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Boris has destroyed what is left of UK's credibility
Section 10(2)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 explicitly commits the UK not to "create or facilitate border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after exit day which feature physical infrastructure, including border posts, or checks and controls, that did not exist before exit day and are not in accordance with an agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU".

This could not be clearer: what is ruled out is not just posts on the border but any infrastructure, any checks, and any controls that do not currently exist.

This, remember, is not just an Irish or EU demand. It has been the official British line all throughout this process. The whole backstop problem arises, not as some kind of dastardly Irish or European plot, but because Britain just can't live up to this commitment if Northern Ireland leaves either the single market or the customs union.

This is the tyranny of fact: there is nowhere in the world where two different customs and/or market regimes have a frontier across which trade flows without checks, controls and infrastructure. But all the energy among the Brexiteers has gone into trying to escape this inescapable reality.

Ever since May's right-hand woman Fiona Hill issued instructions to Whitehall to "spaff some money on some geeks" they have been in search of a magical technology that make the facts on the ground disappear. And ever since it became clear that this technology does not exist, the internal project has been what Whitehall officials privately call "keeping the corpse warm".

The corpse is now cold. Johnson's proposals acknowledge that even if all the magical technology works, there will still be checks, controls and (implicitly) infrastructure. The British government has broken its own solemn legal and political commitments. Faced with a choice between compromising with reality and fatally comprising trust, Johnson has chosen the second option.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 3rd, 2019 at 10:28:08 PM EST

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