to be left in the customs union, and the DUP is adamant that if the UK leaves they want to leave on the same terms too, which currently will mean a hard border.

Dominic Raab’s meeting last Sunday with Michel Barnier to finalise the arrangement on Northern Ireland lasted an hour, and he returned without a deal. The governments’ position hasn’t changed for months on this, and neither has the position by the EU. Currently, there is no sign that anything is going to change. Could this be the collapse of Brexit and what is Theresa May now offering on Brexit to the EU?

The DUP if you remember walked out on the Good Friday Agreement, in the Stormont Assembly, they have failed to form an executive for more than a year they are not a party that compromises. We are at the brink of leaving the EU without a deal, and the damage to the economy would be quite immediate and severe – as many commentators have said before “We didn’t vote to be poor.”

Theresa May was right in her speech about getting it right for our children and our children’s children’s but her poor negotiations with the EU, by her own measure, shows her badly she has failed. We have a PM negotiating the most critical change in more than a generation who is not supported by her own party, now by the majority of her people, being bullied by the DUP and has a chequers deal that was dead on arrival.

Maybe she should have been more conciliatory in her speech.

 

 

* Tahir Maher is the Wednesday editor and a member of the LDV editorial team

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32 Comments

  • Peter Martin 17th Oct '18 - 6:02pm

    What has happened was entirely predictable. I don’t hold any brief for TM but the current situation would have been just the same whoever was in charge.

    The EU don’t want to offer the UK a fair exit package which will benefit both sides. Their priority is to ensure that no-one else treads the same path even if their best export customer can no longer afford to be that.

    Maybe we’ll see real negotiations soon. But they will only be possible after the EU has made its political point. Maybe even after a no-deal Brexit.

  • Steve Trevethan 17th Oct '18 - 6:34pm

    Perhaps the biggest problem is the border in Ireland ?
    Is it possible to have a non-tariffs border when there are tariff diferences?
    Can a tariff border avoid a return to the “Troubles”/civil war in Ireland?
    Is a prime choice in this matter between a “hard border” or peace in Ireland?

  • John Marriott 17th Oct '18 - 6:42pm

    I would urge everyone to read the leading editorial in last Monday’s Guardian. Britannia, despite the assurances of Johnson, Fox et al, no longer rules the waves; but she is still afloat in ever stormer seas. If we brexit without a deal, let’s hope that Trump’s antics with China hasn’t fatally damaged the WTO. If so, then we really are up the proverbial creek. As was said in another thread, what Nick Boles, the Tory MP for Grantham & Stamford, is proposing may be worth supporting. Lord William Hague, a self confessed ‘europragmatist’, as I am, appears to be on Boles’ side. It would involve delaying the UK’s final departure a few years and, given a potential earthquake following next year’s elections for the European Parliament, could concentrate minds on both sides.

    37% of those eligible to vote supported Brexit two years ago, with a slightly smaller percentage supporting Remain. That’s a fact and is hardly a massive mandate for a complete break from a partnership that, with all its faults, has benefitted this country in a way that ‘going it alone’ in the last forty years would ever have done. So, what both sides need now is compromise.

  • I do hope none of our Brexiteer posters are Aviva policy holders

    Aviva to transfer administration of UK policies to Ireland

    nsurance company Aviva is preparing to transfer the administration of insurance policies from the UK to Ireland, to safeguard against the possible implications of Brexit.

    The company is writing to policy holders here to inform them of the proposed changes, which it says will provide certainty into the future.

    It says that the UK withdrawal from the European Union may lead to changes in the law that could alter the way Aviva operates in other European countries.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2018/1017/1004759-aviva-ireland/

    The same article also states

    Scisys is one of many companies which have moved to Ireland or opened a base there ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union next March with lawyers, financial firms and industrial groups needing to maintain ties with the bloc.

    Scisys, founded in 1980, operates in the space industry, including work for the European satellite navigation system Galileo.

    It also supplies customised software systems and services to the media, space, government and defence sectors.

    The company said the move, which has already been flagged to shareholders, would enable it to satisfy “any applicable European Union residency requirements for EU-funded work without adversely affecting the group’s ability to continue contributing to space programmes”.

    Well Peter the Brexit dividend grows by the day and all those that pushed Brexit can say is “EU don’t want to offer the UK a fair exit package”, how the mighty have fallen what happened to “We have all the cards”, “The easiest trade deal ever” did they run into reality and now all the Leave camp can say is “EU bad” and “Tis not fair”. Well life isn’t fair and no amount of bleating will change that. Interesting however you have conceded we will be getting poorer after all what other spin can be put on “even if their best export customer can no longer afford to be that”.

  • Katharine Pindar 17th Oct '18 - 8:19pm

    Brexit, as far as Ireland is concerned, was always a nonsense. How could it be that Great Britain, leaving the EU and with Northern Ireland being part of her, could expect there to continue to be exactly the same practical intercourse between Northern Ireland and the Republic, which remains part of the EU? Only Exit from Brexit can truly solve this. Failing that, since the EU can’t solve it, perhaps Mrs May should consider refusing the DUP’s ultimatum and call on the votes of other parties to get her through the limping compromises of her proposed deal. But we Remainers can still hope for the now-called People’s Vote and a favourable result from that, to stay in the EU.

  • To me the only explanation of the behaviour of Teresa May is that she has followed a clear policy on getting support from her own party. She has got the country into the position where there is no option, because of time, except to accept her view of a deal with Europe or accept there is no deal.
    In fact of course as she has said over and over we are leaving in March of next year. This is what was decided at the referendum. The future relationship with the European Union has been decided by no one. This is the key issue whatever happens.
    We as a party have no control over the U.K. government. The party does have control over what we debate internally, what we talk with our members about.
    So what the party does is to facilitate a non discussion on a plan which seems to have been invented by the leader of the party about how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. In the process it seems that a democratic process has been abandoned.
    It is time that we faced up, at the last hour, to the fact that the reason why our national polls are so low is that on the issue of the day we offer nothing.

  • @frankie – re: Aviva and others moving to Ireland – Wholly predictable, we saw this in the 1990’s. And, just as in the 1990’s as long as the UK gross GDP doesn’t tank, the Brexiteers will claim all is wonderful.

    @Katharine – Whilst I agree with your point, I think Ireland is having to carefully weigh the obvious economic benefits of the UK leaving with the on-the-ground political consequences .

    @Peter – “The EU don’t want to offer the UK a fair exit package”
    I thought you practised hard headed real-world thinking; the problem is that the UK still doesn’t really know what it wants from Brexit other than cake and lots of cake that others will generously provide. When the UK has made a suggestion, the EU has merely pointed out the pitfalls, which has resulted in idiots shouting that the EU is being unreasonable.

    It always has been the case: the UK wants to leave, it is up to the UK to court the EU to get the best terms; something the UK has simply failed to do. If you disagree, just name a few leading Brexiteers who are welcome in Brussels…

  • Peter Martin 18th Oct '18 - 12:14pm

    @ frankie @ Roland,

    “the UK still doesn’t really know what it wants from Brexit”

    It’s true that there are several alternative Brexits and each one has its proponents. However I would say that there is general agreement that we want to trade with Europe, on friendly relations, but we don’t want to be a integral part of Europe. We don’t want to be a like a province of a Pan European entity. I’d hope that eventually we can be Canada to the EU’s USA. Are Canadians any worse off through not being a part of the USA?

    I was OK with the old EEC. It wasn’t perfect but it worked well enough. It’s the EU and the direction of travel that’s the problem. I don’t believe most Remainers see any difference. It’s all just ‘Europe’ to them. So even if we are going to be temporarily worse off then I’m still for leaving. It will be better in the longer term.

    I see the Remainers are planning a big march this Saturday. I’m surprised it’s not being promoted on LDV. This is what they (you?) will be marching for: “A more perfect union” as described by Guy Verhofstadt.

    Probably, if the EU had been even slightly less imperfect than it is, the remainers would have won in 2016. So that’s quite an ambitious goal. GV is effectively describing what would be a United States of Europe.

    There is a certain compelling logic to GV’s argument. If the EU is to survive this is probably what will have to happen. But do the Remainers know that? Do they know that the present structure of the EU is unviable? That’s what GV is saying and we will need a lot ‘more Europe’ to fix it.

    It’s a Neine Danke on that from me I’m afraid.

  • Roland,
    No matter how bad it gets the Brexiteer cheer leaders will claim it is a success. How could they not, because if they did well they would look foolish and the one thing they could never be. Their whole self image as men of substance, widely respected by their friends, family and society would be totally shredded and that can never happen, no matter what the cost, no matter how many facts they have to ignore Brexit will be declared a success in their minds. Meanwhile the word will laugh.

  • Peter,
    You can want what you like, so did my children as toddlers, strangely enough they didn’t get what they wanted and as you are discovering it is unlikely you will be getting your own personal Brexit either. Tis sad reality stops us getting what we want but it always seems to go that way. So scream “squirrel” and “EU bad” but you still won’t get your personal Brexit, it was never on offer, cake costs as we all now can see. No free cake in this life.

  • Peter Martin 18th Oct '18 - 12:46pm

    @ Frankie,

    You would do yourself a favour if you tried to understand what everyone else was saying. Maybe you are doing that to some extent. I haven’t seen the words ‘Bless’ or ‘Tinkerbell’ recently. But you’ve still some way to go.

    The Leave argument isn’t about cake and cherries. Its simply that we don’t have to be living in each other’s pockets to have a friendly relationship and trade with each other.

  • Peter Martin 17th Oct ’18 – 6:02pm…………….What has happened was entirely predictable. I don’t hold any brief for TM but the current situation would have been just the same whoever was in charge…The EU don’t want to offer the UK a fair exit package which will benefit both sides. Their priority is to ensure that no-one else treads the same path even if their best export customer can no longer afford to be that…Maybe we’ll see real negotiations soon. But they will only be possible after the EU has made its political point. Maybe even after a no-deal Brexit………………………..

    Yet another ‘it’s the nasty EU’ article.

    It has nothing to do with the EU wanting to punish the UK as a warning to others. Membership of the EU is all about compromise; a concept which has never been the UK’s forte’ in our membership. Now, when we are leaving, we still seem to want to cherry pick our exemption from the ‘four freedoms’;
    What were we promised that our leaving would bring? “Having our cake and eating it”,”The easiest negotiations of all times”, etc., etc. because, after all, “They need us more than we need them.”

    The EU laid out it’s position, for dealing with a post Brexit UK, from the beginning; it is the UK that is, as my mother would’ve said, “Shilly Shallying”.

  • The so called “back stop” is a red herring. The real issue is what happens at the North/south Irish border in the long term. If and when there is a trade agreement between the UK and the EU there will have to be either convergence with EU rules (which is unacceptable to most leavers) or there will have to be some kind of infrastructure at the border, unless of course you believe the “spy in the sky” technology thesis that most sensible people realise is years and years off. No other options – convergence/alignment or hard border and that will be the situation how ever far you kick the can down the road.
    Of course we could solve the problem by invading Ireland. We’ve done it before.

  • Peter Martin 18th Oct '18 - 1:47pm

    @ Expats,

    Your the latest one to use the “Having our cake and eating it” argument. I really don’t understand that.

    What’s the problem with just having free trade? If I want to buy a German car I pay my money and at some stage the ££ I pay will be swapped for €€. Just like if I buy some software from the States they’ll be swapped for $$. If I’m not happy I won’t make the purchase and if the seller isn’t happy they won’t make the sale. This is just classic Liberalism. There’s no cherries no cake at all! Unless perhaps if we sell UK grown cherries and import German made cakes.

    We just need a calculator to make the trade and to have Govts with enough sense to see that tariff free trade is a desirable goal. We don’t have to join any clubs and write pages and pages of rules and regulations. There perhaps needs to be some rules to say whether chicken has been washed in chlorine or whatever. If we don’t like the idea of that we don’t buy that kind of chicken. But providing there are no health hazards why should it be banned?

    And what have the ‘four freedoms’ got to do with it? I think the computer I’m typing this comment on was made in Korea. Do we have four freedoms with Korea? Is anyone saying I won’t be able to buy another one from Korea unless we sign up to a whole lot of other conditions too?

  • @Peter
    >It’s true that there are several alternative Brexits and each one has its proponents.
    It seems every Brexit supporting Conservative MP has their own Brexit plan and isn’t willing to either publish it or compromise and support someone else’s. So it is hardly surprising that T.May’s plan hasn’t got much support from within the Conservative party.
    If it was anything other than Brexit, a sensible person would kick matters into the long grass, maintain the status quo and only discuss again when its supporters come back with an agreed and costed plan…

    >Are Canadians any worse off through not being a part of the USA?
    I think you are asking the wrong question. The right question is whether Canada is better off with Trumps trade deal than they would have been with Obama’s. Personally, I suspect despite Trump’s grandstanding, his deal isn’t significantly different to Obama’s, just that he has made a big fuss rubbishing the work of his predecessor.

    >What’s the problem with just having free trade?
    Have the problems that existed in the 1980’s that resulted in Margaret Thatcher founding the European Single Market been resolved?
    Also remember Margaret Thatcher largely joined the EU to ensure the UK’s interests (in the Single Market) were looked after. The fact that Brexiteers are claiming the EU hasn’t been in the UKs interests, says much about those Westminster chose to oversee the UK’s interests in the EU…
    In the post-Brexit world, I don’t see the UK having the same ability to influence others in ways that are beneficial to the UK.

    Funny how the UK seems to like founding trade organisations eg. the Commonwealth, the Single Market, … and then walking away because it finds them too constraining…

  • nvelope2003 18th Oct '18 - 4:07pm

    Peter Martin: We had free trade before WWII. It worked well when we were the only real industrial power and had a huge navy to enforce it but when Germany, the USA, Japan etc started to compete, unfairly as we saw it, then it no longer worked for us and we abandoned it and the Liberal Party along with it. You need all those rules and courts to enforce the rules and those who say otherwise are either ill informed or flattering to deceive. As you seemed totally unaware of the origin and purpose of the Liberal party until I explained them to you I suppose I should not be too surprised by your comments. The EU and its predecessors was founded to preserve peace in a Western Europe which had been ravaged by centuries of war often about trade and assets. It has succeeded for 73 years. A few niggling rules and regulations are a small price to pay for peace, compared to the cost and suffering caused by wars. For all its faults Western Europe is a paradise compared to most countries who are its enemies and determined by every means possible to bring it down. The events in Istanbul are a wake up call and who you are and which side you are on will be determined by your view on that issue. The attitudes of certain current leaders are very reminiscent of certain pre war leaders and it is frightening.

  • So-called ‘Project Fear’ was demonstrably wrong; as Brexiteers like to point out doom and disaster simply didn’t happen the day after the referendum. As Yogi Berra put it, “Forecasting is difficult, especially about the future”.

    But wait … it’s the TIMING of events that’s almost impossible to forecast – no-one could work out the impact of something the Cabinet can’t, even now, agree among themselves. So, the jury is still out. There IS much to fear but it will only emerge AFTER Brexit.

    Contrast that with ‘Project Unicorn’. That made lots of specific claims that we already know the truth of – that Brexit would be a pushover with only upside, that a free trade deal with the EU would be the easiest in history, that our big market would make German car-makers push Merkel into a good deal, that lots of countries would want free trade deals etc. and so on.

    None of that has happened – it’s been the opposite in fact. TM’s firm commitment to ‘cakeism’ is not because she’s thick (she isn’t), but because there is no alternative. Circles must be made square while remaining thoroughly circular for Brexit to work.

  • Peter Hirst 18th Oct '18 - 6:01pm

    The very fact that this negotiation is so troublesome implies that the government is forcing something that is not occurring naturally. If it was right that we leave, then the transition would be easy. There is a lesson here for at least our Prime Minister.

  • Traditionally, ‘Free Trade’ has been a way for the dominant economic power of each age (Britain in the nineteenth century, the US in the 20th) to force open the markets of lesser powers, impose their rules on them, and so increase their own wealth. In short, it’s largely a propaganda term to be dealt with carefully.

    However, what we have in the EU is the ‘Single Market’ which is similar to, but different from conventional Free Trade. To confuse the two is a serious category error.

    In the Single Market we have identical (or more accurately, harmonised and mutually recognised) standards. That, together with a customs union, means goods can cross borders with minimal formalities and that, in turn means that the entire area can be treated as a unit in building supply chains. A UK firm can source components in Italy if that’s where the best supplier is and vice versa.

    And so, the many national markets of the EU have gradually integrated. In the UK promoting inward investment (sold as an easy English-speaking bridgehead into EU markets) has been by far the dominant industrial strategy for the last 20 or 30 years.

    It’s strategy that has, by its own lights, been very successful; foreign firms have invested on a huge scale, often taking over British ones rather than starting with a blank sheet so now there is very little British industry left with any scale – it’s almost all foreign industry based in Britain which is rather different.

    That puts the reaction of German car-makers and the like in a different light. Yes, I’m sure they’re horrified at the prospect of losing their biggest export market – it would cost them billions over a decade. But they are even more appalled by the possibility of the Single Market unravelling; they have remade their entire supply chains on that basis over several decades with key components coming from Britain, Poland, Czech Republic and elsewhere. To lose that would bankrupt them so if they cut the UK out of their supply chains – as they must if we leave – that leaves very little industry to fill the gap.

    Big companies simply don’t threaten governments (they depend too much on their support) so when they say, “could harm their future …” they really mean, “will harm …”. We should take notice.

  • Peter Martin 18th Oct '18 - 6:41pm

    @ Expats

    ” We had free trade before WWII”

    This is simply not true. High tariffs, worldwide, were a contributory cause of that war.

    https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-02-01/us-tried-extra-high-tariffs-1930-it-was-disaster

  • Peter,
    We get that “free trade” is your religion, but it isn’t on offer. The reality is trade blocks who ruthlessly exploit the weak. You voted to join the ranks of the weak, because of your fantasy of “nice” free trade. Interestingly your fantasy may be less ridiculous than dreaming of faries and unicorns but it is when we look at reality they are equally fanciful. I have often pointed out to Brexiteers, that you don’t get your own personal Brexit, you get the Brexit you are given, screaming that isnt “fair”, that isn’t “nice” will not change that. Be prepared to be disappointed because you will be.

  • Peter Martin 18th Oct ’18 – 6:41pm…@ Expats………” We had free trade before WWII”……..This is simply not true. High tariffs, worldwide, were a contributory cause of that war…….

    I agree with you and, FYI, I didn’t write that bit…It was nvelope2003 18th Oct ’18; although, to be fair, I think he meant WW1.

    As for your..Peter Martin 18th Oct ’18 – 1:47pm…………[email protected] Expats, Your the latest one to use the “Having our cake and eating it” argument. I really don’t understand that………….What’s the problem with just having free trade?…………

    Free trade is not a panacea; in fact, like unfettered Capitalism it can be a disaster. It can work fairly between nations with agreed rules such as working conditions, common industrial standards, regulations, capital, etc. i.e. the EU (What makes tariff free trade fair and even possible are the very rules you want rid of*). .. Between disparate nations ‘Free Trade’ can result in near slave labour, ‘dumping’, environmental ‘rape’ of resources, etc.

    The rest of your post is a mish mash of the usual “It’s worth being worse off to be rid of their laws (without saying what laws), and as for being better in the long run”; How, When, Why?

    *Norway, for example, has the nearest thing to EU membership without being ‘In’ but, in return for access to the EU market, Norway is obliged to implement all the EU’s laws relating to the internal market. As a result, Norway has had to implement the vast majority of all EU legislation (including standardisation and the working time directive) without having any say in their making or modification.

  • “Free Trade” isn’t on offer except to certified unicorn ranchers.

    Take the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) for example. It’s a 46 nation $1.7 trillion p.a. accord under the auspices of the WTO that gives participants access to member countries’ public procurement. The UK is already a member via the EU.

    So far so good, but the UK will lose access to it when we leave the EU next year so we must re-join. Fortunately, it’s in the WTO stable so no problem … except there is.

    Moldova is blocking UK access because of a grudge by their WTO representative. Other countries are also blocking the UK’s access including the US and New Zealand and since the WTO works by consensus that matters.

    So here is the reality. Far from restoring some mythical sovereignty the UK will be in a position where it can be bossed about by countries many people have never heard of not to mention friends seeking concessions.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-17/u-s-is-said-to-stall-u-k-bid-to-stay-in-1-7-trillion-market

    (Read down to the following article)

  • Even TM seems to have accepted that financial services are a lost cause after Brexit by not including them in her Chequers plan. So just a reminder that the City is estimated to pay taxes equivalent to around 60% of the cost of the NHS. That tax revenue won’t entirely disappear after Brexit but a very large chunk of it will.

    Can someone advocating for Brexit please tell me how the NHS can keep going afterwards – or is that it can’t the real reason for Brexit?

    Then there’s manufacturing. I had a quick look at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) website. Some vital statistics of the UK automotive industry. They’re impressive:
    Turnover: £82 billion, Exports £44 billion (12.8% of UK total goods exports)
    Employment: 856,000
    Made 1.7 million cars with an average 44% UK content (up from 36% in 2011).
    1,100 trucks from EU deliver car & engine components daily
    Exported 1.33 million cars worth £44 bn to over 160 countries, 54% to the EU, 16% to the US.

    I then looked at Jaguar Land Rover’s most recent accounts (to 31 March 2018).
    Turnover was £25,786m, profit before tax £1,536m. That’s just under 6%.

    WTO tariffs on car exports are 10%. Of course, JLR don’t export their entire production but even on an admittedly back of envelope calculation it’s clear they don’t have a business after Brexit.

    We know because it’s been widely reported that cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt are all bidding to take London’s financial business. It occurred to me some time ago that there’s no reason to stop at financial services. The UK manufacturing base might easily be seduced away when the alternative is WTO tariffs or worse (see my previous comment).

    Then I saw this. Macron and three ministers wining and dining the heads of the UK car industry. I can’t see why they wouldn’t take a good offer.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/07/macron-woos-uk-car-firms-over-private-dinner

  • Well Peter I think enough posters have presented enough facts and arguments to suggest your dream of free trade won’t happen, I look forward to you rebutting them.

  • nvelope2003 19th Oct '18 - 9:46am

    By “we” I meant Britain. The Liberal party’s raison d’etre was free trade and it had its last electoral success in 1923 when the Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin adopted “tariff reform” as their policy in the election he called that year. In 1930 its leader Sir Herbert Samuel left the National Government when that Government imposed tariffs. The National Liberals accepted the need for tariffs and became allied with the Conservatives. Britain’s abandonment of free trade effectively ended the role of the Liberals as a major force in British politics.

  • Peter Martin 19th Oct '18 - 9:55am

    @ Frankie,

    I’m not rebutting anything. I said in the first comment that real negotiations will only be possible after the EU has made its political point. Maybe even after a no-deal Brexit.

    This may or may not lead to something like free trade.

    I do take the point made by many that ‘free trade’ isn’t necessarily fair trade. There’s lots of ways for this to happen. For example Denmark pegs its krone at an artificially low rate which allows its pork producers to undercut UK producers. We should be aiming for fair trade but free trade is probably the best we can reasonably hope for in the short term.

  • The first step in solving the irish question is to enable Stormont to function again so the people of Northern Ireland have a voice. It seems wrong to me that the Brexit negotiations are used to unite the island of Ireland though that might not be a bad thing at the right time and with due process if both sides want it. So we are left with the need for a barrier free border. Though others know better than I, I can’t see what is sancrocant about this though it will be challenging to patrol. If we don’t want this logistical nightmare then we’d better remain in the eu or at least the customs union and single market.

  • @Peter – I said in the first comment that real negotiations will only be possible after the EU has made its political point. Maybe even after a no-deal Brexit.
    So after everything, still clinging on to the delusion that it is all Brussels fault?
    You only need to look at the antics of the Conservative Brexiteers to see that Brussels doesn’t have to do anything, the Conservative Brexiteers are quite capable of preventing their government from engaging in substantive negotiations and so make a no deal Brexit more likely. given what we’ve seen todate, I doubt, post a no deal Brexit, they will take any responsibility for the mess they created and will continue to blame someone else and criticise the actions of those trying to get to grips with matters.

    >This may or may not lead to something like free trade.
    It might, but one thing is certain, the UK will be at the receiving end, potentially also doing whatever the IMF tells it to do…

  • nvelope2003 21st Oct '18 - 8:54am

    There was a typographical error in my post of 19th October at 0946. 1930 should be 1932. Sorry.

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    The problem grew because the consensus of the centre was really the consensus of the economic right. The markets will solve everything, weed out the...