Customs union and single market are real issues, not Brexit backstop

Posted By: December 12, 2018

Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus
“Intrepid foe of Brexit-nonsense columnist Brian Feeney dishes out home truths to Little Englanders and others. Important reading for Members of Congress concerned about justice, solidarity and peace on the island of Ireland:’Peace is the fruit of solidarity’ (Saint Pope John Paul II).”—Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Theresa May is going back to Brussels in the hope of squeezing a concession on the backstop – but any new assurances she returns with will be meaningless

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, December 12, 2018 
ALMOST no political arguments revolve around the nub of the matter.

Instead, political leaders find an emotional or ideological peg to hang the argument on and keep hammering away at the peg, pretending that hitting it is the most important objective.

Political leaders adopt this stratagem because the nub of the matter that is exercising them is usually impossible to defend completely successfully. Compromise is necessary.

Brexit, as we’ve seen, is the worst example of this intellectual dishonesty in living memory.

The peg that Conservative MPs, the DUP, and recently, most disgracefully, Jeremy Corbyn has been hammering at is the backstop.

They all agree it has to go or be given an end date, ignoring the simple truth that, by definition, a backstop isn’t a backstop if it has an end date, or if Britain can walk away from it.

None of that matters in the chorus of cries to abolish it or modify it. The people demanding its abolition or alteration have long ago ceased to discuss what the reason for the backstop is.

The truth is they never even bothered to try to understand why it’s there. Being politicians, they avoid the nub of the matter. Instead, they invented pegs to hit.

The main peg is that it has constitutional implications. Rubbish.

Sadly no TV or radio interviewers in Britain have bothered to read the Withdrawal Agreement where it states explicitly that The North’s constitutional position is guaranteed by the Good Friday Agreement which the Withdrawal Agreement supports “in all its parts.”

Another peg is breaching British sovereignty. Nonsense.

It’s a pity there’s no truth about any of the pegs,  and that the backstop did lead to the long-overdue collapse of the UK, but unfortunately not yet.

Anyway, those are all bogus arguments, typical of ignorant, unscrupulous politicians who prefer to major on emotional matters like nationalism, sovereignty or territorial integrity rather than face the nub of the matter.

The real issue is this: the Customs Union and Single Market.

English MPs have suddenly woken up to the fact that Theresa May brought home a deal which keeps the UK in the customs union and by 2020 might even develop as near as dammit to frictionless trade.

That means that the chances of making separate deals with the US or China are zero.

That’s the last outcome the Brexiteers want. For them, that’s not Brexit.

Too late, they realize that if there has to be a backstop, there’s no way out of the Customs Union.

The only route to their shimmering Shangri-La fantasy of global free-trading Britain is to get rid of the backstop.

Every technical, economic, and financial delusion having failed, the Brexiteer charlatans and Little Englanders turned to Dr. Johnson’s last refuge of the scoundrel—patriotism.

The nasty EU is forcing the UK to accept the break up of the UK – shock, horror.

Dominic Raab, short-lived Brexit secretary, the man who resigned, bizarrely because he opposed the deal he negotiated, falsely claimed the EU said losing The North is the UK’s price for Brexit.

No. In fact, it was the exact opposite. It was Theresa May who went to Michel Barnier last summer and wheedled and pleaded for the whole UK to be in a temporary customs arrangement until she could think of some way out of it; an arrangement the EU was very reluctant to contemplate.

It was a request designed to keep the DUP and vociferous, newly-zealous patriots in her own party onside.

She got what she wanted, but the irony is her own stupid, inherently contradictory red line of leaving the customs union has come back to bite her. It’s evident she’s not leaving.

Even the incoherent, obviously bewildered Jeremy Corbyn has now jumped on the patriotic bandwagon offering the DUP and Rees-Mogg’s fantasy football team, the misbegotten European Research Group, a deal to get rid of the backstop if they will support him in a no-confidence vote.

Naked opportunism; anything to get into government. It’s unlikely he’ll be a guest at this year’s Féile an Phobail, or indeed any year in future.

Too late, the majority in Westminster will only begin to face reality when May returns from Brussels empty handed with a meaningless ‘assurance.’