What exactly do your confidential briefings tell you about post Brexit border controls Theresa?

For my part, I don’t believe much of the hype about the effects of the UK pulling out on the EU. That’s not to say that there won’t be any. But my own view is that, as with technology, we overestimate such effects in the short term but underestimate them in the longer run.

So I don’t believe in the three-match accumulator leading to the inevitable break-up of the UK being touted by two Irish commentators I hold in the highest esteem, ie David McWilliams and Fintan O’Toole. This comes under the former rather than the latter.

More telling is that two members of the present Cabinet [both called Theresa? – Ed] are talking out of different sides of their mouths when it comes to the likely effects of the UK pulling out will have on the border. Well, how long is a piece of string? [Er, about 499 km? – Ed]

This goes to the heart of why calling a referendum on a deal you haven’t actually done is so disingenuous. It allows the Secretary of State to pick and choose from separate and conflicting scenarios in order to answer the question in the most politically advantageous way.

The Home Secretary (who has been conspicuous mostly by her absence from this campaign thus far) is likely taking the least politically sustainable scenario implied by Leave’s mega-promises on Immigration and suggesting that ‘taking control’ of the UK’s border’s must mean controls at Cross.

She has a point, up to a point. As I have argued here before, any departure will see the ignition of seriously political will to close as many potential gaps as much as possible. But if Ireland remains in (and they have plenty of incentives to do so), single market rules will apply.

I’ve not seen the figures for populations flows, but surely they are likely to be affected by any attempt by post-Brexit UK to close the doors on immigration? How does a post-Brexit UK deal with that without tightening control at the land border or English/Scottish ports?

There are other unquantified risks around smuggling and cross-border criminality, but let’s not gild the lily too much. The truth is that the Secretary of State must have had briefings on all of these potential scenarios as part of the day job.

If she has it is odd that in all of these unambiguously risky shifts should result in a single solution (ie in terms of checks at the border) providing us with a single providential promise that nothing will change?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Lay off Thresea, the cat’s out of the bag there’s going to some customs checks on the border. For me this isn’t a matter of the benefits of Remaining in the EU, it’s a matter of public information and vigilance that Brexit will come with these costs.

    Other than Irish unity one way or the other, the only other way is the UK and ROI remaining in the same customs union in some other mechanism.

    I will bizarrely praise her again, for her not so casual disclosure that the way the UK, ROI and Western nations in Europe, inside or outside of the EU control migration is by keeping migrants away from the “system” particularly undocumented migrants who have no right to be in these lands, and people of no fixed home (just like it would be for native vagrants).

    EU nations do all that anyway.

    In UK terms as an example, It simply isn’t practical or legal to put foot soldiers to cover every square inch of coast (and Irish border) and shoot incomers that “don’t look or speak British” without due process like the Katie Hopkins like right wing fundamentalists in the UK want.

    It’s completely uneconomical and could likely lead to a war, never mind scare those valued fishermen away. It requires surveillance, it requires deterrence, it requires patrolling internal security for visa breakers, scam marriages, scam asylum seekers, identity thieves and those fleeing from ports after being rescued at sea.

    We see the UK controlling the border in Callais where migrants try to stowaway in defiance of UK law, EU law and the terms of Schengen.

    In terms of an Australian points based system, I’m sure a heck of a lot of well skilled EU nationals will get in and those who don’t make take their chances with a black market. Families with differing national spouses previously covered by EU rules may have to question it.

    In an island of Ireland context, other than the normal migration rules that the Republic of Ireland has, and because Northern Ireland’s immigration is so low I really don’t see the benefit of having them, just for a disproportional and ineffective response to deal with migration.

    Any EU national like any Irish citizen or British citizen should be free to come to Northern Ireland from the Republic without these pointless checkpoints in the way.

    Any EU national just like any Irish citizen or British citizen coming to Northern Ireland from the Republic seeking to cause a problem can be dealt by the authorities and cross-border and cross island intelligence sharing without these pointless checkpoints in the way.

    We don’t need crowd control on the border, the only reason they are being suggested is to appease the David McNarrys of the world who would be paranoid without them.

  • hgreen

    Interesting question for me is what will happen to the Callais migrant camps post exit. What incentive will the French have to maintain this cooperation with Britain? If the migrants want to hop on a boat over to blighty surely that’s a good thing for France. Australian style migrant camps in Kent?

    Leaving the EU we could have an even bigger immigration problem.

  • Reader

    hgreen: What incentive will the French have to maintain this cooperation with Britain? If the migrants want to hop on a boat over to blighty surely that’s a good thing for France. Australian style migrant camps in Kent?
    Not really, clearly the camps are an inconvenience for the French, and so are the subbed-out migration controls. But the problem is self limiting, and the UK government has a private arrangement with the French. If the situation changed as you suggest, the throughput would increase, and that might cause even more problems in France.
    For instance, consider all of the images in eastern Europe from last year – governments wanting to stop migrants passing *through* their country *to* Germany. Don’t you wonder why they bothered with the fences and the riot police?

  • chrisjones2

    “The Home Secretary (who has been conspicuous mostly by her absence from this campaign thus far) ”

    While quietly running her own campaign in the background …………

    These recent comments are mere positioning for the battle to come. Mere soundbites for future quotations. Soft on the EU but oh so hard on the border she will be every-woman to every post referendum demand. When Dave goes (as go he must) in October, guess who front runner will be?

    Gideon is a spent force and utterly discredited. Having wielded the knife Gove and Boris will be unacceptable …..must unite party …… fresh …………….. someone of experience …gravitas ….. Margaret did such a good job ….time for woman again ….really upset Labour. Gove to stay at Justice. Offer Boris something good that ideally he may even turn down (Foreign Office?). Chancellor? have we another woman perchance ….to be groomed for 2026?

    Expect that before recess she may take the chance to put Jezza in his box on some issue of national importance and then sit back and await the Coronation

  • chrisjones2

    Except we can stop the boats unless they fix their border problem. Most of them are carrying goods to us not from us

  • Slater

    The border checks are already in place with Dundalk taking the place of Calais. Every time I take the bus to Dublin we are pulled in to the side of the N1 road while Guards do a random check on the nationality of non-EU nationals to check they have visas for entry to Ireland.

  • Skibo

    Will those checks now take place north of the border also to stop any EU nationals legally in the Republic entering NI?
    With the border being quite porous would it be more financially viable to accept they can enter NI and stop them at the Irish Sea?

  • Skibo

    How would you stop EU nationals who can legally be in ROI entering NI and taking up jobs?
    Could they live in Lifford and travel to work in Dungannon or Dundalk and travel to Belfast?

  • chrisjones2

    To work here they may need a visa unless a scheme is agreed to allow them to work here or anywhere else in the UK. Sadly that will be a matter for the Commission not the Irish Government as they have signed away their sovreignty

  • Reader

    Skibo: With the border being quite porous would it be more financially viable to accept they can enter NI and stop them at the Irish Sea?
    As I keep on pointing out – why try to stop them? Their EHIC cards are useless once they cross the border, and they can’t claim benefits. If they want to spend money, or work, then that’s just fine.
    If they had other plans, they will just head back to Dublin, where the streets are paved with gold and there are a hundred thousand welcomes.

  • Thomas Barber

    “We don’t need crowd control on the border, the only reason they are
    being suggested is to appease the David McNarrys of the world who would
    be paranoid without them”

    Remember Kevin, just like David McNarry, your views are only your opinions and in relation to border checks Britain or Ireland might have no say on the matter the EU commission just might force the issue over our heads.

    “inside or outside of the EU control migration is by keeping migrants
    away from the “system” particularly undocumented migrants who have no
    right to be in these lands, and people of no fixed home (just like it
    would be for native vagrants)”

    I dont get the bit about native vagrants are you saying you see them as similar to undocumented migrants who have no right to be in this land, what exactly do you mean by “keeping them away from the system”

    I never thought i’d see the day when this woman would be a bullshitter. Is this woman saying that Irish citizens living outside the EU are not considered Irish citizens by the EU.

    http://ulsterherald.com/2016/06/21/brexit-uncertainty-for-norths-irish-passport-holders/

    “What is our status? How are we going to be treated? Are we going to be treated as Irish citizens”

  • eamoncorbett

    No need to worry Mick , Bexit aint gonna happen , it will be defeated by between 3 to 5 million votes , ring Paddy Power now.

  • Brendan Heading

    I’ve yet to have a straight answer on the question of exactly how the UK can be said to be in control of its borders if it leaves its only land border, several hundred miles long, unpoliced.

    Imagine, for example, a French plumber who illegally overstays his work visa and is deported back to Calais. All he needs to do is get a bus to Cherbourg, hop on the overnight ferry to Dublin, and from there take another ferry to Liverpool. if there were a boom in illegal labour in the UK it would be expensive and difficult to police unless the UK tore up the Common Travel Area and instigated passport control for all entry into the mainland UK.

  • Thomas Barber

    What if in the event of a Brexit its the EU that imposes border controls in Ireland it will then be the EU who are restricting the freedom of movement of those Irish citizens living in the British controlled part of Ireland.

  • Brendan Heading

    Yes, that’s possible, and my point still stands.

  • Thomas Barber

    You really think the British and Irish governments would risk the unravelling of the GFA ? There is more of a chance that Ireland would also exit the EU.

  • Brendan Heading

    The UK are very clearly willing to risk unravelling the GFA by leaving the EU.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The only difference between a national vagrant and a non national vagrant is that the non national can be deported after being arrested.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Pretty much what I suggested paperwork. I cant imagine any rational human being suggesting we need to stop Polish swimmers or hill walkers going half way across a river or a mountain for the sake of keeping the myth of zero tolerance border control. There might be a few headcases in the UK want a 54th Parallel here for DPR NI.

  • Teddybear

    Theresa is lovely.

  • Teddybear

    I’m beginning to warm to Irish unity as long as NI devolution remains in place. GB is a moral post and anti Christian cesspit. At least Hibernia Island is culturally cohesive with strong family bonds and family values unlike godless England.

  • ted hagan

    Vagrant. What an ugly word.

  • aquifer

    Non confidential briefing on Brexit:

    The security border will be at British mainland ports and airports.

    The land border cannot be policed and will again become the preserve of Irish separatist criminal gangs and a source of revenue for paramilitary assassins.

    The DUP will be re-invigorated by the insecurity and paranoia.

    Now go vote, the future direction of the London Tory party depends on it.

  • Alanbrooke

    Enough of this Brexit nonsense . Looking at the football, does anyone know the odds on an all Ireland final ?

  • Skibo

    So the issue of Foreigners taking “our” jobs is not a problem?

  • Reader

    Not so far as I am concerned, though I am in a middle-class occupation. I do have some sympathy for local people without marketable skills, who will never get training because the skills can be imported. But hey – that’s the free market for ya.
    I am more concerned that we import people who will not be able to contribute to the economy. But that is something that Brexit can fix without border posts. How can that be fixed by Bremain?

  • ted hagan

    I’m banking on Villiers getting the boot if Leave win. She’s been one of the worst, most wishy washy Secretary of States we have ever had.

  • Skibo

    I assume you are referring to the benefit claimants. Will that issue not be addressed by the new ruling agreed with the EU leaders that as an immigrant, you must be in the country for four years before you can claim benefits?

  • Reader

    Skibo – it’s a time limited emergency measure, surrounded by conditions, only applying to some benefits, and with the limitations phased out progressively. In the long run, the deal doesn’t actually exist…

  • Skibo

    I agree. I remember one of the debates where Cameron was challenged on it and accused of being a Clement Attlee waving his paper while shouting “not in our lifetime”
    The benefits system is not perfect but I assume it is the same for Brits when they head off into Europe. Is there not a couple of million out there at the moment/

  • Mick,
    Interestingly the bould Sammy posed the same question as you do above over at “Bangordub Central” some weeks ago : https://bangordub.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/so-do-tell-us-theresa-what-did-mi5-tell-you/

  • Reader

    Skibo: The benefits system is not perfect but I assume it is the same for Brits when they head off into Europe. Is there not a couple of million out there at the momen
    The Irish benefits system seems generous, but I think it is hard to get onto it just by stepping off the gangplank. Similarly with the more generous west european systems. The east european benefits systems are very sparse. And all over the place, there is little to compare to the UK Working Tax Credits, which are a big draw to low skilled workers.
    So, while there are about a million Brits scattered across the rest of the EU, not many of them are claiming benefits.

  • Skibo

    Reader following the papers on Sunday, there are about 2.2 million Brits in the EU. You are probably right that there will not be too many on benefits only but the statistics show that not too many of the immigrants in the UK are on benefits only either. The facts show there is an economic benefit from immigrants in the UK.