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Guardian - Polly Toynbee - The roadblock hard Brexiteers can't drive around: Ireland

But there is one great question: Ireland. The Brexiteers avoid mentioning it, because Ireland is their roadblock. The border is marked by memories of British bad faith that have been gradually healing over 20 years of peace. What a strange irony if Ireland ends up saving us all from ourselves. The border conundrum can only be resolved by forcing May to abandon her contradictory red lines - no customs union, no single market, no European court of justice - and no hard border.
The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, says: "No one has explained how the border commitments can be kept unless a customs union with the EU is on the negotiating table and the final deal delivers the benefits of the single market." Never mind the finessed language, watch that turn into a resounding Labour vote when the crunch comes, as Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke rally Tory rebels.

May dares not see off her ultra wing, but parliament looks set to do it for her. The anvil on which a soft Brexit is forged will be Ireland, because there is no other option. Despite history, it stands to be the United Kingdom's saviour.

I'm not sure I share Toynbee's certainty, I still think there is a chance of the brexiteers having "one last heave" and May deciding that it is more important to deliver brexit to the donors who matter (aka Murdoch and the Mail) than retaining the idea of the UK as a nation of treaties and laws. After all, becoming a libertarian dergulated tax haven is a lot easier if your country has demonstrated itself as above international law

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 06:28:26 PM EST
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The EU side is actually drawing a line (or calling the UK's vague statements, your choice):

EU issues Brexit ultimatum on Ireland - Politico

The EU will prepare a draft of the U.K. withdrawal treaty that envisions Northern Ireland remaining in the customs union -- essentially issuing an ultimatum that London come up with other options or accept that there is no other practical way to avoid the recreation of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said Friday.

Speaking at a news conference alone, rather than alongside his U.K. counterpart, David Davis, Barnier insisted that the EU has no choice but to begin drafting such legal language because London has offered no clarity on how the Ireland-Brexit conundrum might be solved as part of an overall new relationship.

"It's important to tell the truth," Barnier said, suggesting that British officials have not been forthright about the implications of their public pronouncements. "A U.K. decision to leave the single market and leave the customs union would make border checks unavoidable."

by Bernard on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 07:33:07 PM EST
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