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What is "The Backstop"

The Backstop

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Does anyone fully understand what the Brexit Backstop is and why is it so difficult to find a workaround? 

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By Knight Rider
14th Dec 2018 15:03

A trap set by the EU to subjugate the UK inside the customs union with no means of escape.

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By Tax Dragon
15th Dec 2018 09:15

It's supposed to be a transitional stage to an eventual trade deal. Transitional stages end. So... there has to be an end date. Put that in, it gives a focus (that is otherwise lacking) to the trade deal negotiations and her transitional deal goes through (imo).

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By Tax Dragon
15th Jan 2019 23:43

If I heard right tonight, Boris agrees. Maybe he reads Aweb?

Vile, are you he?

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RLI
By lionofludesch
14th Dec 2018 15:07

It's a plan to keep the Irish border unmanned.

The problem is making sure that NI doesn't become some kind of no man's land between the UK and the EU.

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By Knight Rider
14th Dec 2018 17:03

The UK isn't going to erect a physical border. The Irish might be forced into it by their German masters.
But there is already a border for VAT, duty,income tax and other regulations. Is it really necessary to have barbed wire and men in tricorn hats checking cross border milk deliveries? Surely it is possible for checks to be made on departure/arrival and recorded electronically!

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Dec 2018 09:56

There are farms which straddle the border. There are even houses that straddle the border.

How's electronic recording going to work if a farmer takes his sheep to the next field or takes a can of Stella from his kitchen in Northern Ireland to his sitting room in the Republic ?

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By Tax Dragon
15th Dec 2018 11:37

No recording needed unless the stock goes off the farm on the other side.

Technology doesn't replace the need for sensible rules.

I am curious though - how does stuff like land registry, SDLT (or equivalent) and voting work? And what about residence? You could have farmer spending every midnight in the UK and farmer's husband every midnight in the ROI, just because they always sleep on that side of the bed.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Dec 2018 13:11

Love these anomalies. There's a road near Berwick where the border goes down the centre. As it's only a single track road, I've drive down it in Scotland with Mrs Lion in England. There are a few roads in Ireland where the border is in the middle of the road ("Get the passports out, Mrs Lion - I'm going to overtake!")

There was also a (possibly apocryphal) story about a farmer in Fermanagh telling a TV licence spy that he had no licence. "Where's your TV?" asked the spy. "County Cavan", says the farmer.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
15th Dec 2018 13:25

Like the Halfway House on Leith Walk in Edinburgh.

Part of it is in Leith part in Edinburgh, of no import these days but when there were different Councils re Leith and Edinburgh had slightly more significance.

You can stand with one foot in either and your pint on the border.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Dec 2018 13:37

Local Government reorganisation has a lot to answer for.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
15th Dec 2018 14:43

Yep, couple more years to 2020 and we get our centenary of them being joined (I say our as have now lived in Leith for 21 years so sort of feel adopted though strictly, by place of birth, I am a Borderer)

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By emanresu
14th Dec 2018 15:15

Probably not, but, AIUI, the strategic difficulty is that if either side could hoodwink the other, the whole exit exercise becomes a farce - and the EU fear that if they are the hoodwinked party then some other EU members might jump straight on the same exit band-wagon.

On top of which are the logistic and historical complexities associated with this particular border.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
14th Dec 2018 15:26

The whole exit exercise is already a farce.

It doesn't need any help.

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
14th Dec 2018 15:51

Here you go, as basic a summary as I've seen:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-44615404

Standing back, not only from the point of view of the Good Friday agreement, but after decades of free movement, it is simply inconceivable that physical border crossing points can be imposed but we have chosen to become an independent state and so have created the potential for having one.

Maybe the EU suggested it, let's face it, we've been pretty incapable of suggesting much that's workable, but we signed up to the concept of the backstop a year ago.

Back in 2016, many politicians and commentators asked "but what about the Irish border?" (or rather the British border in Ireland) and they were told to stop spreading fear, Chickens & Roosting eh?

What adds to the farce is that, if it wasn't for the DUP, the population of Northern Island would probably be fine with a permanent backstop, I know I would.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
14th Dec 2018 16:22

The Backstop is what you find when you take the wrong route from A to B in the first place, and is reached by marking your map with a lot of red lines re roads you will not travel on before you set out on your journey; catch is you did not check you could reach your destination safely without using these roads.

Personally I would withdraw our Art 50 notice and call it a day, but as that does not appeal to everyone I would at the very least withdraw our Art 50 notice, sort out a cohesive route or routes (noting Brexit is a journey not an event) then try again once I had done a bit more joined up thinking and at least had put in place contingency planning.(in effect packed the food basket for the journey)

Our current approach is akin to changing accounting software without having backed up the one we have been using for 40 years and now just hoping for the best.

Personally think the backstop within the WA, as framed, is now an irrelevance, I really cannot see her getting her "deal" through the H of C.

Her current faffing around, to me, is merely postponing what looks to me like its inevitable rejection - then again , what do I know, a week is a long time in politics.

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Oaklea
By Chris.Mann
15th Dec 2018 08:07

It's been a complete fudge, from start to finish and, from what I can see, it shows politicians (of all persuasions) in a very poor light.
The current debacle, whenever it ends, will only cease to be laughable when David Cameron's memoirs are published.
Now there's a true "one trip pony" and, just one of the reasons why I'll never vote again.

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Replying to Chris.Mann:
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By Tax Dragon
15th Dec 2018 09:06

Chris.Mann wrote:

just one of the reasons why I'll never vote again.

The irony being that Brexit is supposed to increase the power and relevance of your vote.

Democracy sucks, but I'd rather have that than any alternative yet invented (not that I can think of many).

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By adam.arca
15th Dec 2018 10:44

Tax Dragon wrote:

Chris.Mann wrote:

just one of the reasons why I'll never vote again.

The irony being that Brexit is supposed to increase the power and relevance of your vote.

Democracy sucks, but I'd rather have that than any alternative yet invented (not that I can think of many).

Indeed.

My father always used to say that what was needed was a "benign dictator." Bearing in mind that this was in the 70s and the wheels were falling off left, right and centre.

He would then say that, unfortunately, there was no such thing as a benign dictator and quote Lord Acton's maxim about power and corruption.

We're best stuck with democracy on a "least worst" basis.

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By adam.arca
15th Dec 2018 09:29

The thing I really don't understand is how the politicians have allowed it to get to this stage.

It's been clear pretty much from Day One that the EU weren't going to make this easy. They have in any case a dismal record of being self-centred, conceited, little Europeaners, but it has always been abundantly clear to even the dimmest intelligence that they also had a political imperative to make EU withdrawal as difficult as possible pour encourager les autres.

Furthermore, the country outside Westminster is still pretty solidly behind Brexit. Prob 2/3rds of my client base, including myself, voted Leave and would do so again despite the difficulties. Most of the remainder who voted Remain recognise that the popular vote went the other way and, along with the Brexiteers, just want us to get on with the job.

It would seem that only amongst the chattering classes is there any real support for a second referendum, and that those in the Westminster bubble are completely divorced from what most of their constituents want and what, just about, most of the country voted for.

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Replying to adam.arca:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
15th Dec 2018 11:10

How have the politicians allowed it to happen? Maybe because they reflect the rest of us. Reading what you say I would immediately reverse your bias, eg:

“They have in any case a dismal record of being self-centred, conceited, little Englanders”

The House of Commons on its own is a hot air theatre, the real work is done, and decisions made, in committees where there is a degree of collaboration.

We are experiencing a bloodless (so far) civil war which reflects our worn out adversarial parliament, with its sword width aisle markers.

The Mother of all parliaments? Yes if you use “Mother” in modern parlance.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Dec 2018 11:23

I'd definitely watch BBC Parliament if they brought swords back.

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
15th Dec 2018 16:11

Swords? Given we’re supposed to be more civilised today, maybe just two communal swords, to be taken up by a representative from each side, imagine Skinner v Rees-Mog?

Mind you, Rees-Mog would probably spoil it by insisting on bringing his own.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
15th Dec 2018 16:13

that Bloody duplicate bug again

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By adam.arca
15th Dec 2018 11:31

Sorry, Paul, you've clearly read the words and not understood (or wilfully failed to understand) the argument.

The politicians have allowed this to happen because it was obvious months, or even years, ago that this is what would happen if we appeared desperate for a deal and allowed Brussels to dictate the pace. May has walked straight into a trap which was set for her (IMHO). I don't read a tabloid so I don't know which one was saying we should walk away months ago, but they were right.

I have no bias but was quite open in the way I voted. You on the other hand have revealed your bias by attempting to dis me. It's a given of the "I know better than everybody else" chatterers that Leavers are racist. Whilst I won't deny that some unpleasant elements will have voted Leave for racist reasons, the majority of us aren't racist and don't want to end immigration but do think that Britain should be better than a European cul de sac. Thank you for revealing your bias, perhaps you should state it next time for the record.

We are most certainly not suffering a civil war. The only hand-wringing is ar Westminster as the rest of the country is still remarkably (given the course of negotiating disasters so far) behind Brexit. Perhaps you should watch more TV interviews of ordinary people?

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Replying to adam.arca:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
15th Dec 2018 13:24

So how should she have gone about leaving- what was the route she ought to have taken?

The "simplest deal in history" we were told, German car makers will not allow x or y- misguided political bluster from a whole class of idiots who somehow thought that if they believed it would happen.

Day one there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the art of the possible, of the necessary staged and very slow process required, but that did not fit with the baying impatience- feed the mob.

An honest, "this is a ten year withdrawal process" that will have us slowly stepping back step by step might have actually worked at the outset, in effect "Flexcit", but these bridges are now well and truly burned and even if we now wanted a temporary resting place within say EEA on our way out the door I really doubt it will now be on offer.

On the plus side if I live long enough my Great grandchildren will be asking me all about it as it is a certainty to make it onto the school history/modern studies curriculum, " The Country That Lost Its Head " to steal from Nicholas Monsarrat.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Dec 2018 13:36

How long did it take us to start planning ?

About a year, was it ?

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
15th Dec 2018 14:50

Have we really properly started?

I heard on Radio 4 this morning (trip to Homebase for timber/ materials- pick the coldest , windiest day to repair a second floor window- now that's planning) that whilst some critical planning is now being done, and the brains in some department are doing nothing but Brexit, the fact is they know that they cannot get all arrangements in place by March- if I heard correctly they are concentrating on about 40% of areas and the other 60% are just impossible to sort in the timescale so little is being done re these- the catch, of course, is nothing else is being done re policy (though maybe that is a good thing).

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Replying to adam.arca:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
15th Dec 2018 16:06

Hi Adam - I honestly was not trying to dis or provoke you. Take a deep breath or two and read my post again, I am saying that at the heart of this mess are views that have become so entrenched that people are unwilling or unable to debate and work together to find a solution.

Was it my use of your words, to describe little Englanders as being self-centred and conceited, that hit a nerve and made you feel dissed? If so, how do you think your words would make a European feel?

So I was questioning your approach and how it seems to match with so many on all sides of the argument and is getting us nowhere. As for the Brexit civil war, I’m not alone in feeling that’s what it is, just Google it.

Your view of “little conceited Europeans” also seems to be behind your expectation that they should have made it easy for us to leave and not given consideration to the welfare and needs of the other 27 countries in the group/club. Honestly?

We decided we wanted out and, given the anti-“them” vitriol that flowed from some people, politicians, newspapers etc in the UK, and the confusion over who it was they were negotiating with, I’ve actually been surprised at their grown up and business like response.

If we haven’t arrived at the result you wanted, at least have the good grace to put the failure 50:50 at the doors of us and them, it was a negotiation, over the dissolution of a 40 year marriage, neither side was going to make it easy for the other.

You challenge me to state what I voted in the referendum, which just seems like another way of drawing up more battle lines?

I made my remain view clear on here many times when it mattered in 2016, what good would it do me to go on about it now, nearly three years later, we all need to move on and deal with what’s in front of us.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
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By adam.arca
16th Dec 2018 21:21

Thanks for that, Paul. I had already taken the deep breath before responding, though.

Clearly we're not going to agree on this one and there's little point in having an argument of diminishing circles.

What I will say, though, is that there are two sides to every coin and your wise European politicians making policy in a consensual manner and doing their best for all European citizens is my cabal of backroom deal-brokers and general fudge merchants who'll do anything to maintain "The Project." We're probably both wide of the mark but I would like to think that I'm less wrong than you are :)

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Flag of the Soviet Union
By thevaliant
15th Dec 2018 12:03

I think its something from the Dukes of Hazard back in the 80s isn't it?

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Oaklea
By Chris.Mann
15th Dec 2018 12:50

and, there's me thinking it's a wicket-keeper.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Dec 2018 13:16

thevaliant wrote:

I think its something from the Dukes of Hazard back in the 80s isn't it?

80s ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Flag of the Soviet Union
By thevaliant
18th Dec 2018 11:12

Yes. Though I clearly can't spell as its Hazzard rather than Hazard.

Wiki says ran from 26th January 1979 to 8th February 1985. I'd say that's mostly the 80s. (Unless you are counting the film remake in the naughties)

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By SteveHa
15th Dec 2018 17:41

It's to prevent what the Cranberries sang about.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MuhFxaT7zo

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By Knight Rider
17th Dec 2018 09:46

When I see JC Juncker saying no to any changes to the backstop I am reminded why I voted leave. So that a cabal of unelected unaccountable drunken foreigners don't make the laws of the United Kingdom.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
17th Dec 2018 10:21

Yep, we really want our own, homegrown, cabal of unaccountable drunken politicians to do it instead. (F*** Business-of course, Experts- oh too many of them, lets just make it up)

Personally I follow talent not nationality and frankly our lot do not even make (c )or (d) class in terms of negotiating our exit.

Most of them appear to think that non mastery of the brief, no understanding of the other side and its institutions, is no impediment to negotiating. It is like watching the most inept Apprentice candidates of all time brought together as a "super team "of idiots, who all bluster along with soundbites and no substance.

Frankly if it was one of those football matches played in a school playground at lunchtime we would have been begging the other side for a player swap at half time as we trailed 10-0.

I would take their competence over our ineptness any day.

For more on similar theme, but somewhat better informed and articulated, try this link to Sir Ivan Rodgers speech- our politicians ought not to be allowed to play against grown ups.

https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2018/12/13/full-speech-sir-ivan-rogers-on-b...

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Replying to DJKL:
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By adam.arca
17th Dec 2018 12:44

DJKL wrote:

Personally I follow talent not nationality and frankly our lot do not even make (c )or (d) class in terms of negotiating our exit.

I would take their competence over our ineptness any day.

It appear we're on opposite sides of the fence on Brexit but I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. And that was where I was coming from in my original comment that I couldn't understand how our politicians had got us into this mess.

Where I perhaps differ from you and Paul is in believing that European politicians have demonstrated any special degree of competence. In all fairness they have demonstrated more competence than our lot but that wouldn't be difficult, but, again in all fairness to our lot, the Euro ones have been dealt the much easier hand to play so I'm dubious whether there is any evidence of competence here to praise them with.

The whole episode has been extraordinarily disillusioning.

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Replying to adam.arca:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
17th Dec 2018 15:21

Read the Ivan Rodgers link on his views re how the EU have played things and even if we sign up re WA the likely direction of travel re the negotiations for trade that will follow- in effect we were poor playing normal chess, they were playing 3D chess with forward vision re the end game and accordingly, irrespective of what next, we are now done up like a kipper- apt given likely surrender of fishing waters as the quid pro quo for the trade deal to follow.

https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2018/12/13/full-speech-sir-ivan-rogers-on-b...

They did of course have the easier hand, despite ravings from some that "they sell more to us than we buy from them so they must deal with us" nonsense.

The fact is we made one massive mistake, we triggered Article 50, and then made other mistakes like announcing our red lines (pinkish now).

Personally, given how we are now set up to start Act II, I would now withdraw Article 50, reset a Government with hopefully a majority (or a coalition if need be with a formed consensus- is that possible?) then either forget Brexit if no consensus possible or go back and start discussions again with at least all contingency planning in place in case things do not go well/to plan.

Either that or play Brexit like Civ as a long game; figuratively (not literally) smile sweetly and pay tribute etc when threatened by the AI players (EU) but meantime gradually build up your armour/tech etc and then, at some future point, roll over the border and destroy them all.

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