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Old 08-07-2021, 06:46 AM   #61
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The NOI hasn't really got medieval attitudes, but 17th century ones.The Divisions are historically traced to "The plantation of Ulster," which kicked the locals out of large parts of the NOI and moved in Scots Presbyterians. It's actually just like India & Pakistan, where a religious border divides the two, and India claims Pakistani territory.

Our grandfathers claimed the 32 counties, but few care about the NOI here either. Mind you, no solution presents itself. The last word on the 'Sausage wars' was that yes, the EU would talk, but made it very clear they were not renegotiating the NOI protocol. So the NOI folk will end up eating EU sausages .
 
Old 08-07-2021, 07:03 AM   #62
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The last word on the 'Sausage wars' was that yes, the EU would talk, but made it very clear they were not renegotiating the NOI protocol. So the NOI folk will end up eating EU sausages .
It's difficult to say what will happen with any degree of certainty, but it's quite possible that the NI Protocol will break down and with it much of the UK-EU agreement.
 
Old 08-07-2021, 11:54 AM   #63
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It's difficult to say what will happen with any degree of certainty, but it's quite possible that the NI Protocol will break down and with it much of the UK-EU agreement.
Personally, I feel Boris knows where his bread is buttered, and where his votes come from - England.
He has a majority of 80, and will do anything he has to to avoid impacting his voters. The only ones wanting the NOI protocol to go are the relocated Scots Presbyterians in the NOI. I also feel he pushes his luck with the EU for effect, and any time his side has to think.

If the NOI protocol goes, the sky falls in. Biden pulls his trade agreement, and others too. Everywhere from the UN down will be jumping up and down at him for messing with the Open Border on Ireland, therefore the 1998 Agreement.
 
Old 08-07-2021, 03:51 PM   #64
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Personally, I feel Boris knows where his bread is buttered, and where his votes come from - England.
He has a majority of 80, and will do anything he has to to avoid impacting his voters. The only ones wanting the NOI protocol to go are the relocated Scots Presbyterians in the NOI. I also feel he pushes his luck with the EU for effect, and any time his side has to think.
I think this is something of a misreading of the domestic political situation in Britain. For a start, I feel that your view of Mr Johnson is simultaneously far too cynical in some aspects and yet not nearly cynical enough overall. The NI Protocol is seen in many parts of his party - particularly amongst the membership, which is more important to Mr Johnson's position than it was to many of his predecessors as leader, but also by backbench MPs - as (rightly) an abysmal failure on the part of the UK: something partly a product of his immediate predecessor's ministry, accepted with little consideration - more of a fait accompli - at a time when the Government wasn't sure how it was going to deliver a wider agreement for Britain's exit from the EU. A majority of 80 doesn't mean as much in the Tory Party as it used to, and the removal of many MPs that instinctively would have been more sympathetic to the Protocol changes the electoral calculus for the Government and how far they can, but also must, go.

For his part, Mr Johnson may not give much concern to the details or implications of legal texts - or much for that matter - but I think he genuinely feels like he messed up on Northern Ireland (not that he would admit so publicly). Also, the Protocol is a thorn in the side of other things the Government is trying to do, particularly on the Union, and is a slap in the face to the likes of the UK Internal Market Bill. It It is perhaps most telling that Mr Johnson has kept Lord Frost as the UK's chief negotiator with the EU despite there being no political imperative that he does so.

Whilst there is potential for significant fallout for the Government from a breakdown in the UK-EU agreement, much will depend upon how it came about. The Government is most definitely not just going to publicly tear up the Protocol. However, certain checks might continue to be delayed and other requirements not implemented both to protect the territorial integrity of the UK and "to uphold the Good Friday Agreement". It will be incumbent upon the EU to make the first outright reactive move to these infractions of the Protocol, whether that be on the NI border or with the wider UK-EU agreement. Either way, so long as the Government can make the case to its bases of political support that the EU is being unreasonable and legalistic whereas the UK is being pragmatic, that the EU doesn't understand the delicacies of the peace in NI and (depending on how strong they want to go) that it amounted to an EU attack on the integrity of the UK itself, then whatever anyone else thinks domestically - within reason, of course - is mostly irrelevant to the Government and could redirect much of the anger around the economic cost. The Government would have to play its cards carefully, but it is quite possible for it to pull off.

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If the NOI protocol goes, the sky falls in. Biden pulls his trade agreement, and others too. Everywhere from the UN down will be jumping up and down at him for messing with the Open Border on Ireland, therefore the 1998 Agreement.
It is undoubtedly true that President Biden is more of a headache for the UK on this matter than any of his recent predecessors (including Presidents Obama and Clinton). It is also completely reasonable to conclude that a future UK-US trade agreement (which the Government, and Mr Johnson in particular, are very keen to achieve for the message it sends) would go out the window in the event that the NI Protocol breaks down. However, Mr Johnson is also clearly a break with many of his recent predecessors in disliking the very perception of the special relationship with the US (unlike, say, Mrs Thatcher, who genuinely had one, or Misters Blair, Brown and Cameron, who craved one). Add to that that most sources agree that a UK-US trade deal would be of minimal economic significance in terms of the value of trade already conducted between the two countries and that any deal (because of US conditions - however innocuous in practice - around the likes of healthcare) will be domestically problematic for the Government, a UK-US trade deal - sans NI problems - is by no means a foregone conclusion. It is a foreign policy objective, not so much an economic one and certainly not one for domestic approval.

As for trade agreements with other countries, given that we've already acknowledged the apathy of the parties directly concerned, I don't think we should immediately assume a sudden interest outside the US and Europe, particularly where it would affect a done deal.

Regarding the border, not only is it not a condition of the Good Friday Agreement, but it's unlikely, for political reasons, that the UK would implement a permanent border itself. Short of a complete breakdown in the GFA, the only UK border checks are likely to be ad hoc (even if it undermines the UK's customs territory). The permanent presence at the border won't be the PSNI, but the Garda at the EU's insistence.

And what's the UN going to do? The only things of serious consequence it can do, the UK can and would veto.

As I said, it's difficult to see what will happen. Much could go one way or the other: particularly if the EU surprises by making concessions. But the collapse of the Protocol is by no means an extreme improbability.
 
Old 08-07-2021, 04:54 PM   #65
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Look, Boris is looking for wriggle room, so he will have to lay on the extra staff.

Border posts in the UK are already there in Liverpool, etc. If anyone tries to put up border posts on the sieve that us the North/South border, they will regret it and fail. There's something like 526 crossing points, and one road crosses the border 9 times! There were markets North & South that prospered as economies did. Jonesboro was one up North - an 'unapproved road' North, where Southern folks would go for cheaper stuff.

The IRA knew and used all those unapproved roads and until 1998 the RUC or British Army couldn't cross over. But they can now.

In fact the only ones losing face from the NOI protocol are Unionists, who will soon be a minority in their own Province.
 
Old 08-07-2021, 05:11 PM   #66
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Look, Boris is looking for wriggle room, so he will have to lay on the extra staff.

Border posts in the UK are already there in Liverpool, etc. If anyone tries to put up border posts on the sieve that us the North/South border, they will regret it and fail. There's something like 526 crossing points, and one road crosses the border 9 times! There were markets North & South that prospered as economies did. Jonesboro was one up North - an 'unapproved road' North, where Southern folks would go for cheaper stuff.

The IRA knew and used all those unapproved roads and until 1998 the RUC or British Army couldn't cross over. But they can now.
As I have already tried to explain, the pressures on Mr Johnson from within his own party are much greater than you suggest.

And as I have also tried to explain, if there ends up being a physical border on Ireland again, it is much more likely to be the RoI's problem rather than the UK's.

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Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
In fact the only ones losing face from the NOI protocol are Unionists, who will soon be a minority in their own Province.
You're right that Unionists don't like the NI Protocol, so it's hardly surprising that Mr Johnson's party - the Conservative and Unionist Party - are not very happy.

Although it is likely that Catholics will soon outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland (if they don't actually already), it remains to be seen what that will mean for Unionism in Northern Ireland: the proportion of NI Catholics identifying as Irish nationalists has fallen over time. Of course, these could be middling over the issue and when the chips are down will side with unification with Ireland, but that's not clear.

Anyway, as you don't seem to be interested in debating the issue, I shall bid you good night. All the best.
 
Old 08-08-2021, 05:19 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by valeoak View Post
It will be incumbent upon the EU to make the first outright reactive move to these infractions of the Protocol, whether that be on the NI border or with the wider UK-EU agreement. Either way, so long as the Government can make the case to its bases of political support that the EU is being unreasonable and legalistic whereas the UK is being pragmatic, that the EU doesn't understand the delicacies of the peace in NI and (depending on how strong they want to go) that it amounted to an EU attack on the integrity of the UK itself, then whatever anyone else thinks domestically - within reason, of course - is mostly irrelevant to the Government and could redirect much of the anger around the economic cost. The Government would have to play its cards carefully, but it is quite possible for it to pull off.
An excellent analysis! That is undoubtedly the way Boris will play it and I think he's clever enough to bring it off. Already a lot of people in England (and not just leave voters) think the EU is being unreasonable over Ireland. Scotland is a different matter of course.
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Mr Johnson is also clearly a break with many of his recent predecessors in disliking the very perception of the special relationship with the US (unlike, say, Mrs Thatcher, who genuinely had one, or Misters Blair, Brown and Cameron, who craved one). Add to that that most sources agree that a UK-US trade deal would be of minimal economic significance in terms of the value of trade already conducted between the two countries and that any deal (because of US conditions - however innocuous in practice - around the likes of healthcare) will be domestically problematic for the Government.
I think there could have been a special relationship if Trump had won the election. The two men got on well, even though Trump is an idiot and a clown, whereas Johnson is a highly intelligent man who plays the clown. But given the suspicions of the electorate about chlorine-washed chicken and the prospect of American drug companies sabotaging the NHS, trade without a formal deal might be politically more useful.
Quote:
As for trade agreements with other countries, given that we've already acknowledged the apathy of the parties directly concerned, I don't think we should immediately assume a sudden interest outside the US and Europe, particularly where it would affect a done deal... And what's the UN going to do? The only things of serious consequence it can do, the UK can and would veto.
Outside the EU and the US (which has a large Irish population), no one gives a damn about the Irish border. Johnson has probably factored that into his calculations.
 
Old 08-08-2021, 08:40 AM   #68
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Good analysis, but ignoring one thing: Since the 2016 Brexit vote, the EU has been getting lectures from the ROI Government on the need for an open border from guys who lived through all the horror stories. The one takeaway from that is that the border had to stay open at all costs. If the border had been closed, we would have vetoed your Brexit. So the onus for that has always fallen on Britain. The Irish are always on hand at these affairs, so the EU just has to listen to the ROI Government.
 
Old 08-08-2021, 11:09 AM   #69
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Good analysis, but ignoring one thing: Since the 2016 Brexit vote, the EU has been getting lectures from the ROI Government on the need for an open border from guys who lived through all the horror stories. The one takeaway from that is that the border had to stay open at all costs... The Irish are always on hand at these affairs, so the EU just has to listen to the ROI Government.
Far from ignoring the RoI Government's important role, I've counted on it. I'd be the first to say that during most of the Brexit process, the RoI has wielded a disproportionate influence over the EU's negotiations with the UK and exercised it skilfully. After all, the RoI is more exposed to the UK compared to any other EU member state and has the most to lose proportionally both economically and in terms of the burden when it comes to implementing the EU's border with the UK. If the RoI are happy with the stance, then why shouldn't every other member be so?

But the RoI's relative strength, whilst still strong in this matter compared to what it would be in almost any other sphere of geopolitics, isn't what it was in the days of 2017-19. This isn't because of anything the RoI has done, but just simply because the UK can manoeuvre more freely - or at least differently - than it permitted itself then. This is principally because the weight of opinion in Parliament - but even more importantly the governing party - has shifted, but is also affected by things like the Covid-19 pandemic, which has both masked to a degree the economic impacts of the current UK-EU arrangements, but also made the prospects of a no-deal pale into insignificance compared to the impacts to global supply chains and travel of the past 18 months. (That's not to say an end to the UK-EU arrangements wouldn't hurt, but I've already covered that...)

Remember, what the EU is asking for is not the status quo: many of the checks and other regulations demanded by the NI Protocol have not been implemented by the UK - probably a majority haven't by weight of goods. The de facto status quo - and the inertia that comes with that - rests with the UK, not the EU. If they want the Protocol implemented as they currently say they do, that will require a reaction by the EU.

If the RoI Government is able to read the situation correctly and has the necessary influence within the EU, its best course of action would be to have the EU propose an amendment to the NI Protocol that allows the UK to establish a kind of trusted trader scheme whereby certain approved shipments can travel from GB to NI without undergoing many of the checks currently demanded by the Protocol, whereas the UK will implement all the checks in full on all other shipments. Such an arrangement would permit big firms, e.g. Marks & Spencer, to make their normal shipments to their shops in Northern Ireland without disrupting their supply chains (perhaps with additional requirements that they use amended product packaging in the RoI). Such an offer would affectively bind HM Government's hands as it would be too difficult to reject and would preserve the bulk of the Protocol (and with it, avoid the RoI having to implement a difficult EU border frontier). Unionists would still find the arrangements unpalatable and a number in Mr Johnson's party would still see it as unacceptable, but the political reality would enforce it. However, I'm doubtful that the RoI Government is reading the situation correctly, or that the EU Commission could stomach such a "compromise".

Of course, the influence of the RoI also depends upon the other member states viewing it as a good judge of both its own interest and the situation at hand. RoI's own lobbying can easily be turned around to make a case for concessions on the NI Protocol to avoid a hard border on Ireland. "Do you want to risk it all on the basis that Boris Johnson isn't as mad as he looks?" If Northern European member states and Germany and Austria start to doubt that the RoI is reading the situation correctly, they can marginalise Dublin's influence.

And it will be interesting to see what happens after Frau Merkel's retirement. Her heir presumptive, lacking much of her experience, could be a boon for an RoI hard stance if he simply tries to do what he thinks his predecessor would have done and backs Dublin to the hilt, unencumbered by any of Frau Merkel's inherent caution and desire for compromise. Alternatively, it could prove a serious problem for Dublin if coming to office, he just wants to make the British shut up and go away, preserving the bulk of the UK-EU arrangement by making changes to the NI Protocol.

As I have kept saying, unlike many matters of geopolitics where there are general trends which make a certain set of outcomes all but certain, much in this matter depends on who does what and when. But there is a massive force pushing against the UK implementing the NI Protocol in full as it is currently conceived by the EU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
If the border had been closed, we would have vetoed your Brexit.
I take it you're talking about a Brexit deal rather than the UK's exit, post GE2019? On that I've no doubt. Indeed, my analysis has been predicated on the idea that the UK-EU arrangement would collapse in the event of a collapse of the NI Protocol.
 
Old 08-08-2021, 04:04 PM   #70
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valeoak, I didn't follow much of your post beyond the first paragraph. Theresa May never carried your -Parliament with her on Brexit in 2017-2019.

The ROI has the only land border with the UK, and any funny goings on are going to happen across the NOI border, so of course the Irish have a big say. So the UK under Boris dreamt up the detail of the NOI Protocol, when the clock was ticking down to Brexit. Boris' team now want to drive a coach and four through the rules they wrote for themselves. So we are not full of sympathy, as you might imagine. Merkel isn't going to make a blind bit of difference. That negotiatior (Michel Barnier) & Ursula von der Lyen understand it, and they're the ones that matter.

As for the trusted trader scheme, you know as well as I do that if you make someone a trusted trader on a nod and a wink, or because he went to the same school, you'll get offered backhanders and the scheme will collapse.

Last edited by business_kid; 08-08-2021 at 04:06 PM.
 
Old 08-09-2021, 11:34 AM   #71
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valeoak, I didn't follow much of your post beyond the first paragraph. Theresa May never carried your -Parliament with her on Brexit in 2017-2019.
Sorry, I'm lost also. I can't see where I've said otherwise. Indeed, that was part of my point.

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Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
The ROI has the only land border with the UK, and any funny goings on are going to happen across the NOI border, so of course the Irish have a big say. So the UK under Boris dreamt up the detail of the NOI Protocol, when the clock was ticking down to Brexit. Boris' team now want to drive a coach and four through the rules they wrote for themselves. So we are not full of sympathy, as you might imagine. Merkel isn't going to make a blind bit of difference. That negotiatior (Michel Barnier) & Ursula von der Lyen understand it, and they're the ones that matter.
I'm not suggesting that the Irish should have any sympathy for Britain, merely that it's in the RoI's interests to accommodate changes to the NI Protocol because if there are no changes to the Protocol it is more likely than not that the UK-EU agreement will collapse and the RoI will be forced to establish a hard border with Northern Ireland (and the rest of the UK).

I also think it's naive to suggest that a major country at the heart of the EU, the EU's largest economy and with a plurality of weighted votes counts for nothing with the Commission (or at least for much less than the RoI).

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As for the trusted trader scheme, you know as well as I do that if you make someone a trusted trader on a nod and a wink, or because he went to the same school, you'll get offered backhanders and the scheme will collapse.
Such a scheme's administration would presumably have have plenty of checks and balances. You can't guarantee there won't be attempts at corruption, but that's a different thing from the attempts succeeding.
 
Old 08-09-2021, 01:01 PM   #72
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You don't understand Ireland very well.

The NOI Protocol as signed up to made every EU member happy, and we want NO changes to it. Personally I don't care, but all the provisions were necessitated because the British wouldn't commit themselves. Along the way Boris threw the 6 NOI counties back into the EU, ('observe the rules,' ≠ get the grants & subsidies) and the NOI protocol grew because you couldn't put a border in the obvious place - at the border.

All the changes suggested are because British goods want to find their way into the NOI(= The EU because the NOI/ROI border is transparent). The EU have their agreement, and they are not budging. They don't have to. They're negotiating to know where they should up their border inspections.

EDIT: If the NOI Protocol, therefore the EU-UK agreement collapses, it will backfire on the UK very badly. The EU did a check during negotiations. The EU was exporting €500M annually, and the UK was exporting €1.3Bn annually. Employment was proportionate to turnover. So the EU might have sneezed, but the UK would have caught the plague. And Joe Biden (who has Irish roots)would not be forthcoming with any US trade Agreement.

Last edited by business_kid; 08-09-2021 at 01:17 PM.
 
Old 08-09-2021, 01:15 PM   #73
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The NOI Protocol as signed up to made every EU member happy, and we want NO changes to it. Personally I don't care, but all the provisions were necessitated because the British wouldn't commit themselves. Along the way Boris threw the 6 NOI counties back into the EU, ('observe the rules,' ≠ get the grants & subsidies) and the NOI protocol grew because you couldn't put a border in the obvious place - at the border.
Oh, I know the RoI doesn't want any changes to the NI Protocol. I'm sure that the RoI would think it ideal if all Unionists in NI moved to GB, NI was handed over to the RoI and 25 years of transition subsidy were paid by GB to the RoI to smooth over such a transition. What one wants and what one will get are, of course, two very, very different things (as Britain also has to accept in its wider deal with the EU).

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Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
All the changes suggested are because British goods want to find their way into the NOI(= The EU because the NOI/ROI border is transparent). The EU have their agreement, and they are not budging. They don't have to. They're negotiating to know where they should up their border inspections.
So RoI will take a hard border on Ireland over changes to the Protocol? All the talk about the peace process is - to use your word - baloney?

(Again, in case you've missed it, the Protocol isn't being implemented presently: so wishfully hoping that the UK is suddenly going to implement it is hopelessly naive. If the EU escalates it in the hope that will get the UK to change tack is more likely to play into the scenario I've exhaustively outlined).
 
Old 08-09-2021, 02:28 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by valeoak
So RoI will take a hard border on Ireland over changes to the Protocol? All the talk about the peace process is - to use your word - baloney?

(Again, in case you've missed it, the Protocol isn't being implemented presently: so wishfully hoping that the UK is suddenly going to implement it is hopelessly naive. If the EU escalates it in the hope that will get the UK to change tack is more likely to play into the scenario I've exhaustively outlined).
This is getting political, and I'm not getting political. You're making it political.
In the Event of a breakdown, our Northern border will be the EU land border with Britain. As EU members, we do what we are told. We don't have a choice. If it gets nasty at the NOI Border, everyone will blame the UK, because they agreed to do things differently.

The EU allowed a 6 month derogation for goods into the NOI. There was a fuss (and iirc I posted) near the end of June. They are now running on a 3 month derogation given specifically to change suppliers. So when that is up, British meats (the sore point) will have to stay out of the NOI. It will also affect 'groupage' transport - 100s of lines going over in one truck. Those 100s of lines will need 100s of sets of paperwork.
 
Old 08-09-2021, 03:45 PM   #75
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This is getting political, and I'm not getting political. You're making it political.
In the Event of a breakdown, our Northern border will be the EU land border with Britain. As EU members, we do what we are told. We don't have a choice. If it gets nasty at the NOI Border, everyone will blame the UK, because they agreed to do things differently.

The EU allowed a 6 month derogation for goods into the NOI. There was a fuss (and iirc I posted) near the end of June. They are now running on a 3 month derogation given specifically to change suppliers. So when that is up, British meats (the sore point) will have to stay out of the NOI. It will also affect 'groupage' transport - 100s of lines going over in one truck. Those 100s of lines will need 100s of sets of paperwork.
The vast majority of this thread is highly political and it can't be anything other than political when it concerns geopolitics generally, and international negotiations between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the EU. To pretend otherwise is in my view fanciful.

But accepting that there is some line to which I am utterly oblivious, I'll withdraw from this thread.

All the best, business_kid. Thanks for the exchange.

Last edited by valeoak; 08-09-2021 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Typo
 
  


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