“There is so little concrete information coming from both sides…”

Fascinating free-ranging conversation including our own Senator Neale Richmond (formidable performance), who has a good old barney with my oul mucker Jonathan Isaby of Brexit Central

The information vacuum is driving a lot of this controversy, but what’s fascinating is to hear the clash between how the Republic sees the EU and the more negative terms in which the UK has always viewed it.

In the short term, Nichola Byrne of the Irish Exporters Association is probably right that Ireland has much to gain and very little to lose by staying in the EU after Brexit, but in the longer term, negotiations will be tougher without the UK.

With exception of those like Ray Bassett (and David McWilliams) who advocate the extremely unpopular option of Ireland leaving, what no one in Ireland seems to have considered is what it might do if Brexit is a success.

The political discourse around this doesn’t make the border issue easier. Ian Paisley had a point last night on RTE Prime Time when he highlighted the folly of talking about the war border as opposed to a trade border had needlessly complicated things.

So too, indeed, does overly focusing on the business of whether Brexit will ultimately aid Nationalism or Unionism. Whichever way it is will unfold with the country’s fortunes, whether for good or ill.

Ultimately, as Jennifer Kavanagh from Waterford Institute of Technology noted: “there is so little concrete information coming from both sides…” When the deal is agreed, it will be done between the British and the European Union.

Reputedly the financial settlement is going to come in closer to the EU end of the figure. Like it or not, this UK government wants the freedom to strike trade deals elsewhere and that has implications that will have to be managed elsewhere.

The strong position of domestic vested interests means that even in Northern Ireland, there will be necessary limits on what kind of Brexit can actually be delivered. Once we get past phase one, the real work will start on nailing that down.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    You’re assuming the Brexit vote was about Brexit.

  • Toye native

    Yes most, and farmers new out ment out completely,
    What about the trade deals that come into the UK, if countries want to play hard ball, two can play that game, that includes the agriculture sector.
    Alot of companies and jobs throughout Europe need the UK”s trade deals

  • Neiltoo

    Anyway, that was before the decision was made to leave the Single Market and Customs Union.

    Anyone that voted leave (that had thought about it) assumed that leaving the EU meant leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union, otherwise what was the point in leaving.
    To stay in the SM and the CU after leaving would result in following all the rules without any input into their formation. We may as well not have left, but then, that is your point isn’t it?

  • Reader

    Michael Dowds: Its been 525 days since the UK voted to ‘Leave’ and only yesterday did BBC Newsline get around to informing their viewers about the requirement for Border Inspection Posts on the UK/NI-RoI border when the UK becomes a ‘third country’.
    If the UK would be a ‘third country’ after Brexit, what would be an example of a ‘second country’?
    [I assume that the ‘first country’ would be the EU, since the concept originated with an EU apparatchik.]

  • Granni Trixie

    How can you respect parties refusing to govern?

  • Sub

    How can you respect a party that refuses to treat citizens with either equality or respect.

  • eamoncorbett

    I agree with your articles Mark , it how many in your opinion is all that going to translate to Hard or Soft Brexit on the border.

  • Toye native

    you are still going with this equality and respect dribble,
    Are the nationalist citizens not able to get housing, Jobs (top jobs) benefits, dla and so on, come to think of it they do better than the people from the unionist community on all those front’s,
    What’s the equality you are looking for, help me out

  • Barneyt

    Why a border between the ROI and the EU? risk of uk contamination? I don’t mean that in the clinical sense. If NI maintains trade with a uk operating against lesser standards than those in the EU , these products could move southwards? Is that your point? Should the island then be quarantined to then protect the wider EU?

  • Toye native

    I will give you one , trade – a lot of the Irish industrial sectors need’s the UK, I was reading in some sectors almost 50 percent of trade goes to the UK, farming is one

  • Neville Bagnall

    But it is pretty much what modern comprehensive trade agreements look like. Regulatory harmonisation, trade in goods and services and a court or tribunal. Look at CETA or EPA. Or TTIP and TPP for that matter. The days of state sovereignty in trade matters are long behind us. They died with the 40 foot container.

  • Toye native

    What about the stuff that easily can be imposed on the citizens of Ireland by the EU, Ireland will now have to step up and take the uk”s place, there’s not going to be that many happy Irish citizens in the near future

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Barneyt. It would be tedious to adduce yet again the authorities who warned us that a LEAVE vote would immediately be followed by disaster, with armies of companies queuing up to relocate, and a huge rise in unemployment.

  • Toye native

    Changing names- UDR, RUC etc, 50/50 recruitment, terrorists in government, unionists cymbals being removed, sports all Ireland sporting events apart from football the unionist will have to stand for the Irish tricolour I can go on if you want

  • Neville Bagnall

    I ask because the divide among NI farmers (according to polls) before the referendum was too close for the UFU to adopt a position – at least according to google.
    Nor do I remember hearing that NI farmers voted for Brexit and against the grain of NI opinion.

  • David Crookes

    I wonder if we may construe the LEAVE vote as having such a ‘main driver’.

  • Neville Bagnall

    But they apparently believed they could skip all the rules and still get access to the market? That the rules are an optional extra EU member states follow because they like red tape?

  • Toye native

    True the polls was to close to call before the referendum, but after the referendum the polls say most farmers voted out, as there was a lot of farmers who voted remain because they said it’s better to know the devil you lie with so to speak, but would love to come out.

  • Mimi Balguerie

    It’s not any party demanding respect. It’s the people demanding respect, and if they are supposedly equal citizens, they deserve to be treated with such.

  • eamoncorbett

    Third party is a term used to describe countries outside the SM/CU . The UK played a full and active part in the set up of these institutions and therefore the terminology that accompanies them.

  • Neville Bagnall

    Regarding fudges and waffle:
    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/noel-whelan-nightmare-scenario-for-ireland-is-a-border-fudging-game-1.3311302

    And the Irish Times reports:

    In a brief media appearance with Mr Varadkar after the meeting [this afternoon], Mr Tusk offered support for Ireland that was much more robust than anticipated.

    “Let me say very clearly if the UK offer is unacceptable for Ireland it will be unacceptable for the EU,” Donald Tusk said.
    He said that such a strong position might be hard for British politicians to understand but the fact was that Ireland remained an EU member while the UK was leaving.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/donald-tusk-firmly-supports-ireland-in-brexit-negotiations-1.3312032

  • Granni Trixie

    Respect has to be earned and the present intransigence is costing the whole country. Even if there is animosity and no respect between parties they ought to act respectfully towards each other and get on with the job. It’s called being professional.

  • eamoncorbett

    I’ve always advocated a form of joint authority which would make the assembly subservient to both governments because I believed naively that it might eliminate sectarianism from politics because it would negate the UI versus UK debate . However as time drags on I only see things getting worse as fresh problems manifest themselves every month with no solution in sight . If the current political situation were conveyed to someone from a totally foreign country I think they would undoubtedly advise some form of independence as the answer.

  • The Saint

    No mention of the EU UK element in your example or of your source material.

    If my aunt had a willy she’d be me uncle stuff doesnt count as fact.

  • Mimi Balguerie

    The term ‘third country’ is used in the Treaties, where it means a country that is not a member of the Union. This meaning is derived from ‘third country’ in the sense of one not party to an agreement between two other countries https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/third-country-nationals

    So, following the logic
    “First country” = any given EU state.
    “Second country” = any other EU or EEA state, possiblity including Switzerland or accesionist states, depending on what commitments they have made
    Third country = a country that is not bound by any European treaty with the first state (in effect, with the EU as a whole)

    So, in the case of myself, an Irish citizen working in Germany, I am a citizen of a “second country”. A citizen of the “first country” would be a German citizen, for whom, obviously, no special arrangements are necessary. But only third country is used as terminology.

  • Sub

    Do you have any data to back up your claims above or will i just file it under fleggerism.

  • Sub

    unionists cymbals being removed,

    Consider yourselves lucky we didnt take your drums as well.

  • Toye native

    I said Ireland needs the UK more, than the UK needs to be in Europe.

    You said Ire needs UK or than UK need EU. Based on what exactly,

    you were not very clear (probably typed to fast). I couldn’t work out what exactly you were asking.
    If your aunt had a willy. …..

  • eamoncorbett

    The thing about Irelands future in the EU is that it is based on compromise, they may have to give a bit on tax but will get relief in other areas that’s how it works .
    When the UK is on the outside, huge organisations like Airbus , Nissan , Toyota and the steel corporations will face tariffs at Calais when they try to link up with their sister organisations in Europe. The Tories will end up using tax payers money to pay these tariffs so that these companies can compete on European soil , and if they don’t Corbyn certainly will. Indeed Ireland will suffer if there are restrictions on goods entering the U.K. , that’s what makes this whole thing a mighty mess

  • Mark Loughran

    Who knows Eamonn. My gut feeling is that the UK government won’t allow the DUP to get in the way of a deal, whatever that ends up looking like. If they really are grit of Arlene and the mighty Dodds, and we do end up with a hard border of some sort, then that will be the biggest boost to the cause of Irish nationalism since partition. United Ireland in some form or other within 25 years, maybe sooner. Like I alluded to earlier, Brexit is, and was always going to be, political kryptonite for unionists, yet it seems that they just can’t help themselves.

  • Mark Loughran

    I said seemed clever. Time has shown that she is anything but.

  • Toye native

    Do you think Europe will put tariffs on the UK buying cars, love to see them try , thousands of jobs in Europe in the car industry thanks to the UK buying their products,
    there are industry’s all over Europe will suffer if they puy tariffs on the UK

  • Sub

    You really have no idea do you?

  • Toye native

    Don’t think you need data, what’s the equality the nationlists are looking for you still have to help me out

  • Salmondnet

    Your loss.

  • pablito

    Membership of the SM and CU without membership of the EU is the worst possible outcome for any country. Norway, as a member of the SM, accepts the four freedoms and pays into the EU budget, but has no seat at the negotiating table. Even if the UK adopted this position but, like Norway, stayed out of the CU, that wouldn’t solve the border problem in Ireland. Remaining in the SM and CU without being a EU member is close to the old American adage “No taxation without representation.” I wouldn’t accept it.

  • Michael Dowds

    Your point would be more credible if you were willing to elaborate.

    Too much to ask for perhaps.

  • Michael Dowds

    Apologies, I should have said something to the effect of ‘third country with regards to EU member states’.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    I would suggest yes and the other reasons followed on from it. A happy people don’t vote to take their sovereignty back, to reduce immigration.

    But the main point I would push is that it will be the main driver of our future.

  • Michael Dowds

    I say perceived because some injustices are indeed perceived. The phenomenon of negative attitudes toward migrant populations in areas of low immigration in the East of England for example.

    Other problems, of course, are not perceived.

    I just think it’s important to be cautious about how ‘big ideas’ are talked about.

    I also think it’s important to avoid simple, one-stop-shop, ‘solutions’ to disparate problems.

  • The Saint

    Ireland needs the UK more than the UK needs to be in Europe.

    Thats a copy and paste of what you said. I was on a train, so may have typed to quickly to be fair to you.

    If you look at national statistics cso eurostat and the likes, I’m not sure your assertions on trade make a lot of sense. Yes Ireland relies on all its neighbours and the UK is a vital partner, but the EU is a vital partner to the UK. Trade in this day and age is far more complex than a two way street.

    I’m asking you for evidence the UK relies on the EU less than Ireland relies on the UK ? And back that up with source material?

    And the aunt uncle thing means don’t be bothering with speculation.

  • eamoncorbett

    So you’re an advocate of protectionism , that doesn’t bode well for a “free” trade agreement.

  • Michael Dowds

    What if leaving makes things worse?

  • William Kinmont

    Please tell me there was a camera on Jim Allister when he heard this.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Just teasing

  • Jeremy Cooke

    It may very well do especially if the new free-booting arse-kicking UK Plc doesn’t deliver PDQ.

  • Neiltoo

    No, they believed they could trade with the EU on the basis that many other non EU nations do, possibly with a slightly better deal because of our closeness and history.
    You know, the sort of deal that would be in everyone’s interest!
    But no, we must be punished for our arrogance!

  • Roger

    Thanks for the clear explanation.

  • puffin

    Enconomics is a dismal science.

  • puffin

    However on a global scale things are setting up nicely, for another downturn, the boom and bust cycle is still with us, with economic suppression , you can be sure when it happens it will make 2008 seem like a cakewalk, a small country unable to control its own currency, interest rates etc , will depending on the kindness of strangers once again, ( I wonder where I heard that one) , the small archipelago we share,means that like siamese twins we destined suffer together.

  • Neville Bagnall

    Would that be the way Norway trades, or Turkey, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, …?

    A bit more specificity please.

    And which of those trades with the EU through an invisible border? Or has cross border executive institutions?

    The EU has any number of trade models with Third Countries, but none fit the description “having our cake and eating it”.

    It’s not a question of punishment. Merely a quantification of regulatory divergence and consequent barriers. The EU is happy to remain as close as now, the UK apparently is not.

  • Aurozeno

    I see that some on here are comforted by the illusion that since Brexit nothing catastrophic has happened to the UK economy, it takes a long time for an economy as large as the UK’s to fold , it takes years and years for an economy to die , to fold in upon itself , you have to look at countries like Iran and Russia , who had sanctions , either self imposed or imposed from without to hold up as an example …. from economists viewpoints this is all very new and very exciting ….. a western matured member of the EU , which has an high service economy, a large public debt and a huge corporate debt , pretty much imposing sanctions upon itself …….unbelievable , yet true .

  • John

    In order to be a member of a club, the club has to exist. Are you willing to bet that the EU will continue to exist? What purpose does it serve? who is going to generate the wealth to maintain this mecca for “public servants”?

  • John

    The single market is a collection of individuals trading with each other at silly prices in a very protected cost laden protected environment with no growth.
    An excellent recipe for sustainability.

  • Neiltoo

    “having our cake and eating it”

    Indeed! What you’re forgetting is that those were your words not mine.

  • John

    Who were the winners?

  • John

    Who were the some?

  • John

    It used to be routine. That’s how we achieved high health status for animals, crops and horticulture. Sadly the EU put a stop to all that.

  • John

    New Zealand abandoned agri-supports in the mid-eighties, now they have the most vibrant and profitable dairy industry in the world.

  • John

    Why is it so important to get so excited about dealing with a collection of countries a lot of whom are bankrupt.

  • John

    Memory is a tricky thing, can be very selective.

  • John

    A bit to obtuse for a poor simple peasant like me. You need to do better than that. Sounds like a hissy fit.

  • John

    Not quite true, what have you done with the significant portion of the population who did not bother to vote?

  • John

    I read a piece recently which suggested that 68% of average income was spent on interest payments, perhaps loosing the financial services sector would not be such a bad thing.

  • Michael Dowds

    Nope.

    Try again.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m no fan of the banksters and financial services but think for one moment what loosing three quarters of the UK GNP would look like.

    The monetarist revolution of the 1980s ripped up manufacturing and substituted a virtually total dependence on financial services. The position of the UK as a broker between the US and the EU has built up something which must now inevitably change, and in the process is likely to collapse our standard of living. We are already slaves to interest payments, but slaves who can at least eat. Slaves who become entirely destitute is something else.

  • John

    If it led to house prices that were affordable and commercial property prices that resulted in rent and rates at levels where profit is actually possible, who would complain.

  • John

    Perhaps you can enlighten me ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    John, just think what here quarters of an economy being in trouble would mean. We have had the banking system sneezing in 2007 and a subsequent decade of rececssion. What I’m talking about it full blown pneumonia. You’d find house prices drop, but in a situation of financial meltdown across the whole economy.

  • John

    Tell me, who benefits from property prices at the current prices? Certainly not our children and grand children, or business and industry! That that only leaves your friends in the financial sector and government as a tax raising measure.

  • Neiltoo

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    John, you are pushing on an open door. I started my political education in the 1960s as a “ Mutual Aid” Anarchist and have since become more radical. But while I recognise the problem of the current banking system and of the inherent slavery of the interest system, I have been pointing to what is likely to occur with three quarters of our economy in melt down. We are were we are with the cards we have been dealt at this moment. Simply leaving the EU and destroying the economy delivers us more fully into the clutches of the 1%, it does not free us from anything meaningfully. Rather than ignoring the all important point O’m raising about the problem created for us by the move to an economy dependant on the financial sector, you might perhaps begin to think, as I have been asking you to do, about what will happen in practice now that the very motor of that sector has been potentially broken. How in detail are we going to repair our economy when even a few waves in the financial sector a decade ago has driven us into recession? Perhaps most importantly, how will you propose to feed, clothe and house those driven to destitution by its failure?

    Your approach to what we are discussing appears to be that of the late Edgar Wallace, who used to leave his thriller heroes in some impossible danger at the end of a weekly serial. The following week he would begin “in a bound he was free.” I’d really wish to find out how you seriously propose we leap free of the Financial Services sector without massive economic casualties.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Looking at opinion polls the voters did seem to reflect the overall thoughts of the population as a whole — still a divided UK:

    https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/if-a-second-eu-referendum-were-held-today-how-would-you-vote/

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Pick someone to support or refute:

    https://www.oecd.org/social/inequality.htm

  • Salmondnet

    “it takes a long time for an economy as large as the UK’s to fold”. Indeed it does, and some never fold at all, but that was not what the doomsayers predicted so they have already sacrificed their credibility. One absolute certainty is that it is not necessary to be a member of the EU, with all the social and political costs that membership imposes, in order to prosper. If the UK economy collapses (always possible with any economy) it will not be because of Brexit.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Very good way of putting it. This is a classic case of a fire fuelled by pure oxygen.

  • John

    Hardly a reliable method of measuring consensus.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    we can prosper outside the EU and I really hope we do – but it is pretty clear we are making life a lot harder for ourselves and sacrificing massive amounts of treasure (not the divorce bill, I mean in lost tax revenues through lost business) for the off-chance of doing almost as well as we could have done.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    fantasy stuff Barney, this is not where the people of NI are at

  • Jeremy Cooke

    And your evidence is…

  • MainlandUlsterman

    which is why we need to stay in the EU

  • John

    When in an uncomfortable hole the first rule is stop digging. When I have found myself in a financial hole it has been because I was spending more than I was bringing in. The solution is very, very simple, reduce spending until I have more coming in than going out.

  • John

    France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal etc, etc, etc

  • John

    How many polls forecast Brexit BEFORE the vote.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    “If Brexit is a success”…..what makes Mick think that there’s the remotest possibility of Brexit being a success? Not the outstanding ‘success’ of the negotiations surely? If it’s all about Trade and the first port of call for a new deal is the USA, the Brits should get ready to be royally screwed as that’s Donald Trump’s mission in life, to screw those he does deals with!

  • Jeremy Cooke

    I’ve offered evidence about public opinion post referendum and you seem to remain unconvinced – fair enough. With all due respect I don’t see me starting to look up more stuff for you.

  • Neville Bagnall

    Not mine. Boris Johnson’s.

    https://quotebrexit.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/boris-we-can-have-our-cake-and-eat-it/

    It was nonsense in 2016, it’s nonsense now.

    I note the continued absence of specificity as too which you would prefer the UK prioritise, trade freedom with the EU or trade freedom with the rest of the world. Do you want to keep the cake or eat it?

  • Neville Bagnall

    I’d be more than happy to stand corrected if you can point me to a news source to correct my “selective” memory.

  • Neville Bagnall

    Also 28% fewer herds and an average herd size of 420 cows.
    It’s definitely an option. My point was merely that it is not what Ulster farmers were promised or expecting. This weekend on radio I heard a UFU rep say they needed continuing access to both GB and EU markets.

  • John

    By what % has the number of dairy herds fallen in the UK under EU “protection”

  • John

    As you correctly pointed out the outfit with arguably the best chance of understanding where the farmers vote lay refused to provide leadership. Possibly because the official party line (stay) was not reflected in the farm yard. Any one with a good practical understanding of farming today in the EU will appreciate the sheer frustration at farm level.

  • Neiltoo

    I note the continued absence of specificity as too which you would prefer the UK prioritise

    You seem to be confusing me with someone on the UK’s negotiating team.

    Please direct the angst from your failure to cope with the result of a democratic decision elsewhere.

  • Michael Dowds

    I’m sure you can do your own research.

  • John

    That’s a no then.

  • Michael Dowds

    It is.

    You may be prone to lazy miccharacterizations of the EU, but surely that doesn’t extend to typing a few words into a search engine and doing a little research for yourself.

  • John

    That is a definite no then.