It looks as if Britain is heading for a no-deal Brexit on the 31 October. This can only be avoided if the British Parliament either approves a withdrawal treaty or revokes the Article 50 notification; or else there is a general election and a new parliament does one such. In the absence of which, Britain will automatically cease to be a member of the EU. 

The withdrawal agreement is intended to resolve the few outstanding matters around British withdrawal and approval of which should not be contentious. The reason why it has not been approved is that almost all of Labour and the SNP vote against it because they are against Brexit, and European Research Group Tories voted against it because of the backstop. 

British Labour Party MPs overwhelmingly voted against it despite not objecting to its contents pertaining to financial payments, citizens rights, a transitional period and the Irish Protocol. These Labour MPs voted to invoke Article 50, initiating a process whereby Britain leaves with or without an agreement, but now repeatedly voted against the withdrawal agreement with which they have no objections. This is the single largest reason why a no-deal Brexit could happen. 

Those who are against the backstop don’t seem to realise that it would only apply if a future agreement could not keep the Irish border as open as it is now. Given that Britain would need to have such an arrangement, as well as needing to keep the Dover-Calais route as open as it is now, they would need a future relationship that by its very nature would make the backstop redundant. 

While Boris Johnson seems to think that leaving without a deal would be in the interests of those who want to leave the EU this cannot be further from the case. In fact the adverse consequences could completely and permanently discredit the idea of leaving the EU among the general public. It is notable that many of those pressing for a no deal withdrawal are people who are only relatively recently interested in leaving the EU at all. Such people’s interest is so shallow that it devolves around not conceding anything during the negotiation. 

If there is a no-deal then Britain will become a ‘third country’, which means that the EU will have to impose regulatory and customs checks at its borders. It will also mean that Britain will be entirely reliant on EU-promulgated mini-deals to regulate activity between them. 

There is an orderly way to leave the European Union. Firstly, Britain would agree a withdrawal treaty with a transition period. During the transition period, they would re-join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and through which would remain in the European Economic Area; and would also conclude bilateral treaties. Norway has more than 50 such treaties with the EU in addition to the EEA Agreement. The most necessary would be treaties providing for the abolition of customs, VAT and excise application and inspection. 

EFTA-EEA membership would remove the need for sanitary and phyto-sanitary controls at the Irish border and Calais. EFTA membership would require the current members agreeing to Britain’s membership. If admitted to EFTA they would then negotiate with the EU the annexes and protocols of their EEA membership. These would take two years to negotiate. 

The EEA Agreement functions in a bespoke manner for each of the EFTA members. Efta-EEA would mean being outside the application of the three quarters of EU law not pertaining to the ‘Single Market’. 

EU made law pertaining to the ‘Single Market’ is implemented though after consultation through EEA committees. The ‘four freedoms’ apply, though Efta-EEA members also can unilaterally suspend the application of these if they do so in a proportionate way. 

If EFTA did not assent to Britain’s membership, it could unilaterally adopt and follow the EEA acquis. Continued participation in the ‘Single Market’ would be self-advantageous for Britain given that most of its economic activity is largely reliant on and legally provided for by the Single Market’s regulatory systems. 

A longer term relationship which could replace the existence of the EEA would be if the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) -a pan-European, inter-governmental agency which formulates some standards- was to become the custodian of the European single market. This would entail political independence within an inter-governmentally managed single market. 

Boris Johnson is likely to pursue a no deal Brexit in ignorance of the consequences. This policy also burnishes a fake right-wing image around Johnson and his government. This is despite the fact that they have no such ideas or policies and that Johnson himself is a licentarian. 

Pursuing a no-deal Brexit is an easier objective, aided by flatterers in the legacy media, than would be reversing the nationalisation of private life or introducing high-grade public sector schools. These would require confronting the teacher unions; abolishing tens of thousands of functionarial public-sector jobs, dozens of quangos and BBC News. 

The lightweight Johnson will not begin to pursue any of these policies, though there will be a fake media game where his supporters and detractors will pretend that his is a right-wing government, much like how the Fine Gael government is treated in Irish media. Johnson isn’t a new Thatcher, he is just a straight Varadkar.

Posted by Conaill Mac Aodh

15 Comments

  1. Conaill, in one sense it is natural that members of different nations take different perspectives. You are taking your own side. But some of this is untrue and unfair.

    The idea that the withdrawal agreement should not be contentious is nonsense. And I think the maliciousness and vindictiveness of Ireland in this process will have long-term effects on British-Irish relations. The withdrawal agreement’s stipulation that Britain stays in the regulatory orbit and customs union of the EU until alternative Irish arrangements are made simply prevents Britain from ever being able to trade freely – it suspends us in aspic – and Barnier has already stated in a TV documentary that he weaponised the GFA issue in order to ensure that the final trade agreement would keep Britain within the EU’s regulatory orbit. We have the right to leave the EU. We have the right to trade freely on day one. We don’t have to help Ireland make a success of its decision to be a member of a protectionist club. Ireland could leave the EU if it wanted to. Of course, the trading arrangements would depend on what final agreement on trade there was. E.g. if it was agreed that no tariffs, quotas or regulatory barriers would apply other than in the case of food/agricultural products and vehicles (this is quite possible), then you might find the number of companies affected were only two or three dozen, and they could be easily monitored away from the border. To argue that Britain has to agree in advance that it can only ever trade freely if the EU – and if Ireland – lets it at some point is an attempt to squeeze Britain in the final trade agreement. Ireland is just playing the green card – and covertly threatening to fund a resumption of terrorism in Northern Ireland.

    The other aspects are also deliberately offensive – civil servants with EU pensions must never be taxed on them; Britain is to get only €3.5bn back from its €10bn account at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (the €6.5bn is just a “gift” to the EU); Britain must align its taxes in some ways not to be competitive with Europe; Britain must agree to permanently harmonise its environmental and workplace regulation with the EU; Britain must agree to align its rules on state aid to industry with the EU; Britain must agree to allow the EU court a say on EU migration cases for many years to come; Britain has always been a net contributor, but somehow “owes” around €50bn for precisely nothing …. and so on it goes.

    I’m afraid the Irish have always been a malicious and vindictive nation, who have been their own worst enemies in history. A cursory glance at history will tell you that. The unpleasant “dothíosach” nature of the Irishman is on display again. Can you imagine if NI voted 52% to join the RoI in a border poll, and Britain required Ireland to first of all sign a “withdrawal agreement”, compensating Britain for its spending in Ulster, and requiring the UK Supreme Court as the arbiter of certain issues relating to the Unionists for decades, and insisting that Ireland agree that the UK control its economic regulations and tariffs indefinitely? Would that sound to you like a good withdrawal agreement? Or a deliberate attempt to scupper a referendum result?

    Reply

    1. I’m an Irishman and I was with uvuntil u started with the anti Irish demagogury,I understand u must be upset by the inflammatory stance my government has taken but your way over the line casting venomous aspersions on the entire Irish ppl, how are we are own worst enemys exactly? Was it because we resisted benevolent English imperialism? Lol dont make me laugh, if you want to go down the historical route ill quote u event after event were the English are blood thirsty tyrants .

      Why you insist on insulting the members of the Irish public that are actually sympathetic to Brexit and wanting rid of the EU I cant understand .

      Tiocfaidh ár lá
      Slán leat

      Reply

      1. Unfortunately, the Irish people are not pro-Brexit, and are 80% plus behind their Indian leader who wants to scupper Brexit. The Irish have been having a whale of a time, trying to show England they’re not in charge, and even arguing we can’t leave the EU unless Ireland says so owing to border. You can quote me event after event in history. Can you quote me the context and the events leading up too? Britain went in harder and harder after each rebellion — the Irish had agency, and used it to create constant instability, calling forth a sterner response each time. See my blogpost at https://corkirish.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/can-the-irish-become-better-people/ for more details. After years of studying Cork Irish, I’ve handed over the entire blog to someone else, because there is no sense in tirelessly working hard to promote an Irish dialect for people who are carefully taught in school to hate their neighbours. No people have the right to hate – and especially not the Irish.

        Reply

        1. Lol I’m not reading it blod m8, I’m so sorry us unruly Irish caused so much trouble for you sublime imperialists, we should have meekly accepted that England knew what’s best for her inferior neighbour, get fucked m8, I cringe when I hear ppl saying the torys want to statyvanother empire but your apologetic for English imperialism makes want to reevaluate my judgment

          Reply

          1. No, you get fucked. You are the ones deliberately creating the problem at the moment. The Irish people are psychologically damaged by “independence”, which puts them in a position of constantly re-running a Famine Groundhog Day. Just like the Ukrainians are locked into an anti-Russian thing. The Canadians are locked into anti-Americanism. Everything you have was given to you by England. Show some gratitude.

        2. Can the Irish become better ppl????!!! Cromwell and u would have got on like a house on fire

          Reply

          1. I would have been a Cavalier, on the side of King Charles I, and not a Roundhead, on the side of Cromwell’s Parliament.

        3. Tell mebaboutbur shitty blog again faggot, oh no poor England has some difficulty for once boo fucking who, I’ll file this one under to bad so sad, lol u turn ppl against you that were on ur side, you victorians are a real hoot, to bad your enslave to international finance, whether Brexit happens or not ull still be an Islamic caliphate in 29 years good luck with that,its funny watching ur country collapse if Brexit I have my popcorn out and that drivel ur spouting about England giving us anything is real amusing, u bleedbus dried like the parasite u all are enjoy those grooming gangs molesting ur children with impunity , boris the Zionist shillcaint gonna do anything about that

          Reply

          1. Varadkar is trying to “beat” England by doing multiculturalism even better. John Waters called this the “mimicry” of Ireland, as Ireland tried to catch up and outdo the UK and the US by its progressive abortion laws and immigration laws. Look, a country of 5m can easily be overwhelmed by 5m immigrants. Do you recall how the Irish nuns stood by while the priests were sexually abusing girls (and boys)? Well, the gárdaí síochána will similarly stand by and laugh while the Afghans, Pakistanis and the rest rape Irish girls. That is your future too. UNLESS; you drop the intra-white ethnic hatred, and co-operate with nationalists in England to save all white countries from globalism. Get Varadkar out.

          2. Your comment about the nuns is erroneous and untrue but funny again I agree with most of the rest your saying but u rub salt in old wounds and I ain’t above flinging mud

        4. I like how you think the UK had a right and a duty to invade, subjugate and generally massacre the Irish, but we now don’t have a right to stand up for our own self interest as it relates to Brexit; because we’re a small nation.

          You have the mentality of a bully.

          But the look of one who has been bullied. It’s odd.

          Reply

  2. JOHN O'CONNOR 05/09/2019 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you David for explaining the idiocy in Conaill’s article.

    There are many many reasons, not just the backstop that make the agreement difficult for those (like me) who voted for Brexit.

    I think that you could write a much better article – normally your site has very high quality articles.

    Reply

    1. Thank you, John, for your supportive reply. I think Ireland should pursue good relations with the country next door, and that Britain would welcome that with open arms. Maybe a change in Taoiseach is required for that, because Enda Kenny was planning on a more co-operative approach. In the end, the EU will not last for ever, and after Brexit, most of Ireland’s trade will be outside of the EU.

      Reply

  3. Declan cooney 08/09/2019 at 10:19 pm

    we better leave G alone
    he/she/it is a socialist and needs to be humoured

    Reply

    1. Well, I don’t really like it when people comment on a blog with a name that is just a single letter, G. It amounts to cowardice.

      Reply

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