So the DUP are leaving it all up to Theresa May to sort out our Brexit deal are they?

At last!  Only two months later, a reply from Theresa May to the joint concerns of FM and DFM on the impact of Brexit. Searching for detail in the Nolan “scoop” I can only find this on the BBC website.

In her letter, Mrs May says the future of the border is “an important priority for the UK as a whole.”

She also says she recognises the “unique issues” raised by the Single Electricity Market and that resolving these will be a priority.

However some of the specifics of the Foster-McGuinness letter are not addressed.

“Some?” Try none. Is this good enough even for Arlene Foster?


Perhaps they’re keeping their powder dry for the meeting I now learn will take place next Monday between the heads of the three devolved administrations and the Prime Minister.  Will May have substance to impart or will she still be in listening mode? Will Foster and McGuinness get their act together and can all three devolved governments be able to put  united pressure on May to  give them seats at the Article  50 table?  Stand by for fireworks from Sturgeon.           .

The same listlessness is adopted in reporting the Assembly’s Brexit debate initiated by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood. After losing by a single vote, not even the DUP’s whipping stirred them.

Contrast that with messages from the academics. Akash Paun of the Institute for Government warns of the threat of constitutional crisis if the devolved governments are not given more than “consultation” but a seat at the table.” Not much sign of crisis  from the DUP over this or interest in Enda’s  Civic Forum on 2 November.   What’s the betting on him getting more out of May at the EU Council later this week.?

Michael Keating, director of the Edinburgh- based  Centre for Constitutional Change  has a not so cheery message for all those in the Assembly and others ( south of the border and like me), who are searching for ingenious  ways to square Brexit circles.

The European Economic Area (consisting of the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) is a single market but not a customs union. This means products assembled in the three EEA countries from raw materials and components coming from outside the EEA, which are then exported on to other EEA states (including the EU), are subject to rules of origin. Rules of origin determine how much of the product was made within the EEA and how much imported, to decide what tariffs are due. Applying these rules is costly to business and governments, and requires the scrutiny of trade.

All of this means that, if Scotland and Northern Ireland were to remain within the single market and customs union, they could not simultaneously be within the UK economic union. There would be a hard economic border between them and England and Wales; to do otherwise would create a gap in both economic unions through which goods, services and people could flow uncontrolled. Such tariffs as would apply to trade between the UK and Europe would apply to trade between the rest of the UK and the two devolved territories. If Scottish and Northern Irish firms could export services freely around Europe, they could not do so with the rest of the UK as long as it was outside the single market. If Scotland and Northern Ireland were within the customs union, then trade with England and Wales would be subject to rules of origin and customs checks to ensure that the appropriate duties had been paid. The only precedent I can find in Western Europe is the Basque system before 1820, allowing the Basque provinces free trade with the world but imposing tariffs on trade with the rest of Spain.

Even were it economically viable, such as system would not be acceptable either to the UK or to the European Union. For Scotland, it would almost amount to independence, raising the question of why it did not just go the whole way. In Northern Ireland, barriers with the rest of the UK would be unacceptable to the unionist community and undermine agreement about consensus being needed for a change in the status of the province.

There is one issue on which compromise might be possible and that is free movement of people between the two parts of Ireland. The UK and Ireland could sign a bilateral agreement allowing free movement and rights to work for citizens of their respective countries, based on the longstanding Common Travel Area and other provisions. It would not allow free movement of European citizens in and out of Northern Ireland. Nor would it have any relevance for a non-independent Scotland, where free movement across the border with England is not at issue. It might be useful in an independent Scotland, to maintain a free flow of people with both the UK and Europe.


So there are ways in which the Irish border could be kept open for people, but not for goods and services. Even were it economically practical, the Republic of Ireland has no power to negotiate free trade with other countries. That is the responsibility of the European Union as the customs union. Even were some ingenious way found to allow goods and services to be traded tariff-free between the two parts of Ireland, rules of origin and checks would be required to ensure that the provision was not being used as a back-door for firms in the rest of the UK to use Ireland as a backdoor into the single market. There are strong political reasons to find an intermediate solution in Scotland and to keep the Irish border open. There is a feeling that, since the UK has a flexible constitution and we have managed to muddle through in the past, something will be found. So far, however, nothing has been. 


Michael Keating is Professor of Politics at the University of Aberdeen, Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change and Senior Fellow in the UK in a Changing Europe programme.


“Keeping the Irish border open” is becoming as elastic a concept as “Brexit means Brexit.” Last time I looked, it meant no huts or sandwich boards on the border line, but digital  customs charging and random inspections elsewhere en route, and keeping your passport on you. In the game of constitutional chess with Nicola, Jim Gallagher’s move  is far from checkmate but it might still affect the board…

Wicklow- born Lord Haskins offers so easy solutions..

.A possible compromise might be for Northern Ireland to stay in the single market and create the border controls between the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland – water is a more effective barrier. The north could retain a federal link within the UK, but the links would inevitably weaken; and a possible shift towards Irish reunification would alarm unionists, who would fiercely resist such a proposal.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • chrisjones2

    Oh dear oh dear Brian. A whinge a day keeps the Journalist in play.

    This endless daily nit picking on the same points is more and more repetitive and boring. Indeed, its not just once a day sometimes its twice or the same point is dressed up in new clothes an run again and again on the flimsiest excuse. Aunt Sallys are set up to be knocked down so often that the poor dears must be suffering brain damage from so much concussion

    This article is one in point. I am sorry but it adds little or nothing and will just again fuel the same posts on all sides of utter doom and despondency followed by responses from people like me suggesting we call catch ourselves on and be realistic.

    Frankly all of this – my contributions included because they have now had to be made so many times and so many threads on the same points – it all adds nothing to any sort of reasoned debate. Instead it is usually just a vehicle for more rants and anti English, anti Tory vitriol followed by counterblasts pointing out the illogicality of the republican position on Brexit and the lack of reality in the arguments and scare mongering.

    This also runs the risk that any real issues of value never get an airing because the posts just get stuck in a daily rut. It also means that some really interesting things like today’s poll showing support for abortion among DUP voters marginally stronger than among SF supporters dont always make the cut. That (in NI terms) is seismic. Its not up yet but this stuff is

    Is it not worth rationing some of this Brexit stuff until there is something worth talking about? Or do I have to buy another keyboard having worn this one out?

  • Anglo-Irish
  • You can choose to ignore posts that don’t interest you, chrisjones2. But they interest others, so stop criticising them. The economic, environment and social consequences of leaving the EU affect people’s lives and livelihoods. It is not a minor matter.

    Closing down debate in not one of Slugger’s aims. It seems to be an aim of some of the leavers in England. Being inarticulate, unable to make a reasoned argument, they just shout at people to shut up (e.g. on the front page of the Daily Mail).

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Jim Gallagher’s piece is excellent. Interesting he confirms something I was speculating about in my head, around how the free movement of workers circle can indeed be squared:
    “Ministers look like rejecting free movement of labour in the EU. But they are also going to end up agreeing Visa free travel to EU citizens … So EU migration will be managed on a ‘point’ basis. Employers, say, will have to check whether people have the right to work; maybe even landlords or public service providers will have to check whether they are allowed to settle. Whatever the mechanism, it is done not at the border but in country. That means it can be different in different places. Scotland has already made a case for a different migration policy (the demographics are more challenging) and devolved EU migration policy is now an obvious response. And if Scotland, why not Wales or London too?”
    Or Northern Ireland, as I posed on another thread recently. The reality of “in country” checks is an obvious already existing mechanism that can work to give de facto control of immigration while allowing free movement in principle. That apercu is not the end of the story of course, but some version of this looks promising as a way for the UK to get some decent degree of free trade while “squaring the circle” of free movement of people.

    On free movement of goods, again might there be something less crunchy than the scenario Haskins put forward? He said:
    “Northern Ireland to stay in the single market and create the border controls between the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland – water is a more effective barrier. The north could retain a federal link within the UK, but the links would inevitably weaken …”
    But if the free movement of people issue is sorted as discussed, the movement of goods issue would actually be much less politically sensitive and therefore much more solvable. Forget the “federal” stuff; NI doesn’t have to officially stay in the single market as such, but could perhaps have relaxed devolved rules on goods incoming from the Republic (and going the other way) so it effectively operated as an adjunct to the single market. As for goods flowing between NI and the British mainland, perhaps there could be some version of Haskins’ “border controls” but not as heavy as that sounds – some additional paperwork to be completed (as there might be with the Republic also), where NI-origin goods would not be subject to a tariff but others would. Administratively heavy, yes, but the UK government could create a fund to cover this extra administrative cost to businesses in NI and those dealing with NI. Businesses could apply (and government make this as easy as possible) for an outside-NI trading licence and thereafter move goods freely to the British mainland and back. No need for NI’s link with the rest of the country to be generally more distant because of that – it would affect businesses through increased red tape but in my scenario they would be generously compensated for it, to the point where they would actually be incentivised to do MORE trade with mainland UK than before. Individuals travelling back and forth wouldn’t notice a thing. You contain the bomb explosion inside the business world, but you armour plate the business community so it doesn’t feel a thing. Treat it as a cost of Brexit – a big chunk of treasure but a sensible allocation of national resource to solve the one border issue the UK faces.

    If it played out like that, it would confirm my view that (1) Brexit was a costly self-inflicted wound, (2) it won’t cut bureaucracy but will increase it massively, but (3) the NI aspects of this at a political level can be managed through measures that impact a small number of people, without a full-blown constitutional crisis.

  • hgreen

    I’ve a feeling that Brexit isn’t going to happen. Already polls are indicating if the referendum was held now the result would be reversed.

    The way out for May-hem is to do what she should have done all along. Kick the advisory referendum result back to Parliament to make the decision on article 50. Yes some MPs may get punished at the next election however with the economy starting to tank and UKIP turning into a fight club I think many will be ok.

  • chrisjones2

    Sorry David but I will criticise what I want …within the rules.

    I note that you avoid the issues. Read my posts and you will see my response on the issues which are often set out in great detail. You will also see that the same points are made time and time again on multiple threads often on the same day, the same Aunt Sallys and misrepresentations are posted and answered then posted again

  • hgreen

    He’s only doing what many Brexiters are doing which is trying to shut down the debate. They are scared and the economy is showing them to have been utterly wrong.

  • chrisjones2

    Endlessly repeating the same arguments is not a debate

  • chrisjones2

    So the pound is down and inflation is up to a scary 1% (helping the Bank get towards its target of 2% !)

    The stock market is at new highs. Tourism is booming as are exports and all the threats of the Remainders including our dear late lamented former Chancellor – have all evaporated.

    Yes its a really depressing position

  • chrisjones2

    Oh come on….relying on the Huffington Post is worse than depending on the Guardian for objectivity

  • hgreen

    Ha ha you do realise that the stock market is up because of the fall in the £? The 1% inflation increase was calculated before the full impact of currency devaluation. The financial sector is threatening to leave. Scotland is threatening to leave.We will be paying the EU much more this year because of the drop in the £. We will have to bung Nissan and others loads of money to stay put. This is a clusterfu*k and we haven’t pressed the article 50 button yet.

    Now what’s so undemocratic in letting Parliament have its say?

  • Anglo-Irish

    It will be interesting to see how many MPs will be prepared to put the interests of the country before their own self interest.

    Politicians in general don’t have a particularly good reputation when it comes to self sacrifice.

    There was a clear majority of MPs in favour of Remain prior to the referendum.

    Has anything happened since then to persuade them that they were wrong?
    If anything the opposite, events – and non events – will have confirmed their original view.

    Providing that a clear explanation as to the pros and cons can be provided to the public and then debated in the House, a refusal to act upon the referendum result ( with maybe another referendum offered as a softener ) may be the result.

  • Anglo-Irish


  • hgreen

    Umm it was from the Independent.

  • Roger

    Quite a pickle the British Kingdom has got itself into: ‘outside-NI trading licences’ no less.
    Sounds bad for NI to me; though if you’re right that the British mainland will bung in more money to subvent the place yet further to compensate for the pickle, there could be smiles all around. Except on the faces of English taxpayers.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Is the Evening Standard more acceptable to you?

    It doesn’t say that it is certain to happen, it says that pressure is mounting and a statement was made by Cameron’s government that referendums wouldn’t be binding.

    Anyway, why are you concerned about a Parliamentary debate on Brexit?

    MPs are after all employed by us to consider and decide upon complex matters affecting the country, and according to you Brexit is a wonderful idea, surely they’ll agree with you?

    What’s the problem?

  • Anglo-Irish

    chris I have asked you on several occasions to explain to us exactly what the UK will be able to do following Brexit that it was being prevented from doing whilst an EU member.

    As yet you have declined to answer, perhaps this time?

  • Anglo-Irish

    I pay my taxes in England. : (

  • john millar

    “I have asked you on several occasions to explain to us exactly what the UK will be able to do following Brexit that it was being prevented from doing whilst an EU member.”

    I feel its more what will they have the balls to do rather than “able” to do . I suspect the answer is -er nothing

  • MainlandUlsterman

    English taxpayers like all the rest of us in the UK have to accept Brexit comes at a massive financial cost and we’re all going to be poorer. We were warned. tidying up the NI aspects of it will be small beer compared to the other costs. Brexiters can’t very well complain about it now; but if they want to change their minds they are very welcome. Personally, I’d like to see people who voted Brexit compensating the rest of us for the costs.

  • SDLP supporter

    Anybody notice that the two PBP amigos, Eamonn McCann and Gerry Carroll, courageously abstained on the SDLP Assembly motion yesterday? If they had voted ‘yes’, it would have passed. What guts! What verve! What brio! What spineless Trots!

  • Anglo-Irish

    In which case it will have been an entirely pointless and expensive waste of time, won’t it?

    As a matter of interest, what exactly would you like them to do which they couldn’t have done whilst in the EU?

    It isn’t go to war, because we have done on several occasions whilst members.

    It isn’t refuse to join the Euro, because we did.

    It isn’t refuse to sign up for Schengen because that’s also what we did.

    So, what is that is so essential for us to be free to do that we are intending to leave the worlds largest Trade Bloc in order to be able to do it?

    And if, once we are free of the EU we don’t have the balls to carry whatever it is out, what’s the point?

  • Obelisk

    They are a protest group, beholden to higher ideals rather than base responsibilities and messy compromises required for things to get done.

  • Obelisk

    English taxpayers will accept nothing. They happily swallowed the lie that they could have their cake and eat it too, immigration and border control along with prosperity and an economic boom.

    Now, for decades they have scapegoated the EU and immigrants as the source of all their misery. But very shortly they will no longer have that excuse.

    When they realise that they instead voted for poverty, do you think they will approach it rationally? Of course they won’t, too many of them will look for another scapegoat.

    Why not the spoiled, always complaining, over indulged devolved regions sponging on the hard working English taxpayer yet voting down English laws?

    Face it, out of the EU, we’re probably the next targets of English animus.

  • Katyusha

    Forget the “federal” stuff; NI doesn’t have to officially stay in the single market as such, but could perhaps have relaxed devolved rules on goods incoming from the Republic (and going the other way) so it effectively operated as an adjunct to the single market.

    Can such an arrangement work without being enshrined in a bilateral UK-EU treaty, though?
    What happens if the European Commission rules that such a de facto extension to the single market is tantamount to a breach in the rules of the single market, and rules it unlawful? What is to prevent other EU states, competitors in business of both the RoI and the UK, from bringing a court case to appeal as such.

    I don’t think we can wish this problem away with cute, clever fixes, creative ambiguity or sophistry. Terms are going to have to be defined so they aren’t challenged later.

  • Brian Walker

    At least I have the excuse that I cover the debate without apology.What’s yours? (No don’t tell me).

  • Kevin Breslin

    Some protest group … they could’ve voted No instead.

    If they believed that Northern Ireland would be better off without EU special status offered by the SDLP then on principle they could have sided with fellow Leave supporters and the UUP.

    The Eurosceptic but Brexitsceptic UUP were willing to endure the potential wrath of at least 30-40% of their own supporters by not supporting the motion.

    If they PBPA objections to the motion could they have taken the time to make a complaint?

    Did Eammon drink the Kool-Aid, knowing the fact that Brexit has done nothing against austerity in Foyle and everything for it, and then not offer anyone else a drink?

    Fellow Foyle MLA Gary Middleton bit his lip and voted No under the party whip, even though the effects of Brexit will not discriminate between Cityside and Waterside, between Derry and Londonderry.

    Campbell, Dodds and Elliot have to tread carefully as pro-Leave MPs of pro-Remain constituencies.

    Did they even make a statement as to why they were protesting both sides?

    What efforts in the Assembly are they making with the Lefty side of the Assembly or the Leavey side of the Assembly to get Lexit policies on the agenda?

  • john millar

    “And if, once we are free of the EU we don’t have the balls to carry whatever it is out, what’s the point?”

    Should be printed in gold in letters 12 foot high

  • chrisjones2

    When Eastwood behaves as he has done what a surprise …and the DUP showed its contempt by making sure just enough members were there to defeat it

  • chrisjones2

    Yeah ‘higher ideals ‘ of kicking in the door of No 10.

    A level politics

  • chrisjones2

    Fine if that reassures you dream on

  • chrisjones2

    Has anything happened since then to persuade them that they were wrong?

    Yes – the voters have made it clear what they want

  • chrisjones2

    Ahhh now a fresh series of crises

    “The 1% inflation increase was calculated before the full impact of currency devaluation” Yes and the target before Brexit was 2% . So what?

    “The financial sector is threatening to leave. ” Really? Initial panic then a reassessment. Some are moving in . Deutsche’s on the ropes in Germany. The Italian banks are near default . London looks safe

    “We will be paying the EU much more this year because of the drop in the £. ” And so much less in the future

    “We will have to bung Nissan and others loads of money to stay put.” Really? Says who? Another made up story. What we are doing is negotiating on the plans to build the new generation Quashquai in Sunderland …but that long predates Brexit

    This is all exactly what I said in the earlier post. The slavering determination to fund new ways to try and regurgitate new and negative stories

  • NotNowJohnny

    Have you any insight into why the stock market is at new highs?

  • chrisjones2

    Yes you do ….I am afraid ad nauseum on the same story Brian…day after day

  • NotNowJohnny

    I’ve also asked him to outline the benefits of Brexit for Northern Ireland. And he has declined to answer.

  • chrisjones2

    Very simple:

    1 set our own laws
    2 control our own immigration
    3 sack those who make the laws or dont perform
    4 conclude our own trade arrangements

    That’s a start

  • Kevin Breslin

    Why the upset at Eastwood.

    Was it the joking about the Holy water?

  • Obelisk

    Sometimes the problem with text based communication is that tone is lost, for example sarcasm.

    My true feelings about the PBP is that they spout off about their lovely ideals but are free to adopt any kind of political platform they wish because they will never be in a position to implement them.

    And here we see Mr.McCann’s personal antipathy to the EU actually screw us all over, in fact this maybe the one meaningful intervention he has had in several decades, because now the Tories will use this vote as a rhetorical cudgel against us (‘Sure your elected representatives voted against a special status…’). I’m a left winger, but in them I see the left wing gone too far.

  • chrisjones2

    For all you Remainers out there a little light entertainment. This is a report on the EU Tariff Regime for goods imported into the EU. In the UK we pay £3 billion a year for tariffs which are collected by HMRC. Post Brexit we can set our own regime.

    Bear in mind that not only do consumers pay these tariffs but they also pay bevies of Civil servants in Brussels to set and change the rates at bewildering speed. We are also seeing tariff number inflation with an increase in net tariffs of around 10% per annum. Well thats what happens when you give Civil Servants a job with no democratic control

    Now clearly this is all required. How else might we control the import of unicycles or privately owned space vehicles into the EU? Even worse what would we do without the weird and wonderful world with 7 different tariffs on coffee.

    And just as we spend a lot on development so these tariff tend to hit hardest against those emerging economys that manufacture the clothes and shoes that we buy so much of. …and the EU then taxes when they arrive on the boats

    So we all pay more – around £50 each a year for every man woman and child – and the main beneficiary is a cadre of civil servants who have jobs dreaming this up and arguing about how much we should charge on imported tomato sauce to protect Heinz (just over 10%) while Mayo can run free!!!!

  • eamoncorbett

    Let’s say for argument a man from Dublin and a man from Poland arrive simultaneously in London post Brexit , the man from Dublin is allowed to stay and work unhindered , the man from Poland is allowed a short term visa but can’t work . The Polish man takes a discrimination case in the high Court claiming that his rights mirror the man from Dublin identically , both EU citizens , both claiming the right to work but he is refused on the grounds of nationality . You also have to consider the reverse situation , if a British person arrives in Germany the considerations of the courts judgement would most likely be replicated by a German court. This situation is a lot more complicated than you make it out to be , because I have no doubt that court cases will be taken by all sides to contest Brexit legislation when enacted and some of those cases will be successful.

  • Oggins

    A troll a day, keeps on trolling. Look lads, obviously Chris knows best, he just won’t share it. Well except those excellent and well researched points above….. Chris how long did it take you to research all the data, then like a good read wine jus (gravy Chris, I know you not of fan of European things) boil it down to those four key points…. When I read your post above, I was immediately hit by an unworldly dawning and awakening, or my jus was more wine than gravy

  • Oggins

    Thanks for keeping this place a basket case 😉

  • eamoncorbett

    I don’t think the EU would allow special favours in trade between North and South , it would be contested and whatever is agreed on immigration will also be challenged in the courts both in the UK and Europe , this will not be plain sailing . Maybe at some future stage centrist Tories and Blairite Labour MPs along with LibDems and Scots Nats plus SDLP might recognise the gravity of the situation that a group of right wing Tories brought upon us all and force a fresh referendum , and this time make sure that only the truth is told at the debating table.

  • Anglo-Irish

    The majority of voters had no idea what they were voting for, that much has become clear.

    Many voted because they believed the bookmakers and media who said Remain would win and so they voted leave in order to ‘ send a message ‘ that they weren’t happy but not expecting to alter anything with the referendum.

    Many didn’t vote because they thought it was a foregone conclusion and are now regretting it.

    So now that everyone is completely aware of what’s at stake and have their attention concentrated why not vote again?

    If you are confident then it will confirm your beliefs and we can carry on.

    Only if you think that your side would lose next time would you object.

    What would that say about you? That you’re not bothered about finding out what people really want, you won by a combination of fluke and apathy and want to take it anyway, no matter what harm may come to the country?

  • Roger

    In fiscally tigh times ahead, me thinks NI will be low on the list of priorities for the British Kingdom. Small beer NI aspects may be but I fear those loyal subjects there won’t find ears sympathetic to yet further subvention. But I might be wrong. They’ve generously subvented for decades. Maybe yet more will be acceptable.

  • chrisjones2

    The juvenile ‘kick in the door of No 10’ – calculated to squander what little national credibility the SDLP have

  • chrisjones2

    Yes….they were all too thick

  • Anglo-Irish

    You are happy to leave yourself at the mercy of the British establishment, with no recourse to a higher court as and when they shaft you?

    You are aware aren’t you that the EU isn’t a country in its own right?

    EU laws are made by agreement between the member countries and have to be ratified by all members. So the UK has had an input to the procedure and agreed to the laws adoption into UK law.

    Control our own immigration?

    Presumably you are aware that over 50% of all immigration into the UK is from countries outside the UK?

    Which means that the UK has always been in control of the majority of immigration and could have reduced it by more than half had it wished to do so any time in the past 43 years.

    It didn’t because immigration is necessary to all first world countries in order to keep the wheels of industry and the service sector and even the NHS working.

    Many Asians have stated that they voted Leave because if we stop EU citizens from coming in we will let more of their family members in to fill the positions left open.

    Sack those who make the laws or don’t perform?

    That’s a cracker that one! You mean we will stop giving them Knighthoods, Earldoms and huge golden handshake pensions and call them to account?

    You do realise that the people you’re talking about will be the ones running the country with no reason to mind their Ps and Qs since they will have no court of appeal to worry about?

    Conclude our own trade arrangements?

    Another good one.

    At present we are have trade deals in place which were negotiated with access to a 500 Million customer market place as an incentive to do the deal.

    Do you honestly believe that we can get as good a deal when we renegotiate with a market of 64 Million as the incentive?

    More likely to be the finish!

  • chrisjones2

    I actually do a mean Coq au Vin, love holidays in France and Germany and Spain and thin k that in the last 10 years i have visited almost every state in the EU except Greece. I was originally in favour of the UK joining the Euro and now recognise what a catastrophic mistake that would have been.

    I love Europe and want us to have the most open and cordial relationship with it. But I do think Brexit is best an I do think that the EU is on a trajectory that will lead to its own destruction. I wish it was otherwise

  • Anglo-Irish

    Some most definitely were.

    When you ask someone who voted Leave for a coherent reason why they did so, and they can’t give you one despite it being a decision that will affect everyone in the country then yes thick describes it perfectly.

  • hgreen

    And there will be more negative stories to come e.g. Tesco have just warned about food price inflation.


  • Kevin Breslin

    Hyperbole … And in comparison to multiple metaphors used by Shinners and Paislyites, it was rather tame.

    I’m going to wait to see what the DUP have to offer in terms of motions, or will they stay perma-rejectnicks.

  • hgreen

    Look squirrel ! Tell me more about straight bananas.

  • hgreen

    We all know it’s only Number 2 you lot of Brexshiters are really interested in.

    P.s. You forgot: 5 Sink our Economy

  • NotNowJohnny

    Factually this is fine. But what conclusions do you expect us to draw? That all these tariffs will disappear post Brexit? That food will get cheaper? That imports will cost less
    post Brexit? That we’ll all be better off financially? Help me out here.

  • Roger

    A group of Tories 17 million strong ?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    CC is right, that’s straightforward – the Polish man would not have a discrimination case because EU law would no longer apply. The UK would presumably have laws in place giving Irish but not other EU citizens an automatic right to live in the UK and the courts would base their decisions on those.

    Likewise we may lose the right to live and work in Germany. This is all up for negotiation and we’ll see what comes out. I didn’t say it would be straightforward – it’s going to become massively more complicated, which is one reason why I’m such a massive Remainer. But as I say, if we have free movement generally for EU citizens post-Brexit, subject to perhaps a total numbers cap and/or subject to regular employment for the chief income earner (going back to a free movement of workers idea), that might give both Brexit voters and the EU enough to have a decent trade deal.

    That’s the whole question really: what’s the maximum we can do on immigration while still getting the benefits of EFTA. The EU is currently saying ‘nothing at all’ – and we should take that seriously – but I’m not sure that will be the final position.

    The current position on out-of-work benefits for EU migrants to the UK for example says newly arrived EU migrants can’t claim jobseeker’s allowance for three months and if they have no job within six months, the UK can deport them. That’s now, inside the EU. EU workers in the UK who lose their job through no fault of their own are entitled to benefits but only for 6 months. I wonder if the UK could actually keep those provisions, add an overall right of the government to step in if certain overall (could be quite big) numbers thresholds are reached, and there you have it – not much changed as regards the rights of EU citizens but we have the immigration controls required.

    May has to judge what is the minimum she can get away with with her own party, so she will play it very carefully, she’ll be spinning and manoeuvring like crazy to win the party and voters over to her line. Ultimately though she is going to have to face down the hard Brexiters at some point. I can’t believe she will scupper the country comprehensively merely to pacify one wing of her party, who don’t hold any of the great offices of state, and who may have at best 25-30 per cent support in the country for their position.

    On Today this morning they mentioned a recent poll which apparently asked voters what they would be willing to pay in terms of loss of income in order to have better control of immigration. 68 per cent said ‘nothing at all’. That’s what we’re dealing with here. Public opinion could shift a lot on immigration if and when it becomes clear being tough on it means we all lose considerable amounts of our household income. So if May comes along amidst all the panic over this “I’m happy these measures give us enough control over immigration” and by the way I can now deliver a free trade deal with the EU, most of the public will go for that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It wouldn’t officially be part of the single market though, it would just have quasi-single market rules. Yes in theory the Commission or ECJ could force the Republic to put tariffs on NI goods, so to prevent that I guess you would need the free trade arrangements over the border to be part of the new UK-EU deal, not just bilateral. So the EU could scupper it.

    You’re right, creative ambiguity certainly isn’t appropriate here – we’re talking trade arrangements and enforceable rights, whatever the deal is it will have to be pinned down, not left vague. Vagueness works on some ethereal issues, like identity and long term aspirations in the GFA, it doesn’t work in trading relationships. I’m only being vague now as it’s an early idea and I’m describing the rough parameters at this stage, I’m not suggesting it would remain vague.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you’re right, it won’t be plain sailing

    I do think there’s a chance the EU might be persuaded towards some special provision for the Irish border though, if it can be packaged as a containable fix that only applies only there and there are safeguards to prevent it becoming a backdoor to illegal UK-EU trading. Whether that’s possible I don’t know. But I described one way it perhaps could be.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The English don’t act as a single block on this though and opinion shifts. Remember, the Brexit vote in reality wasn’t much about the EU as such, it was more about people experiencing stretched public services, lack of housing, stagnating wages, at a time when immigrant numbers were going through the roof. The right-wing-Tory-UKIP block is powerful but does not represent a majority even in England.

    There is a key argument for public opinion going on right now and that opinion is, in my view, quite fluid at the moment. The argument will develop – and opinion eventually crystallise – over (1) what constitutes good enough control over immigration; and (2) how much of an economic price we’re willing to pay for it. I’m not at all sure the Brexiteers have the upper hand now, nor will they have in several months’ time. Crucially the PM and Chancellor (and whisper it, Boris Johnson too) are all for doing whatever the economy needs and are pragmatic about immigration. If they cement their power – an election next year may not be bad for that, increased Tory majority with May subsequently strengthened – this could all look quite different.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you underestimate though that UKIPers and right wing Tories are very often *British* patriots, and don’t want to see the country broken up. There is a rise of a loose kind of English nationalism but it’s still a minority pursuit. The desire of Britons to keep the country together is constantly underestimated, because it is not understood, but it is a fact.

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: If they believed that Northern Ireland would be better off without EU special status offered by the SDLP …
    When did the SDLP get the power to offer EU special status?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    and why should it?

  • eamoncorbett

    I don’t think they were all Tory supporters ,but they all did swallow the line on immigration and I heard a leading member of the commission say today that Britain will have to contribute towards structural funds in order to access the single market .

  • chrisjones2

    The only thing bananas is the regime.

    7 different taxes on Coffee….why?

    Why tax Tomato sauce? Well we all know why. If I am an Italian or Spanish tomato grower I bung a lobbyist, who entertains MEPs and Commission staff at length and ensures that we put a tax on inbound produce to protect famrers from the realities of life. Consumers pay more but what does that matter?

    But unicycles? Space vehicles?

  • chrisjones2

    They will not have a chopice. The decision will be between the deal negotiated and standard WTO Tariffs

  • chrisjones2

    NIssan – arch remainers and owned by Renault which is virtually an arm of the French state

    Tesco – agsin self serving campaigner for Remain

  • chrisjones2

    and in negotiation with teh EU the Polie may be eleigible for say a 6 month work visa immedately on entry if he meets the rules

  • chrisjones2

    1 In pracie the UK has a limited veto on the alws

    2 Utlitmate control lies with teh Europeqn Court not UK courts. That will change

    3 I dont care that 50% of immigration is from outside the UK. I welocme alot of immigration as positive and desirable and it will continue

    4 The British Establsigmnet will rule the country – oh dear how terrible. Just like the Irish Establishment ruile Ireland? Doyou complain that they are the establishmnet or just that they are British and you dnt like that?

    5 As for trade agreements yes the EU has 500 million people – the rest of the world has another 6.9 billion. We will trade with the EU and with many more countries outside the Eu without the control and compromise that Europe has imposed

  • OneNI

    I love the sight of Mary McG (whose Party polls less than half of one per cent) puffing his chest out and railing against Brokenshire (whose Party hit 47 per cent in today’s opinion polls)

  • Anglo-Irish

    I assume you mean laws?
    That’s the current position and I have no problem with it.
    If you believe that trade agreements negotiated by the UK will come ‘no strings attached ‘ without concessions on our part then you are seriously deluded.

    Ultimate control lies with the European Court?
    You need to inform Parliament about that because whilst it is accepted that we have AGREED to abide by certain EU laws in return for access to prosperity Parliament is under the impression that it is still in overall control, and as we have just voted to leave, which we could have done at any time it would seem to confirm that view.

    You don’t care that over 50% of immigration into the country is from outside the European Union?

    I thought you said that you were concerned about the strain on housing and education brought about by immigration?

    Those problems could have been alleviated overnight by reducing – if not totally ending – entry to the UK by anyone from outside the EU.

    That power is completely under the control of the UK Parliament, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU.

    I tend to regard all ‘establishments’ with a certain scepticism, but as I happen to live in Britain they are the ones that concern me.
    Why would I bother about the French,American. Irish or any other countries establishment?

    I have asked you time and time again for an explanation as to what we are going to be able to do once we leave that we can’t do as EU members.

    You haven’t provided anything like a reasonable answer for the simple reason you haven’t a clue.

    Membership of a Trading Bloc of 500 Million provides enormous clout when negotiating trade deals.

    We will not be able to achieve anything like as good terms on our own.

    Germany,France,Italy and the Netherlands all currently export more than we do.

    They are all in the EU and your ( ” control and compromise ” whatever that’s supposed to mean ) hasn’t prevented them being far more successful than the UK at exporting.

    As for your ” the rest of the world has 6.9 Billion ” don’t make me laugh, Brazil,Russia,India and China together have a population which makes up approximately half of that number and the UK currently exports as much to the Republic of Ireland with its 4.6 Million population than it does to those four combined.

  • Anglo-Irish

    And you know this how?