Hard Brexit, WTO Security Exceptions And The Irish Border- One Bound, We’re Free

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One of the sticking points in this Brexit process is well, what happens with the Irish border? Our own view around here is that we simply lie. Sure, there’s a border and then do nothing that we don’t wish to, carry on treating it in reality just as we do now. For our view is that the only people actually worrying about the Irish border are those who wish to make Brexit difficult and it’s a convenient oar for them to stick in.

However, it appears that even the hardest of hard Brexits, a simple reversion to WTO terms, doesn’t mean that we’ve got to particularly do anything about that Irish border. We can just say, well, security exception! And with one bound we’re free.

Accordingly, against the risk to its security presented by the imposition of a hard border, Britain could choose to privilege goods from the Republic by unilaterally opening its side of the Border, at least while further negotiations are conducted with the EU. It should be said that only opening the land border in this way would need to be justified under article 21; goods shipped from the Republic directly to the island of Britain could continue to fall under whatever tariff regime Britain has in place against the EU as a whole. But it is the land border which has been the focus of attention in the Brexit negotiations, and which has threatened to abort the whole process. The British declaring free passage across it as part of its security policy would, we believe, resolve this issue.

Effectively we just say well, having a hard border would be a problem for us all. Therefore we’ll not have a hard border. And that would be that.

All of which leads us to a larger point. Yes, some international rules appear stupid. Some of the things we’re told Brexit will cause also appear stupid. But there is still rationality out there. None of us are going to be forced into doing any of those stupid things – not allowing planes to land, the nuclear power plants having to close down, 20 mile parking lots at the ports – simply because there are always exceptions like this to the stupid rules. We’ll be fine that is.

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Samarkand Tony
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Samarkand Tony

I continue to find the stuff about the Irish border absolutely baffling. We don’t stop smuggling by checking stuff at ports of entry. We get people to fill out paperwork declaring what they’re importing, and that’s that, for the most part.

Whether it comes across an open land border or through a container port, what’s the difference?

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

The only way there’ll be problems with trade after Brexit is if people *CHOSE* to make problems with trade after Brexit. But there’s this mindset: something has to be done. Not doing anything is not comprehensible, doing something is the only compehensible action.