What a state we’re in

I see Fintan O’Toole is, again, pointing out the inconsistencies and logical failures of the two remaining prospective Conservative Party leaders.

Indeed, as he implies, if there were actually a technological solution to the ‘Irish backstop’ then they do not need to bother their not so pretty little heads about it. Because a border without infrastructure, required by the Good Friday Agreement, must be available and sorted already – the backstop would be an irrelevance and available simply off the shelf – no fuss.

The fact that they are making a fuss just means that they are either illogical or lying – probably both.

Further, that Peter Foster, Europe Editor of the Daily Telegraph no less, feels compelled to tweet, probably means his conclusions have not appeared in the Telegraph. He describes the Dover – Calais crossing as the British wind pipe, which I doubt pleases Brexiters much.

He continues, that in the event of a No Deal:

whatever happens the EU is going to HAVE to levy tariffs – even if it potentially has some discretion on the level of phytosanitary… and other regulatory checks…

The Dutch ports have built the software and truck handling system. It has hired 600+ staff. They are ready to rumble.

The fact that the Dutch have recruited 600 extra customs staff in case of a no deal Brexit. The Port of Calais has got ANPR systems to siphon off UK trucks, and 40 hectare lorry parks…. the EU side is ready for seamless trade, with UK trucks facing delays/checks but siphoned safely off into lorry parks. ..

As Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) tells me, there won’t indeed be any delays at Calais, because British trucks/merchants who have not pre-registered all their consignments for customs/reg checks…WONT BE ALLOWED ON THE FERRY.

He goes on to point out that every non EU company engaged in import and export would need to be registered with customs. 40% of RHA members have done that but there is no current rush to register as of course Johnson has said ther is only one in a million chance of a no deal Brexit. So what honestly is the point? You could also use a Customs Agent but Customs Agents are anyway like’s hen’s teeth because who is going to expand into that area when there is only one in a million chance of making any return on that investment? Moreover, transport is a world of notoriously small margins and subcontracting – so with little certainty and even less speculative cash to spare.

He concludes that it is possible that Sir Ivan Rogers ‘jamageddon’ will not happen immediately on day one but after the first week of delays then the food chain is likely to begin to be running short of stock.

And all this national self-harming is for a problem that barely existed in British consciousness until the referendum was actually called:

Prospect Magazine is now pointing out that ‘Brexternalities’ are significant. Britain had a domestic referendum that severely affects our neighbours, who had no say in it – yet this is never mentioned, never mind acknowledged.

This isn’t the worldview in which the UK internalises its externalities but instead one in which it simply washes its hands and carries on, regardless of the effects on those who were not direct participants in the referendum. The same might also be said of Johnson’s threat not to meet the UK’s accumulated financial liabilities during its period of EU membership and the implications that has for the budgetary contributions of other EU states.

Both government and opposition spend all their time pledging to recognise the marginal result of an advisory referendum, whose result was obtained illegally.

Yet they spend no time at all considering how our neighbours are affected – the very neighbours who will be required to believe in our own honour and respect for the rule of law, even when, if our government has just pursued a no deal, it will have demonstrated a flagrant disregard of both.


  1. Sam Johnson -

    Well said. Position in Ireland is suspended disbelief, and hoping UK comes to its senses this side of riots and dissolution of the union. Either way, our membership of the EU and single market are not up for negotiation and will be defended.

    That means that, if push comes to shove, Ireland will, unavoidably and reluctantly, impose a “hard enough” border to have severely adverse economic effects on NI. This will have profound repercussions and costs for all concerned and could see a resumption of conflict in NI. It will also cost the UK any possibility of either EU or US trade deals. All in all, not a great idea.

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