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Old 09-13-2019, 11:42 AM
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A factual Brexit question: Irish border


I'm sorry if this is actually very easy to Google, without bothering you.

Given that the question of the Northern Ireland/Ireland border has proved the biggest 'technicality' obstructing the fulfilment of Brexit, had no-one pondered this particular problem and possible solutions before the referendum? 'Eurosceptics' have been around for decades, after all. The last-minute trouble-shooting of this seems surprising.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:06 PM
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My understanding is that had Theresa May not lost a number of seats in the 2017 election and had to make an arrangement with the DUP to form her government, the WA would have simply instituted a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland has long been a red-headed stepchild in UK politics, I think.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Staggerlee View Post
I'm sorry if this is actually very easy to Google, without bothering you.

Given that the question of the Northern Ireland/Ireland border has proved the biggest 'technicality' obstructing the fulfilment of Brexit, had no-one pondered this particular problem and possible solutions before the referendum? 'Eurosceptics' have been around for decades, after all. The last-minute trouble-shooting of this seems surprising.
Why no! No they didn't. Nor any other of the vast raft of problems trying to prise us apart from an EU we spent 40 years integrating with that we're now seeing.

And any attempt to point out the enormous practical difficulties was denounced by the Brexiters as 'Project Fear' and they boasted could be safely ignored. It'd all be very fine and simple. Trust them!
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:28 PM
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The Irish border is not a problem as long as the U.K. remains in a customs union/single market for physical goods with the EU or otherwise close relationship in this regard (as in May's backstop). Before the current Brexit, this is the kind of relationship most commentators supporting leaving the EU assumed would happen.

Last edited by PastTense; 09-13-2019 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:01 PM
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Indeed: as I recall we were breezily told we could leave and negotiate a new relationship that would allow us to have all the benefits of the customs union and single market, but none of the bits the leavers didn't like. As one of the EU negotiators put it, we were seemingly wanting to replace being in with lots of a la carte opt-outs with being out with lots of a la carte opt-ins.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:56 PM
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The Irish border is not a problem as long as the U.K. remains in a customs union/single market for physical goods with the EU or otherwise close relationship in this regard (as in May's backstop). Before the current Brexit, this is the kind of relationship most commentators supporting leaving the EU assumed would happen.
I assume the negotiations went something like: "Why should we make it easy for the UK to leave? It's going to hurt you a lot more than it hurts us, and if we set a precedent where countries get all the benefit and none of the costs, how long will the union last? You're either all in or all out." Boris apparently has the wild idea that the EU is terrified of what will happen when Britain crashes out. The EU apparently isn't.

So you can enumerate the possibilities - from bad to worse:
-UK abrogates all treaties, puts in a border.
-UK puts a border inspection with some degree of control between Northern Ireland and Britain, in the middle of their country.
-UK leaves an open hole in their backside for anyone to take customary advantage of. (so to speak)
-UK lets go of Northern Ireland, it joins Ireland proper.

Pick one... nobody else has yet.

Abrogating the commitment to open borders could have repercussions on negotiations on other topics, depending on Ireland's clout in the EU and how the EU feels about things.

Putting a border inspection in the middle of the country will simply encourage the faction that wants the final option, and make it that much easier economically - why should a NI business deal with UK when there's less hassle dealing with Ireland? The island's economies become more tightly knit. Also increase feelings of alienation.

leaving the back door hole open does nothing for anyone. Yes, some people and goods can sneak into the EU and eventually be caught, but they have to get on Irish ships which will make goods inspection easy. Meanwhile, UK is more vulnerable to goods coming in around their customs. Good controls only work with cooperation, and what makes Ireland motivates to cooperate with the UK?

My totally uneducated guess - I'm about as ignorant of the situation as anyone can get while holding a UK passport - they'll in the end be forced to put customs between Northern Ireland and rest of the UK... Assuming they actually leave.

Another interesting note some commentator pointed out - if they do want back in, under the new entrance rules they would have to accept the Euro also when they join - one of the rules they avoided before Brexit.
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:05 PM
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Indeed: as I recall we were breezily told we could leave and negotiate a new relationship that would allow us to have all the benefits of the customs union and single market, but none of the bits the leavers didn't like. As one of the EU negotiators put it, we were seemingly wanting to replace being in with lots of a la carte opt-outs with being out with lots of a la carte opt-ins.
I think this is it. The people negotiating Brexit (and those calling for Brexit) assumed things would be fine, the EU would gladly negotiate that a la carte. The leaders and Brexiteers seem to have beat their head against the wall, failing to notice that the EU answer was "nein/non" on all that. May failed to have a Plan B and Boris seems to be betting the farm on the EU being willing to cave at the last minute. Depending on your estimation of his intellect, he either is refusing to reveal what he will do if they "crash out" as a negotiating tactic, or really has no clue what to do and is pinning his hopes on what he wants to happen.

As the National Lampoon said in a quote they attributed to Sen. Edward Kennedy: "We'll drive off that bridge when we come to it."
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:06 PM
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I'm under the impression that one of the bigger issues the Leave campaign has run on is cutting off the free movement of people into Britain. The Good Friday Agreement includes the free movement of not only goods, but also people, into and out of Ulster. There's a concern that all of the Polish plumbers that Tommy wants to keep from moving into his neighborhood now will just fly into Dublin, take a train up to Belfast, and then take a ferry across the Irish Sea and wind up living in a flat in Manchester. The only way to prevent that would be to either create a "hard border" between Ulster and the Republic of Ireland or to create a border between NI and the rest of the UK. The loyalists in Northern Ireland won't accept the latter, and given that the DUP is necessary for Conservative control of Parliament, there wasn't much chance for that to ever happen. May's backstop agreement would create a hybrid agreement allowing for mostly free travel back and forth across the border with some checks allowed was predicated on Britain mostly remaining in the customs union with the EU or at least giving up its right to withdraw from that set-up. That surrender of sovereignty was the other big reason Leave voters wanted out of the EU, so was kind of a non-starter for those MPs who actually wanted out of the EU (instead of voting for it because they feel compelled by the referendum.)
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:13 PM
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As I understand it though, the customs union comes with all those EU laws about products and consumers - safety concerns, labelling, quality standards, etc. - the sort of deep foreign control that Brexit was intended to escape. Again, there was the thought that they could be part of a customs-free zone without having to meet the same (possibly intrusive and picky) standards all those other countries had to meet. Again, the EU wasn't going to make exceptions, because why would they show other countries' exiteers an easy path to getting out of the EU and remaining friends with benefits? The Brexit faction would never accept remaining under EU law and the stay action didn't see how this was different from remaining.
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:42 PM
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The issue really is that NI loyalists do not want any arrangement which treats them any differently to the rest of the UK - as far as they are concerned all the talk of the backstop is effectively a claim on British Sovereign territory and this is expressly against EU own rules. That is their interpretation of it - not necessarily of everyone else - but since their representatives hold the balance of power its very difficult to simply ignore.

If the UK leaves with no deal - and I have not actually met anyone who has read all 535 pages of it, nor anyone who can summarise it - then the border issue becomes a matter of deciding who will attempt to enforce it and how they will do it.

It is highly likely that under no deal the border arrangements will be very similar to what has already been proposed - so really the argument is pretty much about nothing - except the EU will not have veto in allowing UK to leave.

There is a principle at stake here that the EU cannot have the right to veto the UK national will to leave it, especially when a 'no deal' border will likely be almost identical to a 'deal' border - but hey, there ya go.

Loads of posturing on all sides, claims and counter claims but the outcome is far from certain, risks seem huge but are almost certainly overstated - our currency and economy were supposed to completely tank once the referendum decision to leave was taken - it did not happen and even now the Bank of England has revised the downside estimates of a no deal Brexit from the worst case scenario from 8% contraction of the economy to under 5% contraction, I think even this is likely to be a significant overestimate of the effects.

Unrealistic forecasts that turn out to be false destroy the credibility of the forecasters - too much crying wolf. I appreciate that one day the wolf is likely to turn up - but the EU is currently in a state of stagnation anyway and the loss of UK markets and funds will only make that worse.

Both sides look like they stand to lose a great deal, the Euros are largely pretending it won't hurt them, UK alarmists seem to believe it will be economic Armageddon - neither will be true, but unrealistic assumptions do not help.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:05 PM
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What is the border between Spain and Gibraltar like now? And will that change as a result of Brexit?
  #12  
Old 09-13-2019, 03:10 PM
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The customs union/single market in goods was one of the earliest things the EU was engaged in. And before Brexit it was considered one of its major successes. It's always been true that to sell goods in a market you have to meet all the legal regulations for doing so. And while manufacturers have complaints about these regulations, what is substantially worse is to have to meet one set of regulations in Britain and a different set of regulations in the EU as well as tariffs and border inspections for moving the goods to the EU.

While the general public has complaints about immigration and Britain spending more money in the EU than what it gets back, it very much likes being able to buy lots of consumer goods produced in European countries cheaply.

So May's emphasis on leaving the customs union/single market in goods was bizarre.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:33 PM
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The factual answer to the OP's question is "of course it was considered, by at least some people". Any answer beyond that belongs in GD. Where this thread is now going.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:45 PM
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...had no-one pondered this particular problem and possible solutions before the referendum? 'Eurosceptics' have been around for decades, after all. The last-minute trouble-shooting of this seems surprising.
Sweet Jesus. I put the word 'factual' in the title to avoid this same old balls. Did anyone in the last thirty years actually have a plan for leaving the EU, without ballsing up Northern Ireland? Some old Spectator column maybe?
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:00 PM
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Less factually; in GD. I had fears about the UK being shattered by Brexit before the vote. But not being an enthusiast I didn't see the border problem coming. It seems odd if no-one at all considered all the possible repercussions of Brexit in those decades of Euroscepticism.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:44 PM
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Less factually; in GD. I had fears about the UK being shattered by Brexit before the vote. But not being an enthusiast I didn't see the border problem coming. It seems odd if no-one at all considered all the possible repercussions of Brexit in those decades of Euroscepticism.
I'm guessing the people focussed on exit were on the main island and either simply assumed that the border between Ireland and NI would be reinstated or didn't even think about it. If the bee in their bonnet was Europe, probably it left no room under the bonnet for Northern Ireland issues.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:49 PM
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A GREAT DEAL of pondering went into the consideration of the Irish Question in Brexit. That's why the Withdrawal Agreement includes the Protocol on Northern Ireland aka the Backstop, which occupies a full one-third of the 585 pages of the whole Agreement including all of the Protocols and Annexes. The Preamble alone runs 5 pages.

Wiki has a link to the 585 page Draft Agreement PDF.

As for Gibraltar, the Agreement also has a Protocol on Gibraltar, agreeing on some cooperation. But it is only 8 pages (3 of which are Preamble).
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:09 PM
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A GREAT DEAL of pondering went into the consideration of the Irish Question in Brexit. That's why the Withdrawal Agreement includes the Protocol on Northern Ireland aka the Backstop, which occupies a full one-third of the 585 pages of the whole Agreement including all of the Protocols and Annexes. The Preamble alone runs 5 pages.

Wiki has a link to the 585 page Draft Agreement PDF.

As for Gibraltar, the Agreement also has a Protocol on Gibraltar, agreeing on some cooperation. But it is only 8 pages (3 of which are Preamble).
Yeah, but no-one who was enthusiastic about Brexit before the referendum spent any time at all considering the island of Ireland. That wing of the British political establishment never does.

Here's a thread from a couple of years back

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...hlight=ireland

(That thread was actually a fair bit ahead of mainstream UK commentary)
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Staggerlee View Post
I'm sorry if this is actually very easy to Google, without bothering you.

Given that the question of the Northern Ireland/Ireland border has proved the biggest 'technicality' obstructing the fulfilment of Brexit, had no-one pondered this particular problem and possible solutions before the referendum? 'Eurosceptics' have been around for decades, after all. The last-minute trouble-shooting of this seems surprising.
The factual answer to your question is yes, people had pondered the problem of the Ireland/Northern Ireland border prior to the referendum, and potential solutions were discussed. I've tried googling for cites, but they aren't coming up. But as a UK citizen who reads a lot of UK news, I can personally attest that from the moment the referendum was announced as part of the Conservative Party's 2015 election manifesto, the Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship and the Good Friday Agreement were raised as an issue. However, it was never considered a headline issue. The general media consensus prior to the 2015 election was that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition would continue, and there was no way the Liberal Democrats would agree to a Leave the EU referendum, so that manifesto promise was moot.

After the Conservative Party won an outright majority in the 2015 elections, the referendum promise and the effect on the Ireland/Northern Ireland were again raised. Members of the Irish government wrote guest columns for UK newspapers. I'm pretty sure that Niall Ferguson addressed the issue in a Sunday Times column. It was certainly discussed in the EU when David Cameron was negotiating a "better deal" prior to the referendum. However, in both the run-up to the referendum campaign, and during the referendum campaign, it was a secondary issue. (It probably got more press in Northern Ireland, but I read the London newspapers.)

As for the last-minute part of your question, after the Referendum, and after David Cameron's resignation and the transfer of power to Theresa May, the Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship was, without question, discussed. May wanted a fudge. She was in favour of status quo which would then be overtaken by a technical solution. This also seems to be Boris Johnson's preferred solution, although he jumps around a lot. May's technical fudge wasn't feasible as far as a currently available technological solution goes, but it was fine as a "kick the can down the road" solution. However, the EU didn't go for it. They wanted stronger protections for the Single Market, especially in the case of another EU member deciding to leave in the future. Therefore their "kick the can down the road" solution was to keep Northern Ireland subject to EU import/export rules until a UK/EU free trade agreement could be reached, even if the rest of the UK was no longer subject to EU import/export rules. This is the essence of the much discussed backstop. Note that the EU has never wanted to enforce this backstop. Similar to May's plan, they want to maintain the status quo until a free trade agreement can be reached. For that reason, May acquiesced to the EU solution. That created political problems within the Conservative Party, and with their DUP allies. May was never able to overcome those political problems. Boris Johnson is taking his shot, but, in the mildest possible assessment, doesn't seem to be doing very well.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:43 PM
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A GREAT DEAL of pondering went into the consideration of the Irish Question in Brexit. That's why the Withdrawal Agreement.. .
Jesus wept! I've twice specified the prior-to-referendum ideas of Irish harmony I'm looking for.

But thank you, Baron/Spanners.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:44 PM
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The problem with the Irish border has nothing to do with Polish plumbers - they are heading back home anyway since the Polish economy is picking up.

The problem is goods: The EU has high tariffs on many imports to protect the local industry, especially French and Italian farmers, which keeps the cost of food hight here in the UK. It is the prospect of lorry loads of butter and garlic, crossing into the EU via Northern Ireland that scares them.

With the current state of play in the UK parliament, the DUP have pretty much lost their stranglehold on negotiations. There is a suggestion that they are moving towards an "all-island "arrangements" on food standards and animal health, which could partially remove the need for some checks at the land border" whatever that might actually mean.

The Brexiteers, both politicians and the general public have always assumed that 'minor' problems like the Irish border will be resolved somehow.

Last edited by bob++; 09-13-2019 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:44 PM
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I'm under the impression that one of the bigger issues the Leave campaign has run on is cutting off the free movement of people into Britain. The Good Friday Agreement includes the free movement of not only goods, but also people, into and out of Ulster. There's a concern that all of the Polish plumbers that Tommy wants to keep from moving into his neighborhood now will just fly into Dublin, take a train up to Belfast, and then take a ferry across the Irish Sea and wind up living in a flat in Manchester. The only way to prevent that would be to either create a "hard border" between Ulster and the Republic of Ireland or to create a border between NI and the rest of the UK. The loyalists in Northern Ireland won't accept the latter, and given that the DUP is necessary for Conservative control of Parliament, there wasn't much chance for that to ever happen. May's backstop agreement would create a hybrid agreement allowing for mostly free travel back and forth across the border with some checks allowed was predicated on Britain mostly remaining in the customs union with the EU or at least giving up its right to withdraw from that set-up. That surrender of sovereignty was the other big reason Leave voters wanted out of the EU, so was kind of a non-starter for those MPs who actually wanted out of the EU (instead of voting for it because they feel compelled by the referendum.)
The problem with your idea is that it presumes that the UK wants to keep current EU citizens from visiting as tourists. It doesn't. The UK and EU have already agreed that visa-free travel will be maintained. So if a Polish plumber wants to visit Manchester to watch a football game, no-one's going to stop him. If he wants to then become a black market worker, that's a different issue. But there will be no need for him to travel Dublin-Belfast-Liverpool-Manchester when he could just take a flight to Manchester.
https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/p...nal-agreement/
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:49 PM
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However, the EU didn't go for it. They wanted stronger protections for the Single Market, especially in the case of another EU member deciding to leave in the future. Therefore their "kick the can down the road" solution was to keep Northern Ireland subject to EU import/export rules until a UK/EU free trade agreement could be reached, even if the rest of the UK was no longer subject to EU import/export rules. This is the essence of the much discussed backstop. Note that the EU has never wanted to enforce this backstop. Similar to May's plan, they want to maintain the status quo until a free trade agreement can be reached. For that reason, May acquiesced to the EU solution.
The backstop was a UK-proposed solution, not the EU's. The EU agreed to it because there needed to be something to protect ongoing EU member Ireland in the case where no other solution could be agreed in the post-Brexit transition period that formed part of the agreed WA.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:52 PM
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Thanks Baron Greenback that was actually an interesting thread.

Now that we're in GD I must say that I'm astounded that the Withdrawal Agreement isn't more popular / that it could not find big support in Parliament.

Seems like a fine agreement to me (albeit speaking as a sworn Europhile).

But I am absolutely gobsmacked that the Backstop specifically is so unpopular!

The Backstop does exactly what the Brexiteers want. It's an agreement to leave the EU but basically not make too much fuss over the border, FOR NOW. The Parliament could have accepted the Agreement as is, patted themselves on the back and proudly told their voters that we're now finally out of the clutches of the evil EU and how great it feels. Sovereignty FTW! And see, no big deal with the Irish border! That was all just fear-mongering!

I can't see how this is not exactly how an unthinking (about the border) Brexit voter would have envisioned Brexit.

The criticism that it might still bind the UK to EU rules forever is just plain false. The protocol itself says that a major purpose of the protocol is to get it superseded quickly, and/or to gradually drop its provisions as they're no longer needed. The Protocol is self-superseding. Any border situations and issues would be gradually worked out over time and eventually incorporated in new, sovereign agreements between the parties.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:01 PM
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The problem is goods: The EU has high tariffs on many imports to protect the local industry, especially French and Italian farmers, which keeps the cost of food hight here in the UK.
You'll need to demonstrate that, I think. The EU's external tariffs are non-existent for the worlds poorest (50? ish) countries, for example

You'll be on firmer ground if you address non-tariff barriers eg GM crops, steroid-and antibiotic-riddled meat etc
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:09 PM
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The factual answer to your question is yes
.. as a UK citizen who reads a lot of UK news, I can personally attest that from the moment the referendum was announced as part of the Conservative Party's 2015 election manifesto, the Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship and the Good Friday Agreement were raised as an issue...
I am also British and reasonably well-read. It just seems inconceivable that some right-wing think-tank hadn't solved the Irish problem way before the prospect of a vote for Leave. But maybe Brexit's electoral plausibility before 2015 was just that minimal.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:10 PM
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Now that we're in GD I must say that I'm astounded that the Withdrawal Agreement isn't more popular / that it could not find big support in Parliament.
A talented Prime Minister could probably have got the WA passed, but you can only work with what you have got. To be honest, a talented Prime Minister could probably have finessed an EEA/EFTA type deal, but there you go.
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:00 PM
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The customs union/single market in goods was one of the earliest things the EU was engaged in. And before Brexit it was considered one of its major successes. It's always been true that to sell goods in a market you have to meet all the legal regulations for doing so. And while manufacturers have complaints about these regulations, what is substantially worse is to have to meet one set of regulations in Britain and a different set of regulations in the EU as well as tariffs and border inspections for moving the goods to the EU.

While the general public has complaints about immigration and Britain spending more money in the EU than what it gets back, it very much likes being able to buy lots of consumer goods produced in European countries cheaply.

So May's emphasis on leaving the customs union/single market in goods was bizarre.
The "single market" is an umbrella term that includes several items and the customs union is one of those items.

The foremost item is a free trade agreement. Theresa May and the soft-Brexiteers, as well as the EU, wanted to maintain the UK-EU free trade agreement, although the actual future UK-EU free trade agreement will probably take years to negotiate if the UK ever actually leaves the EU.

The second item is an agreement that all EU countries will maintain a common set of tariffs. The UK wanted to leave this arrangement, and the EU agreed to let the UK give up this obligation. However, the EU will not let the UK import goods tariff-free and then onsell them to the EU. The converse situation also applies. That's one of the set of details that goes into a free trade agreement.

The third item is customs protections. Nobody wants to import exploding refrigerators. The UK and EU are pretty much in agreement on refrigerator standards, at least so far as they shouldn't be exploding. However, there are differences on products such as GMO crops and American made cars and trucks. The Leave argument is that the EU custom protections contain market protections that the UK would do better without. The EU wants the UK to generally maintain the EU level of custom protections. Where the UK doesn't wish to do so, the EU wants to inspect the products imported from the UK. This is again an item that needs to be worked out, especially under the terms of a free trade agreement.

The fourth, related, items is regulatory recognisance. So if a product is considered to meet Polish regulatory standards, it is also considered to meet Italian regulatory standards. (Notwithstanding that, especially with food and agriculture, there are massive exceptions that allow for local regulation.) This is sometimes referred to as passporting. It basically means that if a company exporting goods to the UK can meet one member country's regulatory standards, it meets every EU country's regulatory standards. The UK very much wants its regulatory standards to be recognised by the EU, especially in terms of financial products.

Which leads to the fifth item, that the EU has to ensure that each member country's regulatory standards are sufficient for all member countries. Which means that there is a body of regulations that all EU member countries have to comply with. The UK wants to exempt itself from this regulation, but agrees that they will have to follow these regulatory standards if they want to export to the UK. May basically surrendered on this point to the EU and agreed that almost all EU regulatory standards would apply unless they were considered by the appropriate governmental body and determined not to apply. Hardline Brexiters hated this concession, but my view is that it was pragmatic.

So it's a complicated subject and May was trying to achieve a sensible middle position among several complicated issues. She obviously didn't succeed. But what she was trying to achieve wasn't bizarre. She wanted to stay in the European Free Trade Agreement while exiting the Customs Union. She also wanted UK regulated products to be accepted in the EU while limiting the constraints of EU regulation. That's a really tough middle ground to find. Did she come up with an optimal agreement with the EU on settling these issues? No. Was her solution good enough to be acceptable? It was rejected by the UK Parliament three times. But no-one's so far put forward a better suggestion that a majority of the UK has agreed upon.
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:21 PM
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I am also British and reasonably well-read. It just seems inconceivable that some right-wing think-tank hadn't solved the Irish problem way before the prospect of a vote for Leave. But maybe Brexit's electoral plausibility before 2015 was just that minimal.
Here's the question I'm answering "yes" to:
Quote:
Given that the question of the Northern Ireland/Ireland border has proved the biggest 'technicality' obstructing the fulfilment of Brexit, had no-one pondered this particular problem and possible solutions before the referendum?
I'm perhaps putting too much interpretation into the question. I read it as "Did no one publicly discuss the implications on the Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship during the proposal of the referendum of the UK leaving the EU?" My answer to that question is, yes it was discussed.

Do I think there was in-depth analysis and debate within Government or listened-to think tanks on how to resolve the difficulties inflicted upon the Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship by a majority vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU? No. I'm inclined to believe the rumours that David Cameron expected Remain to win the referendum and refused to allow preparations for a Leave campaign to go forwards.
  #30  
Old 09-13-2019, 07:30 PM
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The UK very much wants its regulatory standards to be recognised by the EU, especially in terms of financial products.
There's quite a lot to be addressed in the Spanners longer post, but this is just one example of where it is not congruent with what the UK government has actually sought to do. The government's red lines, primarily the ones that mean that the UK cannot remain in the Single Market, mean that financial services lose all passporting rights. The current stramash is about goods, not services.

Here's a HoC Research briefing from a month ago:

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7628

It's not strictly copyrighted, so I'll post the summary


Quote:
Brexit and financial services
Published Tuesday, August 13, 2019
What does Brexit mean for financial services? This briefing reviews progress and possibilities – from the 2018 Political Declaration to preparations for Brexit with no deal.

What's at stake?
Financial services are an important part of the UK economy, making up 6.9% of total output in 2018 and contributing £29 billion in tax in 2017/18. As a major international financial centre, London (and the UK more generally) has benefited from increasingly integrated commercial and regulatory relationships with the EU.

The vote to leave the EU presents a range of challenges for the sector. Membership of the Single Market has allowed financial businesses authorised in any Member State to operate freely across the European Economic Area (EEA). This system – known as passporting – reflects both the EU’s overall political aspirations and a more practical alignment of regulatory systems in each Member State.


From passporting to equivalence
The logic of Brexit challenges both of those foundations. Once the UK had confirmed its intention to leave the Single Market, the EU explicitly ruled out sector-specific arrangements – such as passporting – that might have maintained existing benefits.

That exclusion led to a focus on the possibilities arising from the existing alignment of regulatory systems – in short, a quest for “equivalence”. This is an approach in which states grant market access in specified activities on the basis that the regulations that underpin these activities are deemed to achieve comparable outcomes.

The UK set out its ambitions for negotiation in the Brexit White Paper in July 2018. This highlighted both the interconnectedness of the financial services market and the possibilities for autonomous decision-making. But that second point reflects one of the major challenges of relying on equivalence decisions – they depend on regulatory outcomes remaining compatible, so are subject to review and unilateral cancellation. In addition, the process of agreeing equivalence frameworks can be slow and subject to wider political considerations. Indeed, the EU recently withdrew equivalence from Switzerland, citing not only frustrations with Swiss “delays” on agreeing wider arrangements with the EU, but also comparisons with Brexit.

The Political Declaration that accompanied the draft Withdrawal Agreement aimed to build a more robust and transparent “equivalence plus” regime. This would be underpinned by new institutional arrangements. But the aspirational nature of the Declaration meant that the details remained to be negotiated during the implementation period that would have followed ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Preparing for a no-deal Brexit
The UK Government, the Treasury and the main financial regulators have continued to incorporate EU financial legislation into UK law and regulatory practice. In the event of no deal, the Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill 2017-19 would have enabled this to continue for two years after Brexit. However, the Government has not scheduled the remaining stages of the Bill. If it is not passed during the current parliamentary session, it will fall, meaning that maintaining alignment with the EU after Brexit will require new primary legislation.

So a no-deal Brexit makes the quest for equivalence more difficult. Leaving the EU without a deal means that the UK would revert to third-country status. Both parties have made some provision for such a scenario to give some degree of continuity for financial services. For instance, the UK is developing a temporary permissions regime to allow EEA-based businesses to continue to operate in the UK and to seek more permanent authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. The UK and the EU have addressed similar risks in the derivatives market (which is heavily concentrated in the UK, even for euro-based business) through agreeing a temporary recognition regime
The full doc is in the the link.
  #31  
Old 09-13-2019, 07:42 PM
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The backstop was a UK-proposed solution, not the EU's. The EU agreed to it because there needed to be something to protect ongoing EU member Ireland in the case where no other solution could be agreed in the post-Brexit transition period that formed part of the agreed WA.
That's not how I recall it. Theresa May was trying her absolute best to avoid the Ireland/Northern Ireland issue. Obviously it had to be addressed as, as Frankenstein Monster notes, it made up a huge part of the Withdrawal agreement. But May wanted a fudge that would allow for a technical solution to the border issue. The EU negotiators rejected her technical solution as unfeasible. It was. But that wasn't the point. The technical solution was the subterfuge for "kicking the can down the road".

I honestly can't say who proposed the backstop as a plan B. I don't think I heard about it before the Withdrawal Agreement was published, and have assumed it was a compromise position, but I may very well have missed something. I will say that if it was something the UK government proposed, it was certainly something they presented as a necessary but disliked compromise.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:02 PM
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I honestly can't say who proposed the backstop as a plan B.
It wasn't even a plan B, more like a Plan "aaaargh everything else has failed so this will have to do until stuff gets sorted". That's why it's called a backstop. And it was designed to be a safe mode for a process that hasn't even fucking started yet.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:18 PM
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The Irish border is not a problem as long as the U.K. remains in a customs union/single market for physical goods with the EU or otherwise close relationship in this regard (as in May's backstop). Before the current Brexit, this is the kind of relationship most commentators supporting leaving the EU assumed would happen.
Unfortunately, the reason a "no-deal Brexit" is now looming is that the Commons, despite putting in a lot of effort, was flatly unable to come up with a deal a majority would support. As is so often the case, the Devil is in the details.

Last edited by kirkrapine; 09-14-2019 at 10:18 PM.
  #34  
Old 09-14-2019, 10:20 PM
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So you can enumerate the possibilities - from bad to worse:
-UK abrogates all treaties, puts in a border.
-UK puts a border inspection with some degree of control between Northern Ireland and Britain, in the middle of their country.
-UK leaves an open hole in their backside for anyone to take customary advantage of. (so to speak)
-UK lets go of Northern Ireland, it joins Ireland proper.
Why is the fourth option the worst? I think NI would be better off as part of the Republic, and the UK would be no worse off. So the royals have to take the shamrocks off their uniforms, big deal.

Last edited by kirkrapine; 09-14-2019 at 10:21 PM.
  #35  
Old 09-14-2019, 10:45 PM
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A GREAT DEAL of pondering went into the consideration of the Irish Question in Brexit.
"Gladstone spent his declining years trying to guess the answer to the Irish Question; unfortunately, whenever he was getting warm, the Irish secretly changed the Question..."
— 1066 and All That
  #36  
Old 09-15-2019, 09:55 AM
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So the royals have to take the shamrocks off their uniforms, big deal.
I can see some Troubles with your sunny disposition, but that certainly won't stop the people who want to Leave from Leaving.

Maybe if the Leavers would go the UK would be able to salvage something.
  #37  
Old 09-15-2019, 12:22 PM
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Why is the fourth option the worst? I think NI would be better off as part of the Republic, and the UK would be no worse off. So the royals have to take the shamrocks off their uniforms, big deal.
You need to learn about the troubled history of the divided Ireland.
From 1969 - 1998, over 3,500 people were killed by terrorists.
There was an attempt to assassinate the British Prime Minister.
The Northern Ireland parliament has been suspended since 2017.

If anyone casually attempts to re-unite Ireland, there will undoubtedly be a resumption of terrorism.
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