back to article Virtual inanity: Solution to Irish border requires data and tech not yet available, MPs told

A "virtual" solution to the Irish border problem arising from Brexit relies on data that has not yet been amassed and technology yet to be available, MPs heard today. In the Home Affairs Committee hearing into Home Office preparations for Brexit, Shanker Singham, chair of the Prosperity UK thinktank-backed Alternative …

  1. joeW Silver badge

    "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

    If you have some free time, have a look along the border in satellite view on Google maps - there's some absolute beauties, especially around Fermanagh. There's farm buildings with one half on either side of the border. There's houses that are in Ireland, but the gate at the end of their driveway is in the UK. There's a main road that crosses the border four times in twelve miles. There's virtual enclaves, where sections of Ireland can only be reached by driving along a UK road (something which presents some difficulty when it comes to policing even in the current relaxed state of affairs).

    1. Swiss Anton

      Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

      Ed Byrne has done a brilliant sketch about this, and in particular how the border runs down the middle of the road in some places (though I'm not sure that is actually true). but one of the best lines in the sketch goes something like "Siobhan, get your passport out, we're about to overtake the fella in front"

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

        The border does run through buildings - 'get my passport, I'm going to the dunny'.

        Multiple roads, just like your trip to the loo also cross the border repeatedly - https://sites.google.com/site/kennyallenswebsite/home/crossing-the-irish-border-after-partition

        1. sbt Silver badge
          IT Angle

          In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

          It's not unheard of for borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement, particularly where exclaves exist. It would be one approach in the event of NDB.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

            So can we just put the magic border between the bits of Britain that want Brexit and the rest of the world?

            1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Magic border

              And a wall around Westminster with BoJo and pals locked inside? :) :)

              I'll get me coat

              1. Empire of the Pussycat

                build the wall!

                (body)

                1. LDS Silver badge
                  Devil

                  Re: build the wall!

                  Or just relocate Hadrian's Wall....

                  1. Danny 2 Silver badge

                    Re: build the wall!

                    ...and make the Romans pay for it!

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: build the wall!

                      well, by brexit extension MAKE THE ROMANIANS PAY FOR IT!

                2. jmch Silver badge
                  Trollface

                  Re: build the wall!

                  "build the wall!"

                  and make BoJo and pals pay for it, natch!

            2. sbt Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Never said it would be easy. Just sayin'

              In fact, might sharpen a few minds over the benefits of re-unification.

              But as a practical matter, the fact remains as katrinab points out elsewhere the number of crossings is impractical, and reducing the number implies boundary changes as a practical step. Not preferable, not desirable, but necessary if NDB takes place.

              Just to be clear, not a supporter of Brexit, reunification or other; that's for the locals to negotiate.

          2. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

            "Regularised?"

            @sbt given the whole NI issue stems from an ill-judged partition in the 1920s that sounds like a terrible idea, however worthy the goal. And NDB is definitely not worth it.

            1. sbt Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

              Well since the partition was ill-judged, you either should fix it or remove it, yes?

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

              The international order follows county borders. I'm not sure how old those are but I'd guess they follow older parish and/or townland borders and maybe property borders before that. As at the time it was all one country it didn't matter too much if a property straddled a county border. Given partition the border had to be drawn somewhere and, short of sending out a team of surveyors and lawyers to argue every inch, the county boundaries would have seemed the most practical. But as to whether partition was ill-judged or not, the alternative would have been the north fighting a war of secession. Whether that would have settled the Irish Question permanently is a matter for speculation but as we know politicians favour a short term solution whatever the long-term cost.

              1. John Jennings

                Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

                Most Irish counties were initially defined in C6th AD they were formalised in the time of Henry 8th in around 1550

          3. katrinab Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

            Not when you have two sides who absolutely Will Not Surrender even a single mm of land.

            1. sbt Silver badge
              Go

              Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

              Well you say that, but other seemingly intractable enemies have done area swaps in the past. Their motivations were often around military defense, but still.

            2. joeW Silver badge

              Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

              One side doesn't want the border to move an inch, the other would like it to move about 80 miles.

              1. katrinab Silver badge
                Flame

                Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

                80 miles north/east. Not a single millimetre south/west.

                1. joeW Silver badge

                  Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

                  Yeah, although to be honest I probably wouldn't miss Roscommon.

                  1. Ken 16 Silver badge

                    Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

                    And then there's Cavan...

                    1. sbt Silver badge
                      Coat

                      This is why we can't have nice borders

                      A lot of interesting and informative posts. But I'm sorry I raised this. It's not OCD or nuthin', but I like tidy lines. Sorry.

                      Peace out, y'all.

          4. Mage Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

            Ah, the famous 1922 Border Commission which was unable to operate!

            So an IT system that doesn't exist and is unlikely to be be delivered on time and does nothing about deliberate smuggling or "criminality" by the "registered" users. Have they ANY idea how porous it is and how cross border shipping would be monitored?

            The EU and Ireland will not ever agree to essentially an uncontrolled 3rd party border. This system can't even be as good as VAT collection and the UK has been doing that badly resulting in two kinds of VAT fraud between UK and rest of EU, often with a conned legitimate middle man in the supply chain.

            1. Degenerate Scumbag

              Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

              "The EU and Ireland will not ever agree to essentially an uncontrolled 3rd party border."

              Indeed. The EU only favour uncontrolled borders when they facilitate flooding Europe with third worlders. Then they tell you that controlling borders is immoral, and insist on pushing the "refugees" on unwilling countries.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                The living embodiment of the word moron.

                You're getting very confused about third world, other parts of Europe, open borders inside Europe, assylum seekers, morals, refugees and unwilling countries. Almost everything you said is ridiculous and I can only hope you fail to make it to polling stations in future votes on any subject.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                  "Almost everything you said is ridiculous"

                  So you say, but unfortunately for you it doesn't change the reality an iota.

                  Actual refugees (as defined by UN) are a small minority, most are just illegal immigrants wandering through safe countries to seek asylum in countries it's easier to get. They usually won't get because no reason whatsoever to give it, so >80% are rejected and then they try again or change country and try again. No limits on trying.

                  And when they don't get it, they stay in country illegally. That's harsh reality: You can ignore it, but it won't change by ignorance.

                  So, in practise, borders are open to anyone chanting 'asylum'. Only thing which limits it, is the fees smugglers take: Only (relatively) rich people can afford it.

                  "I can only hope you fail to make it to polling stations in future votes on any subject."

                  So you can vote that someone else pays for these people? That's called stealing you know?

                  "Immigration", legal or not, is a good business netting billions yearly and taxpayers are paying for it. Literally.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                    Nope.

                    The people you're talking about are not wandering over open borders, they are crossing hard borders at the edge of Europe illegally.

                    Those who are rejected are deported in almost all cases.

                    Borders are, in fact, closed in practice.

                    We, as a collective educated and civilised people (aka, the EU including UK) voted to support those less fortunate than ourselves rather than wait and go to war when they decide to take what we have. It's the right thing to do and in practice it makes us better off and better people. The comment about voting was clearly aimed at not wanting someone so disconnected from education and truth to have a say. Voting based on racism, xenophobia and hatred is not ideal but we do live in a society where everyone has a right to vote regardless of how unaware they are of the issues they are voting on. Brexit was almost universally turkeys voting for xmas and is a great example of why we have representation by people who (in theory) do understand the consequenses. Thankfully, those representitives have, so far, rejected Brexit scenarios which will harm the country.

                    Immigration is great for the economy and allows us to bring in skilled people from everywhere else. We have skills shortages in every industry and these can only be fixed by importing talent. Training people who don't want to be trained results in a sub-par workforce incapable of competing on a global (and usually also local) marketplace.

                  2. veti Silver badge

                    Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                    If that's really the problem, then the solution is obvious: a unified European immigration and asylum system. Is that what you're suggesting?

                    If not, then you're always going to have differences in the asylum rules between countries, and as long as that persists, there will always be valid reasons for asylum seekers to cross one country to get to another.

                    So make up your mind what you want. Do you want to let refugees apply at each country separately, or do you want your immigration policy absolutely (as opposed to just partly) dictated by foreigners? It's one or the other.

                    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

                      Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                      "So make up your mind what you want. Do you want to let refugees apply at each country separately, or do you want your immigration policy absolutely (as opposed to just partly) dictated by foreigners? It's one or the other."

                      See, there's your problem,. right there. You think other members of the same superstate are foreigners. They're not., They're us.

                      Grow up and stop being such a parochial, insular, xenophobic child.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                        @Adrian 4 if I could upvote you more times I would. This is exactly what is wrong with Britain right now and why the EU will be better off once we've left. We're the only state who don't seem to get it, and statements like "The EU have done this to us" are common despite "The EU" having largely been driven by the UK over the years. Every single one of the things I hear people complain about were unanimously voted for by UK MEPs and most of them proposed by UK MEPs, so really it's the UK doing things to the poor EU!

                        Yours is my favourite comment of the year so far.

                        1. SundogUK

                          Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                          "...despite "The EU" having largely been driven by the UK over the years."

                          You have no grip on reality at all, do you? In point of fact, the UK has almost always been the most likely to vote against the majority (and lose.)

                          https://www.theguardian.com/world/datablog/2015/nov/02/is-uk-winner-or-loser-european-council

                          1. Anonymal coward

                            Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                            That turns out not to be the case; look at http://ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/is-the-uk-marginalised-in-the-eu-2/ and note "The UK government is closer to final EU policy outcomes than are most other EU governments. This is also true for policy issues the UK government is particularly concerned about.". That's an academic way of saying that the Brits usually get what they want.

                          2. mr-slappy

                            Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                            Thank you for the reference. However the article concludes (my emphasis):

                            - The council overwhelmingly decides by consensus, which means the **UK is on the winning majority side almost 87% of the time**.

                            - The UK government might be more willing than other governments to publicly register its opposition to EU decisions.

                            - The data does not tell us what went on behind the scenes on each of these issues, and hence how much the UK disagreed with the majority position when it recorded its opposition – perhaps the UK was on the winning side on all the key issues it really cared about in this period.

                      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                        Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                        I read the preceding post as tongue-in-cheek, and assumed you were both making essentially the same point, so up-voted you both. I really hope veti was being tongue-in-cheek, because otherwise it's really quite saddening.

            2. jmch Silver badge

              Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

              "...essentially an uncontrolled 3rd party border"

              erm... here in Switzerland, a non-EU country surrounded on all sides by EU countries there's probably thousands of roads crossing to France, Italy, Germany and Austria. There's a few major crossings where there is a permanent customs point, but private vehicles are rarely checked. There's quite a few others where there is a customs post that always seems to be closed / unmanned. And there's probably hundreds of tiny roads that won't ever be manned unless there's a specific tip-off.

              Quite likely there is no way to stop small-scale smuggling. Container-loads of goods are unlikely to be being smuggled because they would certainly be easily spotted on the smaller roads (not to mention that many of those roads are impassable by a big truck anyway).

              Wanting a solution that stops 100% of smuggling is unrealistic. Having virtual control of a physical border is impossible

              1. Roj Blake Silver badge

                Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                Switzerland may be outside the EU, but it's inside the Schengen area.

                1. Korev Silver badge

                  Re: borders to be regularised or smoothed out by mutual agreement

                  Customs are separate to Schengen. The customs can stop anyone anywhere in the Country (this was introduced with Schengen). This can mean if you're naughty and don't declare your shopping or other stuff then you get fined or even prosecuted in extreme cases.

                  The reality though is that people bring things over the border all the time and regard the occasional fine as "worth it".

          5. Ken 16 Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

            You are 100% correct, that's why the Boundary Commission was set up in 1922 as part of the Anglo Irish Treaty and operated in 1924-1925. It was expected to operate the same way as similar commissions setting international borders following the Great War, polling people on a parish by parish basis as to which side of the border they wanted to be on. Unfortunately a newspaper leaked their work, showing that a lot more people (and land) would go to Ireland than to Northern Ireland and the British objected and shut it down with no changes from the county boundaries pre-1920.

            1. Ken 16 Silver badge

              Re: In event of Brexit emergency, break grass

              Sorry, I just had to correct myself after fact checking. Both the Irish and British governments were embarrassed by the leak and agreed privately to write off Ireland share of the Empire's war debt in return for dropping the border issue. They also agreed they could each blame the other for it (hence the version I remember from school).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

          The main problem with the border is that it never was a border between 2 countries. Northern Irland is a collection of 6 counties - its not even a regional (as Ulster is 9 counties, not the 6 in the rump state.

          Traditional state borders are (usually) more structured. Imaging taking a county like Kent - and putting a border round that. Or, 10 counties in a state like Missouri (similar population size)- it would have similar road/border complexities, but 100 counties.... Most US states have 'nice square' counties - Ireland is much older - so its county lines are all over the place - they were originally defined in the 6th century AD.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

        The border absolutely does go down the middle of the road in places. Yes.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

          The N1 South of Newry, the Northbound carriageway crosses into the UK for 10 meters.

          About 100 meters to the west - Church Hill B113, the border goes along the road.

          Another 3km west - Kilnasaggard Road, the border again goes along the road for about 1km

          I'm not going to examine the rest of the border, but you get the idea.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

      There are 260 border crossings between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

      There are 135 border crossings in the whole of the rest of the EU.

      1. julian_n

        Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

        Where did you make that statistic up from?

        There are over 60 crossings just between France and the canton of Geneva.

        Or is the 0 key missing on your keyboard?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

          >Where did you make that statistic up from?

          >There are over 60 crossings just between France and the canton of Geneva.

          There are 135 external borders to the EU. France/Germany/Austria/Italy and Switzerland are all in Schengen, so it is only a customs border rather than a full border. Same at Italy->Vatican City or Italy->Andorra.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

            "There are 135 external borders to the EU. France/Germany/Austria/Italy and Switzerland are all in Schengen, so it is only a customs border rather than a full border. Same at Italy->Vatican City or Italy->Andorra."

            The EU has land borders with Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia. There must be thousands of roads crossing from EU/Schengen to non-EU/Schengen countries.

            I suspect that it might be true there are 135 external CUSTOMS borders of EU/Schengen, there will be many more road crossings without customs posts.

            Otherwise... citation needed

            1. Monty Cantsin

              Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

              But the point is that there aren't external EU/Schengen border crossings without customs posts. Take a look at a map - you won't find thousands of crossings.

              I can't get the actual total number, but click though the individual borders listed here. I was very surprised to see how few border crossings there are for each EU/Non EU country interface.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/External_border_of_the_European_Union#Border_status_and_cooperation

              For instance, on the 535km Poland Ukraine border (comparable in length to the Irish one, and describe as "the most often crossed eastern border of the EU") there's a grand total of 7 road crossings (11 crossings in total including rail).

              Taking the example of the longest border in the Schengen Area, the Sweden/Norway border (1,630km) has 10 road crossings with customs stations, and only a further 30 with none.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

                this is actually true, there are no "unmanned but allowable" road (and other) border crossings on external EU borders. Also, there are measures imposed to make such crossings impassable (relatively, i.e. concrete blocks, barbed wire, fences, etc.).

                btw, quite recently there were only about 3 border crossings between Poland and Ukraine, and about the same number from Slovakia to Ukraine.

      2. Ken 16 Silver badge

        Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

        There are only 14 border crossings between England and Scotland across a 150km stretch, maybe the UK could experiment by leaving Scotland inside the Customs Union and Single Market while demonstrating a proof of concept for border management technology?

    3. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

      Buildings, roads, and properties that cross borders are probably the least of your problems. Famously the Haskell Library/Opera House(Auditorium) in Derby Line, VT/Stanstead, QC not only straddles the US-Canadian border, it was deliberately built that way. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haskell_Free_Library_and_Opera_House The Mohawks manage to somehow control a modest territory including parts of New York, Ontario and Quebec. If they can keep two countries, a US state and two Canadian provinces at bay, I expect the Irish can work something out provided they don't get too much help from Westminster and Brussels.

      1. joeW Silver badge

        Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

        If it was just a question of "the Irish working something out", the whole thing would have been done and dusted in December 1922.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

        So the solution is to make the border an Indian reservation ?

        I was thinking of a deal where we swap the population of NI with say Gaza

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "There are over 200 roads that cross the border."

          I was thinking of a deal where we swap the population of NI with say Gaza

          An interesting proposition, but I don't think that's a particularly fair deal - to be honest, his playing days were over long ago.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

    The big solution, the thing that will save Brexit and deliver a new age of peace and prosperity and a refrigerator in every home is... a government IT project. With unstable requirements. Using untested and non-existent technology.

    Given how Universal Credit has gone I suspect this may be completed some time after 2070.

    Still, at least nobody has mentioned blockchain yet, as predicted here: http://brexfest.eu

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-border/can-blockchain-solve-brexits-border-puzzle-experts-are-skeptical-idUKKBN1WM1XP

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

      Given the nebulous requirements the solution must be cloud-based.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

        *Cough* Blockchain *Cough*

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

          I'm sure The Incredible Sulk's technology consultant will be able to arrange a blockchain.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

            Here's a prototype for her to fit BoJo and the others with.

            But it could be more cost-effective to use a singe and much larger block and multiple lengths of chain. Another option would be to put such blocks at the border crossings in case the customs agreement were to call for them, each with a few lead Brexiteers attached.

            1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

              "Another option would be to put such blocks at the border crossings"

              A big, beautiful wall? Can we get Mexico to pay for it?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic

      The big solution, the thing that will save Brexit and deliver a new age of peace and prosperity and a refrigerator in every home is... a government IT project. With unstable requirements. Using untested and non-existent technology.

      In order for that to succeed it would have to be outsourced to a huge company with a track record for delivery of major government IT projects. So...Crapita then?

  3. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Devil

    Politicians keep on insisting that tech is/just about there to solve all the problems cheaply and efficiently. One question I have never had answered (and I did challenge my local MP - a man who claimed to have been a solid supporter of remain (well this is Scotland and he is praying he will hold on to a seat with a very slim majority) is that if this is the case, then the business opportunity is enormous - look at the trade and count the number of individual entities who would love an efficient scalable solution.

    So where are the solutions to this problem?

    Answer there has come none. I wonder why?

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Maybe it could be tested on a shorter international border first? Scotland:England

      1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

        Or a slightly longer one Wales : England.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Keep your IT misfires away from my sweet principality, thank you very much.

          - Offa's ambiguously-orientated damsel.

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Keep your IT misfires away from my sweet principality

            Cymru is NOT not a f***ing principality! It hasn't been for centuries. It's a country! And the English can keep their f***ing prins!

            #indyWales

            1. joeW Silver badge
              Trollface

              "It's a country!"

              Suuuure it is. Where do I apply for a Welsh passport?

              1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

                Where do I apply for a Welsh passport?

                Applications to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. But please note that you may have to wait a few years for delivery due to administrative delays. Should be in your hands by about 2030.

                1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                  Trollface

                  RE: Pen-y-gors

                  Now for the important question. What colour will that passport be?

                  Yes, i'm trolling, but i couldn't resist.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I live about thirty miles from the Welsh border and agree that it is a separate country. Unfortunately it only seems to be a separate country when it suits Wales. For example the AMs would rather spend their NHS budget on free prescriptions and just use the hospitals over the border in England instead of building their own. Because of this our local A&E is being downgraded after lobbying from Wales so that the regional A&E will be one best situated to serve the bordering Welsh county instead of the English county it is built in (and paid for by - apparently Wales has an awful reputation for paying the bills and one hospital I have heard of, will not accept patients from Wales).

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Maybe it could be tested on a shorter international border first?

        Gibraltar - Spain?

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Well, it's rather like how the poor leavers maintain there will be a 1000 Flowers blooming after Brexit with many new opportunities for inventiveness and entrepreneurship.

      They never say what's previously holding all these brilliant things back because of the EU... How does it stop them ?

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Just like they can never name a single concrete thing in their actual lives that they expect to change for the better after Brexit.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          An unguarded inspection-free border between the Eu and a UK with multiple 'quick and easy' free-trade deals with the rest of the world must provide some opportunities for small businesses with a flexible attitude to bureaucracy

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          blocking your ears

          does not mean they didnt say anything

        3. but what do I know?

          less politicians (MEPs anyway)

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Trollface

        Well, it's rather like how the poor leavers maintain there will be a 1000 Flowers blooming

        Just 1000? And that with the amount of bovine manure that's been spread around during the past couple of years?

    3. LDS Silver badge

      "who would love an efficient scalable solution"

      Yeah, for example, it could be applied to identify and block all those smugglers bringing immigrants and other illegal goods all along the southern coasts of Europe...

    4. smudge Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      So where are the solutions to this problem?

      Answer there has come none. I wonder why?

      Yup, I've been saying that too.

      If anyone had anything like a workable solution, they'd be making as much noise as they could about it, and inviting the PM to their flat in Shoreditch.... sorry, beating a path to Downing Street.

      (Paris cos she looks like Johnson's type. Actually... she looks like Johnson's sister!)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Replace,

      Replace the words "tech" and "it" with "this paper form". Was mostly the "solution" to jobs, education and medical requirement throughout all my experience.

      "We have a form for that", behind a door, with a note saying "beware the...".

  4. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Captain C**kup to the rescue!

    If all the overrun projects had stayed within budget we would have great funding for schools, hospitals, police etc.

    Sadly these projects are usually run by self serving idiots.

  5. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Happy

    Lying in the Chamber

    I'm sure Mr. Johnson is only too well aware that no technology actually exists --- but with British Ingenuity unleashed by leaving from under the thumb of our tyrannical European Masters, it will be sorted in time for Christmas.

    One very promising lead, in fact the main hope, is that the European Research Group can join in with the Natural Law Party as blood-brothers, then linking hands and humming, completely surrounding the Houses of Parliament whilst Boris prays furiously within, until they eventually levitate, legs crossed and still hand in hand, to the moment an emissary of whatever God there may be takes pity and reveals the magic solution to the prone prophet lying in the Chamber.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Lying in the Chamber

      Mr Johnson knows deeply a very skilled and disruptive IT expert he may hire to solve the problem. for a few hundred of thousand or million pounds, Her name Arcuri, she's already worked very hard for British institutions....

      1. Oliver Mayes

        Re: Lying in the Chamber

        "The British Institution", is that what he named it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lying in the Chamber

      I rather imagine that when the great spaghetti monster came down on a pillar of tomato sauce and revealed how to conjour up unicorns, we'd still have Jeremy Corbyn saying he hadn't made up his mind yet on Alphabetti vs Hoops, Nigel Farage claiming that spaghetti was foreign and telling us that everyone knows the vote was always about the right to eat chips, and de Pfeffel Johnson saying something unintelligble in schoolboy latin - probably 'Auxilium non unum est semper facere arbitrium ad me ego...Dominic, Auxilium'

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Lying in the Chamber

        Dominicus de classic

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Lying in the Chamber

          Well, Boris can be relied on to always have a cunning, eh, Cummings plan

    3. Not also known as SC

      Re: Lying in the Chamber

      "I'm sure Mr. Johnson is only too well aware that no technology actually exists --- but with British Ingenuity unleashed by leaving from under the thumb of our tyrannical European Masters, it will be sorted in time for Christmas"

      This is the bit I could never understand. The backstop, so abhorrent to the DUP and ERG, would only come into play if no alternative solution was found. So if this technology is just around the corner why all the fuss about the backstop?

    4. dr john

      Re: Lying in the Chamber

      As Boris assumes tracking devices would let them track imports, does he actually expect those smuggling stuff to put the required trackers in their goods????

      Perhaps its just me, but I think smugglers would be a bit cleverer that that.

      Remember that at one time the Irish on both sides of the border imported livestock , got a grant of that, then exported same beasts back to the same source, and got a grant for that too. Luckily they owned farms on either side of border, so the poor beasts didnt have to spend too long inside the truck before going home that same day.

      I don't think tracking technology will be misused. I also believe in unicorns.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Lying in the Chamber

        does he actually expect those smuggling stuff to put the required trackers in their goods????

        Doesn't need to. It could be like motorway/bridge tolling. ANPR camera reads the license plate, and a sensor scans for a tracker. If the tracker responds, and the system shows that the correct paperwork has been filed, you treat it like the "green channel", and just do random spot checks, like today.

        If there's no tracker, or the response doesn't match the paperwork for the vehicle, customs are alerted and stop the vehicle further on for a full search. Much the same as a "paperwork, please" check at a border post, but without the stop or the border post.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An alternative solution

    Given that a a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will cause significant trade impact to all parties, is the best solution just go with the pretend hard border and wait a few months for Ireland to drop out of the EU?

    It's a more workable solution than others proposed and given France are working on a solution involving pre-border checks that will hit all Irish road freight anyway (approx. 40% of trade with the EU and as it is time sensitive, unlikely to be replaced by either sea or air), far faster than government projects... Particularly if the EU decides to clamp down on tax havens...

    It's not entirely meant as a troll - if Brexit goes ahead, it hits a significant portion of Irish exports (10% directly to the UK and a further 20% of road freight to other European nations for a total of around 30% of total Irish exports for any tariffs). My calculations maybe a little out...figures are based on EU or Irish statistics.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: An alternative solution

      It's a fine idea, except that (1) support in Ireland for leaving the EU is effectively zero, and (2) there are a number of persons with rather strong opinions on the question of (as they see it) foreigners building a border down themiddle of their country, and history suggests their protests may be a little more viorous, disruptive and direct than the Extinction Rebellion people currently glued to various buildings in Whitehall. And a bit less with the non-violence.

      1. SundogUK

        Re: An alternative solution

        "...there are a number of persons with rather strong opinions on the question of (as they see it) foreigners building a border down themiddle of their country..."

        So we should just let IRA killers dictate how we run our country?

        1. Terje

          Re: An alternative solution

          Of course not, you should just imprison the current leadership for treason and remain in EU. I'm not sure what hallucinogens the people that dream up the ideas that you could have all the good parts of EU without the bad ones use, but I'm sure the street price would be enough to cover a significant portion of the GDB loss you will take from leaving.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An alternative solution

          "So we should just let IRA killers dictate how we run our country?"

          3,5000 people killed, 47,000+ injured during the troubles.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: An alternative solution

            I dont think thats the point.

            The economic cost of manning the border by the uk as it was is not possible now. We have all read about the Army being short on recruitment, and is smaller now than it was then. The local security forces are disbanded and would cost billions to reinstate.

            Northern Ireland is already subsidised to a ridiculous degree - and will require more support post brexit if its not going to be completely wiped out economically. A simple solution is necessary. What was being flagged was that there are those who would smuggle or cause violence - and it has to be costed. Its not a question of "Norn Ireland at any price" these days. The Provence would rapidly become an economic absurdity if it needs (even partially) militarized again.

            By way of interest, some precision on the casualty counts (which you may find on Wikipedia and other places are below:

            Casualties in the last conflict are broken down as follows:

            Republicans - 370

            Loyalists - 160

            Security Forces (including locally recruited) - 1050 (350 locally recruited)

            Irish Army/police - 11

            Civillians - 1083

            there isnt really a 'nationalist/Loyalist' breakdown for civillians. The Catholic/Protestant civillian breakdown is approximately 60% catholic, 40% Protestant (the distribution of population by religion was 45%/55% at the time).

            Republican murders of civilians was around 1000.

            Loyalist murders of civilians was 870.

            Security forces accounted for around 200 civilians.

            Security forces accounted for approx 200 Republican casualties, and 18 loyalist ones. 50% of all security forces killings were deemed civillian by all sides.

            Offthe totals, this includes paramilitary on paramilitary murders - around 10% of loyalist and republican killings were by one side on themselves.

            Please do not refer to all the murders as by 'ira killers' - I find it offensive, given the number of acquaintances I have lost.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An alternative solution

      I guess we just have to hope that no one spots that you could drive a boat from Ireland direct to France, bypassing our motorway services. Currently sailings take about 18 hours - so compared to the 12 hours or so for ferry - drive -ferry (or train) of the UK route, not wildly different.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: An alternative solution

        Once the financial incentive exists the ferries will get faster.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An alternative solution

        It's a capacity, time and cost issue

        Approximately 33% of Irelands roll on-roll off trade is directly via Ireland-France with the other 66% going via the UK.

        For time, Cherbourg puts you 6-10 hours drive from the majority destinations in the north of Europe which is where a lot of the freight has been destined, particularly high value agricultural goods that depends on being refrigeration for the value add rather than being frozen and sent via ship.

        Finally, the cost of RoRo freight has been kept down for Irish exports by being able to deliver goods on the return leg via the UK - something that is likely to be significantly reduced after Brexit, increasing freight costs.

      3. Korev Silver badge

        Re: An alternative solution

        >I guess we just have to hope that no one spots that you could drive a boat from Ireland direct to France, bypassing our motorway services.

        Cork <-> Roscoff has been a ferry route for decades, I can imagine that Brittany Ferries are currently looking forward to cashing in...

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: An alternative solution

      Nope.

      Ireland is not going to let the UK push it out of the EU. Support for remaining in the EU is higher in Ireland than anywhere else in the EU.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An alternative solution

        Not surprising, given how much money Ireland's had from the EU over the past few years. Let's see how popular it is when Ireland's paying the bills.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An alternative solution

          Wales had a ton of EU funding. The locals were oblivious and voted out anyway despite all the "funded by EU" signs on everything of value in their neighborhood.

          Never assume people will vote sensibly, people will always disapoint you.

          1. SundogUK

            Re: An alternative solution

            They voted sensibly, they just didn't accept your definition of sense. You still lost.

            1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

              Re: An alternative solution

              "They voted sensibly, they just didn't accept your definition of sense. You still lost."

              We all lost, just some of us are a bit ahead in terms of how much

          2. Warm Braw Silver badge

            Re: An alternative solution

            The locals were oblivious and voted out anyway

            There is analysis to suggest it wasn't the Welsh.

            Whether that restores your faith in people is another matter.

            1. Not also known as SC

              Re: An alternative solution

              This analysis is a little suspect because it makes a distinction between natural born Welsh and people who just live there, i.e. English people who have made it their home, and blames the English 'incomers'.

              People living in Welsh constituencies voted to leave, if they are Welsh, or not, makes very little difference, because it is still their home.Wales still voted leave.

              1. Warm Braw Silver badge

                Re: An alternative solution

                I think it's interesting in respect of potential motivation, but it clearly could not affect the outcome, as you say.

                As it happens, I live in a part of the UK that also benefited very significantly from EU investment and also voted to leave. We don't have significant numbers of 'incomers', but we do have a very significant exodus of the young and educated to other parts of the country, so you could postulate a reverse effect. Correlation, though, as we all know, is not causation.

                I wouldn't make too much of their "because it is still their home" argument: tell that to the EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU that weren't offered a vote: that could genuinely have made a big difference to the outcome.

                1. Not also known as SC

                  Re: An alternative solution

                  I agree with what you're saying. My area voted leave, depends massively on the EU and will be one of the hardest hit areas by a no deal Brexit.

                  Re the 'research', I was just commenting on that because It seems to be fashionable at the moment to blame the English voters for everything Brexit related (I'm Scots but live in England) even though only a minority of the electorate (although a majority of those who turned out) voted leave. This is especially true of comments made by Welsh and Scottish nationalists who seem to behave as if everyone in England voted to leave, while conveniently forgetting that sizeable parts of their populations voted leave as well. Then this 'research' was published saying that although Wales voted to leave, it was the fault of the English.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: An alternative solution

            likewise farmers, I remember those endless posters on the roadside to Devon, "proud to vote leave". Now all I can hear is lamenting that farming is going to be devastated by brexit. I honestly feel sometimes that the Brits should feel the full force of the kick to the backside aka "brexit means brexit". But then, I have no illusion lessons will be learnt, we'll only hear endless moaning that the EU have kicked us out and the UE try to punish us, etc, etc. People were stupid, they don't learn from history, it's always easier to blame "the other" than to admit, even to yourself: I. FUCKED. UP.

          4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: An alternative solution

            The locals (in Wales) were oblivious and voted out anyway

            I'm not sure they were oblivious. Obviously the UKIP-loving retirees from Brum who settled in what they consider to be the far-west English Midlands were a factor, but there was a majority leave vote in many of the ex-industrial areas in the south as well. But when you live in the poorest areas of the poorest region in Northern Europe, in communities which have been shafted and lied to by Tories and Labour (including 'Welsh' Labour during 20 years of devolution), how do you vote when Tory and Labour tell you to vote Remain? It's a big 2 fingers to them both.

            What's interesting now is the rapid growth of support for Independence in Cymru - a recent poll (a reputable one) had 41% support for Indy if it meant staying in the EU! We recently had over 5000 people at a rally in Merthyr and there are local groups springing up all through the valleys.

            Obviously a lot of the support for indyWales is coming because of the shitshow in Westmnister - basically how could we do it worse? The debate is moving on from 'How on earth could Wales be Indy' to 'Why shouldn't we be Indy?' - Independence is normal. Hundreds of countries manage it. Of course, after Indy we will have governments that make crap decisions - that's inevitable. But then WE will have the ability to change our government, unlike now. Remember, Wales has never in history elected a majority of Tory MPs! The values of of the people of Wales are not the values of the Unionist parties in Westminster. The debate that is now happening (and largely being ignored by the Fleet St newspapers and the BBC) shows that a vision exists for a very different, and flourishing, country after Indy, based on the values and needs of our communities, not a small clique at the top. </rant>

            1. Benson's Cycle

              Re: An alternative solution

              Your argument suggests that their logic was "Conservatives and Labour are useless so we'll vote in a way which will hand them even more power to be useless without oversight, in the hope this will somehow annoy them."

              Which is a truly moronic argument. One of the first things an abusive husband will do is take his wife away from her family to destroy her support system.

              Wife = UK citizens

              Abusive husband = Banks, Odey, Rees-Mogg usw

              Support system = EU.

              Getting sovereignty back = let husband beat me up without interference.

              And people voted for it.

              1. Not also known as SC

                Re: An alternative solution

                That's what happened where I live.

            2. Not also known as SC
              Joke

              Re: An alternative solution

              "Obviously the UKIP-loving retirees from Brum who settled in what they consider to be the far-west English Midlands were a factor, "

              Do you have figures to back this up? Every Welsh county except Cardif, The Vale of Glamorgan, Ceredigion, Gwynedd voted to leave. I don't think that even the most moronic UKIP Brummie (Birmingham voted 50.4% leave,49.6% remain) would think that Conwy (54% leave, 46% remain) is the far west of the English Midlands (although now I think about it they might, maybe that is why the margin was so narrow in Birmingham?). If you are going to insult any one please stick to those who deserve it - the South East :-)

            3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: An alternative solution

              Independence is normal. Hundreds of countries manage it. Of course, after Indy we will have governments that make crap decisions - that's inevitable. But then WE will have the ability to change our government, unlike now.

              Which is, curiously enough, exactly the argument made in favour of leaving the EU.

    4. Mage Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: An alternative solution

      EU is part funding ferries direct Ireland with mainland Europe and an electricity connector with France.

      The recent Irish budget suggests an impact of about €400 per person if Brexit. The UK cost might be about £2000 per person and the UK has about x20 the population.

      The damage is asymmetrical. It will destroy the N.I. economy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An alternative solution

        "The damage is asymmetrical. It will destroy the N.I. economy."

        The N.I. economy is already heavily subsidised by the UK Government, with approximately 30% of N.I. jobs being public sector and a significant additional amount being in private firms directly supporting the public sector.

        Looking at the independent Bertlesmann-Stiftung report, the costs for the UK (-€873 per capita) and Ireland (-€726/per capita) are much closer and I would argue that they don't take into account the effects of company tax being recognised in the UK instead of the EU following the UK's withdrawal (the Netherlands and Luxembourg also suffer in this regard) or the eventual redistribution of EU contributions. I do take the point that these are only indicative models and there are likely to be a lot of assumptions that are proved/disproved in an actual scenario.

        I'm not suggesting actually going through with Brexit, hence the partial troll - my hypothesis is that if the UK does leave, that the economic impact will likely drag Ireland out with it.

        Current Irish sentiment towards the EU is unlikely to match future Irish sentiment if the benefits of EU membership turn out to be heavily dependent on the UK's membership.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: An alternative solution

          A MODEST PROPOSAL

          For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick.

          by Dr. Jonathan Swift, 1729

          I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

          I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: An alternative solution

            I don't doubt that there are many historical reasons for Ireland to hate the UK.

            The economic realities of being in the EU without the UK may not allow them to be so sentimental, particularly if there is the possibility of a US trade deal.

            1. Benson's Cycle

              Re: An alternative solution

              US trade deal will wipe out British farming and double the cost of healthcare, at least.

    5. John Latham

      Re: An alternative solution

      This is a bit like a recently and enthusiastically divorced man, complaining that his best friend never comes to the pub with him due to family commitments, suggesting that his friend gets divorced too.

  7. Richard Scratcher
    Unhappy

    Real inanity

    Bojo never wanted Brexit. He led the Vote Leave campaign solely to boost his popularity - safe in the knowledge that he had no real chance of actually winning. That's why he looked so shocked and stunned and had no victory speech prepared when (against all predictions and bookies' odds) he did win. Both he and Gove then made themselves scarce until there was an opportunity for more fame. While they slunk away, the Maybot (who voted remain) stepped up to take the poisoned chalice of becoming Prime Minister following David Cameloon's resignation. After May had seriously buggered things up (as expected), it was time for Bojo to step forward and fulfil his impossible dream of becoming PM.

    Sure, he knows he's going to fail but now he's got a long list of people to point the finger of blame at. He doesn't care about a successful Brexit or a no-deal disaster, because he's already achieved his impossible dream and anything that follows is of no consequence to him - because he is a self-serving sociopath.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Real inanity

      I think he's playing the long con. He and his banker mates saw an opportunity to make billions shorting Sterling. Bugger the populace, as long as they make money off the back of this they're alright Jack, pull the ladder up.

      It's easy to leave do or die, when you're not the one dying.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Real inanity

        No, not at all, that's not how derivatives work - the whole theory is based on a misapprehension about the operation of derivative markets.

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Real inanity

          That's exactly how shorting Sterling works:

          1) Borrow £1M

          2) Convert the sum into US Dollars

          3) Wait for the value of the Pound to collapse

          4) Convert those Dollars back into a substantially higher amount of Pounds than you started with

          5) Pay back the loan

          6) Pocket the profit

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: billions shorting Sterling

        No, it's about the City of London money Laundering and UK Overseas (inc IOM and Channel Is) offshoring and lack of banking transparency, not shorting Sterling. The EU approved these in 2016 about same time as Referendum and most EU countries, inc Switzerland, implemented on Jan 2019.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: billions shorting Sterling

          You appear to have listed the UK affiliated territories and missed the EU territories that perform similar functions as designated by the European parliament:

          - Belgium

          - Cyprus

          - Hungary

          - Ireland

          - Luxembourg

          - Malta

          - The Netherlands

          Reference: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190225IPR28727/tax-crimes-special-committee-calls-for-a-european-financial-police-force

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Real inanity

      "the Maybot (who voted remain) "

      We don't know how she voted in the referendum. As a thoroughly house-trained Home Sec she'd have wanted to get out from under the ECJ but saying so in public would have ended her career after the expected Remain victory. I'm convinced that a minimal support for Remain was simply a career choice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real inanity

        Surely you aren't suggesting that a right Hon. MP and cabinet member could be a hypocrite. We never 'know' what goes on in a secret ballot (well unless you are Facebook, Google, MI5 or your local council dog catcher) but she has never denied voting to remain, and she campaigned to remain. Or is the new plan now less than 50% want to leave is to claim that some people who voted remain really really wanted to leave and ticked the wrong box?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real inanity

        > I'm convinced that a minimal support for Remain was simply a career choice.

        Given her quick jump to harder forms of Brexit with her red lines, if she was Remain, it was very, very loosely.

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Re: Real inanity

          May's red lines were being whipped into her back by the ERG.

  8. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    Mission Impossible

    1. There is no Brexit solution to the GFA that everyone will be happy with, so any proposed solution is doomed to fail (including cancelling the ref. result, which would annoy some 17 million voters)

    2. No-deal Brexit instantly guarantees a hard Irish/NI border. Something the EU and UK say they are dead set on avoiding at all costs, yet both sides meander ever closer, each blaming the other side for failing to "compromise".

    3. Politicians will never coalesce around a single point of view. It's in their nature. Therefore politicians can never find a way to break the impasse. The only remaining option, however unpalettable* to some, is another referendum. And even then, if the result comes back the same, then what?

    TL;DR: Brexit while maintaining GFA and customs integrity are wholly incompatible, never mind politicians total inability to reach a mutual agreement. Thus any such form of Brexit is impossible.

    * Second ref is not betraying democracy. It's acknowledging the information available at the time, from both sides, was highly flawed and we have a much better picture now, whatever side of the fence one happens to be on. A second ref is the embodiment of democracy. It certainly doesn't betray democracy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mission Impossible

      so any proposed solution is doomed to fail (including cancelling the ref. result, which would annoy some 17 million voters) - except of course it's less than 17 million as the y have had 3 years of mortality to shrink their numbers

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Mission Impossible

        Given that anti-EU feeling has been growing steadily for the past 20 years that seems like wishful thinking to me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission Impossible

        "except of course it's less than 17 million as the y have had 3 years of mortality to shrink their numbers"

        You're very optimistic - if there had been any certainty of a reduction in Brexit support, I suspect we would have seen a different result at the EU elections and either a significant swing in Parliament towards remain rather than the current status of no overall control.

        While I think an election is a certainty, I'm as confident in a remain majority as I am in a Brexit majority. The bookies are more pessimistic, they are going for a Tory victory or a hung parliament:

        https://www.oddschecker.com/politics/british-politics/next-uk-general-election/most-seats

        1. itzman

          Re: Mission Impossible

          bookmaker odds represent more what sums are bet on what outcome than any particular outcome being probable.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Mission Impossible

      any proposed solution is doomed to fail (including cancelling the ref. result, which would annoy some 17 million voters)

      It may well be the least opposed option, the least damaging, the easiest to live with.

      Leaving is only being pursued because of the brexiteer lie that a referendum three years ago represents the current will of the people, the myth that doing anything else would somehow be a "betrayal of democracy" with no regard for it being a greater betrayal of the people's will now.

      The Sirens aren't just luring us onto the rocks; they have climbed aboard and are steering us towards them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mission Impossible

      "A second ref is the embodiment of democracy. It certainly doesn't betray democracy."

      ""A second ref is the embodiment of democracy"

      Genuine Orwellian newspeak: "Let's vote so many times I get the result I want!"

      " It certainly doesn't betray democracy."

      While it does exactly that, in a major way. Orwell wasn't a guide book you know?

      Re-voting until desired outcome has been reached is literally betrayal of democracy: Wiping your ass with the result you don't like, claiming "it's bad (for me)".

      In democracy majority *is right*. No ifs and no buts. And specifially no re-voting until "right" result is reached.

      Yes, it is stupid, but "freedom" means freedom to make stupid decisions. I'll emphasize: *Especially stupid decisions*.

      And suffer from the consequences. *Then* it's time for a re-vote. Not before. At least 5 years from exit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission Impossible

        The UK is not a democracy - it is a parliamentary democracy, which is a bigger difference than just an extra word. So your point, while no doubt excellent, does not apply to the UK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mission Impossible

          The purpose of democracy is precisely to resolve a binary choice that is finely weighted without recourse to civil war.

          The losers of he referendum have deliberately engaged in what amounts to a civil war and a direct attempt to subvert democracy.

          This is far more serious and damaging than Brexit ever could be.

          Democracy only works when losers accept defeat and rally round the new decision.

          That parliament is now a majority in favour of suspending democracy does not bode well.Elections and te will of he people are stymied by te FPA and te unconstitutional actions of Bercow and the supreme court.

          Live by te sword: die by the sword.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mission Impossible

            No, you're misunderstanding our democracy. Parliament isn't a separate thing to the people. Parliament have been voted in as representitives of the people. We vote for someone to represent us who we trust and who can be an expert in matters of state and law.

            Those representitives have overwhelmingly voted in a democratic way to NOT cause a war in NI and to NOT cause economic collapse DESPITE the people voting to leave the EU which at the time they didn't know would cause such huge and negative impacts because they were lied to by campaigners with vested interests. The original vote was advisory, so there is no democratic requirement to carry out the result, it was intended to steer parliament either towards investigating leave more thoroughly (we've done this) or putting the issue to bed for the foreseeable future.

            We now have the information we lacked before as leaving the EU has been thoroughly investigated by all sides and any expert you'd care to ask is now saying categorically we will be much worse off as a nation if we leave. Ignoring the advice of experts is fine, you have that freedom. We, as a nation, have voted in representitives who are NOT free to ignore expert advice. That's their job and they have voted accordingly, hence the current problems.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mission Impossible

            What a load of sanctimonious whinging tosh. The Brexiteers, having scraped a vote on lies, ignorance and Russian money, have been moaning about betrayal since the morning of the referendum - their only defence against being found naked, bereft of common sense or the faintest clue on how to deliver their fantasy utopia.

      2. Lusty

        Re: Mission Impossible

        There are ifs and buts though. If the population were lied to (they were) and this has been shown to be the case (it has) then a new vote is absolutely the way to go. If the experts who were voted into parliament to represent the majority decide that there is no way to move forwards without causing collapse of the country, then a new vote with new information is absolutely the way to go.

        If I decide to move out of my house, and later find out that I have nowhere to go and will be homeless, should I still just leave and throw a match in as I do so? Any reasonable person should be able to understand changing circumstances and act accordingly.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission Impossible

        Where do you get the 'no re-voting until 'right' result is reached'? Is that one of those secret Freeman of the Land Rules? So if we vote Corbyn in, and he promises to nationalise the railways/post office/premier league football etc we can't have another vote until he's done?

        I bet you agree with the minister on the radio the other day who said in the same sentence that the 'Will of the people' was paramount, and parliament shouldn't interfere, and that the DUP were the elected representatives of the NI people, and so had every right to override the will of the their electorate.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Mission Impossible

          Where do you get the 'no re-voting until 'right' result is reached'?

          It's the standard EU approach, as used for the the creation of the EU by the Treaty of Maastricht (initialliy rejected by Denmark) and its remodelling by the Treaty of Lisbon (initially rejected by Ireland).

          It's one of the problems at the heart of the Brexit negotiations, the EU leaders simply can't understand why Westminster doesn't just call another vote and spend the necessary money to get the "right" result, instead of stubbornly insisting on implementing the first vote, as if they have to actually listen to the voters. It's not the way the EU does democracy, and they just don't get it.

          1. Korev Silver badge

            Re: Mission Impossible

            Isn't that democracy in action? The people didn't like it so they went away and then came back with something they liked more...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission Impossible

        I voted Remain. I lost. I would vote leave (in a re run) becasue it was the will of the referendum.

        That was a referendum which was no closer than the decision to join in the first place. We didn't have a 'plan' to join then. We were just joining a trading bloc then.

        We didn't sign up for the Lisbon treaty with a referendum. It was foisted upon the Europeans. When countries like Ireland voted in a plebiscite to reject that- then they had to have a 'do-over'.

        The EU is not simply a trading bloc now. Its a political and non-democratic federalization of Europe - by German and French civil servants.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mission Impossible

          Why should other peoples vote influence yours? Look at the facts of the case, think it through for yourself. The referendum was an opinion poll, not binding, and luckily we have a secret ballot, so you can vote on a basis of rational interest of whatever unit of society you feel aligned to. That might be self, family, town, tribe, nation or humanity. Hard to see that any of those will benefit from Brexit, except maybe the tribe of minimum wage state subsidy supported entrepreneurs.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Mission Impossible

      "No-deal Brexit instantly guarantees a hard Irish/NI border."

      Not instantly. It'd take time. And that's only in terms the extend to anyone could guarantee such a thing.

      I suspect the solution is going to be Boris crashing us out with no deal in defiance of the Benn Act followed by a strong dose of reality. After that the defiance of the Benn Act can be invoked as the basis for saying that it never happened, rather like the first prorogation never happened. Alternatively as a punishment Boris should be kept in place to run the mess he created up until the end of the fixed term Parliament next May.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission Impossible

        EU exit is under international law over which Benn act has no jurisdiction.

        Benn act merely controls government activity. it does not guarantee a result.

        Benn act probably illegal under constitutional law anyway .

        Parliamentary ability to control relationship with the EU lost when Lisbon treaty signed, and lost completely when Article 50 invoked by parliament.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mission Impossible

          "Benn act probably illegal under constitutional law anyway "

          The UK don't have a constitution or constitutional law. We have a series of bizarre traditions involving wigs and sticks and calling evil wankers "honourable". What we don't have is something to make the evil wankers accountable. They even voted to remove that accountability to the Queen a little while ago - she used to be able to tell them to STFU and start again. Now she watches in horror like the rest of us.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: calling evil wankers "honourable"

            my honorable evil wanker is absolutely right!

            - Ah, if only I could ever hear it loud in that house of... commons, broadcast live by bbc parliament! Oh the outrage, the indignity! Think of the children! I'm sharpening my keyboard ready to complain...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mission Impossible

          So luckily the courts have said parliament can revoke revoke! Though I do wonder where this secret 'constitutional law for dummies' book can be downloaded? Is it in on the same website as the 'Exact individual reason everyone voted for Brexit list'?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission Impossible

        >I suspect the solution is going to be Boris crashing us out with no deal in defiance of the Benn Act followed by a strong dose of reality. After that the defiance of the Benn Act can be invoked as the basis for saying that it never happened, rather like the first prorogation never happened. Alternatively as a punishment Boris should be kept in place to run the mess he created up until the end of the fixed term Parliament next May.

        The next scheduled election is May 2022 under FTPA.

        If Boris takes us out in defiance of the Benn Act, he is willfully committing contempt of court and potentially misconduct in a public office (max tariff: life imprisonment), which on conviction leads to the tort of misfeasance in public office. This makes him and his accomplices in Parliament personally liable for any losses sustained as a result.

        If NDB is a success, then all is good, but if the majority of experts are correct, that would bankrupt all the accused too.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mission Impossible

      "Brexit while maintaining GFA and customs integrity are wholly incompatible,"

      Force majeure. GFA ceases to apply post brexit

      renegotiate new arrangements based on reality and common sense

      Simples!

      1. SundogUK

        Re: Mission Impossible

        In fact, all this bollocks about avoiding a hard border is just that: bollocks. There is nothing in the GFA that states we cannot have a hard border.

    6. SundogUK

      Re: Mission Impossible

      So, you voted remain and now you have come up with a way to win even though you lost.

    7. David Hicklin

      Re: Mission Impossible

      (including cancelling the ref. result, which would annoy some 17 million voters)

      except as I have mentioned before, that 17 million is split between deal and no-deal, so unless one faction of that is less than 2% of those who voted, either leave option is the choice of a minority

      TL;DR - there is no Brexit solution that will please a Majority whichever way you cut it.

      1. John Jennings

        Re: Mission Impossible

        You are splitting the question we were asked. Like splitting hairs - it serves no purpose other than having a frizzy head.

  9. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

    Let's not forget...

    ...that this proposal comes from the same lunatic who genuinely seems to believe that the UK is right on the verge of achieving commercially viable nuclear fusion!

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Let's not forget...

      Said loony may have been talking to Tokamak Energy in Oxfordshire, who do seem to be making steady progress with a rather different design of reactor to ITER. I hope they succeed.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Let's not forget...

        Agreed, but it's going to be a rather wide verge.

  10. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    Not going to work but

    It would be easier to have a 'hard' border between Northern Ireland and mainland UK. That would probably piss off enough people to start another war. The paperwork would be easy though, NI stays in Europe while the mainland UK leaves.

    Anyone got a better idea?

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: Not going to work but

      That would suit everyone except the Unionists in Northern Ireland. The ones that May jumped into bed with after the last General Election.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not going to work but

        The ones who at one time provided a number of guaranteed Parliamentary seats for the Conservative and Unionist party, the last part of whose name BoJo might have conveniently forgotten.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Not going to work but

          https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/06/18/most-conservative-members-would-see-party-destroye

          Party members are also willing to sacrifice another fundamental tenet of Conservative belief in order to bring about Brexit: unionism.* Asked whether they would rather avert Brexit if it would lead to Scotland or Northern Ireland breaking away from the UK, respectively 63% and 59% of party members would be willing to pay for Brexit with the breakup of the United Kingdom.

    2. SundogUK

      Re: Not going to work but

      Yes, Parliament obeys the will of the people and the United Kingdom leaves the EU, deal or no deal. The EU/Ireland can do whatever they want about the border with NI, we don't have to have any restrictions our side.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not going to work but

        Sorry - the question at the referendum was 'In or Out (but when we get out it's all going to be wonderful' not 'In or Out (and double our deficit and put thousands out of work), so the 'will of the people' has not been tested. Indeed when last asked in an election the will of the people was to deny the hardliners their way.

      2. Benson's Cycle

        Re: Not going to work but

        Regardless of the outcome,I don't want bloody minded people like you running the country. It's all me, me, me with you; you clearly think other people don't count.

  11. roomey

    An interactive map of the border

    I thought this was interesting, then I clicked on a few of the yellow dots and it was suddenly harrowing.

    The sheer amount of violence that was happening here even 20 odd years ago. I remember as a child being scared of the border, almost every day on the news you would here about another bomb, another body, another punishment beating.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/brexit/borderlands/the-border

    I think there are many of us Irish who are genuinely hurt. Not actually at the Brexit vote, or the UK leaving the EU. To be honest I think most non-farmers don't care much either way. But, what seems like the total and utter disregard for the North, the Republic, and the fragile peace is genuinely hurtful. It has shown us just where we stand.

    To put this into context, a few years ago my grandfather in law, an old strong man who worked on boats all his life, an old fashioned man who was not one to show emotion, cried with happiness the day the Queen visited Cork. He said he thought he would never see the day. I'm not sure if that visit happened today the same (well he's passed away but you get my point), and I think that is a shame.

    1. Richard Boyce

      Re: An interactive map of the border

      Is there a danger that organised crime gangs from the two communities will start fighting over control over smuggling? Could that lead to the Troubles V2?

      1. roomey

        Re: An interactive map of the border

        I imagine the paramilitaries on both sides will have the smuggling covered. There has already been an up tick.

        And as I said above, unfortunately a lot of the good will built up over the last 20 years is already gone, and all that will do is make reaching and agreement much much harder.

        I am worried my children will have to live in a country at war... again.

      2. Benson's Cycle

        Re: An interactive map of the border

        Isn't that a lot of what the Troubles V1 were about?

        We worry about knife crime in London which is mainly drug dealer and trafficker turf war, but those guys were shooting and bombing.

        Maybe the County Lines gangs should rebrand themselves as freedom fighters, raise funds in the US and start buying Semtex. I bet "libertarians" would give them money, too.

    2. First Light

      Re: An interactive map of the border

      I also remember hearing of bombings, arson, kneecappings, kidnapping (even a horsenapping) almost every day on the news in the ROI, it was relentless. We even had a suspected IRA bombmaker living next door in the granny flat. I remember the police waiting with guns drawn inside my house to catch him. The people of NI are traumatized still by what happened.

      I believe the visit of the Queen was powerfully healing, an indication that we had all moved on. It's a shared pain whether people in the UK realize it or not. Some may have forgotten, and I hope that they are not forced to remember. The selfishness and indifference of the Brexit crowd is almost pathological.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: An interactive map of the border

        The selfishness and indifference of the Brexit crowd is almost pathological.

        If anyone restarts violence it will be their fault, not the fault of those who want a political change like Brexit. It's absolutely shameful to suggest giving in to the threat of possible terrorism in order to have a quiet life. Those of us who grew up in NI spent 30 years of our lives not doing that, we aren't about to start now.

        1. Lusty

          Re: An interactive map of the border

          I disagree. Politics is all about making concessions and compromise to prevent conflict and war. Whether you brand it terrorism, civil war or something else, the roots are all the same. The EU was designed to prevent more war in Europe (and to create a plausible alternative to the USD, which failed thanks to UK). The current wave of nationalism in multiple countries is destroying that peace. We should all be resisting nationalism a lot more than we are as it never leads anywhere good.

  12. batfink Silver badge

    FFS

    So the idea here is that all the "traders" will register for <magical technology solution> and therefore no checks will have to be done.

    Of course, nobody in the smuggling game is going to think of simply not fucking registering.

    As a friend of mine used to say: "this will only catch the honest crooks".

    I'm not sure whether those proposing this are numpties, or they're taking the rest of us for numpties who might fall for this as a solution.

    1. FrJackHackett

      Re: FFS

      "I'm not sure whether those proposing this are numpties, or they're taking the rest of us for numpties who might fall for this as a solution."

      Pretty sure it's both.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    technology yet to be available

    "If theory conflicts with the facts, so much the worse for the facts" :(

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: technology yet to be available

      Hypothesis not theory

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: technology yet to be available

        These terms have different meanings in politics. Theory is what you invoke to prove that the untested thing you're about to d will work. Hypotheticals are how you dismiss the explanations of how and why that untested thing won't work.

  14. smudge Silver badge
    FAIL

    Invalid assumptions

    The panel's proposals are contingent on the EU agreeing to a Brexit transition period of three years, and on a scenario where the UK leaves with a deal.

    Well, the first - three year transition period - has never been on the table as far as I am aware. And the second - leaving with a deal - has more or less been ruled out by the latest shenanigans.

    So, as usual, all a load of hot air...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Invalid assumptions

      Under May's deal, the UK would have entered a transition period where the actual deal was negotiated - one of the sticking points with this was that it effectively (as per the Attorney General's advice) left the UK having to comply with EU regulations if the EU did not agree a deal. This effectively killed May's deal in Parliament. The 3 year duration is an attempt to address that issue.

      The second point about the state of the current deal is that the EU and Ireland are assuming there will be an extension followed by a UK election which delivers a more compliant Parliament. I'm expecting an extension and an election and then things get hazy.

  15. RobThBay

    An outsider asks....

    This is probably a silly question......

    Wouldn't it be easier if the UK handed over their piece of Ireland? No more complicated border problems and Ireland would be a single country.

    1. Kernel Silver badge

      Re: An outsider asks....

      You're right - without intending to be snarky, it is a silly question.

      I'm guessing you're fairly young, so I suggest you do a bit of research into sectarian violence in Ireland. Given that part of the issue is a difference over religion it seems unlikely that any solution can be merely legislated, it needs serious comittment to a fundamental change in attitude by both sides.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: An outsider asks....

        And also read roomey's post above and how reports of that violence affected him as a child.

    2. joeW Silver badge

      Re: An outsider asks....

      Under the much-discussed Good Friday Agreement, that can only happen if a majority of people in Northern Ireland vote for it in a referendum. It absolutely wouldn't pass at this stage.

      Give it 10 or 15 years, and maybe, if Brexit goes particularly poorly and the arse falls off the economy up there, it might be a different story.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: An outsider asks....

      To help you understand, here's an accurate simulation of the effects:

      Ulster Unionist Reaction

    4. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: An outsider asks....

      RobThBay,

      I don't think that is a silly question. Irish reunification is inevitable eventually, demographically speaking. The thing is Northern Ireland has a bad reputation in the UK *and* in the Republic of Ireland, due to it being an economic drain as much as due to the sectarian divide.

      63% of the British Conservative and (nominally) Unionist party would be happy to lose Northern Ireland if it got them out of the EU, yet currently they rely on the hardline loyalist DUP votes in Westminster so it won't happen anytime soon.

      Can you imagine Trump giving Texas back to Mexico in exchange for Mexico building a border wall? It would unify Tex-Mex cuisine but there would be blood shed.

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I have a sneak preview of the customs form:

    [ ] Not smuggling stuff

    [ ] Smuggling stuff

    (Check all that apply).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      According to Dara o'Briain there are only three classifications under Irish Law

      [ ] Ahhh... you're grand

      [ ] Don't push it mind

      [ ] Woah, now you're taking the p**s

  17. AlanS

    Storm in a teacup

    The entire trade between the two halves of Ireland is less than the amount of fraud which is known to exist in the EU budget, which has been unsigned by the auditors for many years.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Storm in a teacup

      Another bore misrepresenting the EU budget. Put a sock in it, even Farage has given up on that one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        " misrepresenting the EU budget."

        That's an interesting idea. Which part of it is mispresented? The part "financial inaccuracies" EU acknowledges or the part they don't?

        Throw hundeds of billions around and *there will be* fraud going on. Here in North state financial controllers find few hundred millions of "inaccuracies" every year and anyone believing it doesn't happen in EU, in larger scale, is just naive.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Storm in a teacup

        I agree that alleging fraud is a misrepresentation.

        However, Mr Farage did have a point up until 2007 and then still had a technically correct point up until 2016 as accounts were returned with an adverse opinion on the accuracy of the content. The adverse opinion (between 2007-2015) has now been downgraded to a qualified opinion (2016-2018) which is typical of many large organisations if systems do not efficiently report spending (i.e. if you are dealing with a complex system of reporting tools across multiple departments and countries) and indicates while errors are present, most are resolved over time.

        Source: https://fullfact.org/europe/did-auditors-sign-eu-budget/

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It just goes to show how all those politicians who campaigned for leave (Farrage, Boris, Gove) had not even considered what the UK leaving the EU would do for NI and the Good Friday agreement.

    And as for the general public some of them don't understand what the UK leaving the EU mean in regards to immigration. I saw a post on a local newspapers comments section where someone said 'Roll on Brexit so we can get rid of all these Syrian and Afghan asylum seekers...' so he clearly thinks Syria and Afghanistan are in Europe so he will be mighty disappointed after Brexit when he find out they aren't.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      You expected Farage etc to think of anything but themselves?

    2. SundogUK

      The point about Syrian/Afghan asylum seekers is that as an EU member there is no way to stop Merkel, as a random example, inviting millions of them in to Germany, giving them German (EU) passports, and letting them travel wherever they want within the EU.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You missed out on using 'horde' and you didn't mention their religion. Standards are of trolling are slipping.

      2. batfink Silver badge

        So at that point they are German citizens, and no longer "asylum seekers". Your point? Do you have a problem with German citizens?

      3. Benson's Cycle

        The EU does have limits on freedom of movement. It isn't blanket. However, British governments hate spending money on administration and we had a hopeless border and immigrant control system, unlike say Belgium.

        Blair and Cameron are accountable for the referendum fiasco, because if they had provided an adequate border system and done proper checks on immigrants, Farage wouldn't have had an argument.

  19. IGotOut

    I'm suprised.

    Who would of thought one of the main leavers would put forward a plan, knowing it would fail, therefore allowing him to claim it wasn't his fault.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK.. hands up all who have actualy been crossing the Border since the 1960's?

    Just a little bit of background. Based on having crossed the border many many times over the years. Before, during and after the Troubles.

    Even before the Troubles kicked off most of the border crossings were not even marked, let alone having a customs post. That was only on the main roads. The joke being at the time was that the only time you knew which side of the border you were on was the quality of the tarmac and the colour of the phone boxes. There were far more potholes on the roads on the Republic side of the border. There would be the occasional Excise man wandering about at night looking for smugglers. Nearly always from Dublin. But that was about it.

    Then when the Provos started taking pot shots at everyone the Custom posts were fortified and all the unmanned crossings were now under observation. And in the case of the more notorious Provo post attack escape routes, blocked. So if you were not a local crossing the border from the South very soon afterwards a bunch of squadies would suddenly appear on the road in front of you with FN rifles ready and ask some really pointed questions about your business. If you were a local you were rarely stopped unless there had been a lot of recent activity. At thats the way it was for more than 20 years. Except the squadies now had SA 80's. Then the Provos stopped taking potshots at people and the road blocks went away and the EU Single Market got rid of the customs posts.

    Now the funny thing about the current argie bargie is that the Border region is probably one of the least economically integrated land border areas in the whole EU.. There is very little meaningful cross border trade. By EU standards. The ROI sends little North. And the North is fully integrated into the UK economy. The informal local integration in the border area was almost completely destroyed when Dublin unilaterally broke the Sterling link in 1978. Purely for reasons of national vanity it subsequently turned out. I remember well just how radical local business patterns changed between 1975 to 1980 in the border counties. Once broken never to return.

    As for the spurious fear that once the old customs posts are reestablished, purely on the ROI side it turns out, that some how violence will start up again. Well there are several problems with that. First the old generation of Shinner have grown old, fat and lazy on the very large amount of danegeld that has been shoveled their way on both sides of the Border as part of the "Peace Process". Think several hundred million quid a year. But more importantly, the few hundred psychos and nutters who might start trouble are *all* very well know to the Garda and PSNI. Just fire up the old Special Criminal Court / Diplock Court put a dozen or two of the worst psychos behind bars for a while and there will be no problems.

    The simple fact is that the whole NI Backstop problem was very deliberately created by Brussels, the commission and the collage, for very malicious reasons, with the active connivance of Varadkar. Who has proved himself to be the total fucking eejit I always thought he was. I never thought I would ever say this but what the Republic actually needed the last few years was a total cute hoor prime minister like a Bertie Ahern or even a Padraig Flynn. They would never have got the country in the utterly disastrous situation it now finds itself in. They would have played a low profile game like the Danes. Or like Enda Kenny was starting to do. This is now far beyond DeValeras utterly self destructive fuckwittery back in the 1930's. for its likely terrible long term effects on the country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK.. hands up all who have actualy been crossing the Border since the 1960's?..a survey

      Out of idle curiosity just how many of the down voters have ever actually crossed the border? Like go down to Dundalk, Clones,or Letterkenny? Or up to Enniskillen, Newry or even Slash City? None perhaps?

      Or are they like so many Remainers I have talked to, actually know little or nothing of other countries apart from the UK. I have deep family roots in 5, soon to be 4, EU countries. It has been my constant and sustained exposure to the politics and realities on the ground of day to day life in a whole bunch of EU countries, mostly non Anglophone, over the decades that has made me a staunch supporter of Brexit. To give but one example. There will never be an equivalent to the Brexit Referendum in France. Why? Because the French electorate would vote even more empathically to leave. And who said this? Why, the current French president no less. He even said it in English. And if you read the domestic German press on a regular basis then you know that the Germans are very open about how they only go along with the EU as longs as its to their purely domestic advantage. Something does not suit them and they will unilaterally change the rules. Dublin Regulation on Migration, anyone? They first collapsed the EC. Now they have collapsed the EU. Its all terribly and typically German.

      Anyway, the next time I cross the border I expect it to be no big deal. About as much hassle as the toll plaza on the M1 outside Drogheda. And far less hassle than currently crossing the French border by road.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GFA ends at brexit

    this insistence on maintaining the terms of the GFA is pure straw man: The GFA is a treaty between two EU member states. If one of them leaves it is automatically voided.(Forcre Majeure).

    it is simply disingenuous selfish and duplicitous of the EU to attempt to use it as a veto on Brexit

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GFA ends at brexit

      The GFA is a treaty between two sovereign nation states. Please explain why you believe that the UK leaving the EU will automatically void it?

  22. Toby Poynder

    I have actually read the Good Friday (Belfast really) Agreement

    It's not that long - 35 generously spaced pages.

    The word "border" is used ten times. Eight times as "all-island and cross-border". One mention of "cross-border workers" and one mention of the need for emergency services to operate cross-border. This would seem to accept that there will indeed be a border.

    It does state that there should be "as early a return as possible to normal security arrangements" but what could be more normal than a border post between two countries?

    On the other hand there is a crystal-clear statement that "We reaffirm our total and absolute .... opposition to any use or threat of force by others for any political purpose, whether in regard to this agreement or otherwise."

    So how come a customs post is a regarded as a clear violation of the Agreement yet saying darkly "The men of violence won't put up with a hard border" is ok?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not so easy?

    To just give Northern Ireland back to Ireland? So its all one Ireland again and the problem goes away? I assume all the Irish that are in Northern Ireland that think of themselves as being English will be pissed off if you did that?

    Anon as waiting to be pelted with stones for a stupid question that I genuinely don't know the answer to.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not so easy?

      >To just give Northern Ireland back to Ireland? So its all one Ireland again and the problem goes away? I assume all the Irish that are in Northern Ireland that think of themselves as being English will be pissed off if you did that?

      I did suggest full independence for NI - separate from *both* UK and IRL but within the EU - if you piss off both sides then one side can't claim victory..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not so easy?

      Slight problem. Only 35% of the population of the Six Counties consider themselves Irish. About 40% consider themselves British. And the other 25% consider themselves Northern Irish. Which is very very different from being Irish. Think the difference between Scots Nat and Scots Unionist. But still very much Scots. Same with NI/British and Northern Irish. In NI the Irish identity is completely sectarian. Not all RC's consider themselves Irish. Quite the opposite. But almost no Protestants consider themselves Irish. That simple fact has not changed over the last few generations.

      The other big problem is that most people in the South really dont like Nordies. Of any persuasion. Nor has anyone in the South in my experience ever once thought of the practicalities of a United Ireland. Like the Loyalists having a 15%/20% blocking veto in any united Ireland parliament. Or about 100K hard core loyalists kicking off a another round of the Trouble. It only took 20K hard core Republics to cause the previous round Troubles. And this time around Dublin would be attacked as many times as the Europa Hotel. Not just one off attacks like in 1974. Think South Armagh in the 1980s if you want an idea of what an actual United Ireland would look like.

      When you start pushing Southerners hard on these very basic questions even the most easy going moderate ones start implying the if they dont like it, they can lump it and leave solution. Which actually means a pied noir style ethnic cleansing. Not surprising really, logic and reality is never the strong point of any sort of cultural nationalism. So a united Ireland would inevitable end up with a balkan style ethnic civil war. Pretty much guaranteed.

      Of course the ROI could rejoin the Commonwealth and be part of an all British Isles federal states solution.Which makes perfect sense for everyone. Including the Scots and the English. Should have been done a century ago and might have been if it had not been for the gross interference of Irish/America republicans in Irish politics. It might happen after the next collapse and bankruptcy of the ROI economy, Which will happen again, as it always does like clockwork, in the next decade. And the ROI finds itself in the same bleak position it was in back in the 1950's.

      Plus ca change. It so bloody depressing...

  24. Milton Silver badge

    It's smuggling, stupid

    Even if we believed the typically delusional Brexiter thinking about miraculous, invisible technical solutions to not only tracking but verifying the content of purportedly legitimate traffic across the border, this does nothing to deal with the 900lb gorilla in the room: smuggling.

    The whole point of Brexit—insofar as there is any point at all—is that the price and/or desirability of some goods will differ on either side of the border. If they didn't, NI would still be in the EU. That difference is the motivator for smuggling, which can be hugely profitable. I am here to tell you that unless certain experiences in the 1980s badly misled me, NI is as well-stocked with folks with the aptitude and inclination for criminal enterprises as anywhere else on earth.

    In short, as anyone with a scrap of common sense can foresee, smuggling will assume an epic scale. Throughout the whole of human history, the only way to prevent it is to inspect goods crossing the border. And you need to do it at the border, not 50km away after all the goodies, and baddies, have been methodically dispersed.

    Suffice to say, the inner Ireland border (ha: echoes of the old IGB) is unfathomably complicated. Supposing, though, some invisible network of tens of thousands of cameras and motion detectors were able to survey every car, milk truck and delivery person crossing the border about their business 20 times in a day: whom would you target? Even large-scale smuggling would be a drop in the ocean of legitimate movements—and you can be sure that the smarter crooks will go a long way to disguise their operations.

    There cannot be border infrastructure.

    Illusory technical magic cannot replace border checks.

    Large-scale smuggling would be both inevitable and unacceptable.

    A border in the Irish Sea is hilariously unworkable.

    Therefore, NI has to remain within the EU's customs union and single market.

    Therefore, Brexit can't happen.

    Those pesky facts won't go away. No matter what hysterical lies and fantasies emerge from No 10.

    1. Dabbb Bronze badge

      Re: It's smuggling, stupid

      How does it work now ? You remember that two Irelands already have different currencies, taxation regimes (VAT and stuff) and immigration rules, don't you ?

    2. John Jennings

      Re: It's smuggling, stupid

      Umm you say that a border at the irish sea is unworkable.

      Why? Isnt there one at the English channel?

      For that, a few NI politicians need to be bough off (to stop the whining) for a few years with matched grant aid - and quietly forgetting RHI scandals. NI voted to remain overall - why couldnt they just have NI goods go through the EU gate - we dont make that much for export anyway.

    3. batfink Silver badge

      Re: It's smuggling, stupid

      And you can assume that people smuggling will be prominent.

      That's going to upset all those Brexiteers who are hoping that all those darkies/ragheads/other-people-who-don't-look-like-us(*) are going to (a) stop coming and (b) magically disappear from the country after Brexit.

      Nothing like "taking back control of your own borders", is there? It's all a bit embarrassing for them really.

      (*) Not my terms, obvs.

  25. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    No Tech Solution?

    That won't stop the following

    1) the likes of Crapita promising the earth at almost zero cost

    2) HMG falling for it once again

    3) Any solution will take years and years if at all

    4) The Taxpayer foots the bill for a load of hot air.

  26. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Am I misunderstanding this?

    I believe what they are suggesting is that if you need to declare something you should but if you don't declare something that's naughty.

    The (presumably "AI" because it has to have a buzz word) customs system will look at what's actually being traded and whether it was likely to have been imported and build a database based on that data.

    Then after much time has passed the system will analyse the data to decide whether "Super Chinese Fidget Spinners" should have been declared for tarrifs or not.

    Then it will endeavour to track the original importer of those particular "Super Chinese Fidget Spinners" from it's empty database of traders who imported "Super Chinese Fidget Spinners" (because they haven't declared them).

    Then the powers that be will attempt to retrospectively charge tarrifs to the importing company/country/local cartel or however tarrifs work.

    I may be wrong but I think that is basically correct.

    Would be better written as trying to eat soup with a fork ...

  27. Anonymal coward

    SQUORROX!

    I am faintly surprised that no commentard has referenced 'Puckoon', one of the seminal texts on the partition of Ireland...

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: SQUORROX!

      Milligan underestimated reality. Puckoon is no longer funny, not since the UDF and the IRA started killing people.

  28. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Last train to nowhere.

    Is it really any more complicated, than dare I say it the London public transport network. I'm afraid of big numbers too. #trythefish

  29. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Call my bluff.

    Can I have a think tank please. So the entire population of the Ireland could use just the tube in a day and no-one would notice. That's without any other mode of transport, zoning and other malarkey. Sounds like a bilateral mobile infrastructure and investment footing. #productivity

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