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The Test of a First Rate Intelligence
Topic Started: Dec 8 2017, 10:26 PM (87 Views)
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"The test of a first-rate intelligence," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Crack-Up, "is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

Reading the joint report between the UK and the EU, it is clear that the most important section when considering the economics of Brexit is the section on Ireland. The document commits both sides to an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and that there will be "no new regulatory barriers" between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. It also commits to the UK leaving the EU's single market and customs union.

These two positions appear to be in contradiction.

If Britain does become a "third country" - that is trading with the EU as other non-EU countries outside the single market and the customs union do - then border controls will be necessary. And that open border will become very much more closed, as it necessitates the comprehensive free trade deal the British government has said it wants..

This is because, if there is no free trade agreement, it is difficult to see how Theresa May's government could maintain "full alignment with the rules of the internal market [on the island of Ireland]" which the joint report commits the PM to.

And that appears to be a relationship where the UK closely follows the EU's single market and customs union rules despite not being a formal member of either.

And in its deliberate ambiguity (every side needs to be able to claim victory) today's joint agreement leaves that debate for another day.

Seeking clarity

What today's deal has revealed is that there is a genuine desire - it appears from both sides - to get that free trade deal nailed down.

"One should be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise," Fitzgerald wrote.

So Britain will not be IN the EU, but will follow all the rules. "I don't like what your doing, so I'm not going to do it any more, except when I do - which will be all the time."

This post is based on BBC's Editorial

Theresa May is very definitely a Conservative...
Edited by Brewster, Dec 8 2017, 10:34 PM.
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