Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Brexit and the Border Myth

                                                           The stuff of history.

There are lots of myths and scare tactics being used in the EU Referendum debate to entice undecided voters one way or the other. One myth: the claims of a new hard border to separate the British Northern Ireland from the EU’s Republic of Ireland are still being posted on a daily basis.  I find this quite astounding but unfortunately the promoters of Brexit rarely seem to challenge this adequately.

Here is a link to one extensive report from Richard North that references the various relevant EU systems, procedures and legislation that already exist within the EU.

 Some schemes were designed to facilitate travel and trade through Switzerland, but could easily be adapted for Ireland/UK. There already exists a Common Transit System for transport of goods between Great Britain and Ireland. In this modern age, which many Remainers don't seem to have entered yet, everything is electronic and computerised. The UK and Ireland already use the New Community Transit System.

Do give Richard North's detailed essay a read and check out the links. Learned Remainers will be aware of this but keep quiet and don’t challenge the politicians and journalists who are propagating the border myth.

Basically, following a Brexit there would be no need for a hard border due to the existing arrangements between UK and RoI that are long established. Plus the fact that RoI, like the UK, is not part of the EU’s Schengen: which is the open border system across much of Europe.

Instead the UK and Ireland have a Common Travel Area which means we (British and Irish) are all free to live and work anywhere within Ireland and UK. It would be the case that people from EU countries would still be able to freely live and work in RoI, while in NI there would likely be restrictions or new arrangements in place. EU citizens working in RoI who didn't have visas to work in the UK would still obviously be allowed to travel to Northern Ireland/UK: but only as tourists/visitors. They would not be able to work or live legally in the UK without going through the new due process.

I am of course no expert and there may well be unforeseen difficulties that I haven’t thought of yet. If so, I’m sure somebody will quickly point them out to me. I would hate to be getting this all wrong.

The bottom line here is that while there would be new logistical challenges it would be clearly in the best interests of all the authorities (UK, RoI and EU) to facilitate continued smooth travel and trade between Ireland and the UK. Yes, there would need to be considerable collaboration to ensure laws are not broken in both jurisdictions, but this is already happening on a significant and regular on-going basis. This may mean random customs checks for goods in transit but if we needed permanent round-the-clock customs posts at the border that would mean the whole EU system was in temporary turmoil in advance of its total collapse. That would be a temporary glitch: the beginning of the end for any border hassles on the island of Ireland. 

Okay, the British and Irish establishments in their desperation to keep their privileged positions in place are currently spreading fear of a hard border: along with fear of war, recession and poverty.

It’s sad that some people actually believe them but that is all it really is: fearmongering for purposes of selfish gain. Following a Brexit, those in power would be pulling out all the stops to facilitate the ever evolving harmonious relationship and partnership between UK and Ireland.

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