Is this worth freedom?

We all know – or we all should know – what will happen if there is no deal with the European Union over Brexit. We fall back to WTO trade terms. That is, we’re free to charge any damn tariff we want to, up to the agreed maximums, upon imports into our own isles. We can and should make that charge zero of course. What the rest of the world does to tax itself for its temerity in buying our exports is of course entirely up to it.

That is, no deal looks just fine. Is in fact a great outcome because it offers us the greatest freedom to do the right things of all the available alternatives.

Thus M. Barnier’s wibbling about how the Irish border is some great threat to the possibility of a deal should be ignored.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said that there is “a real risk” that no agreement will be reached with the UK in talks on its withdrawal from the political bloc.

Speaking on a visit to the Border area, Mr Barnier said that the EU was preparing for all options, including the possibility that Brussels and London cannot reach a deal on the UK’s departure in March 2019.

Negotiations have become bogged down over how to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

There’s more than just a sneak of a suspicion that there is this concentration upon this issue just to extract concessions in order to reach a deal.

The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator has warned that until an agreement on the Irish border is reached “there is a risk” that talks will fail.

At a press conference during his visit to Ireland, Michel Barnier said there was a need for a “clear and operational solution for Ireland” to be included in the Brexit deal.

He said: “Until we reach this agreement, there is a risk”.

There are, at most, some few hundred thousand people even interested in this Irish border question. Which is very much a minority interest when considering the 67 million of the UK. More than that, it’s entirely possible to have a deal, a working arrangement, which sates all but perhaps 3 of those people. That trio unsatisfied being Barnier and his two puppet masters who, as above, see the problem only as a negotiating gambit.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has warned that talks are at risk if the UK does not soften its red line on the Irish border issue.

It isn’t, of course, the British who are being hardline about this. It’s the EU. The UK is making no insistences about the border at all, hard nor soft. It is the EU saying that it must be a hard border unless.

Still, as we’ve pointed out before, there’s an easy enough solution:

There always was going to be some blowback for what we English have done to Ireland over the centuries and here it is over Brexit. Either the kingdom becomes un-united over customs, the law and regulation – the 6 counties stay in the EU effectively – or Britain itself may not leave. The correct answer to this conundrum is to do what we’ve been doing for much of the past millennium over the island. We lie.

What other people wish to do on their side of that line is entirely up to them. We will do, as we’ve always done when in our right minds, what is useful and beneficial to us. It’s somewhat unfashionable these days to talk of the empire but it’s still true that we had it. Often because we’re rather good at this lying, cheating and dissembling. We should carry on. So, there’s the border, as it is today. And?

OK, maybe we don’t actually call it lying, term it constructive ambiguity instead. But that is the solution.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with Tim: Promise to seal the intra-Ireland border. Then declare it sealed. Then conduct business-as-usual. By the way, if Brussels protests that the border is not sealed, agree to conduct new negotiations at some point in the future, if Brussels brings something to the table, such as increased freedom for its citizens to buy British goods.

    Given that failure of the Brexit talks means greater prosperity for the UK, the correct negotiating posture is to take a very hard line, possibly including Trump-like threats of missile launches.

  2. HMG’s PR game is pretty poor on this. I hope that doesn’t matter and that it’s all 4D chess. I hope the powder is in the back pocket, staying dry, not in the front pocket getting wet from a slowly forming map of Africa. But if PR does matter then what Davies should be talking about till he’s green in face is that his priorities are to:
    1.Zero rate Ireland’s top 100 exports to UK
    2.Zero rate N.Is top 100 main exports to Ireland
    3.Get absolute cast iron assurances from EU that Irish and UK citizens can move freely if both governments agree they should.
    4.Get absolute cast iron assurances the EU will continue to use english as its main language (to help out our irish cousins- who would probably rather use english)

    In other words start acting like UK would like to extract concessions from the EU on Ireland’s behalf and watch EU turn their PR around to say what a silly thing to ask for.