The Northern Ireland Running Out Of Food Story

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OK, bits of paperwork, sand in the gears of trade:

Bosses of the UK’s largest supermarkets have warned “urgent intervention” is needed by the Government to prevent “significant disruption” to Northern Ireland’s food supplies, due to post-Brexit border arrangements.

In a letter to Michael Gove, cabinet office secretary, the chief executives of Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Co-op and Marks & Spencer said it is “essential” to find a long term solution with the EU before March 31, on sending food to Northern Ireland. It was also signed by Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium.

Since December 31, Northern Ireland has remained as the only part of the UK in the EU’s single market for goods, meaning foods entering from Great Britain have to be professionally certified and are subject to new checks.

OK. So, what’s the lesson to take from this?

This is the pettifogging bureaucracy that the EU has been imposing on all imports from outside the EU these past decades.

That is, the more we’re being told that this is all appalling the more this is a story about how the EU’s trade policies are appalling.

It’s the same with those local content rules about our exports more generally. All we’re getting now is a taste of what the EU has imposed upon the other 6.5 billion out there for those decades.

Ally this with basic trade theory and we find out what’s wrong with such a system. Such basic theory being the observation that the point of trade is imports. Exports are just the sweat we brow in order to gain access to those lovely things made by J. Foreigner. Given that the aim is those lovely things barriers to our gaining them make us poorer, are castle walls built up in mercantilist fashion.

Every ham sandwich confiscated, every point of origin check, every form filled, concerning our current exports is evidence of how much poorer the EU has been making us since 1973. The same is true of all the minor problems in NI currently.

And, note who it is that peeps think are suffering from this right now. No one is saying that exporters from r-UK to NI are suffering. No one is saying that local production in NI benefits from not being subject to foreign competition. What they do say is that the population of NI ain’t getting what it wants at the prices it likes.

Which is, obviously, exactly what the EU has been doing to us all all along. The entire trade structure is designed to make us, consumers, poorer. At which point, of course, fuck ’em.

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jgh
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jgh

It’s not “sending food to Northern Ireland”, it’s “importing food into Northern Ireland”. It’s the recipients being encumberanced, not the senders. They make it sound like a humanitarian disaster zone on a par with Ethiopia or late-1940s Germany.

Esteban
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Esteban

If we leave the EU they’ll punish us. Hmm, sounds a bit like a wife beater, is you try to leave…

Barks
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Barks

Why not wait until the NI locals start to squeal. They can take it up with Brussels.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

One presumes the NIrish will end up buying from the EU, as Brussels intended.

john77
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john77

But most of their imports from the EU come in via mainland Great Britain. If you’ve got a map of North-western Europe you should be able to see why: it’s a much longer haul to get to Ireland from Europe (apart from Spain and Portugal) avoiding landfall in GB than it is to travel via GB.

Spike
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Spike

Before the next Potato Famine set in, wouldn’t the crafty Northern Irish run one of their two soft borders and smuggle in what they need?

dodgy geezer
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dodgy geezer

The problem is, indeed, a problem of importing food into the EU. But there is a much bigger problem looming for the EU in the field of ham sandwiches. I understand that the French tradition is to have a quiet and sophisticated lunch, of maybe 3 or 4 courses, each cooked and presented splendidly. But the rude Anglo-Saxon world has changed all that, and high-flying businessmen in Paris are increasingly following the London practice of snatching a rapid bite while rushing between meetings. French food stores do not cater for this. British ones do. In particular, I understand that Marks… Read more »

Bongo
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Bongo

Who needs food anyway? What we need is services, construction, manufacturing, gas and mining (might be some overlap there). If food is eye-wateringly expensive such as in LIE, NOR and ICE where domestic production is favoured then it does not seem to correlate with people starving.
I think long term that being out of the EU-CU will be good for NI.