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article imageOp-Ed: Imbecility, thy name is Brexit - Irish deal simply can’t work

By Paul Wallis     Oct 3, 2019 in World
Dublin - The UK proposal for an “all-island” regulatory zone in Ireland to get around the closed border problem is looking very much like desperation. Ireland would be the go-to place for EU goods entering the UK.
That means massive traffic, and a lot of regulatory work for Ireland. The proposal was sent to the EU this week (see proposal letter) and has received a tepid reaction. Its one and only positive is maintaining the open boarder with Northern Ireland, which Ireland quite rightly says is not negotiable. The open border is just common sense, and the simplest way of managing cross border traffic. Ireland, in fact, is apparently in no mood to tolerate this imposition on its borders, or to act as a customs office for the UK.
Adding the EU trade entering and leaving the UK to that rather modest border, however, instantly leaves Ireland holding the baby. They’ll be taking on massive amounts of traffic and trade regulatory responsibilities.
There are so many issues being “given” to Ireland to manage:
• Ireland’s infrastructure would be carrying continuous heavy freight (for the whole of the UK!) 24/7.
• Road capacity would be severely taxed at the border, and on the Northern Ireland side of the border.
• Just maintaining those roads would be quite expensive.
• Through traffic would be quite disruptive. It may not cause gridlock all the way to the Northern Ireland border, but it certainly won’t help road movement.
• It’s not even mentioned what practical benefits or cost offsets Ireland may receive to help carry the trade loads.
• How Ireland is supposed to be a regulatory zone managing trade from around the entire EU, how this will be done, and with what resources, are also unclear.
• Shipping freight and harbour capacity are likely to be severely overloaded with such huge volumes of goods and ships.
The imbecility bit
Why, exactly, should Ireland take up the weight of the UK’s Brexit issues? Ireland is a foreign government, and an independent state. Goodwill can only come from one side in this case, and it’s from Ireland.
The UK is doing Ireland no favours with this jury-rigged, pitiful attempt to escape from a mess of its own making, Brexit. Brexit is inherently stupid and unrealistic at best.
Britain has been trading with Europe since the Bronze Age, thousands of years ago. (British tin was much in demand around the ancient world for making bronze.) Europe will still be right next door 10,000 years from now. The EU accounts for the vast majority of British exports and a lot of financial business. Creating arbitrary obstacles to doing business is the epitome of imbecility. Brexit pushes the UK back 50 years in trade terms, with no deals or trade options and no possible economic benefits.
Creating a possible trade choke point on the Northern Irish border, while forcing all trade to route through Ireland is beyond insane. It’s not even theoretically workable. Doing it in such a way that Ireland is also left holding the costs is even less practical.
In theory, being a “trade hub” supposedly generates money for the region, but sources of revenue for Ireland aren’t even mentioned. Ireland collects VAT, but that’s about it. Business benefits? None to be seen, let alone used as incentives.
Even the proponents of “Ireland can do it” seem to have no idea what effect this huge volume of trade goods moving through another jurisdiction might have, on any level. Are the Irish supposed to just smile and do it all for the UK?
While the Conservative Party may not have noticed the end of the Bronze Age, it clearly hasn’t appreciated the fact that geopolitics are based on real geography. Sending shipping around to Ireland inevitably cranks up costs. So do the added hundreds of miles of transport. Prices in the UK must inevitably rise.
Also of some interest – Where do the EU goods transported through Ireland offload in mainland Britain? Liverpool? Some obscure Scottish village? Will convoys of heavily-laden kebab wrappers sail majestically to Cornwall delivering medical supplies? How delusional can a single policy be?
Brexit is staring death in the face and losing
None of the basic mechanics are in place to make this idiocy even slightly practical. Ireland has nothing at all to gain from the proposal. The barren wasteland of Brexit has produced yet another failure, and there’s much worse to come.
If Britain goes to the no deal scenario, the UK economy will be hit with a triple whammy of logistics, supply and demand. None of the current sources of revenue will be functional for the government. Jobs will be lost. The pound will be smashed. Trade, business and everyday basics will be compromised for an unknown period of time. The cost will be gigantic, and possibly fatal, for the UK.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Brexit, Irish open borders and Brexit, EU UK trade, Bronze age, geopolitical imbecility
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