Monday 20 November 2017

Irish sense their moment to strike re Brexit

This is a frankly excellent article on the new Irish position re Brexit.

It delivers a few key truth bullets that are very insightful when it comes to understanding where the Irish are and just how much the border issue is going to be the decisive one.

As BQ wrote on the previous post over the weekend, the money situation is quite easy. We pay them vaguely what they want, we owe them £60 billion in payments anyway for the next 5 years, so really the argument is over a few billion here or there on a Government budget of £800 billion per annum. it is a rounding error and in return we get a Free Trade Deal likely worth £50 billion a year plus in benefits.

The EU citizens rights piece appears to have made great progress with the UK caving in a little re the ECJ and the EU retreating from demanding extra-territorial rights for its UK citizens, plus with the end of free movement but allowance for a Common Travel Area, a deal is in sight.

When you read the article, this has made the Irish nervous, they are the last piece of the jigsaw and fear the EU riding-roughshod over them (if only there were a solution to that.....). Their new super Pro-EU PM has also sensed, rightly, that now is the time for a battle. After December and a deal is agreed, the real Brexit tension will be off.

Also, more genuinely, a land border with the EU is a much harder deal to both sell to the Irish (note in the UK the hard border with France even today, versus the no border in the six counties) than anywhere else. The Good Friday Agreement is not just a stick to beat the English with, there are some substantive points that the UK has not really addressed. As such the Irish have gone in strong and demanded Northern Ireland effectively stay in the Single Market and Customs Union.

Although aggressive, this is the neatest bureaucratic solution, politically it is very tough to sell to the DUP who are the co-partners in the UK Government. British Ministers seem reticent to engage, from the Republics view, likely because they see the three issues as one and are doing horse-trading scenarios with the EU. The Republic is understandably not very keen on this, but equally has peeved EU negotiators by upping the ante when things are already fraught.

One thing unacknowledged by the article though is how credible the threat is, after all, if the Irish veto a deal, the default no-deal results in a much worse outcome for the Republic than any other Brexit situation. The danger with brinskmanship for both sides is that one might actually cause the breakdown that both fear so much.


dearieme said...

"British Ministers seem reticent to engage": you mean 'reluctant'.

Anonymous said...

What's so wrong about a "hard" border....anything else will be a typical EU fudge?

Anonymous said...

a billion here, a few billion there.........pretty soon you're talking r e a l money

Anonymous said...

What's so wrong about a "hard" border....anything else will be a typical EU fudge?

Most people in the UK would be ambivalent to a hard border in the Irish Sea. Most of the southern Irish and half of the Northern Irish would be quite happy with a unified Ireland - from a customs point of view.

This leaves the DUP who we know are principled people, with a politically difficult choice. Should they complain and withdraw support at Westminster to bring in someone who understands their politics. Or should they sell their principles a second time over for another £1bn.

For the sake of 150,000 out of 65mn people, I'd say the DUP will graciously accept the cash

CityUnslicker said...

Anon - that comment re "a few billion here or there" was never said but misattributed to Everett Dirksen.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to customs-sealed trucks rolling from NI/Republic of Ireland (same place really) straight through Fishguard customs. Then they trundle down to Dover, past the queues of Brit trucks queuing for paperwork, on to the next ferry for Calais where they re join the EU. That will be the deal.

Apart from hacking off the UK transport lobby and a few little englanders this looks an excellent idea. I see a few opportunities for exploitation and manipulation though. Plenty of fun to come.

Al said...

CU do you think irexit will follow if we end up with a no deal Brexit?

Electro-Kevin said...

Well. Mrs May's election fuck up has certainly complicated things (DUP)

Nick Drew said...

Al - like you, I'm interested in CU's view

in the meantime this was mine a while back

The settlement we reach - with Europe, and amongst the various parts of the UK - must be so good that the Irish (that is, the Southern Irish) should seriously start thinking about whether they want to join us

Electro-Kevin said...

Why are we having to pay the EU money we haven't got to continue to buy their stuff ?

Anonymous said...

Surely if the Irish are causing grief the sensible thing is to start movement for the universal refusal to buy Irish food in the rest of UK.

Let them eat their own potatoes and dairy products.

CityUnslicker said...

Nick - have you seen Leo Vadakar - the new gay, Irish answer to Justin Trudeau. There is no chance of Ireland leaving the EU or indeed, purpose to it. what would they gain in reality.

I think UK will cave and May will find another couple of billion for DUP to make this happen.

Which I am fine with, leaving the EU was never going to be easy. A few years of costs is expected, the benefits will come in the mid 20-20's.

James Higham said...

Pay not £1 and walk, very simple, just requires the nerve.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@CU: pay £40 billion+ to ‘enjoy’ a trade deficit? Are you nuts?

We should just walk away.

L fairfax said...

I agree with those who say pay nothing. We have a trade deficit with the EU and for now we protect them via Nato, we should not pay them anything.