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Brexit Big Brother Is Watching

By Patrick Van Roy On May 22nd, 2019

Guest Post by Paul McMahon

Some commentators here have suggested in the absence of the ‘backstop’ solution that Brexit won’t impose a hard border on the island of Ireland, muttering some vague something something something trusted trader, something something something technology European Research Group word salad waffle in its defence and how WTO rules don’t obligate it:

Of course the WTO doctrine of Most Favoured Nation says differently:

 

  1. Most-favoured-nation (MFN): treating other people equally  Under the WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Grant someone a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate for one of their products) and you have to do the same for all other WTO members

So, in fact, under a WTO Brexit goods moving from Newry in County Down to its natural hinterland in County Louth would be under the same custom tariffs as goods from say Canada.

The English Centric uber Brexis who are absolutely democratically unnaccountable to the electorate in either state on the island of Ireland love this kind of language as it allows them to dismiss the incredibly complex Irish border issue with vagaries which will allow them to kick the can down the road until the deal is finally done and then it’s a case of, ‘hard border? tough shit’, (remember all that flowery talk about Customs Unions and Economic Association and Norway models prior to the referendum only to morph into a hardline ‘out means out! when they won? Something like that), after all, those Paddies don’t elect us, we’re only concerned with our electorate in leafy Wode Under Limeshire.
I came across a post over at Slugger on the issue which was heavy on what the uber Brexis have (deliberately?) been light on – detail, and it makes interesting reading.

The time for polite euphemism is over. When British politicians refer to “alternative arrangements for the Irish border”, they are calling for invasive technology that is incompatible with living in a free society. When they talk about “political will”, they are referring to the willingness of the people crossing the border to submit to this treatment, and the will to compel compliance if they resist

It seems that those fierce ‘libertarians’ are okay with Government surveillance of citizens when the trade off is their Brexit, after all, like the uber Brexi politicos, if it doesn’t affect the leafy shires of dear old Blighty it doesn’t matter.

39 Responses to “Brexit Big Brother Is Watching”

  1. The referendum result for Leave was in mid-2016: it is now mid-2019 and the UK is still in the EU. This is deliberate ‘incompetence’ supported by those who seek to thwart Britain’s departure from the EU.

  2. As always many thanks Pat.

    Allan, please try to stay on subject, the ‘technology solution’ to the border in Ireland.

  3. Allan

    I assume it’s “the Joos”, no?

  4. Paul

    Interesting post, worthy of Pete Moore at his most deliberately provocative.

  5. Small formatting issue:

    The time for polite euphemism is over. When British politicians refer to “alternative arrangements for the Irish border”, they are calling for invasive technology that is incompatible with living in a free society. When they talk about “political will”, they are referring to the willingness of the people crossing the border to submit to this treatment, and the will to compel compliance if they resist

    That’s a quote from the Slugger link.

  6. Worthy of Pete Moore at his most deliberately provocative

    Praise indeed. Provocative? Moi?

    In all seriousness, have a read of the Slugger link Peter.

  7. Yes Paul, have now read it in full.

    The hard Brexit brigade will regard the big-brother surveillance as a price well worth paying to achieve their dream. For now, the DUP are passengers on the hard Brexit bus, but they should be under no illusion that Boris will throw them under that bus if the needs of Little England dictate that. There is strong polling evidence that 75% of English Tories are prepared to risk the Union with Scotland and Northern Ireland in pursuit of the Brexit they crave.

    The DUP should remember the old maxim: “Never trust the Tories”. But it’s probably too late now. They have already hitched their wagon to Johnson. He was received with acclaim at their conference in November. They should be careful what they wish for.

  8. I could also easily see Johnson cancelling Brexit altogether if it became easier to do so, without flinching or feeling embarrassed at making such a 180 u turn. He’s that sort of politician.

  9. The hard Brexit brigade will regard the big-brother surveillance as a price well worth paying to achieve their dream. For now, the DUP are passengers on the hard Brexit bus, but they should be under no illusion that Boris will throw them under that bus if the needs of Little England dictate that.

    I agree on both your points. The DUP would do well to remember that the state of NI only has a total of eighteen Westminster consituencies in a six hundred and fifty seat Parliament, a miniscule figure. The English MPs really don’t give a shit about the DUP or anyone else in the wee six.

  10. When British politicians refer to “alternative arrangements for the Irish border”, they are calling for invasive technology that is incompatible with living in a free society.

    Ia the idea of a goods ” border ” in the Irish sea alive?

  11. Not at the moment but in any future govt not needing to be propped up by the DUP it would certainly be a possibility.

  12. The English MPs really don’t give a shit about the DUP or anyone else in the wee six.

    Yes, and they have already written off Scotland. There was a chance of a big Tory revival there under Ruth Davidson, but that will now be crushed as the English Tories complete their Brexit journey and become English Nationalists. I’m not sure that Johnson will be totally comfortable with that, but he will ride the wave if it gets him the top job.

  13. Who thinks that Scotland leaves the UK within the next ten years?

  14. Phantom

    If there is a hard Brexit I would bet nothing on either Scotland or Northern Ireland being in the UK by 2029 and I would be deeply saddened.

    But look on the bright side, at least the Tory Little Englanders would have got their Little England. With a permanent Tory government, probably, unless they change to a fair voting system, LOL.

  15. edit fixed.

    Speaking of Slugger hows Gaskin……

  16. There will be no hard border of any type. And, there likely will be no Brexit.

  17. I don’t see either ever leaving the UK

  18. you may be right NYr

  19. Phantom,

    Who thinks that Scotland leaves the UK within the next ten years?

    As with brexit, the younger generation of Scots are against splitting up the Union. Therefore the more time that passes, the less likely it is to happen.

  20. As with brexit, the younger generation of Scots are against splitting up the Union.

    Is that legit Dave? I can’t find anything either way online.

    What is for sure is that Brexit has raised the issue of the partition of Ireland like no other time since 1921. Certainly in my lifetime I can’t recall there being so much talk of border polls, all island economies etc.

  21. Wouldn’t there always be much closer ties between the Scots and English than there will be between say Scots and French or Germans? So wouldn’t Scotland leaving the UK be swapping a smaller problem for a larger one?

  22. Wouldn’t there always be much closer ties between the Scots and English than there will be between say Scots and French or Germans?

    Couldn’t the same claim be made of the Irish?

  23. “Wouldn’t there always be much closer ties between the Scots and English than there will be between say Scots and French or Germans? So wouldn’t Scotland leaving the UK be swapping a smaller problem for a larger one?”

    No single country dominates the European Union in the manner in which England dominates the UK. Germany is 16% of the European Union (population wise). England is 84%. Germany has 13% of the seats in the European Parliament. England has 82% of the seats in the UK Parliament. Germany provides 1 Cabinet Minister (out of 28). England provides 20 (out of 22). Every country, from Germany to Malta, has a veto on certain matters within the European Union. Scotland has no veto in the UK.

  24. Couldn’t the same claim be made of the Irish?

    There are big similarities between Ireland and Scotland here, but of course they’re not identical.

    Both pro-EU peoples I think lost the Brexit vote big time. I believe that they both wanted the EU to continue with the UK/England staying in it. They didn’t want the psychological or actual separation that is coming.

    The Irish can see the possibility of an end game where at some point there is much of what I think most Irish want – a United Ireland that is in the EU.

    The Scots don’t have that type of reunification issue – they face two choices that will be a loss from what they now have – either being in a UK that no longer is in the EU, or they’ll be ” independent “. possibly a member of the EU, but probably without the ability to work/live in England at will.

  25. The obvious difficulty with an independent Scotland is the same issue that Brexit has created in Ireland. An independent Scotland, especially one where England leaves the European Union but Scotland remains, means there is now going to have to be a regulatory, customs, and international border between England and Scotland.

  26. Yes.

    Brexit supporters here hardly mention Scotland apart from the odd snarky remark, but…they’ve created a problem for Scotland and Scots, no matter how you look at it.

    Where’s harri?

  27. “Brexit supporters here hardly mention Scotland apart from the odd snarky remark, but…they’ve created a problem for Scotland and Scots, no matter how you look at it.”

    Largely because Brexit is a Little Englander project. And the natives don’t matter to them.

  28. And there would be I think a significant number of Scots who are both pro UK and pro EU.

    They’ve been put in a bad spot.

  29. “And there would be I think a significant number of Scots who are both pro UK and pro EU.”

    Probably the largest group of people in Scotland. Ultimately, in terms of the two referendums, there are four groups:

    Yes/Remain
    Yes/Leave
    No/Remain
    No/Leave

    Yes is pro-Scottish Independence, No is pro-Scottish Unionism. Obviously Leave and Remain are pro and anti Brexit.

    So the largest group, according to polling, is the No/Remain group. Anti-Scottish Independence and pro-European Union. They have 35% of the vote. So of the 55% of Scottish people who voted against independence nearly 2/3rds of them support EU membership. So the question for them is going to be do they support UK membership more than EU membership. If 15% of them support EU membership more than UK membership then that swings the balance in favour of Scottish independence.

  30. I was thinking of ties more in historical terms which aren’t always positive Phantom.

    Both pro-EU peoples I think lost the Brexit vote big time. I believe that they both wanted the EU to continue with the UK/England staying in it. They didn’t want the psychological or actual separation that is coming

    Yes and no, Scotland voted 62.0% to remain while the wee six voted 56% for the same and the will of the England, with its population of ten times that of the three other parts of the UK combined, was imposed on the others. A demonstartion of the egalitarian political nature of the UK and where the engine of Brexit was driven from.

    Seamus’ number crunching above is spot on, I think the had the status quo prevailed in Brexit the UK would have happily trundled on but now that the English have upset the apple cart I think that eventually Scotland and the state of NI will be forced into the ultimatum of preferring the big union or the smaller one.

  31. The referendum result for Leave was in mid-2016: it is now mid-2019 and the UK is still in the EU. This is deliberate ‘incompetence’ supported by those who seek to thwart Britain’s departure from the EU.

    Scotland voted 62.0% to remain while the wee six voted 56% for the same and the will of the England, with its population of ten times that of the three other parts of the UK combined, was imposed on the others.

    Wales is not mentioned, and why would that be? Because Wales voted Leave and Leave is being thwarted by any and all means. Wales suffered deindustrialisation on the same scale as the north of England since joining the EU so they decided that enough was enough.

  32. “The referendum result for Leave was in mid-2016: it is now mid-2019 and the UK is still in the EU. This is deliberate ‘incompetence’ supported by those who seek to thwart Britain’s departure from the EU.”

    So what is your Leave plan, that would result in absolutely no new infrastructure (including cameras) at the border in Ireland?

  33. Wales is not mentioned, and why would that be?

    Well, actually it’s because there’s no talk of a border poll in Wales like there is in Ireland or an independence referendum as there is in Scotland. Wales however was referred to:

    The will of the England, with its population of ten times that of the three other parts of the UK combined, was imposed on the others. A demonstartion of the egalitarian political nature of the UK and where the engine of Brexit was driven from.

    When England is excluded from the equation it doesn’t take a genius to work out what the other three parts of the UK are.

    Now, do you have any coments on the substance of the post which is the claim that:

    When British politicians refer to “alternative arrangements for the Irish border”, they are calling for invasive technology that is incompatible with living in a free society. When they talk about “political will”, they are referring to the willingness of the people crossing the border to submit to this treatment, and the will to compel compliance if they resist

    To ‘resolve’ the issue of the border in Ireland?

  34. I’ve just been out for three hours. Is Theresa May still PM?

  35. All that it requires for the issue of the border in the island of Ireland to be resolved is for the wall that Trump didn’t build to be built around the six-counties and with one gate for trade and movement on ‘Slab’ Murphy’s farm – that’s it ended

  36. Only just got the time to read this properly.
    Interesting post and link Paul.

  37. Paul McMahon,

    Is that legit Dave? I can’t find anything either way online.

    It is legitimate mate, but it was a program I watched last year or even possibly the year before. It surveyed attitudeds across all generations, about the Union.
    As you would expect the braveheart generation and the Scottish nationalists just wanted to leave. However, if I remember correctly the under 25s were not in favour of breaking up the Union by quite a high majority.

    What is for sure is that Brexit has raised the issue of the partition of Ireland like no other time since 1921. Certainly in my lifetime I can’t recall there being so much talk of border polls, all island economies etc.

    indeed mate, I don’t think people in the UK appreciating how much this is affecting Ireland.

  38. Theresa May breaks into tears as she tenders her resignation today. In two weeks the UK will have a new PM.

  39. Please don’t let it be Boris.