When we read back to this interregnum period between deciding to Brexit, and actually doing it, there are going to be some embarrassing moments, not least that official who said that it would not be possible to walk your dog across the border.
Anyone who has encountered the Swiss border in their travels will know it’s not the two layers of barbed wire fencing portrayed as Steve McQueen tried to make it across in the German motorcycle and sidecar.
Some country roads in North Jura, for instance, crisscross the French-German border without notice. And it seems the news from Switzerland is that an invisible border could be perfectly possible:
The head of the Swiss customs system has suggested that it would be possible to maintain an “invisible border” in Ireland after Brexit.
Dr Christian Bock was giving evidence to Westminster’s NI Affairs Committee.
Dr Bock said a number of conditions would need to be met including common UK and Irish border patrols
He said there would need to be “control points” but these could be at locations away from the border, such as business premises.
Dr Bock said there would also have to be an intelligence strategy, a pre-qualification system for trusted traders, and a system for easing low-risk trade.
He said that only about 2% of consignments crossing the Swiss border have to be subject to physical checks.
Possible, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean desirable. Desirability will depend on the details of the deal. But let’s not continue with the idea that an invisible border cannot be done?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty