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We are agreed on that, but where I think we may disagree is the extent to which this is now outside our control. For instance, I have just posted this comment on an Irish Times article written by a Fine Gael hack who regularly floats trial balloons for the government:
Dublin must be open to a last-minute compromise on backstop
I think we all may be labouring under something of a delusion here - including my esteemed fellow blogger, Finfacts, with whom I almost never disagree. The backstop may have begun life as an Irish invention, to protect the GFA, but it has long since morphed into an EU determination to protect the Customs Union and Single Market (CUSM) and to prevent the UK using the Irish border issue as a lever to gain access to the CUSM free of charge and without having to respect the EU four freedoms and still be able to negotiate its own trade deals.

We couldn't back down on the backstop now, even if we wanted to, because it has become an issue of principle for the EU, and because the EU has come to the conclusion that a no deal Brexit would hurt the UK far more than the EU, and that therefore the EU's negotiation position post Brexit will be even stronger than it has been to date. A few months of severely curtailed trade, no EU landing rights for UK airlines (incl. Aer Lingus), food and medicine shortages in the UK, threats of Scottish secession and violence on the streets and the UK will come back begging for a deal, any deal.

Yes, Ireland will be badly hit too, and the EU will be extremely sympathetic and helpful to reduce the worst effects, including turning a blind eye to rampant smuggling across the border because the volumes will be immaterial in a larger CUSM context. The large import/exporters across the land border - Tesco, Guinness, Dunnes Stores etc. will be strictly monitored on site to ensure compliance in the same way as VAT compliance is audited, and this will gradually be extended to smaller businesses, but private individuals and small traders bringing a boot load of stuff across the border is immaterial in the larger scheme of things. It is preferable to war.



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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 11th, 2019 at 11:57:46 AM EST
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