back to article Brexit: Digital border possible for Irish backstop woes, UK MPs told

A digital or "smart" solution to the Irish border problem is possible in the next three years if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period, the "Alternative Arrangements Commission" Technical Panel has told MPs. Speaking to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Shanker Singham, chair of the Prosperity UK thinktank-backed …

  1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    This is the same 'think tank'

    That is funded by a prominent brexiter, and is unable to give any costs for their proposals...

    As reported elsewhere, their proposals also require Ireland to give up EU standards on various things an adopt UK standards instead, and for the EU to open up access to VAT reporting within the EU to the UK (after we've left it) to prevent fraud. Both are things with obvious problems, and are about as likely as Boris Johnson lasting as PM until 2025...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: This is the same 'think tank'

      Naturally Ireland will leave the Eu.

      Boris will explain it to them and they will see the sense in rejoining the empire.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: This is the same 'think tank'

        After all, it's not Bozza who's racist against the Irish. It's his dad that called them 'bog trotters' on HIGNFY isn't it?

      2. Peter X

        Re: This is the same 'think tank'

        Or NI along with Scotland join the republic and all of them remain (or rejoin depending) in the EU.

        And for bonus comedy points - and largely because I know it would annoy people like Rees-mogg - they should call it "Greater Ireland". Because, quite frankly, it would be!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: This is the same 'think tank'

          Joining with Gaul and forming a greater Celtic empire ?

          1. Muscleguy Silver badge

            Re: This is the same 'think tank'

            Well the French still remember the Auld Alliance, the world's longest running international friendship agreement.

            If you English are up for a return to the days when we Scots connived with the French in helping each other militarily against you we might be up for that.

            The Gendarmerie originated in the King of France's Scottish Gentlemen. So impressed was he by Scottish soldiery he recruited a bodyguard. The French remember that as well.

            After a Yes vote I reckon it will be a close race between Eire, Norway and France in welcoming us back to the family of nations first. We have strong historical and modern links with all three.

            I recall walking around the Rodin sculpture garden just over the road from Les Invallides one cold Autumn Sunday with Amazing Grace on the Pipes wafting over the garden wall from there.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: This is the same 'think tank'

              After a Yes vote I reckon it will be a close race between Eire, Norway and France in welcoming us back to the family of nations first.

              None of them could afford you.

            2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              "So impressed was he by Scottish soldiery he recruited a bodyguard."

              True.

              Before the Musketeers...

              For 200 years the "Garde Écossaise" helped watch the backs of successive generations of French royalty, They stayed as part of the Royal body guard (although virtually all French) until 1830 and the final disbandment of the French royal family itself.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "So impressed was he by Scottish soldiery he recruited a bodyguard."

                the final disbandment of the French royal family itself.

                Well, that's one way to describe a guillotine, I suppose! Great job by their guards, there.

            3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: This is the same 'think tank'

              Eire, Norway and France in welcoming us back to the family of nations first. We have strong historical and modern links

              Hmm.. if you include "invading each other" in the list.. (there's a reason why Gaidhlig contains quite a lot of Norse loan words.).

              And the Scots friendship with France was based more on having a mutual enemy (Saesneg) than actual friendship.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: This is the same 'think tank'

            Joining with Gaul and forming a greater Celtic empire

            Well - I'm sure that large sections of Brittany and Cornwall would be up for it.. And the Isle of Man could join as well.

            And Galicia.

        2. Snorlax Silver badge

          Re: This is the same 'think tank'

          People like that Babadook impersonator Rees-Mogg don’t give a crap about stuff like that. He migrated his money to Ireland already:

          https://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/rees-mogg-declares-himself-fan-of-irish-investment-regime-1.3822113

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Boris will explain it to them and they will see the sense in rejoining the empire.

        Yeah, Bu***hit Boris (TM) to the rescue

        Not.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: This is the same 'think tank'

      If it were so easy then we'd probably already see them at comparable borders, such as between Norway and Sweden. Well, there are some automated borders there but then again, Norway is in both the EEA and Schengen, so customs union and no passport control. However, as even Mr Trump is finding out: hard borders with efficient customs control are difficult to do if you want to avoid a smugglers' paradise. Though it's probably just such a paradise that this lobby is advocating.

      The real problem, of course, isn't necessarily the technology (most transport companies already have digital manifests), but the various rules that we come up with to decide what (and who) can and cannot enter the country and under what conditions (tariff and non-tariff barriers). Cue posters of Turks sneaking into Britain via Ireland from the next populist party.

      Of course, the Tories in the shires only think about the Irish-Irish border in abstract terms: the border is an aberration caused by excessive catholicism. And, anyway, Northern Ireland exists mainly as a training ground for urban warfare.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: This is the same 'think tank'

        >the border is an aberration caused by excessive catholicism

        Like Gaza is caused by excessive Islam ?

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: This is the same 'think tank'

          Always a good trick to blame sectarianism and racism on the other side. If only the Palestinians would see reason and that their problems are caused by their religion and not grinding poverty! Or, to give it a proper exceptionalist slant: if they chose the right religion they wouldn't be poor!

        2. Irongut

          Re: This is the same 'think tank'

          I read that as: Gazza is caused by excessive Islam

          And wondered why Islam had caused a Geordie footballer to cry. lol

          1. James 139

            Re: This is the same 'think tank'

            They told him he had to give up the booze and bacon.

    3. MonkeyBob
      Devil

      Re: This is the same 'think tank'

      about as likely as Boris Johnson lasting as PM until 20:25

      FTFY

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      FAIL

      funded by a prominent brexiter, and is unable to give any costs for their proposals...

      Ahhhhhh.

      The light dawns...

      Like much of Brexit it is a fundamental paradox.

      1) The Good Friday Agreement does not permit border infrastructure

      2) The EU will not permit an open border between itself and another country with (potentially) completely different rules about pretty much everything.

      It's bu***hit. It's known to be bu***hit virtually from day one and still this bo***cks continues.

  2. fandom

    "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

    Hasn't the UK parliament already voted down the proposal that would create such a transition period?

    Actually, haven't they repeatedly shot it down?

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

      My understanding is that Tess went cap-in-hand to the EU to beg for a transition period (to kick the can down the road on the Irish border, because nobody can find a magical unicorn), to which the EU were quite accommodating and agreed, despite it not really being in the best interests of the other 27 EU member states, because it creates uncertainty about where, and how porous, the external borders are.

      Tess then took this to parliament (who she hadn't bothered to even consult beforehand) and got kicked in the teeth because it feature enough unicorns. Cue the gutter press vilifying the EU for idea that was not theirs in the first place...

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

        ...I need to proofread my posts better, or come back and re-read them within that magical 10 minute time slot...

        Insert the following words in the appropriate places to make sense of the above:

        didn't
        an

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

        It wasn't the transition so much as the fact that she needed to get the WA agreement passed first. There can be no transition without the WA you see.

        The WA is not going away. When after the hard Brexit it dawns on Boris that we need access to the EU standards agencies to sell anything or move anything the EU will say 'come talk' and when he goes they will say 'First there's the WA to agree'.

        If we want a trade agreement with the EU (and we will most certainly will) the first item on the agenda will be, you guessed it, the WA. It is not going away and a Hard Brexit will not avoid it unless we want to become a hermit kingdom trading with Man and the Channel Islands and begging the Irish for some smuggling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

          WA - Withdrawal agreement.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

        who she hadn't bothered to even consult beforehand

        And this was after the Supreme Court ruled that parliament had to be consulted. Still, this hasn't stopped the fantasists from dreaming of suspending parliament in order to bypass it. All in the name of democracy of course.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

          @Charlie Clark

          "All in the name of democracy of course."

          Isnt democracy the 3-0 to leave the EU. And the lack of democracy the continued bondage to a political union beyond the leave date?

          1. Just Enough

            Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

            Democracy is asking the voters to vote on something real that is actually defined, planned and understood, rather than a vague notion supported by unicorns and lies.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

              @Just Enough

              "Democracy is asking the voters to vote on something real that is actually defined, planned and understood, rather than a vague notion supported by unicorns and lies."

              Is that why we wernt asked to join the EU? Makes sense.

            2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

              Democracy is asking the voters to vote on something real that is actually defined, planned and understood,

              ROTFLMAO. Have you ever read an election manifesto? And believed it?

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                That's a good point but not strictly relevant. In the UK democracy resides in parliament. MPs represent their constitutencies but are not their delegates. Yes, it's a very fine distinction in a messy system but Hansard is replete with examples. At the end of the day MPs are responsible only to their consciences.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

            Isnt democracy the 3-0 to leave the EU

            Not in the slightest, 1:1 at best. First, there was there vaguely termed referendum. Since then parliament has agreed to leave the EU contingent upon a final vote on the negotiated deal. It has also voted not to leave the EU without a deal.

            This is because Cameron and May in his wake usurped the sovereignty of parliament through a consultative referendum and subsequent actions. This is the direct cause of the current mess. Parliament has since then attempted to reassert its sovereignty, accompanied by predicable howls of "betrayal" by the wolves in sheep's clothing who are the actual ones attacking democracy.

            Of course, should he win the leadership election, BoJo will quite happily go along with anything that keeps him in power.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

              @Charlie Clark

              "Not in the slightest, 1:1 at best"

              Time for a lesson in counting

              "First, there was there vaguely termed referendum"

              Aka leave win 1

              "Since then parliament has agreed to leave the EU contingent upon a final vote on the negotiated deal. It has also voted not to leave the EU without a deal."

              So the plebs can be held hostage although their vote is irrelevant since the legal default is brexit.

              You also forget the general election following the referendum where the only remain (main)party was practically wiped out. So leave win another 1.

              And then the MEP elections where people voted for the brexit party (clue in the name) because we should be out by now. Leave wins another 1.

              Thats 3-0 leave. That doesnt include a GE for a referendum. A popular policy for many elections but voters betrayed each time.

              1. Champ

                Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                Where "Leave win #1" was a pretty finely balanced 52:48

                Where "Leave win #2" was the UK electorate gaming the UKs FPTP electoral system to deny May the very mandate she went to the country to seek.

                Where "Leave win #3" resulted in Remain advocating parties getting a bigger share of the popular vote than Farage the Fascist.

                How's those lessons in counting coming along?

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                  @Champ

                  "Where "Leave win #1" was a pretty finely balanced 52:48"

                  Aka by the rules it is an undisputed win

                  "Where "Leave win #2" was the UK electorate gaming the UKs FPTP electoral system to deny May the very mandate she went to the country to seek."

                  Aka by the rules it is an undisputed win

                  "Where "Leave win #3" resulted in Remain advocating parties getting a bigger share of the popular vote than Farage the Fascist."

                  And yet the party which by far won the popular vote was for brexit. In fact the new party for brexit won by an easy margin, the new party for remain got practically nothing. The libs who put themselves up as the remain party lost. Aka by the rules it is an undisputed win

                  "How's those lessons in counting coming along?"

                  I dunno. If you and Charlie get 3 then its going well. Otherwise keep trying.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                    If you believed the crap you were saying, you wouldn't be so shit scared of a second referendum.

                    But no, you don't actuallly believe in democracy, do you Mr/Ms Junky?

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                      @AC

                      "If you believed the crap you were saying, you wouldn't be so shit scared of a second referendum."

                      3-0 to leave so far. How many different votes do we need? Best of 5? 7? Until we get the 'right' answer then stop?

                      How many times do you need the democratic answer before you accept democracy?

              2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                You're ignoring the sovereignty of parliament. FWIW the Liberal Democrats increased their MPs in 2017 after a near wipeout in 2015. The Labour Party's position has, of course, been "constructively ambiguous" but a majority of its MPs and members have said they wish to remain. This ties in with results in parliamentary votes.

                The European elections had a turnout of around 38%. Is this suddenly sufficient for a democratic mandate? Hang on, what the fuck does a manifesto about wanting to leaving the EU have to do with the jobs of MEPs? Oh, of course, more easy money for Farage's slush fund for not attending committees he gets himself elected to.

                The plebs aren't being held hostage, nor are they being betrayed, parliament is simply doing its court-appoved job in taking back control, ironically one of the campaign slogans. But populists never worry about changing their tune when it suits. And for whatever reason, in this case legal, they can't get what they want, these self-appointed representatives of the people will start chanting "betrayal" to deflect from their own failures.

                In summary, we're still waiting for those MPs who wish to leave to present a coherent and funded vision on how. Ideally, this should have been put forward before parliament decided to invoke Article 50, but both the UK and European courts have asserted parliament's right to rescind that decision.

                Cue further wailing, gnashing of teeth and cries of "betrayal". But what else can you do when the law is against you?

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                  @Charlie Clark

                  "FWIW the Liberal Democrats increased their MPs in 2017 after a near wipeout in 2015"

                  So they got more than barely a small bus load? Oh wow!

                  "The Labour Party's position has, of course, been "constructively ambiguous" but a majority of its MPs and members have said they wish to remain"

                  Corbyn has always been for leave. mcdonnell needs us to leave to enact his policies. Labour heartlands are for leave. Erm...

                  "The European elections had a turnout of around 38%. Is this suddenly sufficient for a democratic mandate?"

                  No. 3-0 to leave remember. We win by referendum (very high turnout remember), general election and european election. Remain cant even get a majority never mind a high threshold remainers cry for, regardless of turnout.

                  "In summary, we're still waiting for those MPs who wish to leave to present a coherent and funded vision on how"

                  Been and done. So lets get on with it.

                  "but both the UK and European courts have asserted parliament's right to rescind that decision."

                  So screw the electorate? And you wonder why we dont want to be in the EU.

                  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                    Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                    In the general election it was the party that was determined to leave that lost its majority. Remember? It has since then failed to convince a majority of its own MPs to vote to leave on the terms negotiated. That it two votes against if you wish to persist with your absurd logic.

                    This is not about screwing the electorate but acting within the democratic procedures of the country. This position has been upheld by the Supreme Court. Fortunately, you don't get to choose only the laws that suit you, however good the headlines are.

                    EOM

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                      @Charlie Clark

                      "In the general election it was the party that was determined to leave that lost its majority. Remember?"

                      The one failing to live up to their commitment to leave, yeah.

                      "It has since then failed to convince a majority of its own MPs to vote to leave on the terms negotiated"

                      And continued to lose public support, yes. While brexit parties gained.

                      "That it two votes against if you wish to persist with your absurd logic."

                      Your still struggling with counting? 3-0 leave.

                      "This is not about screwing the electorate but acting within the democratic procedures of the country."

                      So screw the electorate who voted 3-0 to leave?

        2. phuzz Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

          "Still, this hasn't stopped the fantasists from dreaming of suspending parliament in order to bypass it."

          I think you'll find that's called "taking back control".

          And just to be clear, did you mean to write 'fantasists' or 'fascists'?

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Go

            Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

            Good call! Short of libel, and the fact that fascist does have a rather strict definition, I'll stick with "populists" who happily declare themselves as "the voice of the people" whenever it suits them. Of course, this also includes unfunded tax cuts and spending promises for their friends, usually financed by magic money trees or other wheezes like "reducing government waste".

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

              Just wanted to make sure. After all, wanting to bypass parliament is the sort of thing that fascists like to get up to...

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: "if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period"

                You're right but, however despicable this lot are, I think we still have to stop short of calling them all fascists. In many countries that has connotations of even greater calumnies.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    An alternative border is obvious

    Back when there was a physical border, with checkpoints and army patrols in the countryside there was a massive amount of smuggling of everything from pigs and petrol to plastic explosive and machine guns.

    Since we don't want pigs and petrol (or explosives and machine guns) to be smuggled we simply need the opposite to a guarded physical border.

    Blockchain is the exact opposite of an army road block and so will have exactly the opposite result.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: An alternative border is obvious

      the most obvious technology is blockchain, just throw your blockchain across the road and it senses what you've eaten when you drive over it.

      If the Republic want their own blockchain that's their business.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: An alternative border is obvious

        No, no, no. You misunderstood him. It is big blocks of concrete chained together.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An alternative border is obvious

      "Blockchain is the exact opposite of an army road block and so will have exactly the opposite result."

      Most MPs probably think a block chain is large blocks of concrete joined by metal chains.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: An alternative border is obvious

        Most (all?) politicians do not get called out on his shit. Hammond 'but the most obvious technology is blockchain.' - and we allow them to stay alive rather than doing the decent this and putting them out of their misery (and ours) and the first chance?

        1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

          Re: An alternative border is obvious

          Surely the most obvious technology is a trade compliance e-form and an HMRC spreadsheet stamped with virtual rubber stamp?

          Not sure how blockchain would improve on that ...

        2. Peter X

          Re: An alternative border is obvious

          "Most (all?) politicians do not get called out on his shit. Hammond 'but the most obvious technology is blockchain.'"

          It's insane no one seems to do that... they just seem to accept it because it "sounds" like he knows what he's talking about.

          Presumably one of the suppliers has already been throwing around all the buzz-words. I note the article says Fujitsu has "already pitched an artificial intelligence-driven process", which precisely f*ck all, but for some reason, all the main media outlets are happy to say something uses "AI" and leave it at that.

          AI isn't an implementation!!! And typically it's kind of fuzzy and imperfect. And thus, probably not good for this purpose at all.

          But clearly, someone has already sold the idea of blockchain to Hammond... so... it's going to be crazy expensive, massively late, and then it won't work anyway.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: An alternative border is obvious

            But magic pixie dust works fine for other self-created problems, like IR35. Why shouldn't it work on borders, too ?

            All you need to be sure is not test it very well.

          2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: An alternative border is obvious

            Regrettably there are already a lot of abject shite pushers going on about "the blockchain" and how will solve everything, from storage, to trust, to distributed computing. Bullshit mongers, the lot of them. It's not even really a "solution looking for a problem", it's nothing more than an algorithmic technique with a load of bullshit about distributed transactions, trust and accountability added for good measure. Just add AI, IoT and for humour reasons No-SQL and Big Data into the mix and you'll win any round of Bullshit Bingo.

            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: An alternative border is obvious

              Just add AI, IoT and for humour reasons No-SQL and Big Data into the mix and you'll win any round of Bullshit Bingo.

              You forgot Cloud and Distributed ;)

              1. Laura Kerr

                Re: An alternative border is obvious

                And an Agile DevOps incremental delivery model :-)

      2. Ochib

        Re: An alternative border is obvious

        "Most MPs probably think a block chain is large blocks of concrete joined by metal chains"

        Most MPs (Military police) think a block chain is large blocks of concrete joined by metal chains

    3. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: An alternative border is obvious

      Well, sir, there's nothing on earth

      Like a genuine, bona fide

      Digified, certified blockchain

      What'd I say?

      blockchain

      What's it called?

      blockchain

      That's right!

      blockchain

      blockchain

      blockchain

      blockchain

      I hear that thing has a high processing load?

      You can always do it on the cloud

      Is there a chance the processing could end?

      Not on your life, my Hindu friend

      What about us brain-dead slobs?

      You'll be given cushy jobs

      Were you sent here by the Devil?

      No, good sir, I'm on the level

      The ring came off my pudding can

      Take my pen knife, my good man

      I swear it's UK's only choice

      Throw up your hands and raise your voice

      blockchain

      What's it called?

      blockchain

      Once again

      blockchain

      But Main Street's still all cracked and broken

      Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken

      blockchain!

      blockchain!

      blockchain!

      blockchain!

      Block, d'oh!

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: An alternative border is obvious

        +1 for the Lyle Lanley reference.

        He sold the locals a crock of shit too :D

      2. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: An alternative border is obvious

        Sounds like more of a Shelbyville thing.

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

    Ie what the relationship will be in a few years time. They have spent the time talking about how to leave, not the long term arrangements.

    It is like deciding to cross the channel by Eurostar or ship before deciding where to go on holiday; neither are any good if you then chose to holiday in Jamaica.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

      It is like deciding to cross the channel by Eurostar or ship - then turning up without a booking, demanding to be allowed on board, insisting that you don't have to pay, and then trying to get your 3 toddlers to agree on the destination.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

        Isn't it funny how, when @CodeJunky turns up, all the posts criticising brexit suddently get exactly three down-votes?

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

          Three different browsers & user accounts, you mean?

          Others are in favour of leaving but few come up with quite as much shit.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

          @Loyal Commenter

          "Isn't it funny how, when @CodeJunky turns up, all the posts criticising brexit suddently get exactly three down-votes?"

          Probably because they would have had 2 down-votes before I arrived. I feel like I am teaching kindergarten with all these counting lessons. And its always to get to 3.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

            Probably because they would have had 2 down-votes before I arrived.

            Well, lets take my first post at the top of this article as an example; when posted yesterday, it quickly got most of the up-votes, however, no down-votes until this morning, and then exactly three of them (and still three now at the time of writing). There's a definite pattern here, with similar voiting patterns over a fair period of time (and I'm thinking it's probably been going on for a couple of years now). Of course I'm not going to suggest it's the same person with alt accounts. It's entirely possible that brexiters all move around together in their own little reality-distortion field, and there are exactly three of them, with exactly the same opinions on my posts. Statistically though, one might suggest that the culprit 'fess up. Obvious patterns being obvious, and all that.

            Now of course, since I've made the observation, has that collapsed the quantum unreality field in the way that observations are wont to do? Will those triple-downvotes stop happening, and (assuming it's one person), whoever is making them will randomise the timing and number a little, to be less obvious? However, having pointed that out, will they not change their pattern, to avoid making an indication that they know they've been caught out? Wheels within wheels, eh? What a quandary to be in, it could fair turn a fellow mad.

            TBH, though, I don't really care about up/down votes. Opinion polls can be easily gamed, can't they, as we found out in 2016?

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

              @Loyal Commenter

              I downvoted you. See how you get on

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

                Thank you sir, may I have another? How about two?

                1. codejunky Silver badge
                  Alien

                  Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

                  @Loyal Commenter

                  not in my power to give. But keep the foil on your head otherwise I might read your mind!

                2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

                  Your wish is my command.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

      But 17 meeeelion people voted to go on a dream holiday of a lifetime. How dare you suggest that they might not all want to go to Bognor.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

        Bugger Bognor.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

          "Bollocks to Bognor"!

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

          YKINOK

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

      We once sort of did that, took Ferry from Portsmouth to Caen with nothing booked. We had a card thingy via the Ferry booking usable at some of the hotels. We did Normandy and Brittany by seeing where we were going to end up at the end of the day and pitching up somewhere and asking if they had room, in French once my wife trusted me to do so (her accent is terrible). We did very well in fact.

      But it was October, not exactly high season and things might have changed from the '90s.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

        things might have changed from the '90s.

        My dad and a mate did it in the 50s. Worked then too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

          >My dad and a mate did it in the 50s

          One of my uncles did it in 1943. Of course, he had a few of his mates with him..

          1. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

            '44 surely? Unless your unlce was from Germany...

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

      To be fair, the EU did refuse to talk about everything at once. However, knowing this should have focussed minds on deciding this before officially asking to leave, which was done solely with the 2019 EU parliamentary elections in mind.

      The withdrawal agreement itself should never have been this controversial. It was trying to make it be all things to all people that caused the problems.

      Withdrawal agreement to establish assets and liabilities. Open-ended transitional arrangement until a new agreement (EEA, customs union, WTO, whatever, …) can be agreed and ratified. Should have been at least straightforward, though never easy or quick.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

        >To be fair, the EU did refuse to talk about everything at once. However, knowing this should have focussed minds on deciding this before officially asking to leave, which was done solely with the 2019 EU parliamentary elections in mind.

        The small matter of the EU law against tax avoidance that was due in March 2019 also sharpened some minds towards the original leave date - particularly those with offshore accounts that might be hit by extra tax, or those that are funded by interests that would face larger tax bills.

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: This is the sort of thing that we should have been talking about

      Jamaica?

      No - she was happy to do it!

      (The old jokes are the oldest..)

  5. Snorlax Silver badge
    FAIL

    Passing the buck back to Europe...

    "A digital or "smart" solution to the Irish border problem is possible in the next three years if Europe agrees to a Brexit transition period, the "Alternative Arrangements Commission" Technical Panel has told MPs."

    "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

    Somebody's in la-la land if they think Europe's going to give a three-year transition period.

    Anyway, this is Fujitsu we're talking about - the project would take 9 years and be 10 times over budget.

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

      "Anyway, this is Fujitsu we're talking about ..."

      Indeed, the same company that's in charge of the Post Office's Horizon system and look where that has got to. Imprisonment, suicides and a lot of mental health problems, not to mention the series of trials currently going through the courts and running up legal bills in the millions of pounds. And yet they say that Horizon is "robust" and does not make errors.

      As the old saying goes "I wouldn't trust them to run a whelk stall".

      P.S. Are whelk stalls difficult to manage?

      1. Snorlax Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

        Indeed. See also:

        Libra case management system for Magistrates Courts

        NHS National Programme for IT

        In the interests of transparency, I did work for EDS in the early-mid ‘00s on some projects which shall remain nameless. None of us have clean hands here. :D

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

        P.S. Are whelk stalls difficult to manage?

        Just as long as the whelks form a tidy queue between the sea and your stall, it's not too difficult.

        1. Spiracle

          Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

          It would also be sensible to impose some sort of Australian-style points system and interview each whelk individually to make sure that they're not a cockle.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

        Are whelk stalls difficult to manage?

        Not really - as long as you don't minding poisoning some of your customers.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

      @Snorlax

      "Somebody's in la-la land if they think Europe's going to give a three-year transition period."

      As a leave voter it is irritating to be relying on either Boris keeping to his statements or being thrown out of the EU by the EU. Hopefully the EU (its not Europe) wont give us the transition period but they are so desperate to keep us and May was so complicit in keeping us in I am not sure we can rely on that.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

        they are so desperate to keep us

        ROTFL.

        UK leaving the EU is the best thing happening in the history the EU for decades. UK has always been a burden, a dead weight, an american trojan and a brake regarding EU. EU will be way better off without UK.

        1. codejunky Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

          @Potemkine!

          "UK leaving the EU is the best thing happening in the history the EU for decades. UK has always been a burden, a dead weight, an american trojan and a brake regarding EU. EU will be way better off without UK."

          And yet they wont throw us out. Hell it sounds like we would both be happy for the UK to leave the EU. We might have different opinions about it but desire the same goal.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

          EU will be way better off without UK.

          Probably, but they'll really miss our £9bn!

      2. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Passing the buck back to Europe...

        ”Hopefully the EU (its not Europe) wont give us the transition period but they are so desperate to keep us...”

        Eh, no. They’re not that desperate at all.

  6. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    TL; DR

    We're fucked

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TL; DR

      We already are, we are in the EU

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: TL; DR

        Go on then, tell us exactly how we are fucked by being in the EU.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: TL; DR

          @Rich 11

          "Go on then, tell us exactly how we are fucked by being in the EU."

          Pick- economics, sovereignty, immigration, trade, democratically

          Trying to find good reasons to be in the EU is much harder.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: TL; DR

            Good reasons to be in the EU:

            economics, sovereignty, immigration, trade, democratically[sic]

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: TL; DR

              @Aladdin Sane

              "Good reasons to be in the EU:

              economics, sovereignty, immigration, trade, democratically[sic]"

              Ok lets go with economics. Make your case.

              1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: TL; DR

                  @Aladdin Sane

                  So being locked into a protectionist block makes us trade more with the protectionist block and if we remove that (without accounting for anything else) then it might maybe meet an estimate from the CBI. Thats it?

                  How about opening up globally, removing the protectionist policies (which would be a positive on the economy) and if we back away from EU regs and rejoin the world we would have a bigger market (world > EU).

                  My take on EU economics-

                  The EU proper is the Eurozone. It is so dire that the predictions of the Eurozone failing were true, just nobody expected the EU to sacrifice countries. The current status of the Eurozone is depressingly bad and their recovery so much slower than their peers. As the often comment from within the EU is it in crisis. It was late to try and recover from the recession, it sacrificed countries to save a currency and has actively done the opposite of what is known to be good in known economics. Its laws dictating government support and the central control of monetary policy means countries with opposite economies end up inflicting a lot of damage and cannot recover.

                2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: TL; DR

                  @Aladdin Sane

                  I wouldn't bother trying to engage him with facts and evidence. He'll just keep switching argument, or claim that you have proved him right, when the facts show the opposite. If you're lucky, you can goad him into letting his mask slip and he'll make a nasty sexist comment that gets deleted by the moderators again.

                  Certainly never try to change his mind on anything, that way madness lies. He's not here to hear facts, just to push some more propaganda...

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: TL; DR

          Go on then, tell us exactly how we are fucked by being in the EU.

          Have you seen the state of the Eurozone? Not to mention the growing extremism across the continent? The EU's a stagnant, mediocre polity, run by people who can't see past their own egos, and when it finally crashes and burns it will be advisable to be as far away as possible.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: TL; DR

            Not to mention the growing extremism across the continent?

            Whereas the Brexit campaign, the referendum and all the subsequent shenanigans have been absolutely brilliant in reducing bigotry and division across the UK, and nor is a single person in Ireland worried about a return to sectarian violence.

            a stagnant, mediocre polity

            And every country in the world looks upon the UK and admires us for our steadfast integrity and political pragmatism, something at which we have truly shone these last three years. Most weeks you can hear on the radio and television people from other democracies telling us exactly that.

            run by people who can't see past their own egos

            Hi, Boris.

          2. H in The Hague

            Re: TL; DR

            "run by people who can't see past their own egos"

            You mean like Boris Johnson and friends?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TL; DR

            >Have you seen the state of the Eurozone? Not to mention the growing extremism across the continent? The EU's a stagnant, mediocre polity, run by people who can't see past their own egos, and when it finally crashes and burns it will be advisable to be as far away as possible.

            "A stagnant, mediocre polity", that is being copied in South America (MERCOSUR), the Caribbean (CARICOM) and Africa (African Union), all of which are working towards closer political and economic union and the four pillars. Other similar blocs are also forming as countries band together as "There is power in a Union" (B Bragg 1986).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: TL; DR

              "There is power in a Union"

              Tell the Scots. Or the Catalans. Or the Basques.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: TL; DR

          Go on then, tell us exactly how we are fucked by being in the EU.

          German scheisse pron. Some things you can't unsee.

  7. Richard Scratcher
    Coat

    No problemo

    The tech for managing border crossings has been readily available for decades.

    The Quadro Tracker Positive Molecular Locator was produced way back in the 1990s, and its descendant - the British made ADE_651 - has been used in countries around the globe to detect explosives, drugs, ivory, cash, and a host of other substances.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: No problemo

      Looks fine to me...

      Say, any of you guys want to buy a bridge?

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: No problemo

        I was going to ask when the emperor's new clothes would be ready and how much they would cost.

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: No problemo

      Vey nice - and solves a very small part of the problem of how to scam more money out of forriners without having to do any work....

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: No problemo

        But when it all blew up they got imprisoned instead of rewarded with a few Trillion in handouts

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the most obvious technology is blockchain"

    The most obvious thing about that statement is that, indeed, you are no expert.

    Blockchain does not scale. Implementing a blockchain-based solution on something that has to deal with tens of thousands of "transactions" per day, well let's just say that I would love to see a border control app based on blockchain - well, I would love to see the interminable queues, the travelers bored to tears, the officials wringing their hands and repeatedly leaking to the press that the whole thing is a hopeless mess.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: "the most obvious technology is blockchain"

      I think you are jumping ahead of yourself there - what problem does he intend to solve with blockchain. Another idea waiting for a nice problem (when they can spec it) to come along. I am afraid in the context of the report it is a meaningless comment from the chancellor, but plays to the buzzword bingo crowd

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "the most obvious technology is blockchain"

      Blockchain is the problem, not the solution.

      Actually, the real problem is trying tie all transactions up in the same chain, which the crypto-currencies require. If you're just using it to sign the various steps in a finite chain, then I don't see much of a problem. But then it's just a particular implementation of a digital signature and not really worthy of a fancy new name.

  9. monty75

    "Former" chancellor

    Spreadsheet Phil might be "soon to be former Chancellor" but for moment he's still the current one.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: "Former" chancellor

      Maybe he is rehearsing on the loss of marbles? Seems like it from the report (perish the thought that it might not be a full and accurate - or even nice and accurate) version, but it is in keeping with this zombie government.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "Former" chancellor

      I think we're going to see several games of musical chairs over the next few months…

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: "Former" chancellor

        I think we're going to see several games of musical chairs over the next few months…

        With the only instrument the band will be using being the cacophone.

  10. ExampleOne

    While in theory moving the checks away from the border may be possible to do, it doesn't solve the fundamental problem the backstop is intended to address: A transparent EU border is still an EU border.

    According to the civil service of Northern Ireland the impact of a no deal Brexit on the economy of NI is somewhere between disastrous and catastrophic, and any deal that involves a border, however invisible, is not really going to be much better economically.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >According to the civil service of Northern Ireland the impact of a no deal Brexit on the economy of NI is somewhere between disastrous and catastrophic, and any deal that involves a border, however invisible, is not really going to be much better economically.

      And deeply unpopular with the 56% of the NI voters that didn't vote to leave the EU.

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Even with a digital border, you need physical infrastructure to deal with people who for whatever reason try to cross without doing the digital bits first. The physical stuff does not exist now and certainly wont be there by the 31st October if the deal is not accepted and we leave on WTO terms.

    Otherwise anyone can just drive through a border crossing with crates of bootleg goods or migrants in their boot with a strip of masking tape over their number plate and the system would not be able to do much about it.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Didn't you read the article?

      The plan is to deploy resources at locations away from the border. Witch smellers will roam the country, decide who is guilty and torture them until they admit their guilt and pay a fine. Clearly you are not considering the options available to the UK government once they are beyond they reach of ECHR.

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Didn't you read the article?

        “Nobody expects the British Inquisition!”

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Didn't you read the article?

          “Nobody expects the British Inquisition!”

          No one expects the British Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless inefficiency! Er, among our chief weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless inefficiency, and near fanatical devotion to the Pound! Um, I'll come in again...

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Didn't you read the article?

        >Witch smellers will roam the country, decide who is guilty and torture them until they admit their guilt and pay a fine

        You're from the liberal wing of the DUP ?

      3. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Didn't you read the article?

        @Flocke Kroes

        "Witch smellers will roam the country, decide who is guilty and torture them until they admit their guilt and pay a fine.."

        So the European arrest warrant on a smaller scale? Didnt Germany get told off for using those due to abuse (politics too close to the legal system). Dont a number of EU countries not even bother with juries too.

        And the Apple fine because Ireland offered the deal seemed a bit mis-allocated. According to both Apple and Ireland to start with.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Otherwise anyone can just drive through a border crossing with crates of bootleg goods or migrants in their boot with a strip of masking tape over their number plate and the system would not be able to do much about it.

      And if if there's no border, because the UK is still in the EU, what's different? Even within the EU, illegal migrants are still illegal migrants and need to be processed in their country of arrival, so crossing an internal border is a no-no. Contraband is still contraband (if you doubt me, try driving a vanload of ciggies from Spain to France). That's why there are spot checks even on internal EU borders today.

      The whole issue of immigration and smuggling is a red herring. The real issue is whether taxes/duties are seriously different on each side of the border since there is then an incentive for legitimate traders to cheat. A viable agreement, with low or zero duties, and technology to do the spot checks, is a very workable solution. It is, of course, what Toxic Theresa should have been working on, instead of wasting her time trying to repeatedly sell her leave-but-not-leave agreement to a parliament that had made it clear wasn't ever going to pass.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        And if if there's no border, because the UK is still in the EU, what's different?

        So long as we're in the EU, food in Northern Ireland meets EU food safety (and production) standards. So no great problem if some of it gets smuggled. What Ireland and the rest of the EU and friends don't want is a smuggling operation limited only by the capacity of transport links from Belfast to Dublin once Blighty has chained itself to US standards - as we must do if we're to get that fantastic trade deal (which is not a Trump-ism; it was The Big Red Line for Obama and Bush, too).

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @Nick Kew

          "So long as we're in the EU, food in Northern Ireland meets EU food safety"

          Hang on I thought the remainers argument was that the border is our problem, and the EU insisting we would need to make it. Yet if its the EU's problem of suddenly not liking what we have because of their tantrum then its them who need to make a border and suffer any costs and trouble.

          "What Ireland and the rest of the EU and friends don't want is a smuggling operation limited only by the capacity of transport links from Belfast to Dublin once Blighty has chained itself to US standards"

          God no we dont want to be involved in the developed world... oops. Yes the EU has problems with being a protectionist environment and fencing itself off from the world, so if they have a problem with the UK becoming global then the EU can wall themselves in. We could even move the border into the sea as the EU suggested previously, but not between the UK and the whole of Ireland but between the whole of Ireland and the EU. Amusingly almost nothing would change.

          1. Semtex451 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: @Nick Kew

            Well said Nick.

            It has not yet been uttered but the UK will not build a border. The Republic will be made to build one by the EU, and that makes the EU the problem for the people on both sides of that border.

            Whitehall knows this and is pleased.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        A viable agreement, with low or zero duties, and technology to do the spot checks, is a very workable solution.

        I believe that's called a "customs union" - something we are currently in and don't necessarily need to leave, but Tess decided that we should, along with the Common Market, because for some reason, she decided that the ability to "do our own trade deals" is more important. Of course, this completely ignores the fact that not only will we be able to make trade deals on our own, but that we will have to with any country we want to trade with, and won't get them on more favourable terms than we currently have with the bargaining power of the largest trading bloc on the planet. We might find that after the first couple of painful experiences, we don't want to be doing our own deals after all...

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @Loyal Commenter

          "Of course, this completely ignores the fact that not only will we be able to make trade deals on our own, but that we will have to with any country we want to trade with, and won't get them on more favourable terms than we currently have with the bargaining power of the largest trading bloc on the planet"

          This has already been proven wrong. Iceland trading with China while the EU cant. The EU taking so long to get a deal with Canada because the EU was incompetent and stalled by a tiny sub-government. The UK being at the back of the 'queue' (Obama's US deal) if we leave, except we were put at the front and the EU told to shove off.

          "We might find that after the first couple of painful experiences, we don't want to be doing our own deals after all..."

          Contrary to an entire history where we have always been known as a trading nation and punching well above our weight. The EU cant even carry its own weight. Look at the EU and Ukraine dealings, where the EU tail is between its legs as it wimpers to the US and stirred the latest stand-off.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: @Loyal Commenter

            Yes, of course, we can do deals quickly, if we want bad ones. Do you honestly think that the Orange One will allow a deal between the US (350M people) and the UK (75M) that isn't biased strongly in favour of the US, including lowering our food standards to meet those of the US, and allowing US health companies to carve up the NHS (at the moment, it's British companies being allowed to carve up provision of services in the NHS)?

            The EU hasn't yet done a deal with China, because trade negotiations are tricky things, and the EU is a complex collection of nations, all with differing needs. Iceland is a 'special case', due to their very small population, energy self-sufficiency from geothermal, and mineral riches. There were pretty obvious benefits for both Iceland and China in the deal that they made. What would the benefits of such a deal between the UK and China be? It's not like we've got oodles of mineral wealth to export, and I don't think you'd be able to sell immigration as a benefit.

            It's also worth pointing out the very obvious stumbling block that if we do a trade deal with the US, we are unlikley to be doing one with China because the US and China are currently engaged in a trade war. If we bend over for Trump, there are bound to be terms in any such agreement such that our deal won't allow circumventing of his tariffs on China, which in practice will mean adopting the same tariffs, meanwhile China isn't exactly going to deal with us unless we remove those tariffs. Fantasy, meet reality.

            One final point - that "always being known as a trading nation" thing went away at the same time as the empire we built on the back of it. Deluding ourselves into thinking it's still the mid 19th century isn't going to do us any favours (and to be fair, "entire history" covers a few centuries at best, when we weren't an outpost of Rome, at war with France, at war with Spain, etc. Not to mention the trade we weren't doing in the middle ages, whilst central Europe was flourishing.)

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @Loyal Commenter

              @Loyal Commenter

              "Yes, of course, we can do deals quickly, if we want bad ones"

              Bull but go on.

              "Do you honestly think that the Orange One will allow a deal between the US (350M people) and the UK (75M) that isn't biased strongly in favour of the US"

              And so the anti-foreigner zero sum argument. Trade deals are a reciprocity good. Crying there are more people on one side is stupid.

              "including lowering our food standards to meet those of the US"

              This is amusing. Such deals are based on what each side is willing to accept but lets look at the hysteria. Chlorinated chicken = bad but chlorinated salad = good. In fact the EU food standards agency actually categorise it as safe as it requires eating 3 full chickens a day to start to enter any risk.

              "and allowing US health companies to carve up the NHS (at the moment, it's British companies being allowed to carve up provision of services in the NHS)"

              Productivity in the NHS, England is best and most privatised. Drugs worldwide particularly provided by the US, you dont want them? Our abysmal health service apart from free at the point of use is under threat? When I am ill I want to be treated, do I care who or how its provided if I need it? No.

              "The EU hasn't yet done a deal with China, because trade negotiations are tricky things"

              Waa waa Iceland. And yes its more tricky for the EU because its a supertanker with too many captains and no clue. That is why economically it is sinking. They must appease 27 countries who range from capitalist to socialist, frugal to spendthrift. Yet the world continues without them.

              "Iceland is a 'special case', due to their very small population"

              Not being 27 countries. Yup.

              "What would the benefits of such a deal between the UK and China be?"

              Wernt you arguing for trade deals? And by extension trade? China being a place that is advancing quickly and your questioning why we would want to trade with them, while defending trade with a political group going backwards (not that I want to cut the EU off)?

              "the US and China are currently engaged in a trade war"

              Due to..... (China's successful advancement which makes them desirable to trade with, hence gov intervention to stop it)

              "If we bend over for Trump"

              Nice terminology. By that manor I assume we are lubed (I hope) while the EU is behind us?

              "that "always being known as a trading nation" thing went away at the same time as the empire we built on the back of it."

              Nope. Actually we hold one of the important global financial trading centres. We have world wide trade funnelling through London. The EU relies on it so hard that by cutting off the London market in the event of no deal would be so catastrophic for them (while reducing our throughput by something like 10% if I remember right) that they desperately tried to entice the banking sector then as an emergency decided to exclude the financial markets from being cut off.

              "Deluding ourselves into thinking it's still the mid 19th century isn't going to do us any favours"

              So why do remainers do that? Leaving the EU doesnt take us back in time. Look at the world, move on from the cold war mentality of the EU and stop fantasizing that leaving takes us to the 19th century.

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: @Loyal Commenter

                Bull but go on.

                A strong argument, you've got me there.

                And so the anti-foreigner zero sum argument. Trade deals are a reciprocity good. Crying there are more people on one side is stupid.

                Missing my point - in such a deal, the stronger partner (and I'm using population here as a measure, but economic strneght is just as vaild) has the better negotiating position. Negotiations with the US are going to involve agreements only on things that benefit the US - we can see this with the way they are currently trying to strong-arm China (and failing).

                Chlorinated chicken = bad but chlorinated salad = good.

                I don't recall adovcating chlorinated salad. Nice straw man. Chlorinated chicken is not the only issue with US food safety (and in my mind not the worst). I listed some of the others, you ignored them.

                Waa waa Iceland.

                Well, you brought them up. Did you have an actual point?

                the EU because its a supertanker with too many captains and no clue

                Your opinion. Would you like to back that up with facts? You can't claim simultaneous lack of democracy, and too much democracy from over-representation.

                "Iceland is a 'special case', due to their very small population" Not being 27 countries. Yup.

                Nice editing of my comment there. Icalend is very sparsely populated, yes, but also has a lot of mineral, and energy wealth, somethign that they are willing to trade with China, as they are both things that they have in excess to their own needs and which China wants. Also, these are things we do not have.

                Wernt [sic] you arguing for trade deals?

                Nope, I beliive it is you who insinuated that we are at a disadvantage from not having a specific trade deal with China (whilst Iceland does). Are you switching your position on this, like you habitually do with your arguments?

                Actually we hold one of the important global financial trading centres.

                Not for long, once we've left the EU, that will go to Hamburg, Dublin and Zurich. Companies are already moving as a result of this idiocy. Once we lose passporting rights (which will happen if we leave the common market), those left in the City of London will incur costs when dealing with the rest of the EU (the world's largest financial market). Financial businesses operate on margins, they will move to where those are lowest, and this won't be London.

                So why do remainers do that?

                [Citation required]

                I don't recall remainers harking abck to the days of Empire (I've seen quitters claiming it still exists though, seemingly thinking Britain still owns India et al)

                Leaving the EU doesnt take us back in time.

                When you are talking about international treaties, scientific cooperation, trade, regulatory alignment, law enforcement cooperation, and the institutions built up around all of those, it does. it takes us back to teh point 40 odd years ago when we didn't have those things. Except, of course, we also won't have ouer own institutions either, since they have become long redundant. For instance, we no longer have a whole section of Whitehall filled with trained and experienced experts devoted to negotiating international agreements. We have ($deity help us) Liam Fox instead.

                stop fantasizing that leaving takes us to the 19th century.

                I didn't claim that it did, I pointed out that people advocating it seem to think that the rest of the world is still in the 19th century. The world has moved on, we shouldn't be harking back to some imaginary halcyon days of empire that never actually existed, no matter how large you write it on the side of a bus.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: @Loyal Commenter

                  @Loyal Commenter

                  "A strong argument, you've got me there."

                  I know

                  "Missing my point - in such a deal, the stronger partner (and I'm using population here as a measure, but economic strneght is just as vaild) has the better negotiating position"

                  And your measuring strength by population. Thats useless. Since trade is in goods and services surely it needs to be based on desire for goods and services. Something we are good at.

                  "Negotiations with the US are going to involve agreements only on things that benefit the US"

                  That is not trade and so blatantly wrong that you need to look up reciprocity.

                  "I don't recall adovcating chlorinated salad. Nice straw man. Chlorinated chicken is not the only issue with US food safety (and in my mind not the worst). I listed some of the others, you ignored them."

                  Chicken was an example of the crying over food safety. And we wont be reducing our safety below our accepted food safety standards so your argument is trash. I didnt ignore, I burned the whole argument down with chicken as an example.

                  "Well, you brought them up. Did you have an actual point?"

                  Yeah, if you missed it you need to research the topic.

                  "Would you like to back that up with facts? You can't claim simultaneous lack of democracy, and too much democracy from over-representation."

                  Canada. China. US. And I can argue against their lack of democracy and their requirement to appease the govs in each country. If you cant see a distinction I guess your dont have elections in your country.

                  "things that they have in excess to their own needs and which China wants. Also, these are things we do not have."

                  So China is only interested in places with natural resources to exploit? Then you completely ignore trade in services and products. Which would explain why you think we have nothing to offer, and wrong.

                  "Nope, I beliive it is you who insinuated that we are at a disadvantage from not having a specific trade deal with China (whilst Iceland does). Are you switching your position on this, like you habitually do with your arguments?"

                  Actually I used China as an example of a trade deal the EU failed at while Iceland who rejected the EU did it. I am not switching any position, it is you banging on about trade deals and trying to claim bad ones if we leave but you do so by discounting this country having anything to trade with. Yet the fact we trade disproves your point. So are you for trade or not? If so then dont talk the country down, look at what we do offer and expand the market from the EU to globally.

                  "Not for long, once we've left the EU, that will go to Hamburg, Dublin and Zurich"

                  God the bull stinks but anyway. Even the EU have given up on that fantasy.

                  "I don't recall remainers harking abck to the days of Empire"

                  The people who tend to bring up the Empire (you being a good example in these exchanges) are remainers.

                  "When you are talking about international treaties, scientific cooperation, trade, regulatory alignment, law enforcement cooperation, and the institutions built up around all of those, it does."

                  Nope. Try again.

                  "I didn't claim that it did, I pointed out that people advocating it seem to think that the rest of the world is still in the 19th century. The world has moved on, we shouldn't be harking back to some imaginary halcyon days of empire that never actually existed, no matter how large you write it on the side of a bus."

                  Absolutely. We shouldnt keep bringing up the empire (nudge). Its a poor argument when in an institution based on cold war era thinking.

                  1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: @Loyal Commenter

                    "Negotiations with the US are going to involve agreements only on things that benefit the US"

                    That is not trade and so blatantly wrong that you need to look up reciprocity.

                    You haven't looked at any of the trade 'deals' the Orange Turnip has been coercing their 'partner(s)' into, after ripping up ones that were indeed more or less reciprocal.

                    And then slapping tariffs on Mexico even when his 'best deal for both' states there will be none.

                    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                      Re: @Loyal Commenter

                      Indeed, I believe it is El Naranja who needs to learn about reciprocicity, and until he manages it, the UK is not going to get anything even approaching a favourable trade deal with the US. You'd have more luck gettign Putin to extradite his GRB buddies like Tess is trying to...

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          I believe that's called a "customs union"

          A customs union is that, but that is not necessarily a customs union. It can also be a Free Trade Area.

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Joke

      Otherwise anyone can just drive through a border crossing with crates of bootleg goods or migrants in their boot with a strip of masking tape over their number plate and the system would not be able to do much about it.

      Don't be so ignorant... Haven't you heard of blockchain ?!!

  12. Empire of the Pussycat
    Devil

    666% over budget and ten years late

    though that may be optimistic

  13. Alan Johnson

    Wishful thinking does not make good policy

    The fundamental issue is that if different taxation or regulatory requirements exist which motivate people to smuggle items across the border.

    There is in principle no problem with a 'digitial' solution which allows honest, cooperative traders to document what they transport across the border and charge the appropriate duty without any interaction at the border. The problem comes as soon as there is a significant financial motive to be dishonest, something that will happen as soon as there are any tarrifs or significant regulatory differences. This is certain if we leave without an agreement tarriffs as will be required under WTO as they must be the same for the UK as for other countries without trade deals not part of the EU.

    Anybody who thinks smuggling with large financial incentives will not require active measures to control and limit at the border is living in a fantasy world. Whatever technical means are created active creative minds will be thinking of ways to subvert and deceive. Inspection at the border is always going to be necessary in this situation. The appeal of a technical solution to anyone keen to leave the EU is obvious but is just wishful thinking. Our politicians may convince themselves a solution exists I don't think the Irish or the EU are that stupid.

    1. EvilDrSmith

      Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

      >The fundamental issue is that if different taxation or regulatory requirements exist which motivate people to smuggle items across the border

      Erm, they already do.

      Different VAT rates, excise rates on alcohol tobacco and fuel, etc.

      And smuggling already occurs across the NI/Eire border.

      Yet apparently it can be tolerated.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

        Most of that "smuggling" is the same as the rest of the EU borders (or Scotland / England for cheap booze following the minimum-price law), not a whole lot different from shopping in your best-deal supermarket.

        But once you get big differences, or worse still, different regulations about how much chlorine in you chicken (or KY in your pigs) it allowed, etc, then you get industrial-scale smuggling by people willing to kill/maim to keep it sweet. And those not doing it go out of business.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

          @Paul Crawford

          "But once you get big differences, or worse still, different regulations about how much chlorine in you chicken (or KY in your pigs) it allowed, etc, then you get industrial-scale smuggling by people willing to kill/maim to keep it sweet. And those not doing it go out of business."

          On the plus side we know its chicken. Not horse meat or the various other instances and contaminations within the EU.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

            I would rather eat EU horse (and have done so willingly), than any US meat. I'm not particularly keen on eating stuff that's pumped full of hormones and antibiotics and then washed in bleach to counteract the woeful food safety standards.

            Of course the big difference, that you're blithely ignoring here, is that the horsemeat smuggling was done by criminal gangs whilst the shite they eat in the US is legal there. Come back with that argument when there are no criminals in the US.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

              @Loyal Commenter

              "Come back with that argument when there are no criminals in the US."

              Aka lost so freaking hard that you dont want any criticism until an impossible and unrelated situation occurs. European health standards approving of US products is not good enough for the EU and apparently you. The chlorinated boogy man comin. To use only on salad not chicken. Those are the insane standards you are defending.

              If you want to know how nuts that is imagine being run by a vegan who dictates the standard is veganism only and food standards agencies dont matter. The EU is making insane standards only to protect their voters profits from the worlds market, aka the dictating vegan being beholden to crop growers.

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

                Aka lost so freaking hard that you dont want any criticism until an impossible and unrelated situation occurs.

                Are you seriously comparing the actions of a criminal gang (that got caught and prosecuted) with the wholesale, offical and sanctioned food safety stnadards in the US that are clearly much lower than those in the EU? If you can't see the difference between someone breaking the rules and getting caught, and the rules being shit in the first place, you are blind.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

                  @Loyal Commenter

                  "If you can't see the difference between someone breaking the rules and getting caught, and the rules being shit in the first place, you are blind."

                  I can see the difference. That food standards say its fine but then shit EU rules ban it in a protectionist move because they are already unpopular and fear their dwindling support. And the EU has been hit by a number of scandals concerning food even though their regulation is excessive.

                  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                    Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

                    And the EU has been hit by a number of scandals concerning food even though their regulation is excessive.

                    Ah yes, 1500 tonnes of Polish beefburgers bought for shipment to French food banks, and found to contain fat, skin, soya, starch but absolutely zero meat!

          2. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster
            FAIL

            Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

            "On the plus side we know its chicken. Not horse meat or the various other instances and contaminations within the EU."

            Do you? The Yanks have already set out their stalls concerning food and ingredient labelling which can mask what is made up in the meat that you eat along with other nourishing items.

            As for the horse meat scandal, it's largely thanks to stringent EU rules that this was reported like it was, and even then there was no risk to human health involved. In many other parts of the world such a story would be minor headlines for a day or two before fading away. Does anyone remember in the wake of the BSE crises in the late 90's in England of butchers adding up to 10% of beef to other types of mince meat because they couldn't sell it otherwise?

            You can try and aim for 100% enforcement of food safety and labelling standards but you'll never be able to get a 100% success rate. You do the best you can.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

              Interesting you bring up teh BSE scandal. The EU acted (corerectly) and applied the precautionary principle - no UK beef in the EU food chain until it can be proven to be safe. The same people who are among the ringleaders of brexit were the ones who complained the loudest about this. I wonder if John Selwyn Gummer's daughter would like to eat a chlorinated chicken burger? I also wonder how many people may have died from vCJD across Europe, if the rest of the continent had caved into the spoutings of the reckless brexiters back then.

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

                teh BSE scandal. The EU acted (corerectly) and applied the precautionary principle - no UK beef in the EU food chain until it can be proven to be safe.

                Not quite so simple. The cause was contaminated food, meal that contained material from sheep with scrapie. EU banned the use of that meal but, as usual, left it up to individual countries to implement the ban. The UK banned all use immediately, farmers had to destroy any stocks. France simply banned new sales, allowing farmers to continue to feed existing contaminated stock to their animals. For some time after that ban, UK beef was probaby safer to eat than French beef.

                And what does that have to do wth Brexit anyway, other than to show that the UK applies higher hygiene stadards than other EU countries (as it does for most consumer legislation)?

                1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

                  And what does that have to do wth Brexit anyway

                  The link to brexit is a tangential, but important one.

                  When the scandal broke, and the EU imposed their sensible food safety restrictions on UK exports, there were some "eurosceptic" types who used this as ammunition against the EU to further their own political ambitions. I believe John Major referred to them as "bloody difficult bastards". Their agitating within the tory party caused such infighting and division, that they have been fghting each other over it ever since. Amongst those "bastards", several are still around and spouting their same divisive rhetoric, such as John Redwood and Nigel Lawson.

          3. H in The Hague

            Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

            "On the plus side we know its chicken. Not horse meat or the various other instances and contaminations within the EU."

            The EU only sets rules for foods. Enforcement, detecting adulteration, fraud, mislabelling is a matter for the various national/local trading standards services. Which in the UK have been greatly reduced due to austerity and council budget cuts. (I think the EU only has its own enforcement officers for cartel offences.) And I think the EU also provides an system for disseminating information about problems relating to food, but the UK's just decided to leave that :(.

    2. Snorlax Silver badge

      Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

      The EU is sympathetic to Ireland’s problem re. the border as it relates to the Good Friday Agreement, but they have also made it clear that it will be Ireland’s responsibility to control an external EU border.

      No Irish politician will want to be remembered as the one who brought back partition, but all the wishy-washy kumbaya aspirational guff they’re spouting about ensuring borders are unseen wont matter if an epidemic of smuggling breaks out after Brexit (and you can be guaranteed it will...).

      Fun times ahead.

      1. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster

        Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

        "No Irish politician will want to be remembered as the one who brought back partition..."

        Erm, partition still exists.

        But to answer the point I think you're trying to make, the overwhelming view in Ireland is that any further infrastructure placed along the border will be solely or primarily blamed on the Brits. They're the ones whom are unilaterally taking the action and be willing to break an international treaty to do so. Neither the Republic of Ireland or the EU are doing anything themselves that would see them actively want to do the same, but are willing to respect rules, laws and treaties regarding international matters. Even if it means for the Irish Government having to bite their lip in the short term.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

      This is certain if we leave without an agreement tarriffs as will be required under WTO

      Do remember that the primary goal of the WTO is to facilitate trade. Its default tariffs are low, as a way to avoid a free-for-all. Trading on WTO rules is not intended to be punitive, but to be fair in the absence of other deals.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

        Correct, tariffs are not actually required by WTO: their purpose is to set maximum tariffs and try to maintain a level playing field. (Which is why when asked they say things like "the WTO will not insist on border checks"). Our difficulty is without a withdrawal agreement we are required to treat goods from the EU and the rest of the world equally. No trade control with Ireland = no trade control with China or Brazil.

        Actually one of the brilliant ideas to ensure continuity of food supply is to drop all tariffs on arable crops. British farmers are not entirely delighted by this idea.

    4. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Wishful thinking does not make good policy

      Smuggling to avoid tax is bad, but tolerable.

      Smuggling to avoid food safety standards is a whole order of magnitude different.

      (Or in principle other safety standards; food is just the one brexit is all about).

  14. J J Carter Silver badge
    Boffin

    41 good, 44 bad?

    The member states of the EU already have 41 land borders with countries outside of the EU - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/External_border_of_the_European_Union

    The weeping and wailing over adding 3 more (UK-Eire, UK-France (Chunnel) and UK-Spain (Gibraltar)) suggests this issue has been 'weaponised' by those opposed to Brexit and are motivated only to thwart the will of the British people.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

      Simple solution:

      Remainers do not want this. Brexits do. Brexits can pay for it - or did you think fencing borders and staffing crossings could be done for free?

      1. J J Carter Silver badge

        Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

        It's the choice of the EU to put up a border to protect their single market. Britain has been quite clear we won't create a hard border and the WTO has confirmed it's not required. I assume some form of grant to the Dublin govt. would be forthcoming from Brussels?

        1. Snorlax Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

          ”I assume some form of grant to the Dublin govt. would be forthcoming from Brussels?”

          Yep. Too bad you won’t be seeing any more EU development money any time soon...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

            Yep. Too bad you won’t be seeing any more EU development money any time soon...

            And? The UK pays the EU more than twice as much as it gets back in "grants", it's one of the biggest net contributors.

            1. Snorlax Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

              ”And? The UK pays the EU more than twice as much as it gets back in "grants", it's one of the biggest net contributors.”

              You owe the EU £39 billion currently, so you may want to revise your “one of the biggest net contributors” claim. Pay up or shut up.

              https://fullfact.org/europe/eu-divorce-bill/

              1. Invidious Aardvark
                Stop

                Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                I'm heavily remain but what does this have to do with the point to which you're apparently responding? Quoting a figure that is essentially the outstanding amount that the UK committed to pay in the current budget does not actually address the point that was being made about being a significant net contributor.

                You appear to be (willfully?) ignoring the fact that the UK does indeed contribute more than it receives so I will simply quote the same website back at you:

                "The UK pays more into the EU budget than it gets back.

                In 2017 the UK government paid £13 billion to the EU budget, and EU spending on the UK was forecast to be £4 billion. So the UK’s ‘net contribution’ was estimated at nearly £9 billion."

                https://fullfact.org/europe/our-eu-membership-fee-55-million/

                You may also be interested in https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48256318 which states "Germany, with a net contribution of €12.8bn, was the largest contributor, followed by the UK, with €7.43bn (£6.55bn)."

                1. Snorlax Silver badge

                  Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                  "I'm heavily remain but what does this have to do with the point to which you're apparently responding?"

                  The point to which I was "apparently" responding to, before you came along, is J J Carter's comment about Ireland receiving a "grant". Ireland also pays in more than it gets out...so why shouldn't it get EU assistance to secure an external EU border?

                  As for The UK being a net contributor? Big deal, do you want a medal? How much money has the UK paid to the EU since the Brexit vote?

                  It agreed with the EU that it would meet its budgetary commitments until 2020, but so far seems determined not to pay...

                  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                    Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                    Ireland also pays in more than it gets out.

                    Nope. From the EU website:

                    Total Irish contribution to the EU budget: € 1.777 billion

                    Total EU spending in Ireland: € 1.818 billion

              2. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                @Snorlax

                "You owe the EU £39 billion currently, so you may want to revise your “one of the biggest net contributors” claim. Pay up or shut up."

                Actually that is arguable. Since we are billed the contribution we are owed in assets. At that point EU bum holes start twitching and they get sweat on their brow. And yes net contributors which is partly why the EU is desperate to keep us.

            2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

              The UK pays the EU more than twice as much as it gets back in "grants", it's one of the biggest net contributors.

              I know, and I'm sure you do too, that the money paid into the EU budget doesn't just go back to member countries as grants. It goes towards running the various organisations and agencies that form the Union. Many of which we are still going to need after we leave (such as the medicines agency, or nuclear regulatory agency), and are going to have to do ourselves, shouldering the entire cost, not splitting it 28 ways. Once you factor those costs in, that 'net contributor' amount will sound like an absolute bargain.

              And I haven't even started on the economic benefits of the common market, and negotiated trade deals with third countries that mean that the treasury receives much more in taxation from a thriving economy (more than enough to pay for our membership many times over), or have you conveniently forgotten the main reason for joining the then EEC in the '70s? Does the phrase "sick man of Europe" mean anything to you? Have you actually looked at what portion of the UK's budget goes to the EU, compared to our other costs? The recession when we leave will mean that many times that amount of money stop going into the treasury. Of course, you won't be bothering to read at this point, as I've no doubt triggered "project fear"...

        2. jman0war

          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

          It's not reasonable to assume all the other 160+ WTO members will be ok with goods pouring in and out of Britain via the NI border without the required tariffs; putting their goods as a competitive disadvantage.

          The notion that Britain will just simply allow goods and people to openly cross that frontier is unrealistic.

        3. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

          the WTO has confirmed it's not required

          You are right! But let's put this in context and remember the purpose of the WTO: to promote free trade. We are no more required to have import controls on the Irish border than we are import controls with China. However we can choose to. Without being in a free trade agreement though what we can't do is pick and choose how we apply trade controls; it's everyone or no-one. The WTO will also say they wont go after us for breaking that. Again it's not their role, their role is to adjudicate when any of the other 134 members (leaving out UK, EU, EU members) complains that we are unfairly applying controls on their imports while doing SFA about trade over the Irish border.

          And yes, it'd be terribly mean of the EU to make Ireland enforce a border to selfishly protect its internal market wouldn't it? Never mind that they're bound by exactly the same rules. Speculation about how the controls on that side get paid for is pretty irrelevant, unless you're hoping that Ireland will drop out of the single market because we're such best buddies (and let's remember it's a single market for goods and services, and what the major cornerstones of the Irish economy now are).

          But the truth is pretty simple, the cornerstone of all Brexit arguments is eventually, "If everyone just did what we want them to do it'll all be great for us. Why can't they see that?"

    2. The Specialist

      Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

      There is the "small" matter of GFA - which states along the lines of there shall not be a hard border in Ireland. Are we to renegate on our word?

    3. Snorlax Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

      Miss the point much?

      Google ‘Good Friday Agreement’.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

      Er, yeah, it would be illustrative if you look up the openness of the boarders, and why. Hint: The only open borders you'll find are with the EFTA countries and principalities because there's an agreement between them and the EU (or in the case of principalities with neighbouring countries) but even with an agreement there are stops and paperwork for freight transport which is no good for the Irish border.

      Hence, an open border requires a customs agreement. The backstop is that agreement and it was requested by the UK and the UK got what it wanted before putting it to Parliament where it was rejected. The backstop is a blindingly obvious requirement but it seems in the past few months after nearly just managing to work it out over about two and a half years we've regressed back to unicorns and rainbows.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

        The backstop is that agreement

        And is not, in itself, bad. The problem is that it had no time limit, so all the EU has to do is sit on its hands and refuse every solution and the UK would remain under EU control (but with no say in the rules) until the EU decided otherwise. A sort of "EU says NO!" situation. That's what was unacceptable, not the backstop itself. A backstop with a time limit, and some conditions, could well have been accepted.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

          Because the Good Friday Agreement has no time limit, or exit clause. It was always clear that this would be down to the UK and Ireland to sort out. The truth is the ERG never wanted to play ball anyway.

        2. fandom

          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

          "The problem is that it had no time limit"

          And the European Court recently ruled that if an international treaty has no time limit it means that any party can withdraw from it at any time.

          And, what is the EU going to do if the UK says "We have had enought of this backstop, by next month we consider it nulled"? Declare war on the UK?

          The idea of opposing the withdrawal treaty because the backstop has no time limit is so utterly stupid it defies belief.

          Or it would if I didn't have enough experience with political fans to know they will believe any shit that makes them feel good.

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

            The EU don't need to do that, they only need to remind the RoI of their obligations.

            As the RoI don't want to lose their EU membership, and don't want a hard border, the UK will either have to a) back down or b) unite all of Ireland into the EU.

            I'm really not keen for IRA bombing to resume in mainland Britain, never mind Ireland.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

              @BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

              "As the RoI don't want to lose their EU membership, and don't want a hard border, the UK will either have to a) back down or b) unite all of Ireland into the EU."

              Actually the RoI would have to either implement a hard border as their masters dictate (it is an EU problem to protect the EU market), convince their masters to make an exception or leave the EU.

              The border really isnt much of a UK problem. Never has been

              1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                'The border really isnt much of a UK problem.'

                Seeing as the RoI is right next to NI, and NI is just a short skip over the Irish Sea to the UK mainland, this is very much a UK problem.

                When you build a wall, typically agreement is needed on both sides of the wall. When there is no such agreement, problems occur. Experience of the Troubles, and Germany has shown a hard border across a country is usually not a good idea.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                  @BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

                  "Seeing as the RoI is right next to NI, and NI is just a short skip over the Irish Sea to the UK mainland, this is very much a UK problem."

                  Why? If we dont want to make a border then its not our problem. We dont have to. If the EU cwies and cwies coz does mean ol Bwits who cares? If the EU wants a border to protect its protectionist block then it will have to make one itself. Its their problem.

                  "When you build a wall, typically agreement is needed on both sides of the wall."

                  Since when? Communism? N.Korea?

                  "Experience of the Troubles, and Germany has shown a hard border across a country is usually not a good idea."

                  And since we dont want to make one its not our problem. Exactly. If the EU does then it is and will be the EU's problem.

                  1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                    Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                    Well, you're certainly maintaining the Brexit viewpoint of 'not my problem, someone else will sort it'

                    I notice you've missed out my sentence 'When there is no such agreement, problems occur' - that's why you need agreement.

                    You do realise that we need to trade with the EU, and doing so in good faith is a reasonable idea? You can't create problems for a trading bloc containing countries you want to trade with, and then expect everyone to be ok with it.

                    Might take a while to reply though, I'm off to deliver 15,000 bricks to your neighbour to erect a 40ft wall between your properties for an art installation they're building. I did ask if they thought it might block the light and maybe they should ask you first, but all they cared about was the art.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                      @BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

                      "Well, you're certainly maintaining the Brexit viewpoint of 'not my problem, someone else will sort it'"

                      Vs the remain viewpoint that everything is so hard, and everything is our fault and our problem, lets just let everyone else sort things out for us?

                      "I notice you've missed out my sentence 'When there is no such agreement, problems occur' - that's why you need agreement."

                      The agreement is simple. Neither side of Ireland want a border, the UK doesnt want one, only the EU wants one because protectionism. This isnt anyone but an EU's problem. Nobody else can solve it. Its their issue.

                      "You can't create problems for a trading bloc containing countries you want to trade with, and then expect everyone to be ok with it."

                      We aint. It aint our problem. The alternative is the EU annex the UK as the UK has made it clear we wish to leave. That would be a problem. A sovereign country not being part of a political union is not a problem. Most of the world isnt in the EU.

                      "Might take a while to reply though, I'm off to deliver 15,000 bricks to your neighbour to erect a 40ft wall between your properties for an art installation they're building. I did ask if they thought it might block the light and maybe they should ask you first, but all they cared about was the art."

                      The EU building a wall? That would surely cause mass aneurysms as EU loving trump haters try to reconcile their views. Could be funny.

                      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                        Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                        Actually, no, my viewpoint as a Remainer but who doesn't think the EU is perfect, is that it's better to be inside the train pissing out, than outside the train trying to piss in. Much though I'm not a fan of Cameron, prior to the referendum he went and managed to start gaining some concessions, and that was starting a wider process of negotiation until the referendum royally buggered everything.

                        I'm also of the viewpoint that if you want to leave, you have to have a credible plan first that doesn't boil down to 'you have to do what we want', and you should put country first when working out this agreement. This also includes leavers, where I note that despite the 'no deal' rubbish going around, polls show this viewpoint amongst leavers is running at roughly a third. Currently we have the situation where an possible future (unelected) prime minister is bleating about democracy and espousing a potential scenario put forward by an extreme minority of the country.

                        I'm clearly wasting my time trying to use metaphors and being subtle here. What we do as a country is our problem. The countries we want to trade with are part of the EU, and we need to keep them onside. They will need to continue to trade with other members of the EU, and will prioritise access to that market. Anything we do that causes issues with the EU will affect that.

                        We also know, because countries such as the US, India, and Japan have directly told us, that trade deals will not be quite as quick as we'd like, and that there will be trade offs. In the case of India this will be immigration, the US are likely to dismantle our healthcare, and now that Japan have a direct relationship with the EU, don't expect them to be kind.

                        I am also personally quite happy being part of a protectionist bloc. Yes, that's a particularly arrogant and privileged position, but I'm pretty certain that our rightful place in the world without a protectionist bloc is pretty grim. It's already a matter of record how much we bend over to attract investment from China, and one blunt assessment on Radio 4 by a UK exporter who works with China was that we don't work hard enough, and we receive more money than we should for what we do.

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                          @BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

                          "Actually, no, my viewpoint as a Remainer but who doesn't think the EU is perfect, is that it's better to be inside the train pissing out, than outside the train trying to piss in."

                          The EU is becoming less popular over the large and important parts of the EU, it is losing a net contributor with a good reputation (UK), is in numerous crises and mostly self inflicted. I am not convinced they are pissing out but instead on each others shoes

                          "prior to the referendum he went and managed to start gaining some concessions"

                          No. Really no.

                          "I'm also of the viewpoint that if you want to leave, you have to have a credible plan"

                          We did. The huge problem being the remainers running it.

                          "prime minister is bleating about democracy and espousing a potential scenario put forward by an extreme minority of the country"

                          Actually the minority enforced is remain. Even after all this 3-0 to leave.

                          "What we do as a country is our problem"

                          Agreed.

                          "The countries we want to trade with are part of the EU"

                          Some of them yes. And the rest of the world too. I think thats where we differ.

                          "We also know, because countries such as the US, India, and Japan have directly told us, that trade deals will not be quite as quick as we'd like"

                          The US former president Obama told us. He has been overruled by the CURRENT president who is willing to have the deal ready to sign on the minute we leave. So you have 2 examples. And there is a queue for a deal because trade is a good thing. That isnt boasting but also not putting ourselves down with bollox.

                          "US are likely to dismantle our healthcare"

                          The new chlorinated chicken. Another fad excuse until facts make it inappropriate to use and then the next fad. No thanks.

                          "I am also personally quite happy being part of a protectionist bloc"

                          Cool. Good for you. That at least is honest and you can actually argue a position from that if that is what you believe in. I am more for free markets and global trade. While I take your points on board about being paid more than we are worth the opening up has resulted in better quality products, lower prices and higher standards of living globally. With the fastest reduction in actual poverty globally. Also the EU is shrinking their share of the world economy.

                          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                            Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                            Here's an article about the concessions Cameron gained : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35622105

                            'leaving on WTO terms' or 'no plan' is not a credible plan. Mrs May's deal is probably reasonable in the face of the red lines, but lacks parliamentary support and that's not a remainer problem.

                            The leaver polls show that no deal is a minority view amongst leavers so I'm absolutely correct to call it an extreme minority view, especially when you add in the rest of the country.

                            Trump,the US, and the UK have refused to rule out the NHS in negotations so I will not accept this as a fad excuse when there have been direct statements from the people that will be making the deal for the opposite, and a succession of Tory MPs wanting to weaken food, environment, and labour laws.

                            I don't see the point in discussing this if you're not willing to look at the facts.

                            However, I'll also agree on your statements about free markets and global trade. The 'problem' is that a reduction in global poverty is accompanied by a global change in living standards to an average level. In the case of first world countries this means lower standards of living for the same amount of money, and that's generally not what a lot of people (leavers or remainers) want - they want insulation from globalisation.

                            It also may not last for other countries. The advance of technology is negating the labour force of developing third world countries, and concentrating the money earnt into the hands of a small number of people, instead of feeding back income into the local population and allowing the country to flourish.

                            The only way it's possible to address huge corporations with 'optimised' tax schemes, is to be part of a large trading bloc that has a uniform policy around moving around income, and common standards on food, environment, and labour so they don't up sticks and exploit other countries. Leaving aside the fact the UK are unwilling to tighten the tax systems here when it's entirely within our remit, such a trading bloc with common standards exists and is called the EU.

                            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                              Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                              The only way it's possible to address huge corporations with 'optimised' tax schemes, is to be part of a large trading bloc that has a uniform policy around moving around income,

                              But the EU isn't such a block. It's 28 countries all with their own policies, and a lot of very ambiguous treaties saying that they'll all do their best to play nice. All those countries break policy when they want to (France and Italy with debt/GDP for example) and it goes unpunished.

                              If there was a single EU tax policy, with no exceptions, and a central treasury that took all tax income and redistributed it, and central rules on benefits etc.,you might have a point, but you know as well as I do that hell will freeze over before all 28 of those countries will agree to that. Even within those countries they can't agree (England/Scotland, Spain/Catalunya, North/South Italy, etc.).

                              The result is fudge, and company tax accountants just love fudge.

                            2. codejunky Silver badge

                              Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                              @BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

                              "Here's an article about the concessions Cameron gained"

                              Sorry, the rejection of Cameron getting concessions is due to them being weak, trimmed down because actual reform would be rejected, they were not agreed to until after we remain to which they must be agreed by the others (probably wouldnt) and finally the EU signed a deal not to use the UK contribution to bail out Greece then did it anyway. So the EU's word is worth spit.

                              "'leaving on WTO terms' or 'no plan' is not a credible plan."

                              Actually leaving on WTO terms is a plan, a solid plan, one that the EU has already expressed their concern about the UK having a competitive advantage.

                              "Mrs May's deal is probably reasonable"

                              Only to the desperate to remain. It is a perpetual remain deal with no say in the EU for the UK. Described as worse than both remain or leave.

                              "The leaver polls show that no deal is a minority view amongst leavers so I'm absolutely correct to call it an extreme minority view, especially when you add in the rest of the country."

                              Thats fine but then remain is a minority view. It was made up of extremist believers to the project and various reformers from socialist/capitalist, authoritarian/libertarian, protectionist/globalist, etc. In fact that is also the power struggle in the EU and one of the reasons Germany wanted the UK to remain (to support them against the socialist countries).

                              "Trump,the US, and the UK have refused to rule out the NHS in negotations so I will not accept this as a fad excuse"

                              You will eventually when the facts push through. Again do we care who provides healthcare as long as we actually get healthcare? If the answer is yes then it is an opinion based on politics not health.

                              "a succession of Tory MPs wanting to weaken food, environment, and labour laws."

                              You mean laws that are sealing the EU off from the world and reducing their share of global wealth? The Soviet Union looked a wonderful dream until it all fell apart and the truth revealed.

                              "I don't see the point in discussing this if you're not willing to look at the facts."

                              I am providing fact. If its inconvenient fact I wont apologise. However I am not sure we are disagreeing as much on fact as opinion. Looking through this comment so far its your opinion things are bad which I see as good. Your a protectionist remainer and I am a globalist leaver, they are very different perspectives even if the facts remain the same. Even our last exchange was on opinion while not seeming to disagree on fact.

                              "accompanied by a global change in living standards to an average level. In the case of first world countries this means lower standards of living for the same amount of money"

                              Thats not how averages work. If everyone gets richer but the top few faster then the average gets worse. If everyone gets richer and the bottom do it faster then the average gets better. The actuality is we may see the actual number (not average) of people on this planet in actual poverty reduced to zero within our lifetimes. We dont have lower standards of living for the same amount of money, the government overspent yesterday on tomorrows earnings but our standard of living has been increasing and improving.

                              "they want insulation from globalisation"

                              Some people do. And thats their opinion. Opinions are like arseholes, we all have one. But who considers the insular N.Korea a good idea? Some people actually do! Or the insular USSR? Or the insular UK with bad cars, rolling blackouts and generally poor service for high price? Again we can all have opinions, maybe of the right levels but opening up has generally been a good thing.

                              "The advance of technology is negating the labour force of developing third world countries"

                              It frees them up to do other things. Africa has benefited from technology as the cheap mobile phone has allowed them to make payments via their phone. That has reduced crime considerably as mugging becomes more difficult.

                              "The only way it's possible to address huge corporations with 'optimised' tax schemes"

                              Do we want to? Legal tax schemes which has resulted in a lot of progress. These companies making money because people choose to part with money for the products and services. And that money must go somewhere, which benefits the countries, banks, consumers and people.

                              "common standards on food, environment, and labour so they don't up sticks and exploit other countries"

                              But who's standards? Vegan? Anti nuclear? Mud hutters? Gaia worshippers? People who desire a modern standard of living? Co2 theorists? Socialists? Communist? Capitalist? Authoritarian? Libertarian and so many other perspectives I will have missed.

                              "Leaving aside the fact the UK are unwilling to tighten the tax systems here when it's entirely within our remit, such a trading bloc with common standards exists and is called the EU."

                              But is it a good idea? And there are some solid reasons to say no. To both the tax systems and the EU.

                        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                          it's better to be inside the train pissing out, than outside the train trying to piss in.

                          I'd prefer that people did their pissing in the toilets, not anywhere near my train. I'm certainly tired of EU politicians pissing over their voters.

                          despite the 'no deal' rubbish going around

                          I think that you fundamentally misunderstand the reason that "no deal" has to remain a credible option. It's a basic and simple fact of negotiating tactics, if you can't convince your partner that you're willing to walk away, you'll never get the best deal.

                          Obviously there has to be a deal long-term. One of the principal reasons for leaving the EU is so that we can (re-)negotiate our own deals with our partners, and that will of course include the EU. How well those deals will turn out is a subject for debate, but is not the issue here. "No deal now" does not, and cannot, mean "no deal ever", and no-one is suggesting that.

                          The question is whether we need such a deal before we leave, or not. The EU is pushing for a deal before it lets us leave, because it will have more influence over such a deal while we're still subject to EU control. It makes perfect sense for the EU to take that position, but that isn't necessarily the best for the UK. This is why the UK has to convince the EU that we're willing to leave without a deal if the EU won't offer a good deal. It most certainly does not mean that we'll never do a deal.

                          The problem with all the idiots in Westminster saying "we'll stop you leaving without a deal" is that it plays directly into the hands of the EU negotiators, they have absolutely no need to make concessions in order to get a deal if they can see that we'll be forced to take whatever they offer.

                          It's like going into a dealer to buy a new car. You might have all your negotiating arguments lined up, and be ready to convince the salesman that you'll walk out if he doesn't come up with a good price, but if your wife tells the salesman "I love that car, I've told him we can't leave without buying it" she completely blows all your arguments out of the water. The salesman knows that all he has to do is wait, because your threats to go elsewhere are just a bluff.

                          That, sadly, is the position that Toxic Theresa and the clowns who voted against no deal have put us in. Can Boris & IDS convince the EU that we really would just leave cold if we don't get a better deal? Maybe, but it's a much harder job now than it was 2 years ago.

                  2. fandom

                    Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                    "Why? If we dont want to make a border then its not our problem"

                    Of course not, the EU may start blocking, or set big tariffs, to imports from the UK, but that doesn't mean the UK can't allow anything to go from the Republic of Ireland to the UK uncontrolled and untariffed.

                    Actually, you know, the EU may very well agree to your plan.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                      @fandom

                      "but that doesn't mean the UK can't allow anything to go from the Republic of Ireland to the UK uncontrolled and untariffed."

                      We could. Not saying we would or whatever but actually this is where remainers have been so far off the mark and even get confused with the idea of 'taking back control' aka its our choice.

                      The EU can do as the EU wishes within international law and WTO. If the EU want to make a hard border and even man it with guns if they like (often those guns face inwards interestingly) thats up to them and nothing to do with us.

                      As people point out often enough, Ireland has never had a border and even now has various smuggling etc because there isnt anything natural to facilitate a border. Farmland and buildings straddle the border. It just isnt a real problem.

                      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                        Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                        As people point out often enough, Ireland has never had a border

                        There goes that selective memory again. I don't know who these people are, but my guess is that they are the same people who think vaccines cause autism and that the Earth is flat, because there is plenty of evidence to indicate otherwise. A more cynical person might suggest that when you are losing an argument you just start straight-up lying.

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                          @Loyal Commenter

                          "There goes that selective memory again."

                          I love the link you put up proving my point. Congrats there were checkpoints on main crossings and as has been pointed out the border cuts through peoples land and even buildings. There is no geographical border which is why there has always been smuggling even now. Justy learn to read dude.

                          "A more cynical person might suggest that when you are losing an argument you just start straight-up lying."

                          A cynical person might think your do that yes. Maybe your foil hat is on wrong?

              2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                The border really isnt much of a UK problem. Never has been

                The open border is part of the GFA. The GFA brought an end to the campaign of violence from paramilitary groups both on the island of Ireland, and on mainland Britain.

                If you think this had never been a 'UK problem', I suggest you gather the friends and families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings together into a room and try to convince them of that point of view.

                It seems that you appear to be suffering from a highly selective memory of recent history...

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

                  @Loyal Commenter

                  "The open border is part of the GFA. The GFA brought an end to the campaign of violence from paramilitary groups both on the island of Ireland, and on mainland Britain."

                  Which is why this isnt a problem as we dont want a border, Ireland (in total) doesnt want a border and only the EU want one to protect their protectionist block. So the Irish border has never been an issue in leaving the EU.

                  "If you think this had never been a 'UK problem'"

                  Fine if you need it spelling out- never been a UK problem in the EU negotiations. Hope that helps with your misunderstanding.

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

            And, what is the EU going to do if the UK says "We have had enought of this backstop, by next month we consider it nulled"? Declare war on the UK?

            If the backstop was part of the withdrawal agreement, and the UK said "We have had enough of this backstop," would that not be equivalent to withdrawing from the withdrawal agreement, i.e. pitching the UK right back into the EU? Can't see either side being happy there. It's why the two need to be separated, get on with Brexit while working on the border issue in parallel.

            1. fandom

              Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

              "would that not be equivalent to withdrawing from the withdrawal agreement, i.e. pitching the UK right back into the EU?"

              Not even close, really what kind of reasoning is that?

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

          Remember Ireland and the rest of the EU have the same albatross around their necks too, the UK can sit on its hands and refuse every solution. Much like what's happening now, strangely enough.

          Also I'm not sure why the GFA which has no time limit is acceptable* but the backstop to uphold the GFA when the UK finally leaves the EU isn't.

          * to most except the DUP and the ERG.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

            Also I'm not sure why the GFA which has no time limit is acceptable* but the backstop to uphold the GFA when the UK finally leaves the EU isn't.

            Any completed agreement which sets out a clearly defined endpoint, like the GFA, doesn't need a time limit.

            The problem, as you rightly point out, is that until the backstop to the agreement on the UK leaving the EU is resolved the UK won't have left the EU. It prevents the withdrawal treaty actually completing. That is what is unacceptable, not the fact of the backstop itself.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

              Given that international trade and movement are what they are these days, it seems to me that you need a legally defined border agreement ready from the first day, not some legal vacuum with some vague promise that everything will be alright. Meaning the backstop has to be part of the withdrawal agreement.

    5. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: 41 good, 44 bad?

      The problematic one is between NI and the Republic of Ireland. For those old enough to remember The Troubles, at least. A border there is not what we want, and also against the Good Friday agreement.

      No border (open border) , and the UK would want that? And the Brexiteers want that? Pull the other one. All the talk about "taking control of our borders", does that ring a bell? Plus I do not think that uncontrolled flow of persons and goods is in the interest of either the UK (post Brexit, that is) or any trading partner. Looking forward to those trade negotiations....

    6. DougS Silver badge

      Comparison with the Chunnel & Gibraltar is a farce

      The Chunnel is pretty tightly controlled, you can't "sneak" across to France. While Gibraltar isn't quite as small it is still small enough that you could easily monitor it if you had to. The border with Ireland on the other hand is large and goes over miles of private land, so it is pretty obviously the outlier here between the three.

      Yes they have plenty of other land borders to worry about, but that doesn't mean they don't want to add more. Especially in an area where people going across freely has been the norm for long time.

  15. J J Carter Silver badge
    Boffin

    Let's get real

    The NI-Eire border is already a byword for smuggling red-diesel using innumerable underground pipelines. So let's pretend that everything right now is fine and dandy. We all know the IRA hard-men signed-up to the GFA on the nudge & wink promise of being allowed to make out like gangbusters in smuggling and drug-deals; no wonder they don't want any additional scrutiny along the border now the provos as millionaires.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's get real

      Leaving aside the brexitters who are in it for the financial gain, are there any brexitters who actually don't believe in wacky conspracy theories, or just simply believe things that suit their narative?

    2. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster
      Pirate

      Load of bollix

      First, in the Republic it's not "red" diesel. It's "green" diesel.

      Secondly, the black market activity in washing such low duty diesel to sell on as "normal" diesel has fallen through the floor in recent years since governments on both sides of the border started adding an additional marker to red & green diesel. It is a mild radioactive isotope that customs officials can detect in minute quantities that does not affect engines, but smugglers washing the diesel to remove the dye have found no method so far of being able to remove. This has meant far fewer drivers risking driving on washed diesel as if they're pulled over and their vehicle is dipped, then their car or van is confiscated until they either pay a fine or, if they wait too long, get their vehicle crushed.

      Also the IRA were involved in plenty of smuggling years before they even declared their first ceasefire in 1994, including before 1992 when there were still customs checks. The signing of the Good Friday Agreement, if anything, reduced smuggling albeit somewhat by a small amount. Different economic conditions and enforcement between the 90's and 2019 now means that at present there is not much that makes smuggling now a worthwhile occupation outside of a few niche areas. Even the dodgy cigarettes have dried up.

  16. nsld

    Drone boy back on the meths again

    The government may well believe that an alternative can be found to the seamless workings of the most advanced trade bloc and customs union in the world but if they do why have they tasked a bloke with a history of working for right wing think tanks and no real experience in cross border trade to come up with the answer?

    The TL:DR on Shankar's latest word salad is to have a single market with Ireland which overlaps the EU single market and follows its rules etc. yet also allows for the UK to diverge so it can sell innovative jams to Nambia and Covfefe whilst buying substandard agricultural output from the US.

    The fact no other border between two economic entities exists which can meet the criteria being quoted as achievable in the next 3 years is testament to the fact this is the work of a vapourware vendor. Does he think the Swiss have sat on their hands because they like lorry queues? And the Swiss, whilst being a 3rd country have the most advanced bilateral deal structure with the EU of any nation, yet they still have a hard border for goods.

    Ironically the original EU idea of a border in the Irish sea and letting Northern Ireland remain in the SM and CU solved the problem and actually gave NI a huge advantage over the UK mainland but the DUP insisted that they could not be different from the UK (this is a selective application of different given the massive differentiation on abortion and gay rights but thats sky fairy whack jobs for you!)

    Simple solution, join EFTA, form 'A' customs union, meets the binary question from the advisory referendum and doesn't completely stuff up peace or the economy.

    1. Snorlax Silver badge

      Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

      ”The TL:DR on Shankar's latest word salad is to have a single market with Ireland which overlaps the EU single market and follows its rules etc.”

      Nope, not gonna happen. Individual EU member states are forbidden from having their own trade deals outside the bloc.

      If that guy implied that’s what the UK is hoping for, he must be smoking crack.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

      Simple solution, join EFTA

      Already vetoed by Norway. It's the current big fish in the EFTA pond, and doesn't want the UK shark taking over.

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

        Can’t join EFTA without allowing freedom of movement. And the racists don’t want that, remember?

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

          @Snorlax

          "Can’t join EFTA without allowing freedom of movement. And the racists don’t want that, remember?"

          Sensible people dont want freedom of movement either. Unless you want to claim the majority of the world is racist and only the EU is some pure shining light. Please do, I could do with a laugh.

          1. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster

            Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

            "Sensible people dont want freedom of movement either. Unless you want to claim the majority of the world is racist and only the EU is some pure shining light. Please do, I could do with a laugh."

            That'll be why India have already set out their stall to any future trade agreement with a post-Brexit UK in wanting any deal to include a far greater number of Indians being granted rights to work in the UK.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

              @White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster

              "That'll be why India have already set out their stall to any future trade agreement with a post-Brexit UK in wanting any deal to include a far greater number of Indians being granted rights to work in the UK."

              What does that have to do with the price of fish? But it does make sense for them to try it on since the EU got away with it. But having actual border policy is the norm in the world.

              1. nsld

                Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                "What does that have to do with the price of fish? But it does make sense for them to try it on since the EU got away with it. But having actual border policy is the norm in the world."

                We do have fully controlled borders, you try getting into the UK without a passport let us all know how you get on.

                Maybe review the Home Office statistics on how many EEA nationals are denied entry at the border or are deported from the UK and then you might actually learn how the UK borders and immigration system work in relation to freedom of movement.

                What particularly attracts you to the idea of having less rights and opportunities than the people in 31 neighbouring countries CodeJunky?

                Especially as the UK has the highest number of people actively using Freedom of Movement rights across the rest of the EEA to live and work, both permanently and temporarily.

                You might also want to look at how trade deals work, most of the recent ones have provision for intra company transfers for mode 4 services plus spouses with full rights and no visas, hows that taking back control looking now when someone can open a Ltd entity, employ themselves and then transfer themselves and the family into the UK!

                Like many of the arguments you've tried to put about trade, the single market and other aspects of the EU you are still as clueless as ever.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                  @nsld

                  "We do have fully controlled borders, you try getting into the UK without a passport let us all know how you get on."

                  Reading your comment you talk about freedom of movement but you start with the above which is a straw man which you know has no relation to the discussion. Its almost like you dont have a reasonable argument so reductio ad absurdum.

                  "What particularly attracts you to the idea of having less rights and opportunities than the people in 31 neighbouring countries CodeJunky?"

                  What less rights? What less opportunities? This is the interesting situation where both sides think there are can be more rights and opportunities their way. So I dont think there will be less, I think they have less.

                  "Like many of the arguments you've tried to put about trade, the single market and other aspects of the EU you are still as clueless as ever."

                  I think I poked enough holes in your comment for tonight.

                  1. nsld

                    Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                    Helps if you read your own posts Code Junky, you mentioned having a border policy, we have one:

                    "What less rights? What less opportunities? This is the interesting situation where both sides think there are can be more rights and opportunities their way. So I dont think there will be less, I think they have less."

                    Less rights - currently you have the right to live, work, establish a business and travel across 31 other nations with exactly the same rights as every other citizen of the EEA. Once we leave that we lose all those rights.

                    Once we leave a citizien of those other countries will only lose those rights in one nation (the UK) whilst UK citizens lose them in 31 other countries so who loses the most?

                    So as of today if you want to go for a job in another EEA nation the employer can simply employ you, or if you want to be self employed you can, if you have UK qualifications then you have mutual recognition rights to work across licenced professions etc.

                    Once we are a third country, and if this ends up as 'No deal' then all those rights are gone, qualifications and licences which on the 31st of October had equal value have none on the 1st of Novermber. Employment rights, visa requirements, rights to reside, all gone.

                    Can you explain how losing all those rights in 31 neighbouring countries will increase opportunity?

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                      "Helps if you read your own posts Code Junky, you mentioned having a border policy, we have one:"

                      Freedom of movement is an EU instruction not under UK control. Otherwise why do some people insist its racists wanting to control the border?

                      "Less rights - currently you have the right to live, work, establish a business and travel across 31 other nations with exactly the same rights as every other citizen of the EEA. Once we leave that we lose all those rights."

                      To which we will... still be able to do that as we did before. Pre-EU people lived and worked and visited a great deal of Europe without much restriction. And for the 'right' of freedom of movement we have surrendered a lot of rights to run our own country. A good example is the march in London against the tampon tax. The idiots needed to be marching in Brussels.

                      "Once we leave a citizien of those other countries will only lose those rights in one nation (the UK) whilst UK citizens lose them in 31 other countries so who loses the most?"

                      Them. But thats because you have isolated the most insignificant argument (number of countries in the EEA) in the hope that simple size of that one number changes the facts.

                      "So as of today if you want to go for a job in another EEA nation the employer can simply employ you, or if you want to be self employed you can, if you have UK qualifications then you have mutual recognition rights to work across licenced professions etc."

                      Yes. As a result I have friends who would love to come here who basically need to be a student and get employed from there. These friends being from US, Europe (not in the EEA), Asia, Africa, Middle East and yet they are forced out. I have other friends from within the EU who have come here and got a basic office job, an opportunity my other friends would love to have.

                      "Once we are a third country, and if this ends up as 'No deal' then all those rights are gone, qualifications and licences which on the 31st of October had equal value have none on the 1st of Novermber. Employment rights, visa requirements, rights to reside, all gone."

                      Amazing isnt it. Its like the bottled water being perfectly fine until we leave and then the exact same product becomes unacceptable by the EU. Kinda shows how isolating they are. There is a world yet they put themselves in their little own bubble.

                      1. nsld

                        Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                        "Yes. As a result I have friends who would love to come here who basically need to be a student and get employed from there. These friends being from US, Europe (not in the EEA), Asia, Africa, Middle East and yet they are forced out. I have other friends from within the EU who have come here and got a basic office job, an opportunity my other friends would love to have."

                        So will stripping rights from British people make any of that easier?

                        You are conflating UK immigration policy which is entirely in the soveriegn control of the government with the rights accorded under Freedom of Movement.

                        "To which we will... still be able to do that as we did before. Pre-EU people lived and worked and visited a great deal of Europe without much restriction. And for the 'right' of freedom of movement we have surrendered a lot of rights to run our own country. A good example is the march in London against the tampon tax. The idiots needed to be marching in Brussels."

                        Nope, completely wrong on all counts. As a third country with no agreements on travel, work etc you will need to get a job, visa etc first, exactly the same things you decry in the prior part of your post you want to impose on British people!

                        As for the tampon tax you might find it has been levied in the UK since the 70's by a soveriegn UK government decision. The EU has published proposals for a zero rate element of VAT to cover sanitary wear, The UK did have the option to remove the VAT from sanitary wear before the common VAT policy came in but they chose not to.

                        Freedom of Movement is a reciprocal right, if the UK wanted to it could make immigration from all those countries work exactly the same way, the fact its chosen not to is an entirely sovereign UK decision and ending freedom of movement rights for 65 million British people won't change that.

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                          @nsld

                          "So will stripping rights from British people make any of that easier?"

                          Nothing. Thats the other side of the freedom of movement issue, the immigration not emigration. You see they are different in that one is coming and one is going. And the issue I point out is that my friends who are not from the 'promised land' from the rest of the world are at a massive disadvantage to those from the 'promised land'.

                          "You are conflating UK immigration policy which is entirely in the soveriegn control of the government with the rights accorded under Freedom of Movement."

                          So freedom of movement has nothing to do with immigration? Or are you begging for an argument to cling onto? We have sovereign control except freedom of movement. Why is my friend from the US, Africa, Europe (not EU), Middle east lesser than my friend from the EU?

                          "Nope, completely wrong on all counts. As a third country with no agreements on travel, work etc you will need to get a job, visa etc first, exactly the same things you decry in the prior part of your post you want to impose on British people!"

                          You are wrong! By a pro-EU source- https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/brexit-visa-free-travel-no-deal-vote-eu-parliament-passport-a8854371.html

                          "As for the tampon tax you might find it has been levied in the UK since the 70's by a soveriegn UK government decision"

                          And unable to be revoked due to EU membership. That sovereign control where our gov would be responsible for keeping it that they dont have.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

            You might never have stepped outside your home town, but 1.2 million Brits are currently using their FoM rights to live, study, work, or retire in other EU countries.

            1. nsld

              Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

              If you take into account all the service market short term workers (lorry drivers, aircrew, maritime, business travel etc) its over 4 million

          3. Snorlax Silver badge

            Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

            ”Sensible people dont want freedom of movement either. Unless you want to claim the majority of the world is racist and only the EU is some pure shining light. Please do, I could do with a laugh.”

            Personally I don’t give a flying shite about the freedom of movement of UK passport holders. The fewer who make it to Europe post-Brexit, the better. Of course they’ll miss out on great opportunities like jobs, education, relationships etc but I’m sure they’ll think it’s worth it.

            The point you failed so miserably to grasp is that EFTA membership comes with conditions, one of which is freedom of movement. The ones who propose EFTA membership as a solution are also oblivious to the fact that the conditions are much the same as EU membership.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

              Personally I don’t give a flying shite about the freedom of movement of UK passport holders. The fewer who make it to Europe post-Brexit, the better.

              And the remoaners claim that the Brexiteers are narrow-minded and racist. Ever looked in a mirror?

              1. Snorlax Silver badge

                Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                "And the remoaners claim that the Brexiteers are narrow-minded and racist. Ever looked in a mirror?"

                Sure AC, why not have all of the advantages and none of the responsibilities?

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

          And the racists don’t want that, remember?

          Screw what the racists want, Brexit isn't about racism. It's about leaving a centrally controlled political union that is dragging the whole of Europe into mediocrity and stagnation, like most such unions do.

          We had a common market that allowed free trade and movement between co-operating neighbours who could build on their individual strengths. It worked pretty well for 30+ years, but since it was turned into a political union in 1992 it's become a one-size-fits-none straitjacket. The only people who gain are the politicians, and the big corporations who can (ab)use it's over-complex tax fudges.

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

            Phil, you truly can't believe that in the event of Brexit the UK will crack down on tax? It's very likely the reverse is true and that the government will establish us as even more of a dodgy tax haven than we already are.

            Carousel fraud, laundering of money through inflated property prices in London in elsewhere, an unwillingness to crack down on large companies, and a huge number of poorly regulated LLCs. That's Britain *right now*. We could do something about it as a country, the EU is not stopping us, and is in general acting to crack down on various schemes. The government fails to address this year after year, and it's only very recently the largest excesses of oligarchs' purchase in the UK have vaguely been investigated.

            Also, Brexit definitely is in part about racism and xenophobia. If you wish to be kind, blame it on globalisation, but either way it's not the fault of the EU. This is not a debatable point when people are explicitly telling/being violent to someone they believe is not from the EU and telling them to 'go back home' now that Brexit 'won'.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

              Phil, you truly can't believe that in the event of Brexit the UK will crack down on tax?

              It's nothing to do with us cracking down, the problem is that the EU tax codes are so horribly complex, to give the idea of a union when there isn't one, that there are loopholes these companies drive a coach & horses through. The tax issues aren't related to what an individual country does (cf Ireland and Apple) but to the fact that they can game the whole EU system to apparently make their profits wherever they can pay the least tax.

              Maybe after we leave we will be a low-tax jurisdiction, but as long as the taxes paid in the UK come to us, and don't get shunted via the "Double Irish With A Dutch Sandwich" tricks, it will be an improvement.

              As I've said many times in these forums, Brexit isn't a magic fix for any of these issues, it's the opportunity for us to address them. I share many of the concerns over the incompetence of some of our politicians, and clearly it's every bit as big an opportunity for us to fuck up as it is to succeed, but I'd still rather have the freedom to try & fail. Some people are happy to be living with mummy & daddy when they're 35, and it certainly makes life easier (and gets your washing done) but others are willing to take a chance and get out of the comfort zone. It leads to hard choices and some pain, but the possible rewards are worth it. IMHO.

              1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                Could you please go back and read what I said?

                We as a country have various issues with tax and corruption

                We could do something about it. This is nothing to do with the EU.

                We haven't for years

                Yet somehow you seem to believe this will actually change outside the EU, and it won't be a race to the bottom with a large amount of money going to a small number of people?

                It's not 'try and fail'. We've already failed, repeatedly, and can't be bothered to try. No-one sane would bet on this changing.

                At least the EU is (very slowly) trying to crack down on this sort of thing, and if we remain as part of the EU, we would also be subject to those laws.

                1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

                  We as a country have various issues with tax and corruption

                  We could do something about it. This is nothing to do with the EU.

                  Every country has some such issues, the UK actually sits much higher (better) in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index than most EU members (11th out of 180). It's not germane to the issue at hand, which is that the over-complex legislation created by the EU to try and satisfy the conflicting requirements of 28 countries inevitably leads to a situation which can be exploited by multinational businesses, much more easily than those of a single country can. It's just another proof that the so-called "union" is fragile and unsustainable.

                  At least the EU is (very slowly) trying to crack down on this sort of thing

                  What, by arguing over what colour of band-aid they should add to the existing band-aids?

          2. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster
            Alert

            Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

            "It's about leaving a centrally controlled political union that is dragging the whole of Great Britain and Northern Ireland into mediocrity and stagnation, like most such unions do."

            FYP.

          3. Snorlax Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

            ”Brexit isn't about racism.”

            Fuckin’ quote of the decade right there!

            The denial is strong with this one.

          4. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Drone boy back on the meths again

            Screw what the racists want, Brexit isn't about racism.

            Of course, let's just forget about Farage standing in front of the Braking Point poster, amongst other things. I await the unbridled joy from Brexiteers when the UK-India trade agreement is announced, then. What could the UK offer India?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Third Border

    So, if Fujitsu deliver late and under spec, what will be the backstop position until a breeding population of unicorns can be established?

    The current backstop is simple: if nobody can agree anything we leave the EU on the due date. That would require a hard border until it could be softened, which would probably cause the IRA to take up arms once again.

    Or we could enforce the EU customs union for Northern Ireland and sever it - physically or softly - from the rest of the UK. This is the option preferred by Eire and Theresa May but it would probably cause the Loyalist terrorists to take up arms once again.

    The only border, hard or soft, which does not involve bloodshed is the one between Eire and France. There is already an ID check border in place. Why not enhance it as a customs border and Eire can eat its own dogfood to sever itself from the EU customs union and join a UK one? You might think I a barking mad to suggest this, I mean, where did I get to hear about it, from Nigel Farage's dog? No, from the Irish news media. The good citizens of Eire are more aware of it as a possible solution than we are in the UK. They don't like it, they don't like it at all, but then I am not convinced that they like bloodshed any better. Nor, frankly, do I.

    Please find my collection of kneejerk downvotes below.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The Third Border

      What is this Eire you speak of? Also, thanks to this Brexit nonsense, polls say that Ireland is currently about 90% in favour of staying in the EU. Ireland certainly wouldn't want to be in the same free trade area as the UK and be party to the same agreements without any say in the matter, a passenger on Boris's red model bus as he drives round on his madcap journey to sell off the health service and import shitty food, amongst other things.

      But anyway, if nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Third Border

        Eire is the Irish for the island we Brits call Ireland. My (Southern) Irish friends regard themselves as citizens of the entire island rather than just the larger southern political country, so I honoured that view in my phraseology.

        But, hey, don't let me spoil your pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: The Third Border

          Eire means "Ireland" or "the Irish Republic" or "the Ireland of Ireland" in Irish Gaelic, so you're not clarifying matters, you're confusing them.

          Should I wax lyrical about España, Italia, Deutschland, or Norge when writing in English? What's the point?

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: The Third Border

          Eire is the Irish for the island we Brits call Ireland.

          Article 4 of the Irish constitution is quite explicit:

          "Éire is ainm don Stát nó, sa Sacs-Bhéarla, Ireland." or, in English, "The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland."

          Calling it Éire when speaking English is like saying "I went to Deutschland on holiday", it just sounds silly.

  18. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    Just give the contract

    for the border plan to crapita

    Its bound to fail then

    And I'd wish the tory party would hurry up and die.. entertaining though as its death spasms are..

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Just give the contract

      "And I wish the tory party would hurry up and die"

      Amen to that!

  19. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Borders are more than customs checks

    I'm sure I remember being told that Brexit would let the UK of GB and NI 'take back control of our borders'

    How does that work with technology possibly monitoring goods crossing out of the EU into the UK, but ignoring people? Surely control means control? Without physical border checkpoints (illegal under the GFA) what stops evil Polish plumbers legally in Dublin from moving to Belfast - part of the UK! And then moving to Liverpool? Are the DUP happy with people having to show ID/passports to go from one part of the UK to another?

    I think these nutters should google 'squaring the circle'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Borders are more than customs checks

      what stops evil Polish plumbers legally in Dublin from moving to Belfast - part of the UK! And then moving to Liverpool?

      Nothing, but what would they do once there? As soon as they show an ID to get a job, health care, benefits etc. their dastardly plot would be exposed.

      There has never been control of people crossing the border, UK and Irish citizens have always had the right to live and work anywhere in the Common Travel Area.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Borders are more than customs checks

        There has never been control of people crossing the border, UK and Irish citizens have always had the right to live and work anywhere in the Common Travel Area.

        The first half of the sentence has nothing to do with the second. The living and working part of the CTA is built on sand and, in the UK at least, has very little legal back up. Irish citizens mostly use EU rights to live and work in the UK.

        As for control of people crossing the border:

        Carry your passport, says man quizzed on Belfast to Dublin bus

        The End of the Common Travel Area?

        Not withstanding other problems like those faced by dual British-Irish citizens.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Borders are more than customs checks

          The living and working part of the CTA is built on sand

          Or, as the article linked to says, "It is a relationship built on trust."

          It's not unlike much of the EU. Consider the situation of British citizens in the Channel Islands or IoM, they aren't in the EU and so have no freedom of movement rights, but many EU countries choose to ignore that and treat them like other British citizens.

          As for control of people crossing the border:

          Carry your passport, says man quizzed on Belfast to Dublin bus

          Yes, that's another similar case. UK & Irish citizens don't need passports to cross the border, but how do you prove you're a UK or Irish citizen? With a passport. Just like non-Schengen parts of the EU, where citizens of EU countries can move freely, but need to carry ID to prove that they have that right. You'll note that the man in the above article was allowed to continue once he'd convinced the Guard that he was from NI.

          I had a similar experience many years ago. I was flying from one EU country to a small airport in the UK, with a connection in London. I attempted to check my bags through, but was told that I couldn't, since there was no international customs presence at the arrival airport. I pointed out that EU citizens didn't need to go through customs but could use the Blue channel. I was told that I was quite correct, but just in case I was smuggling something there still had to be a customs point that I wouldn't go through, so they could carry out a spot check if required. I had to collect my bag and not pass customs in London first, and then board my customs-free domestic flight.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Borders are more than customs checks

            last time I went to Ireland

            I had no proof of ID and nearest proof of nationality was a UK reg car

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Borders are more than customs checks

      This is exactly why the border will work

      All the airlines and ferries from N Ireland to the UK already ask for government id.

      (They ask for government id for flying in England)

      As long as their is a special "British Only" lane at checkin the DUP will be fine with it.

      The UK can ignore the border, most of the smuggling is going to be going the other way, from an independant free-trade UK with lots of (bend over backward) free trade deals with the USA and China. What smuggling there is from Eire can be stopped at the ports on the way to the mainland.

      Ireland is the one which will be forced to police a border to stop chlorine chicken reaching the tables of France. Exactly how much an Irish politician fancies having Irish soldiers pointing guns at Sinn Fein politicians while searching their cars at an Eu checkpoint.

      1. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster

        Re: Borders are more than customs checks

        "All the airlines and ferries from N Ireland to the UK already ask for government id."

        Bollocks.

        For ferries, it is often advised to carry some form of recognised ID, but personally I've never been asked for any when boarding. A number of years back, myself and a few friends were on a pub crawl in Belfast celebrating the end of our final university exams when the suggestion came up to take the night boat to Stranraer. So we turned up at the docks, purchased passenger tickets and went to Scotland with no ID checks to head up to Glasgow to continue the session.

        As for air travel, the ID checks made from NI to GB and vice versa are no different to those to the checks made on passengers on flights where the departure and arrival destinations are both in GB.

        As for the comments concerning Irish soldier guns pointing at Sinn Fein politicans, Sinn Fein, like all other political parties in the Irish Parliament, have at least so far been fully supportive of the Irish Government's handling of issues surrounding Brexit.

  20. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    The Brexit Horror Show

    The Rocky Horror Show featuring The Time Warp

    The Brexit Horror Show featuring The Backstop

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: The Brexit Horror Show

      It's just a slither to the far right....

  21. Fungus Bob Silver badge
    Devil

    Just build a wall already!

    Worked for Hadrian...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just build a wall already!

      However, if you want to use Italian builders again, better do it from the Republic side after the Brexit fiasco..

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, a great big very beautiful wall

    Give me a call.

    - Don, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC

  23. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Magic pill and wishfull thinking

    Could you throw plenty of taxpayers money in our technological scam please? We've got blockchains!

  24. MAF
    FAIL

    Update

    In the interests of transparent democracy the plans and report will go on public display.

    Published on a bus.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Transparency

      In the interests of transparent democracy the plans and report will go on public display.

      ... printed in transparent ink on plate glass.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Who the fsck cares.

    It's a small issue that grabs a headline like fishing. #fractiongraphandtimewithliability

  27. MJI Silver badge
    Pint

    Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

    Cameron started this with his stupid referendum.

    I just KNEW it would be a shit storm. Irish border, car manufacturers, all so obvious to me.

    So since it is not my fault the shitters can go and fix it!

    To be honest I am pleased that Swindon and Sunderland voted that way as then they cannot moan when they lose their jobs, they voted to be unemployed.

    I remember the Japanese agreeing to come to the UK as Maggie promised them easy tarriff free access to the HUGE EU market.

    So to all the shitters out there, you fucked it up, you sort it!

    Oh and I reckon it will kill the Pound, my theory is as such.

    In about 10 years or so when we are a huge basket case, we will reapply to join, IF they accept us, we will have to take the Euro.

    Bit different to my planned reverse takeover of the EU. We could have got the Queens head on the currency.

    Anyway I need to buy up a few GB stickers with the stars on them.

    Now to the May deal, it was actually quite a good deal for an exit deal, obviously not in the same ballpark as our current deal. But MPs in general are too thick to understand.

    If you didn't want to exit why did you agree to article 50?

    If you did want to exit, why block a valid deal?

    As I said MPs in general are thick, with some exceptions.

    And now we are likely to end up with a childrens entertainer as PM!

    But at least the ERG can congratulate themselves in finally killing off the Conservative party. On and no I will not vote for you, you fucked it up, you sort it.

    ERG are generally morons, but for some reason they loved Tony Blair? Why? They chose Ian & Duncan Smith (moron) as leader when an alternate candidate was Ken Clarke!

    Oh and as a final up yours I do not know any pro EU ex Conservative supporters who have not moved to support Lib Dem.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

      Cameron started this with his stupid referendum.

      Yeah, bloody democracy. Such a pain in the ass.

      Of course, if Major had called a referendum before signing Maastricht and dragging us into the EU we'd never had had the problem of Brexit.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

        Whilst I agree that there should have been a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, I completely disagree that the problem of Brexit wouldn't have arisen - folk like you and code junky, and Reese-Mogg (and my mother, and sister, and...) would still want to "take back control" without any actual definition of what you mean.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

          @Intractable Potsherd

          "folk like you and code junky, and Reese-Mogg (and my mother, and sister, and...) would still want to "take back control" without any actual definition of what you mean."

          In what way have any of us been unclear in what we mean? Obviously I dont know if your family is unclear.

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

          The really evil weasel word in there is 'back'. Those hammering on about "taking back control" never had control (thank $deity). What the likes of Rees-Mogg and the other ERG loonies want is to take control. The stroke of marketing genius was to slip the word 'back' in there. I, for one, shudder at the thought of a world run to an even greater degree, by evil selfish bastards who want to tax the poor more and give it to themselves. Of course, if you look at what has happened to people like that over the course of history, when they get what they want, it rarely turns out so well for them in the end. There's only so long you can rule the plebs by consent before some bright spark comes up with a new machine for chopping heads off.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

            "The really evil weasel word in there is 'back'. Those hammering on about "taking back control" never had control"

            I guess thats true. The EU took over trade, sovereignty and politics before they got into government.

            "I, for one, shudder at the thought of a world run to an even greater degree, by evil selfish bastards who want to tax the poor more and give it to themselves"

            Pretty sure we all want to avoid that. Our views of how to do it are different.

            "Of course, if you look at what has happened to people like that over the course of history, when they get what they want, it rarely turns out so well for them in the end."

            A point in case would be those who wanted the Euro. And of course our near miss of joining it!

            "There's only so long you can rule the plebs by consent before some bright spark comes up with a new machine for chopping heads off."

            Which is probably why moving more and more control into the EU has resulted in more plebs being less happy and not so willing to consent to the will of the EU. Some even rejecting it and having the rules smuggled in without their say.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

              Pretty sure we all want to avoid that. Our views of how to do it are different.

              You can probably start by taking a look at the company you keep...

              Johnson, Farage, Gove, Rees-Mogg, Redwood, Lawson, Banks, Murdoch, Barclay and Barclay, Rothermere... etc.

              All ardent brexiters, all complete right-wing fuckers who'd sell their own grandmother.

              Need I go on?

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Not my problem, don't expect me to help.

                @Loyal Commenter

                "All ardent brexiters, all complete right-wing fuckers who'd sell their own grandmother.

                Need I go on?"

                No but you need a better argument. This poor argument fell out of favour before the referendum vote was taken. Primarily because what you are doing is XFactor politics, and your company is the likes of Blair, Mandelson, Junker, and so on. Also Farage right wing? Libertarian yes but more middle of the road policies (before Labour lept left and Osborne/Cameron moved left to capture that vote).

                When your argument is not based on merit but on the names of supporters then you have no argument.

  28. d3vy Silver badge

    "As there are 300 crossing points across the 499km line between Northern Ireland and the Republic"

    There might be 300 roads/footpaths but I'm fairly sure that the border is itself one big imaginary line running through open fields.

    Crossing it would be fairly easy at any point that isn't a road so evading any automated system would be fairly simple? Or are we running on the honour system?

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Irish border

      Also runs through some peoples houses.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Or are we running on the honour system?

      Doesn't every border? Well, unless someone builds a wall, I suppose. Berlin or Mexican, take your pick.

      Anyway, if Scotland ever does get independence the question of the NI border will look like a kindergarten party in comparison.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        No, it won't. Lives don't depend on a border agreement between England and Scotland like they do in Ireland. Also, given where the Anglo-Scottish border doesn't run through villages or houses (as far as I know - I'm happy to be corrected. There won't be many, anyway), the problems won't be as acute. A hard border would be relatively simple to erect, though cold and damp most of the year.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          England/Scotland border

          In the last referendum, the counties just north of the border voted solidly 65+% to remain in the UK. There's not been a practical border there in three centuries, many of those people live on one side but work, or send their kids to school, on the other. You think they'd be happy if that became a hard border? How many of those communities will ask to have the border redrawn so that they can stay in the UK? How much opposition will the SNP raise to that? The equivalent border commission in Ireland in the 20s did not go smoothly. Solving a few customs issues in Ireland will be child's play compared to resolving that.

  29. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster
    Facepalm

    They just don't get it

    I live in Northern Ireland, about 10 miles from the border with the Republic.

    Neither this proposal, nor any being even half seriously suggested by Brexit supporters, stands up to any real world scrutiny.

    At the moment, people can more or less freely travel across what is essentially an invisible border that you only notice because of a change in road signs and road markings. In some locations the roads criss-cross the border several times quite quickly. There's a village in Fermanagh (NI) and Donegal (Rep) called Pettigo which is literately split by an international border with a small river that has just an old, narrow bridge crossing it. There are also numerous plots of private land that are owned by the same person or family that straddle both sides of the border with no visible markings on them. And let's not forget the notorious IRA henchman Thomas "Slab" Murphy who is currently in jail in the Republic, his own house had the border running through it. One side of the living room was NI, the other was in the Republic. When he was being raided several years ago, they were jointly conducted by both the PSNI and the Garda because if one force did it alone and he got an early alert they were coming, shifting stuff over the border, out of reach of the law enforcement of one jurisdiction, was easily and quickly done.

    Tens of thousands of people each workday cross the border either for work or conducting their business.Over 12,000 vehicles involving HGV or small goods vans cross the border every day. Then there's also the sensitivity of the Good Friday Agreement and how riding rough shot over it will involve the unilateral breaking of an international treaty. The private sector economy in Northern Ireland is already one of the weakest in the UK, and much weaker on its own compared to its southern neighbour. Add any sort of border limitation beyond what is there at present and there will be trouble ahead. And it's not just the financial aspect, the social aspect will also be hit. Delays in visiting friends and relatives that live just a few miles away, schools on both sides of the border facing difficulties or delays travelling for sports events and field trips. And god forbid if any northern team like Tyrone or Donegal have an extended run in Gaelic football's All-Ireland championship, having tens of thousands of supporters getting backed up at customs posts along the border is going to be chaos. Especially the Donegal ones as they'll have to go over the border twice! You can add likely civil disobedience to any infrastructure to customs checks put in place, throw in a swift economic downturn in border areas and you have a fertile ground for dissident Irish Republicans to gain moral support for taking pot shots at officials along the border.

    And the thing is, that the unicorn breeders in the ERG and most Brexiteers altogether, have no idea of the practicalities of having to enforce a land border. To them, the problem is "far away" and as long as they see plenty of big blurry men at Dover enforcing immigration control they'll think they'll take their country back while happy to leave a great big open gate on its west. The telling thing is that none of the Brexit cheerleaders in Westminster, except Theresa May herself (and it was carefully choreographed) have bothered their backsides actually coming over to visit the border areas on NI in person to learn about the issues that they claim to speak for the whole of the UK.

    Watch out Britain. If the likes of the ERG and many other Brexiteers are happy to screw over NI for their own gains, they'll just as happily screw your useful idiots over too.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: They just don't get it

      You are quite correct in everything you say except that the border, if erected, will be on the Republic side.

      The EU demands it, not the UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They just don't get it

        It is ironic that NI will become the ‘free state’ since Dublin has been falling over itself to hand more and more power over to the faceless overpaid unelected bureaucrats in Bruxelles. The only frontier marking erected by the UK will be a tasteful arch that says....

        “Welcome to the Free State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”

        Any one on either side of the frontier that is concerned about a hard border should be petitioning the Republic and the EU not to build it. Not that they will listen, which is why any one believing in self determination by independent government wants to get away from the failed socialist experiment that the EU so obviously is.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: They just don't get it

          ..."over to the faceless overpaid unelected bureaucrats in Bruxelles..."

          We've literally just had *very public* elections. How can you still be banging on about this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They just don't get it

            We've literally just had *very public* elections. How can you still be banging on about this.

            We don't elect the bureaucrats, we elect their patsies.

            Look at the ongoing "election" for the EU President. The commission chooses a candidate and presents one name to the parliament. The parliament can say yes, or no. If it says no, the commission can try another name. The elected parliament is a talking shop, paid for by our taxes, which can't even agree on where it should sit in case it offends the French. Total waste of oxygen.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: They just don't get it

              We don't elect the bureaucrats, we elect their patsies.

              Presumably, you are talking about civil servants, then.

              The EU has 32,000 of them. Whitehall has 332,000. That's right, 300,000 more.

              People in glass houses...

            2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: They just don't get it

              Look at the ongoing "election" for the EU President UK prime minister. The commission Tory MP portion of Parliament chooses a candidate and presents one name to the parliament two names to the party membership. The parliament party membership can cannot say yes, or no. If it says no, the commission can try another name. The elected parliament Tory party is a talking shop, paid for by our taxes unaccountable donors, which can't even agree on where it should sit a brexit deal in case it offends the French ERG and DUP. Total waste of oxygen

              There, FTFY, no charge...

      2. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster

        Re: They just don't get it

        Unless the UK wants to drop all tariffs on imports, then it'll put up a border. The WTO will demand it. And if every country can get tariff free exports into the UK, then why would any country want to sign a free trade deal with them?

        And even without that, you seriously think that the UK not putting up a land border will help stop illegal immigration into the country? Welcome to Calais style camps popping up in Belfast & Larne. A little more difficult logistically compared to the old Calais camps, but where there's a will there's a way for most of them.

      3. White Lightning Three Litre Barrack Buster

        And just to add...

        If the Republic of Ireland is tasked to put up customs posts along the border as a consequence of Brexit executed with no corresponding deal with the EU it'll also be insisted because both they and the EU will themselves want to not be in breach of WTO trading rules, despite having taken no action unilaterally themselves - that is because the UK are the ones taking unilateral action. They are the party breaking an international agreement, not Ireland or the EU. Passing the buck over the issues concerning the border is not something new, the recent history of British political life is full of examples of burdening others with their own problems. What now exists in the Palace of Westminster is a politic body that over the last 40 to 50 years has incredibly immatured when almost everyone else continues to mature and grow up. A denial about the role and strength the UK now has in the world. If anything the EU has managed to buffer them somewhat from the worst of its shocks. All that's mainly left is for a bunch of spoilt boys to boast with ultra confident the belief that they can make it in this world on the sheer basis because their grandfather's did. But that will mean taking responsibility for your actions, something that the right of centre wing of English politics preaches to everyone but themselves. Blame the EU, blame Russia, blame the French, blame the Irish, blame the Chinese, blame the Argentines, blame the Germans etc. etc. etc.

        No political union or base lasts forever, but If I was a betting man, I'd be putting money on the current United Kingdom breaking up before the EU eventually succumbs.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: And just to add...

          The existence of the UK in its current form in ten years time is less than 50%, I'd say. Let's hold a referendum to kick England out (though we might need to make special arrangements for Cornwall)!

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: And just to add...

          Passing the buck over the issues concerning the border is not something new, the recent history of British political life is full of examples of burdening others with their own problems

          So true - see 'Free TV licences for the over-75s'

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: And just to add...

            So true - see 'Free TV licences for the over-75s'

            You mean in only providing them to elderly people receiving additional pensions benefits, but expecting better-off pensioners to pay like anyone else? How is that "burdening others with their own problems"?

      4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: They just don't get it

        @AC You are quite correct in everything you say except that the border, if erected, will be on the Republic side.

        The EU demands it, not the UK.

        How can the UK 'take back control' of its borders if it can't be arsed to erect a physical border?

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: They just don't get it

          @Pen-y-gors

          "How can the UK 'take back control' of its borders if it can't be arsed to erect a physical border?"

          If taking back control of something means we can choose then how can choosing not to erect a border not be taking back control? To have no choice is not to have control

          1. Fonant

            Re: They just don't get it

            So we're going to "take back control" of our border in Ireland by deciding not to have any border controls?

            Might we decide to "take back control" of our money by deciding to join the Euro?

            That's stretching logic a bit too far, I feel...

            ...but then logic and Brexit have never really got on together.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: They just don't get it

              @Fonant

              "So we're going to "take back control" of our border in Ireland by deciding not to have any border controls?"

              Wanna try rewriting that? Or are you happy proving the point?

              "Might we decide to "take back control" of our money by deciding to join the Euro?"

              However joining the Euro would be giving up control since we would no longer be able to make decisions about the currency.

              "...but then logic and Brexit have never really got on together."

              Before talking of logic just check you understand the logic.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The result is predictable

    They will spend further gazillions on ThickTanks and consulting, and in the end decide on hanging a high visibility orange Cat 7 cable across all access roads, complete with connectors, so they can still call it digital. The luxury version will even have RJ45 sockets on either end to plug it in, the rest will just use a slipknot.

    Now, this is of course WestMinster deciding, so they will totally miss the fact that orange isn't just a high visibility colour when we talk about Ireland, and that's where the next row will come from.

    Now, if you don't mind, I have to go and predict winning lottery numbers. That's easier than all this Brexit malarkey.

  31. strum Silver badge

    Organisation whose political life depends on the possibility of a solution, thinks there might be a solution. Yeah. Sure.

    There is one aspect of this that needs addressing; the fear is that a hard border would provide hard targets for asymmetric warriors. But, has no-one noticed that AWs have long since developed expertise in attacking 'soft' targets - like intricately-drawn software/data/AI solutions? I'm sure the (A)IRA have.

  32. acid andy
    Black Helicopters

    Surveillance State

    It seems to me that any real "technological solution" is a great excuse for massively increased snooping. After all, if you don't stop someone at the border, surely your technology needs to be able track down where they are, and any goods they may be carrying, both before and after that crossing. At minimum they could just scan number plates at the border, then scan them elsewhere and conduct random spot checks but then how do you prove that whatever they're carrying when they're stopped was inside the vehicle when they went over the border? I can't see how this system could be anything other than either fully Orwellian, completely useless, or both, depending on the levels of surveillance conducted. Am I missing something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surveillance State

      What makes you think that they aren't doing that already? They certainly do at other EU borders.

  33. Welsh Skeptic

    Having read Nigel Tranter's excellent trilogy of Robert the Bruce, it was always his dream for a united Ireland and Scotland to face up to Edward 1.

    It would appear that this dream might yet come to pass. If you want a real laugh who has heard of the Battle of Loudain Hill whereby Bruce with a few thousand bare arsed highlanders annihilated three hundred English knights on horseback.

    I would suggest that Ireland and the EU should have a one day training day to stress test the existing system and see what happens. If I was Macron, I would also give free ferry tickets to all the migrants around Calais to also make a visit.

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