Britain leaving the European Union.


You make some fair points including the backstop is a bananas idea, but it is the only one available given all the other non negotiable positions taken by Teresa May to satisfy the Foaming at the mouth brexiteers. Clearly she should see by now that the best thing to do is to leave within a customs union and negotiate at a later date if and when technology catches up with the imagination of the Brexiteers. Id have to say that a technology solution would appear to be light years away.

May et al has driven her car down a cul de sac and refuses to ask for help. Instead she wants people to knock down their own houses.


I think you have got this the wrong way around. May has ignored her own red lines in agreeing to a backstop at the behest of the EU, not at the behest of Brexiteers.

And it is overly rigid to state that a technology solution is lights years away. Fujitsu has a solution available that has been turned down for now probably mainly on the grounds of privacy infringement. There are companies out there like Amazon and others working on technology that can do things like diagnosing illnesses just by analysing a voice recording so I don’t believe that the likes of satellite tracking of goods being exported is very far fetched.


It’s part of a deal. There’s nothing strange about that. It’s not undemocratic (within the bounds of representative democracy) if negotiated and approved within the bounds of the democratic institutions in place.

If you don’t want the hard border and there aren’t any technical solutions that make the border as enforceable as a hard border without the infrastructure, then you end up in a customs union. If the technical solution emerges later, then that can be evaluated and put in place. That isn’t the only way this might be revisited. If there were changes in the makeup of the Commons, and an administration in Stormont, then they could possibly move to a new solution later that involved NI in Customs Union, with border in the Irish Sea. At one point that looked like a runner, but DUP/confidence-and-supply-agreement stopped it in tracks.

EU negotiators are unaware of any viable technological solution. UK negotiators have not shown any viable technological solution, nor worked towards its development in the past 2 years. It’s still imaginary.

If the solution doesn’t exist today, at least in draft, you can’t really make a deal on its basis. Certainly when we have had so much difficulty getting even basic things nailed down. Even your own description is very heavy on caveats/modifiers (I’ve added bold).

If such a solution does in fact come into reality in a few years time, then that will change things.

Send it in on a postcard, by all means! (Theresa May, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA, UK should do it). However, it would help Theresa a lot if you could add to the plan the margin by which you expect this to get through the Commons, and more importantly whether it could lead to a split in the Tory party. If it won’t get through the Commons, it’s dead in the water. If it would split the Party, then it’s of little interest to May even if it can pass Parliament.


thus far, it seems that the risk of a split in the Tory party has been that the euro-skeptic/pro-brexit faction (ERG et al) would secede. A split in the Tory party is a big part of the motive force behind May’s (and Cameron’s) manoeuvers.

What would shake it up would be a pro-remain faction of Tories to move to secession.

Separately: the more you think about the nature of the referendum, the less democratic it actually appears to be for Parliament to follow through. The legal instrument calling the referendum did not mandate that the decision was to be implemented, which of course enabled the question to be so telegrammatic. But in the UK system Parliament is where it’s at.

I guess whatever Parliament does is Parliament’s decision, so it can’t be said to be undemocratic on that basis, but to be still trotting out that to go against the advisory referendum is undemocratic doesn’t make sense. In a way it’s the apotheosis of the government by focus-group and polls that Blair’s government was notorious for.


On the technology-based border - if this does come into existence, then it would supercede the backstop. That doesn’t mean the backstop isn’t required as a base level. The idea of an indefinite backstop in the withdrawal agreement is to focus minds on coming up with a solution that satisfies all parties in the future relationship agreement. The backstop exists until it is superceded; it’s up to the parties (and particularly the UK) the come up with something better that avoids a hard border. It’ll be a marvellous spur to their indigenous know-how to develop borderless border technology.

And on the backstop, of course the UK could decide to unilaterally abrogate it and put up a hard border should negotiations drag on over the future agreement. Their negotiating position is not changed one whit by having the backstop and may even be improved by the threat to tear up the withdrawal agreement.


That is beside the point - Please read Tusk’s words again and see the sentiments, desires and regrets he betrayed - they are the facts of the EU’s failure, the admittance by the EU that the EU’s strategy to undermine the UK and force a second vote has failed entirely and they have exhausted the time and political means every which way. A decision was made they pursued it. That decision was to do what they always do subvert the will of the people.

In summary Tusk states as I see it:

If both sides made it 100% their aim to facilitate a full and total Brexit you would see very different situation today.

You can see that the plan was to go to battle with the UK. I dunno why I have to point this out now but it’s been obvious from DAY 1.

Imagine you fought with an employee for two years refusing to facilitate their resignation. Kept them in part captive under threat of duress.*

I can assure you it would come to a fatal end. Think about that.

*Please don’t waste time picking apart a symbolic metaphor.

There appears to be a complete lack of solid factoring for the political peronslaity type, the modern bought and paid for central-banking politics that is defacto most places these days.

Also, Irelands positioning in all of this is that of a vassal state with a government stuffed with europhile gombeens from top to bottom. Expect Irelands position to deteriorate even more rapidly because of this single factor.

I see mostly wishful-reasoning and home-brewed arrogance from most Irish points of view (when the reality behind the scenes is probably very different than is being communicated via the propaganda channels).

I see No real cognisance that Brexit has to happen before it can unhappen, if that is what is desired. More thinking about that would be proper order, if you study the consequences of not allowing this process to happen naturally. Really though, thinking about it, you are seeing that answered everyday and I think you are all allowing it to drive you to collective bangin-of-heads-off-walls (where did that smilie go!) denying the why and worrying way to much about the how and the what.

More time and energy should be spent looking at these last few issues than anything the EU or UK government are specifically doing other than in relation to the outcomes,* why?*

EUSSR, that’s the why!


The UK is free to leave the CU any time it wants. Which creates a hard border in Ireland. Which triggers the backstop. It cannot have a time limit.

The EU will consider any alternative to the backstop from the UK. We are still waiting. Get a majority through the commons for a viable alterntive to the backstop and the EU will consider it.

How many times do you need to be told this?


A technology solution is not just a pipedream. Here is the Fujitsu proposal on this and they state that they are moving to a proof of concept.

My idea of building in a UK referendum on staying in the CU into a changed backstop is to bring Labour on board and get a wide UK parliamentary majority as hard line Brexiteers would likely oppose my proposal. Corbyn has belatedly moved this week to row back on some of his demands as he realises he probably needs to agree something with May to head off a no deal exit.


I am not sure that you fully understand the backstop. It means the whole of the UK having to stay in the CU until the EU agrees otherwise.

Also it is not automatic. It does not come into existence if the UK leave on a no deal basis. We need to avoid this scenario.


Not applicable in this instance. It would be like saying that the Westminster voted to allow UK citizens the right to live in Spain without having to ask Spain for permission.

They deceived themselves so well that they believe it legitimate to vote that the EU should reopen negotiations that the UK already concluded.

They really are suffering from the belief that Westminster sovereignty is continental.


But Brexit means Brexit, the UK will be out of the EU even if it remains in a customs union.

If it wants not to be held to any agreements then it best prepare to be a hermit state.


The EU proposed a NI backstop and the UK asked to have the Bacstop applied to the whole UK. The UK is now complaining that this UK-wide Backstop would trap them in a CU indefinitely. It is not hard to see why the EU has lost patience with these idiots.

Yes, a No Plan Brexit does not require the Backstop but any future trade deal with the EU will require the Backstop. You can only deny reality for so long.


It’s very speculative. Lots of information on why a frictionless border would be great, but relatively little on how it would work. It seems it all hinges on self-declaration of goods. If we’re happy to work on the basis of self-declaration, then we could also I suppose just get businesses to self-record and self declare all elements of customs.

But to be clear, this is very different from the security and control that is delivered via normal customs check operations.

If the technical solutions are going to be there very soon, then I don’t see why there is a problem with the backstop. The adoption of a technical solution will supercede the backstop requirement.

The mention of block-chain does set of an automatic bullshit detector alert though… so I can understand Brexiters’ scepticism.


I cannot understand why the ERG are so opposed to the Backstop. They have great confidence in British Max Fac Technology, matched by a visceral hatred of the Backstop. This Great British Max Fac Technology would of course make the Backstop redundant. So I’m not sure what gets them so exercised about the Backstop.

Am I missing something here? Are these people idiots? Are they liars?

These nameless and faceless, unelected bureaucrats of the EUWaffenSSR are clueless when it comes to Tech. And it shows.


You clearly don’t work in tech! :smiley:
A POC means they are 3 years away from reality. That 3 years will remain their target for the next 5 agile years and billions of pounds until the UK government gets tired of paying them or the UK rejoins the EU…
Tech companies exist to have permanent consulting contracts that never move to the delivery phase.

edit: okay, read it. Aside from blockchain (which has no discernable use in this proposal other than to capture attention) and RPA (which also doesn’t yet exist) and RFID (which is expensive per tag at greater than short range … tification); this proposals only refers to exporters and importers, the least troublesome category of cross border trade. Smugglers, it appears, have an open border, as do shoppers etc. So much for a border. (Most of us, I think, are expecting some class of customs border like there was in the 1970s).


The plan includes an xray hypnotisation device which will force smugglers to register with the system. It has been left out of the document because it is Top Secret. HMG doesn’t want to give smugglers any ideas ie importing vast amounts of South American beef, repackaging it as Irish in NI and then moving it into the EU market at a tidy profit per truck. The hynotised smugglers will remit 81.7% VAT to HMG.


:smiley: That may be the most sensible plan I’ve seen all week. At least the numbers on that one add up.

We could legalise soft drugs and flood the North with Es…?


aah yes, I know what you mean. I think I saw that before. It starts with the mass hypnotisation, then goes on from there

maybe something like that hardware can be used as a mobile customs checkpoint?

On the upside for NI, and the whole island I guess, the region is still in the running for some further investment: … 9788324864

As Charlie Stross said: “Easily spiked with one sentence in just about any other Prime Minister’s ear: ‘Congratulations, you just handed the new IRA a dirty bomb.’”

And in entertainment news: The #BBC bans the European flag from the…Eurovision (!) event (#EurovisionYouDecide) in Manchester tonight


The current WA backstop is entirely fair - and there is already 2 ways that the UK can leave the customs Union provision:

  1. Limit it to NI only (as EU wanted);
  2. Reunite Ireland.

Here is a good explanation by Peter Foster of the Telegraph of why technology can never ever work: … 3651516416

There is no technological solution possible - nor will there ever be. If it were possible, whoever came up with it would be wealthy beyond the dreams of Jeff Besos.
(I hear that Steorn are currently developing a solution - maybe that will work)

Nevertheless even though it has taken shall we say a healthily skeptical view, the EU has not been “rigid” whatsoever in relation to technology and has specifically requested the UK to present its solution to the EU. It is the very essence of the backstop.
Only those who understand that in reality there is no technological solution possible have any grounds to object to the backstop.

Provided they were made aware that they had to come up with a solution to ensure no hard border in NI- or else it would be immediately back to no deal with the EU -and would be considered a hostile act against an EU member state, then that would be for me acceptable.


Interesting (Propaganda perhaps) piece about a number of remain voters who would now vote to leave if the referendum was rerun, would be interesting to know how many actual voters have switched sides since (not counting those who didn’t vote first time) … 971056479/