Sure, that’s why we lie

Yes, it is possible that peace in Ireland might manage to survive the imposition of a hard border if the UK leaves the EU Single Market and the Customs Union (because doing that will impose a hard border), but is that a risk that that anyone really wants to take? And how, anyway, can anyone begin to calculate that risk?

The peace settlement in Northern Ireland – as Fintan O’Toole so elegantly lays out – is based on ambiguity, and the way the Irish border issue in Brexit is currently going is trying to impose clarity, is trying to force a decision to be made. Without anyone understanding the consequences of that.

Great, so don’t impose clarity, keep the ambiguity.

Just lie.

The border is where the border is. It will be, post Brexit, exactly where it is today. And exactly what it is today too. Some road signs with the occasional customs patrol on either side.

Yes Mr. EU that’s a hard border. Very hard, dontcha see?

Now fuck off.

21 comments on “Sure, that’s why we lie

  1. As far as I recall, Ireland joined the Common Market when we did, and because we did. 70% of their exports going to UK etc.
    Solution simple then. Ireland leaves the EU as well. What price peace?

  2. Did anyone at the time have any idea that a condition of the Good Friday Agreement was that Britain must remain in the EU for perpetuity? Was this clause contained in the agreement? Was it debated at the time?

  3. The gay Indian pretending to be Taoiseach is acting in concert with his EU overseers to frustrate BRExit, fair enough I suppose, he didn’t want it and didn’t vote for it.

    There is a big difference though between saying “This doesn’t work for Ireland” (which he is entitled to do) and saying “BRExit must be reversed” (which he is not entitled to do)

    The truth is that the EU may well force a “hard” border between the RoI and the UK province of Northern Ireland, but in so doing he knows that the Irish people will blame him and his party rather than the EU.

    Personally, I am glad that he’s interfering and will be deliciously happy if he uses his veto, because it might just be the anchor needed to stop our Poundland Maggie Thatcher impersonator from giving the EU untold billions of pounds of taxpayers money for a deal that ain’t worth the paper it is written on.

  4. Even if we (or more likely they) do impose import tariffs why do they need to be collected and tracked at the border? Surely we just have laws saying that any goods sold must meet the safety requirements and alongside the VAT and other tax returns it includes details of goods imported?

    For people have free movement of tourists/visitors but if you want to work/claim benefits then you must have the appropriate paperwork else the employer is liable).

    Sure there will be some low level tax avoidance – that’s where a bit of lieing about th efficiency comes in – but if we follow the Worstall plan and not impose tariffs then that isn’t even going to be our problem.

  5. Even if we (or more likely they) do impose import tariffs why do they need to be collected and tracked at the border? Surely we just have laws saying that any goods sold must meet the safety requirements and alongside the VAT and other tax returns it includes details of goods imported?

    Lots of caveats obviously, but this was basically what the spokesman from HMRC was saying to some reporter the other day, in essence “there will be some return required, probably quarterly and online along with a combination of ad hoc and targeted auditing supported by investigations by HMRC where evasion is suspected”.

    Seemed surprisingly straightforward.

  6. The solution i heard is that Brits proposed a highish threshold for excise duties. Anything under £250k per year would be duty free. Similar to the VAT threshold of £80k and like VAT it’s all reported by an electronic form submitted after the fact. Anything above that threshold is worth the revenue’s while to collect and enforce. But the other point is most of the cross border trade is below that threshold and the other stuff e.g. milk or cheese could be zero rated by the UK in anycase. Allowing all parties to say… border what border?

    (of course that means allowing all EU milk in all the UK duty free–0 which UK may well be ok with… but that’s why this part belongs in the main UK-EU trade talks)

  7. … if we follow the Worstall plan and not impose tariffs then that isn’t even going to be our problem.

    But then we’ll have other major problems, such as the collapse of UK car manufacturing, mass unemployment…and more.

    Even Minford acknowledges that the car industry will decline if we move to tariff-free imports. Which is not to say moving to tariff-free imports is not a worthwhile goal. It is; but it needs to be implemented gradually and sector by sector. And food would be a good place to start.

  8. Don’t we already have tariff free imports of cars from the EU already so that one shouldn’t make a difference – though the new tariffs being imposed by the EU will be problematic regardless.

    But it is a fair point that we may need to gradually remove tariffs to give those who are currently benefiting from the effective subsidies to adapt gradually – in which case we do choose to make the collection of tariffs our problem. But again the high level stuff such as the car industry is going to have very good tracking of where components came from and so won’t be able to dodge them with after the fact reporting.

  9. Can we copy the Italy/Libya border?

    Irish lorries heading north all mysteriously get trapped in a bog, so they call the Northern Irish AA to be rescued and towed to the nearest service station just north of the border. Obviously we wouldn’t do customs or identity checks – hasn’t the poor driver already been through too much? And we couldn’t possibly send him back, that would be inhumane.

    Southbound lorries would do the same in reverse.

  10. I still say the best solution is to impose the hardest of hard borders. With offers of free bus tickets to Dublin for anyone in Northern Ireland who is unhappy.

    Perhaps we could also impose a “Widow’s Tax” to help pay for the pensions of all the dead soldiers in NI on anyone with a f**king cutesy Gaelic name.

  11. Mole
    Sorry, I should have it made it clear I meant unilateral tariff-free trade with the RoW (including the Fourth Reich) post-Brexit.

  12. Tim Newman said:

    Did anyone at the time have any idea that a condition of the Good Friday Agreement was that Britain must remain in the EU for perpetuity? Was this clause contained in the agreement? Was it debated at the time?

    Given the existence of ‘on the run’ letters I expect Tony Blair will have made promises to that effect. All with the aim of him walking into the job of EU President.

    John Galt said:

    Personally, I am glad that he’s interfering and will be deliciously happy if he uses his veto, because it might just be the anchor needed to stop our Poundland Maggie Thatcher impersonator from giving the EU untold billions of pounds of taxpayers money for a deal that ain’t worth the paper it is written on.

    With everyone in authority both in the UK and EU looking for someone else to blame, nobody is making positive policy decisions. EFTA would do for a bit. Could special economic zones be a different solution?

    Why aren’t UK politicians burning the midnight oil making agnostic decisions getting UK ready for leaving? Whatever Leave looks like we will need more border and customs officers. Should already be deporting people who shouldn’t be here too. More and better port infrastructure will always come in handy. More and better fisheries surveillance. Reliable and cheap energy to make exports more competitive. etc. The kind of thing the Conservatives could have put in their manifesto and got a decent majority imo.

  13. North can keep his plans Gareth.

    Were he at all a reasonable instead of a classic “Right Man” type he might have had some effect.

    But not with his EFTA crap.

    If we have to drop lower to rise again so be it.

  14. I go to Ireland at least three times a year,travelling via ferry from Pembroke to Rosslare. Whenever I do, I see hundreds of Irish trucks crossing from the ROI to the UK and back without any obvious signs of restriction.
    I believe that the amount of unregulated freight going directly to the UK through Rosslare and Dublin far exceeds the amount crossing the NI border now in question, so what’s all the fuss about?

  15. I go to Ireland at least three times a year,travelling via ferry from Pembroke to Rosslare.

    Pembroke Dock, presumably. Full on, 30-Man fist fights have taken place over that distinction.

  16. @Theophrastus, December 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    … if we follow the Worstall plan and not impose tariffs then that isn’t even going to be our problem.

    But then we’ll have other major problems, such as the collapse of UK car manufacturing, mass unemployment…and more.

    Q: What percentage of UK made cars are sold in EU?

    A: 44.5%

    Doesn’t seem a major problem. Certainly not “…collapse of UK car manufacturing, mass unemployment…and more” scaremongering.

    Also, an EU tariff on prestige & niche brands – RR, Bentley, JLR, Ariel, Noble etc – is unlikely to have much impact on sales.

  17. @So Much For Subtlety,December 4, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I still say the best solution is to impose the hardest of hard borders. With offers of free bus tickets to Dublin for anyone in Northern Ireland who is unhappy.

    Perhaps we could also impose a “Widow’s Tax” to help pay for the pensions of all the dead soldiers in NI on anyone with a f**king cutesy Gaelic name.

    +1

    Excellent solution.

  18. Tariffs

    The point is – if we unilaterally declare 0% import tariffs – what’s to stop Nissan et al uprooting and relocating from Sunderland to the EU.

    No cost if they want to export to UK – because zero tariffs – and no cost to sell in the EU now they are located there, it’s the simplest possible decision for them.

    So – ignoring Sunderland jokes – far cars at least and straight off, we don’t do it, unless we’re quite sure with the numbers?

    Prestige

    A UK tariff on German inbound is more interesting – because they don’t want to sell them too cheaply (they are prestige after all), hence the manufacurers might even absorb our import tariff – little cost to our consumer?

    I think we have a strong hand – someone should tell Tess…

  19. Also, an EU tariff on prestige & niche brands – RR, Bentley, JLR, Ariel, Noble etc – is unlikely to have much impact on sales

    And the first two in that list (at least) are German anyway.

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