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Is regulatory non-alignment compatible with a soft border at all?

(25 Posts)
AtmosClock Fri 23-Aug-19 11:57:07

Apologies if this has been done, but I want to ask a single question, spurred on by a Stephen Bush article.

inews.co.uk/opinion/boris-johnson-is-asking-for-the-impossible-over-the-backstop/

In it, he writes ”If you have different rules and regulations, you have checks on whether those rules are being followed at your border. It is a global truth.”

I agree. But do you? Is leaving the SM and CU completely incompatible with an open border in Ireland? If so, is it the Achille’s heel of Brexit?

RuggerHug Fri 23-Aug-19 12:06:55

It's been said but the simplest way to describe it is, ROI have EU standards, we don't want chlorinated chicken sneaking in through NI. That's why the border in the sea option is the only one that works.

AtmosClock Fri 23-Aug-19 12:54:55

So is the whole thing trying to find a solution a charade? There are three options then: border in the Irish Sea, stay in the CU (which is pointless as we don’t have a say) or revoke?

Mistigri Fri 23-Aug-19 13:06:11

If two trading partners are not in a customs union and their regulatory environment is not aligned then there must be a border for trade purposes.

Essentially a border has three functions:

1. to check individuals entering the country
2. to facilitate the collection of any applicable taxes and duties (ie a customs border)
2. to ensure that the goods can be legally imported (ie that they meet local regulations)

You can't do (1) without a physical border.

You can do some of (2) and (3) remotely, but you still need physical infrastructure to ensure that traffic passing the border has complied with remote checks.

There is a reason that there is no comparable border without physical infrastructure!

RuggerHug Fri 23-Aug-19 13:08:20

Essentially, yes.

AtmosClock Fri 23-Aug-19 13:42:53

And so Brexit (as it’s commonly seen) is incompatible with the Irish Border

ListeningQuietly Fri 23-Aug-19 13:56:18

Any situation where there are different rules on either side of a border will either result in smuggling / tax evasion.

At the simplest level,
New Hampshire in the USA does not have sales tax on alcohol.
Massachusetts does.
So all along the border between the states are HUGE state run liquor stores where people drive across to get cheap booze.
MA loses out. NH wins.

RuggerHug Fri 23-Aug-19 14:00:21

Again, essentially yes. But no one on the leave side mentioned this during the campaign. We knew over here but it seems if it's not affecting people who want brexit we should just 'do something' to screw ourselves to help them.

LauraKsWhiteCoat Fri 23-Aug-19 14:13:46

And so Brexit (as it’s commonly seen) is incompatible with the Irish Border

In a nutshell yes. I remember saying this during the referendum campaign. Theresa May herself said as much when she was campaigning for remain.

I think BJs 'solution' will be to have a border in the Irish sea. The DUP don't want this of course, as they don't want Northern Ireland treated any differently to the rest of the UK. But I predict BJ will throw the DUP under a bus very soon.

MysteryTripAgain Fri 23-Aug-19 14:17:49

But no one on the leave side mentioned this during the campaign

Leave was based around; freedom from unelected Brussels, freedom to make deals with other non eu countries, reduced immigration and a deal with EU would be easy.

As deal with EU was assumed to be easy then no need to consider border between NI and ROI. I can’t remember much, if anything, being said about border.

FinallyHere Fri 23-Aug-19 14:18:47

* There are three options then:*

yes

But then the moment I heard about the result of the referendum, my first thought was 'but what about Ireland'.

The current open border is the subject of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement (GFA) between Ireland and the UK, and internationally ratified, with the USA heavily involved in negotiations.

It is predicated on both countries being part of the EU and thus SM and CU.

A referendum was held on each side of the border once it was clear what the agreement would cover. Ireland changed their constitution in order to give up their claim to the six counties which were formed into Northern Ireland.

All this is incompatible with Brexit.

The UK Congress (which would have to ratify any free trade agreement has been at pains to remind parties to the agreement that they would not pass any free trade agreement which would break the terms of the GFA

So.... politicians, soon as you like, tell us yours plans to get round this conflict.

MysteryTripAgain Fri 23-Aug-19 14:21:07

But I predict BJ will throw the DUP under a bus very soon

Could that not lead to return to troubles as feared if a border goes up between NI and ROI?

MysteryTripAgain Fri 23-Aug-19 14:30:26

politicians, soon as you like, tell us yours plans to get round this conflict

Johnson has 29 days left to advise the plan. Not convinced anything will come of it. Sounds like France and Germany want an advance notice before 31 Oct whether or not deal or no deal is going to happen.

If what Johnson says about leave with no deal if necessary is correct then he must have a plan for the effects of no deal. As for border in Ireland I guess it could be a case of wait and see who does what first?

LauraKsWhiteCoat Fri 23-Aug-19 14:41:46

Theresa May in June 2016....

[https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-36587809 Theresa May predicts border controls]]

She knew. But then she had to capitulate to the DUP to get her parliamentary majority, so she drew her bloody red lines.

LauraKsWhiteCoat Fri 23-Aug-19 14:42:28

Oh boo why didn't my link work? Try again

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-36587809

LauraKsWhiteCoat Fri 23-Aug-19 15:03:11

Could that not lead to return to troubles as feared if a border goes up between NI and ROI?

Yes, I think it will. Sinn Fein have been warning of this. May Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Fein called Johnson's recent threat of a no-deal 'dangerous'.

"“In the longer term, we have advised him that constitutional change is in the air. He can’t say that he hasn’t been told,” Mary Lou McDonald said after meeting Johnson at Stormont on Wednesday morning."

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/31/sinn-fein-border-poll-ireland-unity-must-follow-no-deal-brexit

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 23-Aug-19 15:13:24

And what do Leavers think will happen with immigration? I mean it's a land route to the UK, with a soft border. All those 'news'paper stories about hordes of damn foreigners queuing up at the tunnel in France. Can't they just stroll across whistling if there's a soft border and the rest of Europe just waves them through because everyone knows GB is where they all want to be. Then just hop on a ferry and Bob's your uncle.

Disclaimer: some of the above is sarcastic.

whyamidoingthis Fri 23-Aug-19 15:35:14

@MysteryTripAgain - Could that not lead to return to troubles as feared if a border goes up between NI and ROI?

Throwing the DUP under the bus will not lead to a border as the border will be in the Irish Sea.

However, it could lead to a return to the troubles as the loyalist paramilitaries may start a new campaign due to NI being treated differently. British people tend to think the only terrorists were IRA as they were the only ones to take the campaign to Britain. However, the loyalists were every bit as bad.

whyamidoingthis Fri 23-Aug-19 15:38:51

@MysteryTripAgain - Johnson has 29 days left to advise the plan

Merkel didn't give Johnson 30 days to come up with a plan. Have a look at what she actually said. www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-germany-merkel-idUSKCN1VC1IB

MysteryTripAgain Fri 23-Aug-19 15:52:49

So even the NI only backstop has risk of return to troubles too

In that case I don't know what else to suggest

whyamidoingthis Fri 23-Aug-19 15:59:43

@MysteryTripAgain - In that case I don't know what else to suggest

Remaining in the CU and SM. Basically, Norway Plus.

ListeningQuietly Fri 23-Aug-19 16:44:31

Just to remind people how fragile the peace really is ...
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49222263

whyamidoingthis Fri 23-Aug-19 16:49:21

@ListeningQuietly - In fairness, I would say they are more than likely for the use of "ordinary, decent criminals".

ListeningQuietly Fri 23-Aug-19 16:58:24

Possibly, but the gentleman doing the smuggling was on his way back to Ireland ....

Smuggling is rife even with the single market ....

Belgians do not smoke rollies - the tonnes and tonnes of rolling baccy sold there is all to Brits who bring it back to the UK having 'played' the differing duty rates.
Ditto alcohol - small cafes and restaurants doing the wine run to France every week to avoid the £2.49 UK duty on a bottle.

FinallyHere Fri 23-Aug-19 17:02:22

*MysteryTripAgain - In that case I don't know what else to suggest

Remaining in the CU and SM. Basically, Norway Plus.*

We still could, you know, remain

Keep our seat at the table , get a chance to influence future decisions rather than just being a rule taker

Oh, wait, those pesky anti-tax avoidance measures. And the whole H&M's gone mad, can't even send children up chimneys regulations.

Sigh.

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