Thursday, June 22, 2017

Brexit clarity

The media and gullible opinionators spent a couple of days discovering that the DUP actually does want to leave the European Union Customs Union -- a policy clearly stated in their manifesto and evident for months beforehand in their remarks on Brexit. Lest there be any doubt, Nigel Dodds set them to rest in the Queen's Speech debate --

We have, of course, heard some debate today about membership of the single market and the customs union, and we have heard talk about special status for Northern Ireland within the European Union. Let me make this very clear. I believe that when people voted, in the European Union referendum, to leave the European Union, they voted to leave the single market and the customs union, and I believe that Northern Ireland, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, must do likewise. We must not find ourselves allowing borders to be erected between the island of Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom; that would be totally unacceptable. We must be imaginative, flexible and pragmatic in ensuring that there is an open border, as frictionless as possible, between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. There are ways—sensible ways that have already been discussed —of ensuring that that can be made to happen, and it is in the interests of the Irish Republic and the European Union, as well as those of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, to make it happen. The great advantage with which we start is that everyone is saying that—apart from, I have to say, Sinn F√©in, which is calling for special status within the EU for Northern Ireland. That has not been adopted or accepted by the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, by any of the parties in the Irish Republic, or by the EU negotiators. Everyone accepts that Northern Ireland’s priorities in relation to the land frontier must also be at the top of the negotiating priorities.

So: they want to leave the Customs Union, but they want a special arrangement for the "land frontier" with the Republic of Ireland to save them from the logic of that preference. Unfortunately, there are fools in Dublin who believe that the Irish government should step aside from the EU negotiation framework and give the Paisleyites what they want.

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