Is this worth freedom? - public domain

The European Research Group – that’s the realist end of the Conservative Party – has just released its paper on how to deal with the Irish border question post-Brexit. The solution is as we’ve been saying for some time now, do nothing and lie about it. Not that that’s quite how they put it but it is what is meant.

Guido has the full paper:

The checks that are required post-Brexit to retain the integrity of the EU Single Market and Customs Union include customs declarations, declarations of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary checks and checks on product compliance. Cross-border trade on the island of Ireland is mostly comprised of regular shipments of the same goods. This repetitive trade is well suited to established technical solutions and simplified customs procedures already available in the Union Customs Code. Larger companies may take advantage of trusted trader-type schemes.

This status provides assurance of a high degree of compliance and hence entitles the bearer to simplified procedures For all companies, the requirements for additional declarations can be incorporated into the existing system used for VAT returns. Licensed customs brokers can be engaged to support businesses in dealing with rules of origin and customs arrangements. For agricultural products, the Government should agree equivalence of UK and EU regulations and conformity assessment. Since UK and EU standards are identical and will remain identical at the point of departure, determining equivalence after Brexit should be straightforward.

The current smooth movement of agricultural products across the Irish border, without the need for border inspection posts, can be continued by maintaining the island of Ireland as a Common Biosecurity Zone. The proposals set out below can be realised within the existing legal and operational frameworks of the EU and the UK, based on the mutual trust on which regular trade depends. Any risk of fraud or smuggling can be addressed by effective co-operation by authorities on both sides of the border, as already occurs with smuggling of drugs, cigarettes, fuel and alcohol. Such measures can ensure that the trade across the Irish border is maintained.

Effectively, change the headings on the paperwork, do a bit more random checking and then leave well alone.

The European Union has been demanding that there be no hard border as some sort of trump card. While they also demand a strong border against, well, something. The answer to this has always been as we’ve said ourselves:

M. Barnier and others insist that if the regulatory regime is to change at this line on the map then we must have a border, with customs posts, checks and limitations. If we are not to have what we cannot, an impermeable physical barrier to unfettered movement, then the regulatory and customs regime cannot change at Gortnacarrow and again at Clonacore. Effectively, our choice is Brexit or the Bogay Wall, towers, barbed wire and all.

Our answer should be “Yes.” We agree that we are leaving, that we have put in place that hard border. Then we do absolutely nothing above what we already do. People come and go as they wish, carrying what goods they can, and we do nothing. Except, as we already do, we keep an eye on those moving things on an industrial scale and have our little customs and tax chats with them away from that line on the map.

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?

Since when have we English been truthful about Ireland or to Frenchmen anyway?

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Spike
Member

Northern Ireland will always be a special case, as it “belongs” both to the UK and the island of Ireland. Likewise the time zone of northwestern Indiana, which is essentially metro Chicago, Illinois. Common sense rather than the EU rulebook (which the UK has already voted to reject) should be the key. If there is evidence of a massive use of the intra-Ireland border to evade EU customs, then do something more. There are inspection stations alongside many US freeways, but only lorries are required to stop, and only when the stations are manned. The risk of getting caught outweighs… Read more »

John Galt
Member

Northern Ireland will always be a special case, as it “belongs” both to the UK and the island of Ireland. Not really. Northern Ireland is, at best, a place in political transition. Sure, that transition began nearly a century ago with the partition of Ireland and it still hasn’t been completed, but it will, in time. The partition of Ireland is a political relic that will gradually fade as generations grow up without division and violence. I doubt that Northern Ireland will exist by the latter half of this century, since what unites the people of Northern Ireland is greater… Read more »

Spike
Member

John, I did not intend to argue for or against Unification but merely that N.I. has a dual status. My use of “always” is inappropriate.

John Galt
Member

It’s not a problem Spike. I’m just trying to explain why the current situation in Northern Ireland cannot be forever. Neither the Unionists nor the Nationalists can “Win” the argument, since neither can prevail over the other, either through terrorism or politics. I don’t know what the future will bring for Northern Ireland, but it cannot be to remain divided across sectarian lines as they are today. What I believe is that those sectarian lines will become less and less important over time and that what will assert itself is a sense of broader community of those living in Northern… Read more »

Spike
Member

I wonder if you have no other agenda. While “the current situation…cannot be forever,” as no situation has ever been, Ireland could remain divided and N.I. could see itself as more British than Irish. Granted that the border is the result of a war, with much violence after the war ended. So are ours in the U.S. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t decide for ourselves (though none of us fought in those wars), nor make our borders illegitimate. Religion does not justify a border, but there is also history, inertia, and now, desire to be out of the EU.… Read more »

John Galt
Member

Will you only think self-determination has occurred when your opinion prevails Not really, since self-determination is a journey, not a destination. It may well be that the next stop on the journey of Northern Ireland will not be a United Ireland (indeed I freely admit that might never come to pass), but rather an independent nation within the European Union and Commonwealth retaining the British monarch as head of state. That would certainly seem to resolve many of the current difficulties. …or it might be something else…nobody knows… One thing that I am certain of is that the current sectarian… Read more »

GR8M8S
Member
GR8M8S

And what about all those pesky migrants arriving in the UK via Ireland? Shift the immigration counter to UK employers, the NHS (Hallowed-be-thy-name) and social welfare department?

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

The UK and Ireland already operate their own mini-Schengen and there’s no reason why that can’t continue after Brexit if both sides wish (plenty of non-EU members of Schengen). If it’s not a major problem now, it shouldn’t be then.

Ian Reid
Member
Ian Reid

Richard North you won’t be surprised to hear takes a different view. I’m inclined to agree with him. You can read his take on this here:- http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86991

Timmy has two black spots, Brexit and climate change. For the record I voted for Brexit, and will take whatever fudged up cluster copulation the Tories put together, because it is the only prospect of ever ever leaving the EU in my lifetime. But it could have been so much better.

As it stands May will be delivering an economic catastrophe, and a Corbyn government.

Spike
Member

I know a hatchet job when I see one. This blog begins by calling the Brexit “ultras” liars, then speculating on their states of mind. Spends little time actually rebutting them. Granted that their statement of a net benefit to the British economy is dicey and multiplied by extending over multiple years. No one knows the sum for sure. But freedom (even national freedom) is optimal for the economy compared to restraints on freedom. Best of all, put no British tariff on anyone who wants to ship food or tools into the nation. Meanwhile, in my book, Timmy does not… Read more »