“An Irexit would have to be of the red white and blue variety” February 21, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
He argues that there is…
No wiggle room here, as there is for example in some of the provisions regarding monetary union, and for good reason: the customs union has been the uncontested heart of the European project since the 1950s. As long as the North is outside the EU and its customs union and the Republic is inside, there will have to be Border controls between North and South to rule out trade diversion.
We all hope that these will be as unobtrusive as possible – if you like, that they will not be “hard”. Technology can surely help. Perhaps there can be customs posts for lorries away from the Border, with cars passing freely. But customs controls of some sort there will have to be.
I suppose that would be a solution of some sort – cars speed across the border in either direction, but it would still invite all the problems that we know of. And how to police it? The logistical and political implications for both sides of the border are enormous. It would presumably require only specified crossing points for trucks. How does that work? I often cross the border into Donegal and back at Clady. Are roads to be narrowed, shut? How does that work?
Which he acknowledges:
The return of the Border, however soft, is appalling and dangerous. I understand people wish Britain had not placed us in this position, but it has (Britain, mark you, not the EU). And closing our eyes, sticking our fingers in our ears, and hoping that a fairy godmother will magic our problems away will not help.
It is logically coherent, if lunatic, to argue that Ireland should quit the EU and join the UK customs union. (Leaving the EU would on its own obviously not suffice to avoid a North-South border: our exit from the EU would have to be of the red, white, and blue variety.)
And that is something that should be spelled out in full. There’s no position of independent sovereignty in this for the ROI should we cast adrift from the EU. Alan Dukes says almost precisely the same thing in the SBP this weekend. For all that McGurk et al bang on about sovereignty what they really mean, and McGurk to his credit hasn’t shied away eventually (though it took him a while to get there) from accepting that his argument means realigning with what he calls the mothership ie. the UK. As a Republican and a leftist that’s a position I find unacceptable in the extreme – that the journey of this island towards sovereignty is ended by an effective return to economic dominance of the UK. It’s an interesting question as to why McGurk, in particular, finds that acceptable. But O’Rourke doesn’t sugar the pill:
It is also logically coherent to argue that Northern Ireland should remain within the EU, and I wish it would. That seems like something worth arguing for. But it is logically incoherent to argue that if we remain in the EU and its customs union, and the North leaves both, there can be some special deal that will avoid the need for a customs frontier on the island.
Perhaps O’Rourke is thinking of the Arnold’s and McGurk’s of this world when he writes the following:
Those who say Ireland should leave the EU know they are in a small minority. Many will not come out and argue for their position particularly strongly for fear of being laughed out of court. The evidence that our prosperity is based on EU membership is overwhelming. Still, expect them, in the months and years ahead, to claim that the return of a customs frontier somehow shows that “the EU” has let Ireland down.
They’re already doing it. McGurk continually, week after week, argue that the EU is the one at fault in all this as if the UK had been forced towards the exit rather than pulling itself out by its own efforts. But O’Rourke is spot on to point out that:
The Brexit campaign shows that such dishonesty can pay. Which is why it is so important that everyone understand that if the North leaves the EU and its customs union, and we remain inside it, there is nothing that the EU or anyone else can do to prevent the return of such a frontier.