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After the Irish border cave-in, I was convinced for a long time that Boris would cave on the final Brexit deal too -- with a discourse of "We really stuck it to the EU" while continuing business as usual, alignment on environmental conditions, state aid, the whole bit.

Over the last couple of months, it's become blindingly obvious that the negotiations are a farce, and that hard brexit was their only thought from the start (unless they really are making it up day by day??)

But one never anticipated that they would pre-announce their intention to breach international law. They can hardly blame the EU now for failure of the talks...

Once more, I'm puzzled by the endgame. I suppose they"re counting on the Irish government being obliged to close the border, and it'll be all the EU's fault... would that frame hold?

Perhaps a better option than closing the border would be a EU naval blocade in the Irish sea? I rather like that idea
But the economic conséquences will be unthinkably disastrous. Public opinion can't be fooled on that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 08:50:53 AM EST
I am leaning towards there not being much of an endgame, but only tactical maneuvers for fleeting political advantage.

Cameron called a referendum to improve his odds of winning an election, then had no plan to handle the result.

May called new elections and triggered the exit process to improve her odds of winning the election, then had no plan to handle the negotiations.

Johnson called new elections and called for a quick Brexit to improve his odds of winning the election, and yet again does not have appear to have a plan.

One could argue that surely the economic owners of the country must have more of a plan, but given the propensity for fincial gambling, I am not so sure. I am sure that they have a lot of hedging going on, in a heads I win, tails the public lose, kind of way, but that doesn't really take plans.

Oh, and they probably have bunkers in New Zeeland, but that is more indicative of the lack of actual planning for the future of the UK and a vote of non-confidence in their trust of their fellow owners to maintain control.

by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the moment, and in future under international law, N. Ireland firms have full access to the Single Market. Should the UK government allow unhindered access for British goods to N. Ireland, the EU will have no option but to institute border controls to prevent British goods leaking into the EU via N. Ireland. This could also inconvenience N. Ireland firms who would have to prove the origin of their goods.

However I believe the EU will allow the Irish government to institute those controls at Irish sea and air ports as a much more feasible option than trying to put customs posts on 300 roads passing through the 500KM land border.

The Irish government could also institute a "trusted trader" scheme within Ireland whereby Irish firms, importing through/from N.Ireland, declare any goods of British origin in their accounts in the same way as they do their VAT returns. The vast majority of Irish imports from Britain are by large supermarket chains and other large businesses with robust internal controls. Guinness already has customs officials on site 24/7 to ensure alcohol production is properly taxed.

This would not prevent private individuals, sole traders and small businesses loading up their cars/vans with goods in N. Ireland and driving them across the border for their own personal or small business use. The Irish government could institute the occasional mobile spot check of large Vans/trucks near the border to eliminate gross abuses, but basically the quantities would be immaterial in an EU context and restricted to Ireland.

From a political and economic point of view, this would  be a little compensation for private individuals and small businesses/sole traders for the costs that Brexit will impose in other ways, and perhaps also re-balance the competitive advantage of (e.g.) small shops vs global multinational supermarket chains. Any such solutions would be temporary, pending a UK/EU trade deal, and failing that until there is a more formal re-unification of Ireland, politically and/or economically.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:31:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any such solutions would be temporary, pending a UK/EU trade deal, and failing that until there is a more formal re-unification of Ireland, politically and/or economically.

Pending a UK/EU trade deal....
Just how likely is a deal after this? If Johnson goes through with his "special and detailed" changes how much would you trust him in negotiations 2021?
Re-unification sounds more likely.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 07:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It all depends on how ruthlessly the EU responds. If the EU takes the view that a short sharp shock is needed to bring the UK to ts senses and avoid a long drawn out and damaging conflict, it could literally stop all except the most vital EU imports at Calais and shut down half the UK export economy.

Of course the EU would also suffer some damage, but it might take the view that this needs to be resolved quickly, one way or the other. German car exports can always make up lost sales at a later stage. EU farmers could be cushioned for lost income through the CAP.

If Boris tries to hold out, many UK firms will close permanently and irreversibly. If anything, Covid-19 has taught EU governments that drastic actions can and sometimes must be taken, and the public will accept them if the rationale is strong enough.

Ireland will be most directly in the firing line but it has such a long and painful history with Britain that most people will accept considerable sacrifices rather than capitulate (again) to the British. Boris doesn't know what he is stirring up if this turns bad. The nationalists won't surrender.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 08:13:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the car parts thing : given that the petroleum car industry is in profound crisis with prospects of a decade of terminal decline... how crucial is the UK in an electric/hydrogen context, I wonder?

Instinctively I see the UK as having  historical and manufacturing expertise concentrated around the internal combustion engine, rather than the wider car-manufacturing industry, am I wrong?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 10:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It used to have it all, but is now relying largely on the exclusive/luxury sports car industry and foreign owned manufacturing plants like Honda, Nissan (Renault), Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover (Tata), Mini and Rolls-Royce (BMW), Bentley (VW) and Vauxhall Motors (PSA). Guess which plants Tata, BMW, Renault or PSA close first if they have over-capacity issues. AFAIK very little major electric/hydrogen car manufacturing or development takes place in the UK. In 2019, Honda announced that its Swindon plant will close by 2021

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 11:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Bloody hell. It seems that Boris regards me a an official EU spokesperson ( I didn't even get elected to Parliament, ffs)
PM claims internal market bill is needed to counter EU `threats' to put a blockade in Irish Sea

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Sep 12th, 2020 at 12:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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