The Irish border with Northern Ireland

The UK government is keen to keep an open border similar to the present one after Brexit. It has set out how this can take place.

The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have enjoyed a Common Travel area for many years. It pre dated our entry into the EEC. There is no wish to change this on exit. People will be free to cross the Ireland/Northern Ireland border as today. New UK migration controls are likely to rely on benefit controls and work permits if people wish to settle in the UK.

The current border is a VAT and currency border at the moment. Goods and services entailing cross border transactions require today paperwork or electronic filings to handle the different tax regimes and any currency adjustments. If we end up with the WTO model for Brexit,it will be possible to add a customs tariff line to the documentation that already is generated for a trade transaction across the border.

The likely approach will be for the larger importers and exporters to register as Authorised Economic Operators. They will be able to file electronic paperwork about truck consignments in advance of travel. Number plate recognition technology can be used at road border points to ensure the necessary registrations and payments occur without the need for physical barriers or stops.

Smaller consignments by small businesses living near the border can be exempted.

The UK has offered a friendly and sensible approach to preserve the advantages of the current border arrangements. The EU could adopt the same or could suggest other improvements for mutual agreement.

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  1. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    As you say John, the EU could choose to keep the status quo or come up with a suitable alternative. I think they just see this issue as another way to make life difficult and to possibly glean more cash from us. It is they that are not acting in a friendly manner to the possibly detriment of Ireland and its people. Just more disgusting tactics and another good reason to leave this nasty, corrupt club.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      @Fedupsoutherner: How can you possibly keep the status quo, when the UK is destroying the status quo by exiting the single market and the custom union!
      You seem to pretend that the UK also needs no hard border for goods that come from China! The UK will have a pretty hard border in future with the “this nasty, corrupt club” as you call the EU. Just show and guarantee in writing how you as UK will avoid that between N.Ireland and the Irish Republic (=EU).

      • Richard1
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        Simple -see above. The UK needs no hard border. Besides, we might -and we should – declare unilateral free trade as recommended by Prof Patrick Minford. Whether the EU wants to force Ireland to have a hard border as part of a trade war with the U.K. is a matter between the EU and Ireland. I would suggest Ireland refuses to cooperate with such a demand, but it’s up to Ireland.

        • APL
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          Richard1: “declare unilateral free trade as recommended by Prof Patrick Minford.”

          The dear Prof Minford is an academic, as such has limited experience in the real world.

          I can see one possible result of his ‘unilateral free trade’ being, we become the dumping ground for Chinese and European Union substandard goods, economically undercutting what British production is left after sixty years of command economic policies by the UniParty. Personally, I’d rather not.

          PvL: “The UK will have a pretty hard border in future with the “this nasty, corrupt club” as you call the EU.”

          Well, Peter, I can’t see how we can have an open border with the Republic of Ireland and not have a free trade agreement. So, perhaps your pessimistic point of view is correct. Of the two countries, I suspect the Republic will suffer more than the EU though.

          But the EU has form in this area. What with Greece being sacrificed on the alter of the Euro.

      • NickC
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        PvL< This is a matter between Eire and the UK, not the EU. You confirm what Fedupsoutherner said: "[the EU] just see this issue as another way to make life difficult and to possibly glean more cash from us.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          @NickC: Wrong! It is about the border between you (UK) and me (EU).
          That simple!

          • NickC
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            PvL, So Eire doesn’t come into it? Hmmm . . . that’s why we voted to Leave.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        Just show and guarantee in writing how you as UK will avoid that between N.Ireland and the Irish Republic (=EU).

        We don’t as it is we who do not have the problem 🙂

        Anyway, how does Norway cope ? They’re not in the Customs Union.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          @Mark B: For you(UK) to study, as you are the one causing the problem (Brexit).

          • NickC
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            PvL, No you (the EU) are the one causing the problem (U.S.E.) rather than having a free trade group of individual sovereign nations.

      • Little Englander
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        PVL: good to see you back. How was the fishing?

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          @Little Englander: I’ve stayed outside your new fishing grounds. 🙂

          • Little Englander
            Posted November 29, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            PVL: quite right! An honourable man.

    • Hope
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      JR, will the sum, and other concessions be known to the public? It is reported today May wants to keep the figure secret. No, No No. We deserve to know what she has signed us up for. I do not trust her one bit.

      • Hope
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Her record shows you cannot believe a word she says and she always fails to deliver. As for immigration, you know May and Rudd has failed the UK dismally. The current proposal does not cut the mustard with 56,000 including criminals lost only three weeks ago. Hundreds of thousands under May’s watch. The UK needs proper secure border controls. Too many atrocities under Treeza the appeaser and RUDD, our safety is more important than her PC crap and ego.

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    The comments on your last post by Lloyd Barns echo many of our sentiments. Whenever you post about money owed to the EU it is always a popular subject with the vast majority of us feeling we should just leave. We also think government is out of touch and not listening. They are weak. I just hope this depth of feeling is getting through to those in the cabinet. We want a strong Conservative government again and not a weak, grovelling one. Let’s show some strength.

    • getahead
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      The cabinet is working for those businesses who want to remain in the EU – not those who voted to leave it.

  3. sm
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Surely, the serious mistake made by all of us who have agreed with you John since Maastricht is to hope that Brussels would eventually deal with the UK, either within or without the EU, as gentlemen and level-headed businessmen.

    If the UK is allowed to have a sensible, functioning exit and future outside the EU, it will resoundingly disprove the political ideology of the European project of ever-greater union, therefore no rational solution to any problem is permitted.

  4. Freeborn John
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The UK should have put something on the negotiating table for Ireland to defend. The obvious one would have been free movement for Irish workers to come to Great Britain post-brexit because this is a difference between the treatment of Irish and other EU citizens. It would therefore have forced the Irish government to defend this right alone without the support of other governments. The UK could have conceded eventually on this point if other aspects of the Irish border issues were resolved satisfactorily. By putting nothing on the table for the Irihs to defend the UK government has instead encouraged Ireland to make a speculative bid to separate Northern Ireland from Great Britain economically which is supported by the EU leverage in its bid to keep The Uk (or at least Northern Ireland) in the single market and customs union.

    The UK government seems to be totally niave when it comes to negotiations unable to set out initial artificial demands which can later conceded in return for concessions in the other side and seemingly unable to do anything other than make one “goodwill” concession after another in return for nothing because the other side she’s nothing on the negotiating table to lose of value.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      How do you know we haven’t put that on the table?

    • brian
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      The UK wants the Common Travel Area with Ireland to continue after Brexit. If Ireland vetoes the hoped-for upcoming trade talks, the UK should make plans to abolish the Common Travel Area and give Irish citizens the status of any other foreigner.

      • stred
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:12 am | Permalink

        And not zero rate Irish cheddar and whisky.

    • Andy
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      The UK has said it will retain the common travel area. That means right to travel and has meant residency and working rights. If Ireland wish to be treated as a ‘foreign state’ and have UK immigration rules applied so be it. We should abolish the CTA and all rights thus derived.

  5. Elzevir Block
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    The open border with Scotland benefits England a little more now with cheap booze wending its way north. It adds to the glamour of merely tobacco smuggling. I mean, what’s the point of a smoke if you haven’t got a drink to go with it?

    • Jagman84
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Well said sir! If you are destroying your lungs, you may as well pickle your liver at the same time. The English will be paying for the hospital bills!

  6. Mark B
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    So what now ?

    The UK to suggest something only for the EU to state that it is not good enough and to demand more without specifying what more they want.

    I think we all know how this game is panning out.

    If the PM is true to her word, and past experiences strongly suggest that she is unable to keep it, then I feel a bad deal is better than a no deal and a bad deal is what we shall receive.

    More money for the EU but none to protect the very people who elect you to act for and on their behalf. Shameful !

    I can see that the so called Conservative Party will be spending many a year in opposition after the next GE. Labour came close last time, they will be even closer next as many Conservative voters stay at home.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Sorry, forgetting my manners.

      Good morning.

  7. Simon Brown
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    If that border is not closed and immigration not properly managed what will there be to stop millions just walking in to the UK? Your idea that “New UK migration controls are likely to rely on benefit controls and work permits….” is absolutely bonkers and unworkable.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The current arrangement with an open border is no immigration problem, and will be no more so when we leave the EU.
      Not bonkers, not unworkable.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        Nonsense lots of legal and illegal immigration comes in via Ireland now, and will only get worse under these proposals.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Correct there is no electoral mandate to allow open doors immigration via the Irish airports, across the land border and then the ferry to England. John has lost the plot he is supposed to be representing English voters on this, and they are mighty tired of high levels of immigration. Who exactly is he expecting to vote conservative?

      • Timaction
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        …………”Who exactly is he expecting to vote conservative?……………..

        I’ve been wondering that for years as they are a party of false promises, looking after their own and business interests NOT the English people.

      • stred
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:19 am | Permalink

        Anyone can enter as a tourist and if they overstay and try to get a job, it is up to the Home Office to detect and prevent. The situation is not different from the present where useless politicians and civil servants have failed to do so. Checks at NI ports are possible.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          No tourism from some countries is highly checked and restricted. And Mrs May is apparently promising the DUP she will not impose checking on the ferrys from northern Ireland to mainland UK.

          • stred
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            Not from the EU. We should be checking ID at NI ports anyway because at present anyone can enter NI from Eire and come in unchecked. Same in England inland, at Kings Cross and at small ports. The problem is that once arrived the police and customs are told by the Home office to do nothing except arrange accommodation and allowances. Then we choose the person who oversees this to be our lovely smiley friendly leader giving presents to her friends in Brussels. A 200 mile long wall won’t help as ladders are available.

  8. Nig l
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Benefit controls and work permits will give me no confidence that you are managing the problem until you beef up the home office. Both border security and dealing with illegals who have got through or overstayed is disgracefully inadequate as evidenced by the number of people that get through and hundreds of thousands that should not be here. Sweatshop employers will not worry about permits nor rogue landlords with overcrowded accommodation.

    We are told about constant terrorist threats but our borders seem porous.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      The borders are open at the express will of the political class. They have decided to carry on rubbing our noses in it. Learnt nothing from the lack of support at the last election.

  9. Colin Hide
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Entirely sensible and common sense. Therefore likely to be completely ignored by the EU.

    Land borders are a complete nonsense.

    I worked as a resort transfer driver a couple of years ago ferrying people from Morzine – in France to Geneva airport – the Swiss side.

    If I drove the main route on the motorway there were queues, border guards and sometime checks. If I drove the back route – along the lake – there was nothing. And from this route you could see the country lane where the locals sped between the two countries with the bother of the unmanned chicane.

  10. Tabulazero
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    But random custom checks will still be conducted under the system you describe as it is the case at the German/Swiss or Norwegian/Swedish border.

    There is no beating around the bush. Leaving means regulatory divergence. Checks will have to be conducted somewhere along the line.

    The single-market is not simply about tariffs. If it was the case then WTO rules would suffice.

    • John
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      The point of Brexit is Regulatory divergence, amongst a 1000 other things.

      You can continue to throw caught fish back into the sea dead. We won’t have to.
      You can continue to send Billions to an outfit that can’t get its accounts audited, we won’t have to.
      You can send billions to an outfit that has no real democratic accountability, we won’t have to.
      Etc and so on.

  11. Caterpillar
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Why hasn’t a focus on AEO registration begun already? Getting more companies ready for customs fast-tracking by 2019 would seem to be a sensible push.

    • Tabulazero
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Cause the current system is incapable to handle so many requests.

      It is one thing to wish for Brexit. It is another to have the IT and people in place.

    • NickC
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Caterpillar, HMRC Notice 117 states: “The introduction of AEO status is the EU’s response to the need to secure international supply chains and the introduction of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the USA and the development of the Safe framework of standards in the World Customs Organisation (WCO).”

      And: “Anyone involved in the international supply chain that carries out customs related activities in the EU can apply for AEO status . . .”. And: “In order to apply for AEO status you must be established in the EU.”

      Out of the EU no solely UK business requires AEO status; only the customers in the EU will “need” AEO status. Instead our businesses would probably opt for WCO status, which they may already have if they export to the rest of the world. Tabulazero doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and is just making trouble as usual.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        Thanks NickC

  12. Peter
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    “The EU could adopt the same or could suggest other improvements for mutual agreement.”
    The EU prefers to treat the border as a stumbling block – another bargaining chip to extract more money.

    We are now seeing the punishment approach of the EU. Politics and the very survival of the EU trumps economics. The EU are not looking for a deal. They want abject unconditional surrender.

    Time to walk away.

    • acorn
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      “Speaking at a think-tank in Brussels the senior EU official said “those who wanted Brexit” must come up with solutions to solve the conundrums it had created.”

      Northern Ireland (NI) should stay in the Customs Union and move the frontier requirements of the EU to the NI ports. We may have to buy-off the DUP with another Billion or so. Keep in mind that NI voted to stay in the EU. The Common Travel Area should go as well, if Great Britain really wants “to take back control”. That would assist tax avoidance measures also.

      • acorn
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        I see the Aussies and New Zeeland are condemning the proposed EU / UK stitch-up on the Tariff Quotas splits, that the UK thought it has established with the EU.

        That makes about nine large WTO member exporters to the current EU28, that have formally objected. I can’t help thinking that the EU, with its much greater knowledge of how the WTO works, was just playing along; knowing how the final chapter ends.

        • NickC
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Acorn, This is just Australia (etc) trying to get a better deal; it is simply part of the negotiations. Dividing up the existing (RTA) quotas, along the lines of typical trade flows, should be regarded as an interim measure.

          As an independent nation, we don’t have to agree any quotas of course. Or we can negotiate new ones, or even FTAs, which will make the quota issue somewhat superfluous.

      • rose
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        How will you “buy off” all the unionists on the main land? What if they don’t want to be bought off? What about the Queen? What about the Conservative and Unionist Party?

        This is a nasty alliance between Sinn Fein and the EU, gaining strength from political instability in Southern Ireland, and we should not be pandering to it.

        There is no need for the CTA to be altered. The Southern Irish gain a lot from it, rather more than the British do. The Southern Irish still enjoy a lot of privileges in the UK that other peoples do not. There is a very close relationship between us, as demonstrated when we joined the EEC at the same time, and opted out of Schengen at the same time. Recently, the Southern Irish got bailed out by the British people when they didn’t have to be. This was entirely through good will. Most of the Southern Irish trade is with us or America, not the EU. Most of Northern Irish trade is with the mainland. It really makes no sense for the Southern Irish to try to put themselves the other side of a hostile border. If the EU insist on that then the Southern Irish should think very hard about how long they want to go on being bossed about to their detriment. What about all that bossing about on their tax rates for instance? There willbe a lot more of that in the future. and how will Southern Ireland’s neutrality fit with the new EU army they will be conscripted into?

  13. Bob Dixon
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    What does Southen Ireland want?

    • NorthbyEast
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      We want the whole of the UK to stay in the Customs union, at the very least, to avoid this kind of disruption to our daily lives.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        That isn’t going to happen, so you’d do better to join the UK government in working out how best to minimise the disruption. And that cannot involve pretending that there can be no border on the island of Ireland when there already is , the silly attitude of one Irish minister talking on TV.

        • Northbyeast
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Denis..well then denis veto is coming down the guys started all of this which is a should have had the snswers to clean it knew from over a year back that the question of the border was on the table byt instead you were talking about money..well now we know

          • Dominic Johnson
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

            Theres no “border question” from our side though.

            EUrope is insisting on a hard border and demanding the UK make it work some how.If EUrope wants a hard border on Ireland its up to EUrope to make it work

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            And when you guys did as Merkel wanted and voted to approve the Lisbon Treaty on the second time of asking you knew that it included a new provision for a member state to leave the EU, so why did it not occur to you that the British people might wish to make use of that exit clause? Not least because they had seen the disgusting way that the EU had behaved over that treaty and its precursor the EU Constitution.

      • getahead
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Will you pay for it?

      • NickC
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:29 am | Permalink

        NorthbyEast, Our Referendum result, under the conditions set by our Parliament, was unequivocal. The government in Eire (if it lasts) does not have a veto over what the UK decides to do. You wanted to be just another (“third”) country outside the UK, you must live with the consequences, as we will do.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          It is also questionable whether the Irish government has a veto over what the EU decides to do about talks with the UK.

          Most journalists are simply repeating that Ireland is threatening to exercise its veto without pausing to ask whether Ireland actually has a legal veto to exercise.

          I find in this Guardian article:

          “Ireland has an effective veto on Brexit talks in Brussels in December as the decision to find sufficient progress, and to move to the second phase, is for the European council to take by consensus.”

          But I don’t see that supported by anything in the EU treaties:

          Article 50 TEU refers through to Article 218(3) TFEU, and Article 218 starts:

          “1. Without prejudice to the specific provisions laid down in Article 207, agreements between the Union and third countries or international organisations shall be negotiated and concluded in accordance with the following procedure.”

          and then later says:

          “8. The Council shall act by a qualified majority throughout the procedure.”

          except in certain cases which do not include a decision on whether “sufficient progress” has been made at a particular stage.

          But in a sense it doesn’t matter whether or not Ireland technically has the claimed right of veto, because if the big EU states really want something the Irish government will generally drop any opposition and go along with it.

          Of course the Irish politicians may loudly demand and get a “copper fastened” written legal guarantee to be lodged with the UN …

    • acorn
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      It wants Northern Ireland complete with a large Trust fund, courtesy of the Westminster Treasury. Frankly, I would vote for that.

      • APL
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        acorn: “It wants Northern Ireland complete with a large Trust fund,”

        Well, it already has one trust fund, courtesy of Westminster. They used it to prop up Irish banks.

        If they are going to be unpleasant about this Euro border business, perhaps we could ask for the £15bn we loaned them to be paid back.

        And like the never ending haemorrhage of cash to RBS, as of 2013 the Telegraph reporting that an additional £2bn went to Irish banks from the UK Treasury.

        • stred
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          If this Irish PM is about to go into an election, it would be nice to let it be known that, as Ireland has decided to collaborate with the EU and veto a trade deal, we take it that they are not interested in our offer of a special case to our friendly neighbour and withdraw the offer of zero rating Irish cheddar and whisky.We won’t though as dim PMs tend to stick together.

        • acorn
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          The loan was £3.2 billion paid in eight tranches. Every day, Brexiteers destroy their case for leaving the EU, with bullshit comments that are increasingly appearing on sites like this one.

          • APL
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            I’ll see your link and raise you another.


            So, we know the UK government loaned £3.2bn directly to the Republic of Ireland.

            But it looks like they loaned another £14bn through the back door of RBS and Lloyds TSB subsidiaries.

          • APL
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Acorn: “Brexiteers destroy their case for leaving the EU”

            The case has never been only an economic case.

            APL: “loaned another £14bn through the ..”

            It’s worse than that! It doesn’t look like the £14bn was a loan, but a gift.

            And now the Irish Republic is trying to shaft the UK.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Ireland, or “The Republic” for you.

      • rose
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        We always used to speak of West Germany and East Germany to make it clear. We knew they had official titles. We still speak of North Korea and South Korea.

  14. Peter Wood
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Good Morning.
    So many relatively easy issues to resolve are being fought over, perhaps there is a far larger problem not being discussed, that of the political balance of Europe.
    The UK provides the counterbalance, both financially and politically, to German economic size and political weight. The UK is the second largest net contributor, Germany is nearly double the UK; who will the EU bureaucracy go to, to make up our contribution? Without the UK balancing weight, Germany will have, even more than now, the whip hand in all of the EU. Is that really the issue the Europeans are worried about?
    By the UK paying a silly ‘divorce fee’, we simply make the cost to Germany to become ‘paymaster of the EU’ that much less. How foolish is that?

    • nigel seymour
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more on your analysis. Also, I have always had great sympathy with the peoples of NI. Everyone knows the pain and distress that both ‘sides’ of the argument went through! I wouldn’t put anything past the EU, not least using this as more leverage to extort more and more money from us. I hope that remainers really start to see how corrupt this EU regime is!

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        @ nigel seymour

        I hope that remainers really start to see how corrupt this EU regime is!

        Nigel they have their eyes screwed shut and their ears blocked.

        Totally pathetic all of them

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the border itself is not the issue. If it were we would see mile upon mole of trucks queuing at the eu’s land borders around Eastern Europe. The real issues are re-unification of Ireland and EU expansion, both of which would be greatly advanced by making the border issue insoluble. Or failing that, at least extracting further large sums of money from UK.

  15. Cobwatch
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The DUP have been forced to hold the UK to stated red lines because they do not trust PM May, and neither do their voters. They also realise that the UK has no say over the management of another country’s border. That decision is for the EU. The Republic will have no say either. It is all a ruse of course…if we pay enough the EU will magic any concerns away even quicker than May’s dissolving red lines.

    • Michael O'Sullivan
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Cobwatch..Not so..the Irish realize only too well the disproportionate hold the DUP has on the TM government and it because of this lopsided influence that Veradkar is playing a tough game. He knows if he waits until the future trade talks begin before making his pitch then his position will be greatly weakened vis a vis the border. Right now he has the EU26 at his back so therefore he will use the veto if necessary to halt the future talks until the exit business is concluded satisfactorily and that means the UK government putting it in writing or in law on how they will deal with the border in the future so that Irish life is not unduly disrupted again to suit English failings.

      • Cobwatch
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Michael…The EU will do as it wishes. The Republic will have no say ultimately.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          Even if technically it has a veto, which is questionable.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the Irish government will do us an unexpected favour and veto the bad deal Mrs May appears to intent on offering to the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink


  17. David Price
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I hope for the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland the current friendly and non-invasive solution is maintained. However thanks to the antics of the Irish politicians I will be reducing my vocational and personal trade with Ireland as much as I am able in foodstuffs, financial services and other goods and services as I discover them.

    No more Irish foodstuffs or investment in Irish domiciled ETFs and funds. All thanks to the Irish government’s anti-UK attitude despite the enormous cost to the British tax payer in supporting Ireland following the financial crisis from 2007.

    In the past I have been quite neutral about Ireland, now I will view them in the same stable as those other EU countries that mean us harm.

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Indeed the UK approach sound fine. But the EU are clearly looking for problems where ever they can find them and not solutions.

    Meanwhile it seems from the FT that Hammond is considering more silly gimmicks with the pension rules. This to allow for new “patient capital” investments to exceed the now absurdly low pension cap. There used to be no cap then we had £1.5 million then up to £1.8m then down to £1m now just £1.030m. Doubtless patient capitial will be defined in some foolish, misguided, damaging, unclear and time consuming way. Creating endless pointless work for lawyers, bureaucrats, pension advisers and accountants.

    Just set a decent cap say £3 million increasing by inflation and let people contribute to and invest their pensions however they wish (including the new residential property we so badly need). It is only tax deferral in the main anyway, you pay tax on the pensions when you draw them and 40% IHT on what you have retained of the pensions when you die too.

    Why are most ministers so foolish? Endless daft gimmicks and silly schemes (isas, tessas, baby bonds, pension rules that change every year, EIS, seed EIS, home buyers isa………. just lower simpler taxes is what is needed. Release the lawyers, bureaucrats and accountant to do productive work for a change.

    • Roger Parkin
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      You make a good point. Far too many people in this country are employed thinking up and implementing silly, unnecessary counter productive laws and regulations. This is then followed by an army of accountants and lawyers employed by businesses to understand, implement and if possible avoid them. All of this is non productive work and could be avoided if we had a chancellor who could see the benefits of simplicity in our tax system.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, and this would be a huge boost to productivity. Government, as nearly always, is the problem – but is always pretending to be the solution.

  19. Alan
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    What about controls of animals and food crossing the border? Food imported into Northern Ireland from the USA could be taken to the Republic and sold there or to the rest of the EU. Excellent business for Northern Ireland, but not acceptable to the EU. Food coming into Northern Ireland from the Republic will need to be checked – otherwise under WTO rules we have no right to check food imports from other countries.

    And it is not so easy to catch vehicles with number plate recognition. There has been publicity recently about the number of unlicensed cars driving on UK roads. There will be a lot of trouble with enforcement.

    I don’t think there are any VAT payments collected at the border, nor is there any control on which currencies are taken into and out of Northern Ireland from and to the Republic. The border is totally open.

    If the Brexiters want to leave the EU, they have to recognise that that does mean actually leaving the EU and coping with all the problems that brings about. They can’t just sit there and say we are leaving but it makes no difference and there are no problems. It does make a difference and the problems do have to be addressed. If we had clear detailed plans our negotiators could work with more confidence and be more effective.

    • lp
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      How do you know what the UK plans are?
      How do you know what are negotiators are like?
      How do you know how effective our negotiators are?

      You believe all of the EU propaganda spread by the BBC.

      • rose
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Also, you are describing problems arising for the Protection Racket, not for Brexiteers. If the Protection Racket wants to join the civilized world then it can agree to Free Trade. It keeps saying it is in favour of Free Trade, after all.

  20. Duncan
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I’ve just read that most Tory MP’s believe May will be gone in under 12 months. She’s an ardent Europhile. Her Chancellor is an ardent Europhile. If she’s of the belief that her time as PM is limited then I worry that she may attempt to construct events to prevent the UK’s full exit from this poisonous political construct, the EU, before her departure

    Indeed the opponent of Brexit now is not the EU but those people closer to home such as May, Hammond and the British ‘unseen state’ – the usual coterie of liberal left, pro-EU types whose names and faces we can never know nor see

    We must be cognisant of the possibility that May, her team and the EU are not working together to construct a series of events that prevent Brexit.

    The Irish border question is just another roadblock to complicate matters, deliberately so. The Gordian Knot strategy of the EU has proven very effective in the past making it almost nigh impossible for member states to exit once inside the labyrinth

    With the right political leadership in place we can exit this pathetic organisation with dignity and win the next UK election against the poison of Labour

    • Duncan
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      ‘We must be cognisant of the possibility that May, her team and the EU are working together to construct a series of events that prevent Brexit. ‘

      • Tom William
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        It might look like that but her “team” includes Gove, Johnson,Fox and Davis.
        Much more likely is that she is out of her depth.

        • Turboterrier.
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          @ Tom William

          Much more likely is that she is out of her depth.

          Totally and completely.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            She is also swimming against the civil service tide.

        • hefner
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          “Much more likely is that she is out of her depth” very likely indeed, but what about the score cards of Gove, Johnson, Fox and Davis? Do they give the impression they are on top of their brief?

          • Stred
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            It’s hard to score highly when the boss is an idiot who is going in the opposite direction.

      • oldtimer
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        This is entirely possible. She called an election when she said she would not. She said “Brexit means Brexit”. She also said “No deal is better than a bad deal”. Yet we appear to be being corralled into a very bad deal with commitments that are unacceptable. Why should we believe a weak PM whose office is run and staffed by Remainers?

        My suspicious mind also thinks that there are other, unseen forces at work seeking to frustrate Brexit. If they exist it is time they were exposed to the light of day.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    On the TV this morning it was stated that the UK government is “desperate” to move on to trade talks, but this would be vetoed by the Irish government unless the UK government committed to keeping the UK in both the Single Market and the Customs Union.

    Apparently the latest threat on this matter has come from an Irishman who has forgotten that as an EU Commissioner he is supposed to be an impartial official faithfully serving the interests of the EU as a whole, not just those of his home country, a promise he made as part of his solemn oath of office.

    Whatever delusions the Irish government may entertain there is no political possibility of the UK remaining in either the Single Market or the Customs Union after leaving the EU, so there is now clearly no point in the UK even trying to negotiate any “special and deep” trade deal with the EU. And of course there was never any justification for paying the EU a bribe just to get trade talks started.

    So we should now say that rather than kowtow to the stupid destructive intransigence of the EU we will fall back on WTO trade rules and only seek agreements on the practical or technical aspects of continuing trade.

    That would do us some economic harm, although nowhere near as much as portrayed by the Remoaners, and it would do the other countries more economic harm, albeit it would be spread around among them, but on most projections the country which would suffer by far the greatest economic damage would in fact be Ireland.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Just assume (for the sake of argument and do not get mad, no comparison is perfect) that the way the Irish feel about the English is similar to the way the Estonians feel about the Russians (in fact the Irish have treated the English far better than the Estonians the Russians now) . Have you any idea how the Estonians would feel the Russians adopting clearly mischievious negotiating tactics in a situation that affects important aspects of their livelyhood and their relationship with members of ther “Nation” still under British control. You bet the Irish are angry and this is not the EU’s fault, it is the UK that made a reckless decision without any consultation or planning.

      • lp
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        The UK made a democratic decision. You do not know anything about Irish-British history so etc ed

      • NickC
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:45 am | Permalink

        Rien, It is the EU that is “adopting clearly mischievous negotiating tactics in a situation that affects important aspects of” our livelihood. We made a considered decision at the Referendum after an extensive campaign. That was 18 months ago. And we had a 29 year build up from Mrs Thatcher’s Bruges speech (1988) to now. Have you and Eire only just woken up?

        • acorn
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          Can I just remind you once again, that the UK is voluntarily leaving the EU Club. The EU Club is not ejecting the UK from said Club.

          The EU can legitimately claim, under international law, to expect its Treaty requirements to be re-established to the position that existed before the UK became a member of the EU Club.

          • NickC
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            Acorn, I already stated we “made a considered decision at the Referendum”, so clearly I don’t need reminding. The last treaty we signed was Lisbon, so not as “existed before the UK became a member of the EU”. To re-establish the pre-Lisbon position the EU will have to give us back a decade of our net contributions.

          • acorn
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            NickC, new Treaties do not replace previous Treaties, they add to them.

            The two principal treaties on which the EU is based are the Treaty on European Union (TEU; Maastricht Treaty, effective since 1993)

            And; the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU; Treaty of Rome, effective since 1958). The UK joined in 1973.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Perhaps the Irish government should not have supported the insertion of an exit clause into the EU treaties?

      • rose
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        So is this the latest EU propaganda, that GB was like Stalinist Russia?

        Do not get mad, but I can think of historical comparisons being made the other way. The EUSSR has had a very detrimental effect on the UK and the UK is trying to escape, as the Baltic States did. In both cases, national identity was being deliberately eroded in the little states by the superstate, as a method of conquest.

  22. Anonymous
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    “New UK migration controls are likely to rely on benefit controls and work permits if people wish to settle in the UK.”

    A disappointment. I expected to see proper border enforcement after the referendum result.

    Once here people will still claim asylum on spurious grounds or work in the black economy as they do now – or support a large family on state topped up gig wages like my taxi driver this morning.

    It’s not happening is it.

  23. Duncan
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    ‘Theresa May has agreed with Brussels that Britain will hand over more than £40 billion when the UK leaves the EU — but keep the final bill secret from the public even when the final deal is done in 2019.’ Sunday Times, 26 Nov 2017

    This is what happens when Tory MP’s turn their back on their country and elect a Europhile as their leader.

    This is what my party has morphed into. A pro-EU, liberal left charade political entity packed with unprincipled, pathetic politicians

    We must thank the dignity and decency of the British people for at least trying to return our country back to its rightful place

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:26 am | Permalink

      Yes the shower in political office are by and large a complete disgrace.

  24. JJE
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The Irish aren’t buying this are they? They think that you are trying to meet three incompatible objectives at once.
    1. Leave the Customs Union
    2. No border between Northern Ireland and the Republic
    3. No border between the North and the rest of the UK
    Doesn’t work, does it?

    And exploiting the exemptions you propose sounds to me like a license for criminals, remembering that smuggling across the border was a major way that the terrorists made money in the past.

    Is there an actual proposal that the UK has made that is published anywhere that we can read?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Not just “in the past”. If the Irish ever come to their senses they will leave too.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      It does work.
      If local business is exempt from custom controls, then the only smuggling will be undertaken by multi-nationals using Ireland or NI as a base. But they won’t go down that path, as the cost if they got caught out would be a very heavy penalty.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      There is already a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, even if it is only marked on the roads by signs saying welcome, bullet holes optional, and advising that the speed limits are in miles per hour. So what the UK wants is for the existing border to continue to exist after the UK has left the EU and its single market and customs union, but without causing any unnecessary inconvenience or disruption. What the Irish government wants is not entirely clear, but it seems to be less about solving the practical problems and preventing damage to the Irish economy than about political unification of the island of Ireland.

      • HarryB
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Denis..The irish govrrnment are heading for a snap election before christmas so brexit is not top of their list..they have already outlined their bottom line about brexit to barnier so its very much in the hands of the EU commission now- if sufficient progress is madr by december 14yh then ok..if not..then ?? It’ a UK EU problem that will have to be resolved in Brussels not Dublin

        • rose
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

          But the Southern Irish politicians are the ones making the most inflammatory remarks.

  25. bigneil
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    ” New UK migration controls are likely to rely on benefit controls and work permits “. Or in plain English – ANYONE can walk in and just stay. Don’t expect benefits – until lawyers say it is discrimination – all will STILL walk into the NHS. You might as well put up a big neon sign, set up on the Dover cliffs and seen from Calais – ” Come on – the gates and wallets are still wide open – just go through Ireland “.

    Are the govt going to give us a choice of which river we are being sold down?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      You can always have an insistence on medical insurance as we have when travelling elsewhere.

  26. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Local trade can continue to be frictionless. Companies foreign to either RoI or NI should adhere to the deal we strike with the EU.
    I really don’t see there is much of a problem except to those who want to muddy the waters for political purposes.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      You are very naive. That border would be a leak in the EU’s trade shield. And it would be exploited..

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Only a leak, and not a flood. Hardly worth worrying about even for the EU surely.
        Your comment betrays it’s the EU that wants the hard border – how will the Irish respond in time?

      • NickC
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        Rien, There are two sides to a border. What are you going to do about your side to plug those terrible leaks?

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          That would mean a hard border and depending on future divergence of standards and possible contamination of “origin” it could cause problems. Someone here menttioned illegal immigration and that could be a problem too given that the UK is already the #1 destination for illegal, economic migrants due to the UK’s lack of a resident registration system that allow illegals to stay for long period without detection. Something much more difficult in other European countries. People smugglers are clever, even the Russian/Norwegian border was used in the knowledge that the Norwegian/Swedish border was weakly enforced.

          Of course the perfect solutions are carving out NI from Brexit, Irish reunification or Ireland leaving the EU and rejoining the UK (economically). Noe of these is uncontroversial, to say the least..

  27. Andy
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    No – this doesn’t work because of YOUR Brexit.

    You assume the only difference is in tariffs. Yet you claim one reason for Brexit was to slash EU rules and regulations.

    You can not have different product rules – which is what you want – without a hard border.

    You can not take back control of your immigration policy without a hard border to stop people coming in.

    I am sorry that your position is blitheringly incoherent. But it is blitheringly incoherent.

    Whining about other people having ‘bad will’ is not good enough.

    The EU is very far from perfect but now we’re finding out – clearly – that on all the major issues Brexit will be worse.

    The Brexiteers will be blamed for this – and you’re one of them Mr Redwood.

    Your retirement will be full of lots of explaining. Shame.

    • Oggy
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      I find myself wanting to reply to you with just 2 words but unfortunately John wouldn’t allow it through, but I’m sure you get the message.

      To remind you – we had a democratically held referendum, a decision was made and now the decision will be implemented, get over it.

      PS. It’s all about freedom not economics.

      • Andy
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        I am happy for you to respond with two words.

        You won a vote – it doesn’t mean you have a clue.

        Frankly, Brexiteers now have to implement their lies.

        Good luck. You’ll need it.

        It ain’t gonna end well for you all.

        • Timaction
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          But end it will and not under the flag, laws, anthem, armed forces or “ever closer Union” of your fellow federalists under the rule of unelected bureaucrats.
          You still have time, just leave and join your companions in the EU and we won’t hold any grudge. We’ll even offer reciprocal free trade and friendship from this side of the Channel. If not we’ll have to make do with our bigger tariffs. Good bye. I’d rather be poorer and free than an EU slave!

        • NickC
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:57 am | Permalink

          Andy, The only reason Remains claim that Leave lied is to divert attention away from the appalling lies of the Remain campaign.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 4:47 am | Permalink

          Andy (without googling) please tell me the name of your MEP, the name of the EU party he stands for, its leader and their policies.

          Please (again, without googling) tell me the names of the five Presidents and similar details to those above.

          Just what is it you love about the EU ? What is it you are passionate about ?

          I’m not trying to insult you. I want you to really sell me the EU.

          Because, during the referendum, you utterly failed to do so.

          If I don’t have a clue then it’s you were unable to give me one. And nor was anyone else.

    • Tom William
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      If the EU considers a “hard border” for immigration purposes to be in place in Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Portugal they are guilty of a con trick. There are only hard borders on paper in much of the EU.

      If anyone wants to enter the UK via Northern Ireland they will not be stopped by a hard border at a frontier post. They might be stopped by a passport/identity check at a ferry or air terminal – as happens now.

      Get real.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        @Tom William: Then you’d better prepare to start checking all goods on ferries and air terminals as well, which is more or less what Irish want: the border will be at ferry and air terminals, not between N. Ireland and the EU (Republic of Ireland).

        • James Matthews
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          Really PV? Well that won’t be where the EU checks for entry into the EU will be and I don’t think they are yet in a position to tell us where we should place ours. Your mask is slipping.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            @James Matthews: You will find customs and border security at Dutch (+EU) ferry- and air terminals. How come you don’t know?

        • NickC
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:00 am | Permalink

          PvL, Does the EU now own the Republic of Ireland? A border has two sides, what are you going to do on the EU side? And have you told the Irish Republic yet?

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            @NickC: the Irish republic is a sovereign nation, which we as |EU27 support as one of us.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            I believe the ECB owns the Republic of Ireland.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper:
            “I believe the ECB owns the Republic of Ireland”
            Not more than the BOE owns the UK or the ECB owns the Netherlands (supervison of largest banks).
            Just to awaken you: In December 2013 Ireland exited its bailout programme. It now scores a 5.8% GDP growth (YoY), almost 4x the UK growth rate. Well done Ireland!

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      @ Andy

      When are you emigrating across the channel?

      Sure that they will invite another bad loser with open arms.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      JR has been right on nearly every thing so far, the EU, the EURO, the ERM, on no change no chance Major, the counterproductive wars …..and he is right on Brexit too. The problem is that under May we might well get Brexit in name only, and then Corbyn shortly after to really kill the economy stone dead.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      So how do all the other countries bordering the EU manage ? Many have recently had to erect fences due to Mekel inviting everyone in. And the RoI route is rather a long way round.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      “On all the major issues Brexit will be worse”

      Why is stopping uncontrolled freedom of movement worse ? Why is saving net contributions of 10 billion a year worse ? Why is having laws made in Parliament worse? Why is the freedom for Labour to subsidise industries to save jobs worse ? Why is the ability to set our own VAT rates to zero if we want worse ? Why is the ability to import food from outside the EU without massive tariffs worse ?

      What major issues exactly were you thinking of ?

      • Andy
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        We can already control immigration – our inept government just doesn’t. Our net contributions deliver us a bigger return in value than we invest. Parliament does make our laws. You’ll have to ask Labour about its policies. It is as bonkers as you lot, just the other way. We could, potentially, save a bit on tariffs on non-EU food. But non-EU made up just 19% of our food imports in 2015 – 81% was either EU or homegrown. Any savings you make will be more than offset by the costs.

        Facts are awkward.


        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          “We can already control immigration” is not true, as you know.

        • rose
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          Parliament has recently beeen arguing about how to transpose about 20,000 EU rules into our law that were never scrutinised. They are so many that they can’t agree on how best to do that. 20,000! Just think of it.
          “Facts are awkward.”

    • Stred
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      He’s lost his dummy and again.

  28. Kenneth
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    We can press ahead with our non-physical border.

    If the Irish want to erect a physical border on their side that is up to them.

    • Jason wells
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth..what you are saying is a recipe for the resumption of smuggling operations..smuggling leads on to gangsterism and that leads to the dissident paramilitary’s and we know well where it’s all going to end up

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      There have got to be passport checks on the ferrys from northern Ireland to mainland UK, on this the DUP need to be told to get lost. England is not open to ongoing massive immigration.

      • miami.mode
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Iain. If a ferry comes from northern Ireland, then they are already in the UK.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Iain Gill,

        Internal uk flights require acceptable photo ID, so I don’t think it is a big thing to ask for similar on ferries.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          Tell the political class.

          • rose
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

            At least Southern Ireland is not in the Schengen area and could if it wanted, co-operate with us on this matter.

  29. NHSGP
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink


    When ti comes to economic migration there should be no discrimination on grounds of nationality. All foreign nationals wanting to come to the UK should be treated equally.

    You are proposing special treatment.

    1. No criminals.

    Unlike now where you allow them in and don’t kick them out when they commit crimes here.

    When you come to the UK, like when you go to the US, you should submit a declaration that you have not got a criminal record. The UK should check with home countries if people have criminal records. A condition of visa free travel is that the country of origin provides a yes/no check against a passport for a criminal record.

    2. Net contributors only. You have to generate more tax than you cost.

    Easy to implement. A minimum tax, paid in advance or with a bond to pay it. A the end of the year if your tax paid is below the minimum either you top it up, or we call the bond. Next year the same. For all migrants. If you have dependents, then the minimum tax is increased.

    3. No discrimination. Gender, race, sexual preference, religion, .. not relevant. Just conditions 1 and 2.

    On free movement of goods and services. Just enforce the deals we have already signed with Ireland, France, … They are for free movement of goods and services.

    Next on the EU’s demands. Pay nothing bar membership fees. Nothing. If you do you will be blamed for all austerity.

    Let the EU take the UK to court to prove there is a legal basis. Which court? Can’t be an EU court, we aren’t members.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink


      I don’t think condition 2 is strong enough. This is close to the existing defence of immigration though that is aggregate tax take is greater than expenditure. If new residents are adding less than GDP per capita then GDP per capita goes down. This is hard to measure but perhaps your condition 2 and achieving average household income measure after two or three years.

    • rose
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      This is all very sensible but have you seen the H of L committee on Brexit and the law? It is chaired by an idiotic left wing woman, and the judges who appear there can’t seem to see the wood for the trees. They appear to have endless time to cause trouble, and no concept at all of national interest. Infected by the EU court and way of thinking, I should say.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 28, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      economic migrants should not be coming in with skills already in oversupply, anywhere in the skills spectrum.

      and where skills are in short supply then issue short term work visas only, do not allow people to stay indefinitely.

      tax system needs to at least level the playing field between hiring imports and locals, at the moment its cheaper to hire imports which is crazy.

  30. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    This approach is naïve.
    There could be 40% duties on some goods imported into ROI from the UK. Where do yo draw the line at “small consignments”? A decent living could be made by travelling across the border a couple of times a week with a small consignment of £5000 worth of goods each time. Why not formalise this by the NI and ROI establishing their own customs union, much as they had freedom of movement and have freedom to apply for citizenship between the two parts of Ireland? Freedom of movement of people and therefore effective sovereignty was already in place between ROI and NI pre-dating the EU construct, and can return to its former status, although of course folk from outside the island wouldn’t qualify for UK citizenship on the basis of having gained Irish citizenship on the way. Equally these flexibilities which are already in place for NI citizens already technically set them aside from the remainder of the UK, so in return they need to accept that a border of some sort needs to happen in the Irish Sea— to repeat there is already a difference between NI citizens’ rights and rUK rights, so there has to be a quid pro quo here to avoid a hard border, and that is it. nb there will also likely be a border between the island and rEU in the same way.

  31. Bert Young
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I cannot understand the hoohah concerning the Irish border . The EU wishes to control what goods conform to its ,so called ,standards and if unrestricted controls exist they allege its rules will be violated . Individuals can decide what they wish to buy and if it includes items from the USA that are currently excluded , so what ? . Food controls and other restrictions that apply to goods produced in the USA are of a very high and reliable standard and if they arrive in Northern Ireland and are dispatched elsewhere they are identifiable . In my opinion an “open border” between Northern Ireland and Eire ought to continue to exist .

    The truth is the EU does not wish its bureaucratic arm to be weakened in any respect and it recognises that the trading relationship between N and S Ireland is its Achilles heel . Frankly I would completely disregard this issue and if the EU persist , I would simply walk away . We can establish a recognition and control mechanism at our points of arrival from N and S Ireland and , if they are secure and good enough , we ought to be able to exclude the “unwanted”. From a purely economic and defence aspect Eire is very dependent on its relationship with the UK , it is probably better if they “exit” as well .

  32. BartD
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    The irish border problem is more complex than outlined here, for instance what if UK is buying produce in from South America the EU would be concerned mainly because of standards issues in case any of that product finds its way across the border into the EU. The other big problem looming is the fact that this kind of loose border arrangement as proposed is a smugglers charter- I can see the men who live in the shadows already rubbing their hands.. Failure of a loose border will need better and increased enforcement by customs that could very well lead to more enforcement by police until we reach a situation like the way things were in the 1970’s. No am afraid loose land border control for the EU facing the UK outside of the EU is not going to work..especially in Ireland

  33. Epikouros
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The Irish threat of chaos in the event of a no deal and/or exit from the custom union at worse will result in an inconvenience to trade but a stick with which those who wish to unite all Ireland will use without restraint. However it is also intended to strengthen the EU negotiators hand as the threats that they are making it has becoming patently obvious do them more harm than good. The Irish should think more on what they threaten as well as a united Ireland will come with as many problems that the UK suffered in keeping Northern Ireland united to the UK.

    The answer to this threat and also to that of those who fear a non tariff free trade agreement is simple. To unilaterally declare the UK a free trade nation with the EU and the rest of the world and let other nations erect their border controls if they so desire. An appalling idea no doubt the majority will declare and that vociferously.

    They would be wrong despite universal belief to the contrary there is nothing to fear from free trade. Unfortunately there is insufficient space here to give the many reasons why but a little rational research by the discerning will illicit plenty of evidence to substantiate that claim. Trade deficits are not a barrier as they are a zero sum exercises. Protection of producers is hardly a consideration as it is not up to us the consumers to protect them so that they can charge higher prices for lower quality. However consumers(producers are also very large consumers) win handsomely as they do gain the best price at the best quality as they are allowed to source anywhere in the world for their goods and services.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink


      Could your paragraph 2 be tested by declaring NI a free trade zone, then expand to rUK in the future?

      (NI is 1/3 population of Singapore so I think a reasonable scale)

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      “Free trade” is a slogan. Something like unrestricted (tarriffs, standards, fredom of movement of all factors of production, including people) trade exists only within trade blocs like the one you are about to leave.

      • NickC
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:10 am | Permalink

        Rien, We are leaving an empire. It is perfectly possible to have free trade by adopting zero tariffs and mutual recognition of standards, without free movement of people, or capital, and without a bureaucratic empire being necessary.

        • Tasman
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

          Nick, please give me one example of two countries who trade with each other on the basis of zero tariffs and mutual recognition of standards. It happens every day in the EU. It happens nowhere else in the world, ever

          • NickC
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            Tasman, The EU is not a free trade area in services: the 2006 Services directive is not fully implemented. So it doesn’t happen “every day in the EU”.

            List of multilateral Free Trade Areas at varying degrees of integration: CSME, EU, EAEU, MERCOSUR, GCC, SICA; CEMAC/XAF, UEMOA/XOF; EEA–Switzerland, ASEAN; CAN, EAC, EUCU, SACU; CEFTA, CISFTA, COMESA, EFTA, GAFTA, NAFTA, SAFTA, AANZFTA, PAFTA, SADCFTA; (from Wiki). You can see that the EU is only one of a number, even in the first group (economic union). And then there are the bi-lateral FTAs.

          • Epikouros
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            NickC & Tasman Indeed the age of empires and trading blocks are over. Now is the age of globalisation where trade is all and if sensibly managed will mean peace and prosperity for all. Free trade does not have to be accompanied by “mutual recognised standards”, that is an euphemism for protectionism. It also does not have to be accompanied by free movement of labour as a must but may do as an expedient as attracting he right skills will be important. Sovereignty and self determination can remain sacrosanct as trade would have no other regulator than the consumer.

  34. graham1946
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The answer is simpler still. If the EU in its own interests as well as ours, simply accept free trade both ways.

    If not, then the difference is not simply to go back to borders in the old fashioned way but just one of paying duties and VAT if imposed. The entry system and Customs data will still be needed anyway as it is now. The new Customs system now being developed will cope with this (as long as it is done right in the first place).

  35. Rien Huizer
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    The only solution is economic (not political) unification of both parts of Ireland. Anything else will result in unacceptable border control risks for the EU. And will make an FTA more difficult.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Again we have the Brussels angle. With this economic unification, will Brussels be taking over the UK taxpayers subsidy of Northern Ireland.
      We would probably agree to those conditions and enjoy a tax cut for the rest of the UK.
      Ireland is just the latest perceived problem being wheeled out to try and complicate Brexit.
      Hard (clean) Brexit it is then.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        That UK taxpayers’ subsidy would no longer be needed because the North would have a stronger economy. Otherwise, imo a small price to pay for a solution. Ireland would also have to be compensated for border arrangements and trade effects that would cause economic harm and carrying Ulster might be cheaper. That is the way of the EU.

        • rose
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

          Alternatively, we could make Northern Ireland a tax haven and then they wouldn’t need the subsidies.

    • Oggy
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      The DUP say that won’t happen and their crucial votes propping up the Tories in Westminster will ensure it won’t happen.

      • LenD
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Oggy ..we’ll see..the DUP are not even in government at the moment..if SinnFein were to commit their ten absentee mps into the house they would cancel them out.

        • Mark B
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          I very much doubt that.

    • NickC
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:13 am | Permalink

      Rien, That is being mischievous and it is obviously so. Do not try rearranging whole countries simply to suit the grandiosity of the EU.

  36. Simon
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    If it is so simple why is it holding up talks ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Because the EU bureaucrats are looking for obstacles not solutions. They are not acting even in the interest of the EU member states.

      • jack Snell
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic.. I have an idea that at this stage they just want to be shut of UK and already have one eye on the Christmas hols

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        And they are egging on the Irish … as I said the other day, successive Irish governments have been little more than puppets of the EU.

        • CharlesE
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          Not so denis..the irish government is about to collapse..veradkar has plenty other things on his plate besides the all discussion about this border thing is entirely with the EU commission/ barnier and Ju ker at this stage

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            I don’t see how that really qualifies for “Not so …” Just because the Irish government may be about to collapse that has not stopped Irish politicians mouthing off and uttering foolish threats against the UK.

          • rose
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

            In fact it is very likely because the Southern Irish government is about to collapse that they are grandstanding in this despicable way.

      • Simon Coleman
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        We’ve just given the EU a new 300 mile border with over 200 crossing points. Why the hell shouldn’t they ask us (who have created it) to put some kind of workable solution on the table – now? You listen to people like Mr Redwood and hear that Brexit is an easy process – the only problems are created by those nasty foreigners. It’s a pathetic claim. Mr Redwood doesn’t give a monkeys about the Irish border – he’s just an economist who sees politics simply as something that should serve global markets.

        • rose
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

          He is not an economist. He is an historian and historians know all about the Irish Question. They also know about the Concert of Europe and how everything is not always as it is presented in diplomacy.

    • Chris
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Simply because there is not the political will to solve the problem. Not only are the EU not wanting this to be resolved (and apparently encouraging opposition to solving the problem) but also there are too many Remainer Tory politicians who do not want this to work (Brexit, and solving the border problem). The Tory Remainer MPs are becoming ever more bold, and Alan Duncan has now apparently stated that he is going to join the Remainer rebels, and fight the fixed date for leaving. These Remainers should have been dealt with long ago, but they have instead been given key positions in government. A recipe for disaster, a disaster which is now unfolding.

      • Peter
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. The government is not implementing a clean Brexit. Mrs. May is now apparently looking to hide the details of what it will cost. So much for transparency.

        ‘ The Independent’ spins this by turning the truth on its head and saying she has a problem with Brexiteers.

  37. James Matthews
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Benefit controls and work permits are no deterrent to illegal migrants who enter and work of the grid amongst their own communities. The know that, once they have entered, the chances of their being detected are minimal, and that, even if they are apprehended, the chances of their being removed are next to non-existent. No government is prepared to take the liberal vilification which would stem from a serious attempt to remove a majority of the illegals who are already here and continue to arrive. If they are not stopped at a border they will noy be stopped at all.

  38. John Soper
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    You told us we voted Leave to take back control of our borders. But you want an open border with Ireland.
    You told us the EU needs us more than we need the EU. Yet we are paying money to the EU, not the other way round.
    You are trying to take the people of Britain for fools, but we are starting to see through you

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      That’s why the people of Britain are 64% to 36% in favour of leaving the EU Single Market as planned by the British government.

  39. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I see the Irish have said that UK staying in the Single Market and Customs Union would assist in easing border problems. David Davis could usefully propose another couple of alternatives which are that Ireland also withdraw from the EU, or that the EU put in place a comprehensive free trade agreement with the UK so that border checks would be minimised.

    One wonders what other nations will threaten to hold up negotiations and trade talks – no doubt the traditional French insistence on protecting their own film industry will make an appearance.

    • DragE
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      You know Roy..david lloyd george nearly one hundred years ago threatened the irish with terrible and immediate war if they did not sign the treaty. The treaty was signed which made the border and this despite the fact that the irish had votagsoverwhelmi gly 80 per cent for sinn fein in the 1918 national the irish will never follow UK agsin

      • rose
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        But they did follow us, first in joining the EEC, and then in refraining from joining the Schengen Area.

  40. William Long
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    My father was stationed in Northern Ireland for a bit in the War and my mother always used to tell us about weekly shopping trips by bus to the Free State, as it then was. There was no trouble at the border on the way out as shopping baskets were empty. On the return trip, loaded with things such as oranges and bananas, unobtainable in the North, the bus would stop just out of sight of the border; everyone would alight and walk along a well worn path that rejoined the road out of sight of the border to the north, and the busload would progress on it’s merry way. No doubt any modern ‘Hard’ border would work in the same way!

  41. Peter
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    “The UK is a laughing stock. At home and abroad. The EU sees nothing but a quivering and fawning coward. The rest of the World sees the same, and shake their heads in astonishment. Barnier has only to lift an eyebrow and the British negotiators fall back as if they have been poleaxed. The UK appears paralyzed with awe and fear as it beholds the mighty EU.

    Merkel has never been weaker. Macron is ignoring rising unpopularity and riots in Paris by his aggrieved citizens. But the Brits appear to have noticed only that the EU is shouting louder than ever, demanding more and more.”

    Comment Central

    • Caterpillar
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      A disappointingly good quote. This is an inevitable position with a remain favouring PM, the UK needs to get some heavyweight leadership (and support from the opposition) pretty quickly. If this doesnt happen we are all going to be paying one way or another.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      But you will agree that the EU has the larger market, larger population and land area, greater industrial depth and financialresources. Not really an equal to pick a fight with, imo. It would be good if people would vent their nationalistic investive on the foorball field, where it belongs, not in the context of serious matters though.

      • lp
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        We would agree that the EU is now panicking & the UK holds all of the trump cards should it wish to use them. We’ve picked fights with bigger bullies and come out on top eventually so stick your jingoism up your single market etc ed

      • NickC
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:17 am | Permalink

        Rien, Is that why the EU is so nationalistic then? Next you’ll be wanting “EU” medals at the Olympics . . . . . . . . . ohhh . . . .

    • eagle
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      The UK isn’t a laughing stock. The EU and the rest of the world are watching, as we alone, make a stand against the globalist agenda.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        We the people might be but the political class and the establishment seem to be rolling over and having their tummies tickled.

  42. Ian Russell
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Extending the electronic VAT system is the solution.

    Unwillingness to agree on that would be a sure sign of unwillingness to agree on anything else.

    No deal on VAT extension should precipitate no deal.

  43. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    One country – two systems (as in China/Hongkong) may provide the way out for the UK.
    N.Ireland (and why not Scotland as you’re busy with it) remain in the single market and customs union and the rest of UK works according to WTO or Canada-like FTA.
    This way you can keep two devolved nations, which happened not to vote for Brexit, equally happy.
    The UK with all its might in IT and with so much experience with special arrangements can surely pull this off, it just needs to guarantee it in writing now and then start working on it.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Clearly easier if the ROI moves into the UK customs union, leaving the EU to set up its watchtowers (which we don’t want or need) offshore.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        @Sir Joe Soap: Ireland has been very clear here it wants to be, and it didn’t cause the Brexit problems, it remains the UK to provide solutions for any Brexit outcome.

        • rose
          Posted November 28, 2017 at 12:00 am | Permalink

          Dear Peter

          The “solutions to any Brexit outcome” are obvious: either 1) leave the border as it is, 20 add some technology as the UK government has suggested, or 3), if the Protection Racket insists on imprisoning Southern Ireland the other side of a new Berlin Wall, then Southern Ireland could jump over, into freedom. They could then have the low tax rates they want to have without being bullied, and they could keep to their neutrality without being compelled to join an EU army.

          • rose
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

            Sorry, 2) not 20

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

            @rose: It doesn’t sound as though you (UK) take the real Irish concerns or the Good Friday Agreement very seriously though. As UK media themselves reported: “Britain has produced one flimsy paper on the border question, published in August to almost universal derision.” Even last week the “border planning group” didn’t have any material to star working on – while specific solutions were due in October. No surprise that Ireland is getting worried.

    • NickC
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:22 am | Permalink

      PvL, You don’t get to rearrange our country, thank you. You confirm my view that the EU thinks rather more highly of itself than the facts warrant.

  44. CaptK
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Could be that the Eu doesn’t want a deal with us in tbe future and are therefore not going to agree an exit deal no matter what..i believe there are some in the EU that are determined that UK has a hard exit so that this will be the outcome.

  45. Edwardm
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes – your suggestion is fairly simple to implement. (Large importers cannot hide their accounts so would comply quite manageably – and there will always be a paper trail back from goods distributed in the UK which would be impossible to fake on a large scale without being detected).
    I’m no expert but I had thought along the lines of what you suggest.
    This solution can be implemented by us regardless of what the EU/Ireland choose to do on their side of the border – and we can ignore the EU and its attempts to control NI.

  46. Jumeirah
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    As we are all very much aware if we go into a transitional period we will not be allowed to institute our own Immigration, work permit or benefit controls as we will still be under the GOVERNANCE of the ECJ. Unless and until we exit from this ‘imprisonment’ we will remain ‘hamstrung’. On a different note I am heartened by the fact that we longer appear to refer to the EU as ‘our friends’ – they are NOT and never have been – our relationship with any Country or political Organisation is strictly ‘business’ and in business one does not have ‘friends’ as all parties have a different agenda and the goal post move as the Agendas shift. The EU is not our enemy and neither are the Countries within it they are merely people we do business with or NOT!

  47. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    As someone who was born and brought up in Northern Ireland and lived there before we joined the EU (now that dates me), I have always felt the dire warnings of remainer’s on the border issues are rather overstated, in fact before we were in the EU we had a common currency (different coin designs but common value, you could use the Irish bunny thruppences I loved as a child anywhere) … which we don’t have now with the EURO – it worked fine before the EU and it will work in the future. This article sets out the case well…

  48. James Neill
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Liam Fox reiterates that UK is leaving the EU single market and the customs union so that’s it then we are completely severing all ties with the EU so there’s nothing else to do.. then we become an outside country to the EU just like Albania or Kurdistan so what’s the point in going on and talking about new trading relationship with them when we can’t even agree an exit deal- we may as well close shop now, besides in the case of the cliff edge they will be so pissed off they won’t have anything more to do with us anyway- it doesn’t make sense- but ‘out means out’- the future can only be to WTO rules or if we don’t want WTO then whatever FTA free trade agreements we can pick up worldwide..a la LiamFox international trade secretary..sigh..heaven help us.. the Irish border doesn’t even figure in aany of this because there will be no future for anyone anyway..only Tusks salt and vinegar.

    • NickC
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:27 am | Permalink

      James Neill, We already trade with the rest of the world under WTO rules, so why you’re worried about that I cannot fathom. Yes we will become a “third” country but probably more like Brazil, Australia, or Canada than Albania (though I do remember the laughable Remain poster).

      • John Soper
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        Nick, you need to stop saying this. We do not trade with the rest of the world on WTO rules, we trade on the basis of the hundreds of deals the EU has with the rest of the world – some free trade deals but also deals on customs cooperation and other forms of coooperation. We lose the benefit of all those deals after Brexit, and so far not one single country has said it will let Britain have the same good deal as the EU has right now (and why would they, the EU is a lot stronger than the UK). The Brexiteers never told the truth on this

        • Edward2
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          There have been many nations who have said they want to continue to trade with the UK on similar terms to current arrangements.
          The UK is unable to sign up to any proper agreements until we leave under EU rules so you make a weak point.

          • John Soper
            Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

            Do please name one such country.

        • NickC
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          John Soper, You need to stop saying this. It has been explained to you before. We do trade with the rest of the world on WTO rules, because the WTO trading system itself is the prize. At the moment, the WTO rules include the EU negotiated RTAs because they are registered with the WTO.

          However, the RTAs (have you looked at them, or are you just parroting Remain propaganda?) are mostly very minor and limited deals (eg reduced tariffs for Australian wine into the EU). These RTAs will either be novated, or marginally altered, or used as an interim until our own more comprehensive worldwide RTAs are negotiated.

  49. English Pensioner
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    We have the Spanish threatening to block trade talks unless we reach agreement over Gibraltar, we now having the Irish threatening to block such talks until we agree over the border. I’m just surprised that the French haven’t come up with a reason for blocking the talks!
    It’s time for our government to start issuing threats of its own. We will go for a hard Brexit asap if trade talks don’t start within two weeks and make good progress by the end of the year.
    All the time we seem keen to appease the EU. Time for action now, especially whilst Germany is without a government and Macron is unpopular in France.

    • Johnny Englander
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      An excellent idea – we need to use all the leverage we can muster to get this thing moving. I recommend that our negotiating team issues a communique with the words “I’ll scream and scream until I’m sick!” emblazoned in bright red crayon on the front of it. That’ll get their attention, mark my words.

  50. The Great Ear
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Many people are fed up of hearing
    * Brexit
    * Hard and Soft anything unless it’s on Page Three of The Sun
    *Anna Soubry

  51. ian
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Brexit is turning into a bailout of the EU and nothing else. ECJ laws will continue with paying every year for free trade, and EU people having special rights in the UK, it was just a way to hand over extra billions to the EU, it was never about coming out of the EU. Only in name. English tax taxpayers con again by their own MPs. 100 billion upfront cash off the books and 5 billion a year for free trade, same laws, it working out to be a worst than you have now.

    • John Soper
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      You are right, ian. Brexit is a con. We have been conned.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink


      The EU is not the problem. The problem is much, much closer to home.

  52. ian
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Logic is right about pensions, that’s how they going to pay for all the wasted money apart from the NHS in last weeks budget, most of the money went to subsidies companies, Scotland Wales and N Ireland, north sea oil saw the biggest subsidies. Hinkley point last week went from 18 billion pounds to 30 billion and won’t be completed for another 30 years by that time it will be obsolete, and HS2 will defeatedly be coming in at 100 billion and 10 years late, why is this happening/ because the gov has no money to put into the projects up front, so they double the build time and of cos the price.

  53. miami.mode
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    If government thinks criminals will not exploit the open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, then they are deluding themselves.

  54. Richard W
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s not as easy as that. If the UK leaves the Single Market, there will necessarily be different regulatory regimes in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. So cross-border trade will not only face the quite minor issues of currency and VAT as now, and the probably non-existing tariffs, but the much more serious one of diverging product standards. Someone will have to make sure no chlorinated chickens are sold in ROI supermarkets. You will end up with some kind of border checks. There is no way around that.

  55. ian
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    The UK needs full Brexit with no strings attached/ and 50 billion in tax cuts to start when you leave the EU. Getting the money for tax cuts, Instead of wasting pension tax-deferred money on rubbish like the chancellor is now I would spend it on tax cuts on wages and abolish the 45% and 40% tax rates for deferred tax and keep the 20% rate with the 25% Lisa rate which will bring in 18 billion pounds, 12 billion that now goes to EU, 12 billion from WTO tariffs on the EU goods and cut overseas aid by 8 billion pounds.

  56. DragE
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Just who is in charge theresa may or liam fox? and where is DD in all of this? This is not going to be acceptable to the EU is turning out that money is the least of our sure there will be no agreement on dec 14th

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, reading that the EU may offer us a trade deal similar to that it has recently agreed with Canada, CETA, I wondered whether such a deal would even be worth the bother of the negotiations, or it would be better to say “No thanks, we’ll just stick with WTO trading terms for the moment, instead let’s get on and discuss the practicalities of continuing and facilitating our trade for a smooth transition”.

    In the past I’ve pointed out that CETA is actually of very marginal economic significance for the UK and the other EU countries, in fact the enhancement of their collective GDP might be only 0.03%, page 14 here:

    While on the UK government’s numbers it would be a 0.07% gain in our GDP.

    As far as the Brexit debate is concerned that is a double-edged conclusion: on the one hand it wouldn’t matter too much if we found ourselves temporarily excluded from the slightly improved trading terms laid down in CETA, but on the other hand we should not expect too much from new trade deals around the world post-Brexit.

    However if we were not to be a party to this EU trade deal with Canada, but rather a third country party to a similar trade deal with the EU, how much would that benefit us?

    According to the EU reference given above, “Canada is estimated to see increases ranging from 0.18% to 0.36%”, that is in its GDP, while according to this:

    “The parliamentary budget officer released a study Tuesday that estimates the trade deal would have lifted Canada’s overall economic output in 2015 by 0.4 per cent or $7.9 billion, had it been implemented at the time.”

    As with the UK, that small one-off 0.4% enhancement of GDP would be equivalent to the natural growth of the Canadian economy over a matter of some months.

    Of course we are not Canada – for a start we are on the other side of the Atlantic – but it seems to me that we would need to think very hard about whether that kind of trivial GDP enhancement over trading just on WTO terms would be worth the hassle of negotiating a deal with the intransigent, vindictive, obstructive, untrustworthy EU.

  58. Peter
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    ‘Morrissey then said he believes Brexit will never happen “because Westminster don’t want it” and that “they’re just finding a way not to make it Brexit”.

    The Manchester-born singer also explained how he’s “non-political”, saying: “I always have been. I’ve never voted in my life.”‘
    (yet another Mancunian singer with views on Brexit)

    Heaven knows I’m miserable now!

  59. Little Stew
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    The British Armed Forces should be the only owners and users of drones. Companies could apply for contractual assistance and the Defence Department could earn a few bob. The process need not be cumbersome. If it proves to be so then it would indicate our armed forces are not war-ready and an efficient and viable Security force. It will also give many RAF ground staff something to do other than play cricket most of the time. Yes, I have sound informants!

    • Little Stew
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      And NOT expensive.
      It would give ongoing experience to our RAF, ARMY and NAVY drone flyers in every conceivable environment, weather condition and a real-time necessity to do the job well.Well, they can be lax when “playing at war” as they call it on “daft manoeuvres” Again, I am very well-informed. What better training???? Do we yet have a squadron of drones? How many cockpit hours have they got?

  60. Know-Dice
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    So Liam Fox has stepped out of line.

    BBC Headline – Brexit: Irish border won’t be resolved until EU-UK trade deal struck – Fox

    If he doesn’t get the support of David Davis and Mrs May over this, then it’s clear that our Prime Minister truly doesn’t intend to deliver Brexit….

  61. VotedOut
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    The economic benefits of the peace process are so clear that anyone going back would have very little support. This isn’t the political problem it is pumped up to be by the EU – who know nothing about it.

    Interestingly I see the government is considering ECJ oversight – this from the Spectator:

    What’s being discussed is for the UK to say that it’ll accept ‘voluntary referral’ of cases to the ECJ. So, if a case arose on a point of law that had not been previously addressed, the UK courts would send it over to Luxembourg.
    A senior government figure, who is in favour of the idea, tells me that it is a ‘good compromise’. This source argues that the decision to refer would ‘still be a UK court decision’ and that the ‘numbers would be very small’.

    Well, small or not and small invariably is relative, this is totally unacceptable.

    What on earth is this ‘senior government figure’ thinking?

    Who’s side are they on? The referendum obviously passed them by.

    They’ve had their instruction – stop this claptrap, get on with it and get us out

  62. Robin Wilcox
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Some very sensible suggestions which sound workable. i expect the EU will reject them out of hand and then tell the UK it’s their problem. And so it will go on forever….unless we agree to cave in to all of their demands for our cash to prevent their insolvency.

  63. Simon Coleman
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    The electronic border has already been taken off the table. If we’re out of the Single Market and the Customs Union there will have to be some kind of border, which means there will have to be some sort of separate solution for Northern Ireland. Brexit doesn’t work constitutionally or politically within the UK…and that’s part of the reason it won’t work economically – which is your only real concern. Brexit doesn’t work.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      There is already “some kind of border”, and it is where it should be, between the Irish Republic and the Northern Ireland province of the United Kingdom.

  64. Lieutenant Woof
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Are the Labour Party playacting? When the EU says “We expect you will….”, “We will give you ten days to…….”..why does the Labour Party roll over and with overly dedicated forked tongue inspect its own inner workings?

  65. martinC
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Relax you’ll be out soon enough..out on your ear..with no place to go..liam fox will see to that..overheard IDS on American TV today giving his old spin about the way things are going swimingly..but not one word about the bavarian car workers. Even Gove seems to have gone to ground..what’s going to happen here is that we are heading for the cliff edge because it will be so deemed on december 14th that sufficient progress has not been made..then we’ll have the Christmas break and talks won’t resume again until after Eastertime which is falling you can see now how all of this is panning out.

    The EU commission have us on the hook now and they’re not going to let go as long as Fox and IDS etc are still talking their old guff. They figure that the Brits still havn’t learned the lesson and they know they cannot let us back in again until we adjust our ways so to be more respectful and appreciative of EU values..there will be no more insults from farage either and others including deluded tory MEPs in the EU parliament.. they wont be there following the May elections. Bottom line is the EU has had enough of English whinge and as was said before by others when it comes to EU matters politics trumps economics everytime so they will see to it that the UK is out and stays out.. so relax you hard brexiteers you’ll get your wish very soon

  66. ian
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    You only have to think about what the EU wants to do in the future, and how much their dreams will cost, and how they will get hold of the money for their plans, and who they will get to pay for it all, enter the UK gov, with the idea of Brexit. That’s what the last MP brought back with him from the EU when was in negotiation with the EU back in 2015 and now the secret deal he has done with them and the secret deal your PM and cabinet are doing now.

  67. ian
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    What was the secret deal the last MP did, the majority of the money sitting UK banks as excess reverses, 500 billion pounds put there by the bank of England sent to the EU to buy companies bond and to give them more liquidity in their banking system. Why the secret deal now, more money from the treasury off the books to pay for the EU expansion plans, like the EU new army. You will see it, but will never be told how the EU came by the money to do it all.

  68. David
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    My dilemma is that I read all these sensible postings on here and I think, ‘John is a Conservative so maybe I should join’. Then I look away and Mr Fox or Mrs May seem to be taking an entirely different approach.

  69. James K-L
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Can’t see the Irish boarder problem either.

    A technical solution is feasible, as described in this EU report: “Smart Border 2.0 – Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland for Customs control and the free movement of persons”.

    Written by a former director of the World Customs Organisation.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      You need to keep repeating this.

      • hefner
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Do you want to deprive 185 (and counting) contributors from their right to comment?

  70. ian russell
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Dear John

    What is the best forum to promote an extension of the VAT instrastat system and any other similar approach?

    It would be simple and mundane but it would work.

    If retailers and their suppliers can use a global system based on numbers why can’t countries and their trading partners? The alternative is a manual system based on codes to do the same thing at huge cost in time and money.

  71. Chris S
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Bertie Ahern, as ever, a practical and sensible politician, has come up with a pragmatic suggestion to solve the border issue.

    He also says that Mrs May and the Government should be trusted not to erect a physical border. Trust is a scarce commodity from the EU side in these negotiations and increasingly they are demonstrating that our side can’t trust them to sign off on any deal, even if one is agreed.

    Things have certainly turned sour in the relationship since the current Taoiseach took over. He will have to take lessons from his more experienced predecessors and become a pragmatist.

    • rose
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      “He also says that Mrs May and the Government should be trusted not to erect a physical border. ”

      The false assumption here is that we want to erect a hard border. We don’t. The EU does.

  72. Yossarion
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Maybe if the English had representation on the British Irish Council as a proud and historic nation we might be able to move on. Whilst England is effectively wiped from the face of the Earth by the EUSSR with its Faux Regions, why bother with them.

  73. Nige
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    1. The EU has previously negotiated the Schengen free travel area, for some EU members plus Switzerland Norway etc. (Neither ROI or UK are members of Schengen).

    2. It is entirely within its powers for the EU to negotiate a second separate free travel area.

    3. The EU, on behalf of the ROI (one of its 27 members), can negotiate a bespoke free trade area with the United Kingdom of GB and NI, who will be outside the EU as of March 2019.

    4. Remarkably, the ‘new’ free trade area would in fact be identical to what exists as of today on the island of Ireland: no borders, no customs posts, no checks. The existing rights of ROI nationals who reside in the UK to vote in UK general elections would be maintained.

    5. The EU would negotiate brand new customs arrangements between “the UK & ROI common travel area” and the r26 members of the EU ( not including ROI). This would be formalised in a Treaty.

    6. Existing import checks in the ROI (not being members of Schengen) would continue as today, subject to the newly negotiated Treaty.

    7. New import arrangements in the UK would be subject to the Treaty.

    8. It is entirely within the EU’s powers to start these negotiations- however much they would be resisted by the French, or other neighbours. The only reluctance being that the EU probably wants the UK to remain in the Single Market, and is negotiating from that position.

    9. This, the ROI/UK free travel area, works because (a) our unique history, (b) our unique Island geography, (c) our unique trading position.

  74. John Slade
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    One solution to solve the customs border problem would be for Eire to also leave the EU. To offset her being a net receiver of EU funds, the UK could offer financial sweetners thus bringing closer the re-unification of the British Isles. After all, we have the same geography, language and much of history but alas not always the same culture, although with the passage of time, religious differences seem to be waning.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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