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Brexiters not the EU will be the culprits if we crash out

by Luke Lythgoe | 31.01.2019

Hardliners will blame EU intransigence if there’s no deal. But it’s their own recklessness which threatens chaos for the whole UK and peace in Northern Ireland.

The notorious “backstop”, which is designed to keep the Irish border invisible, will be at the heart of the blame game.

The groundwork is already being laid. Tory hardliner Peter Bone told Sky News: “Parliament has very clearly told the EU what we want, which is the backstop to go and that to be a legally binding commitment. Now if they decide not to talk to us about that and not to renegotiate, well it will be the EU that’s stopping us from having a deal.”

The DUP’s Diane Dodds accused the EU of “intransigence”, adding: “We say calmly and clearly to the EU leadership that we do not need the backstop. It is now time for a sensible and pragmatic renegotiation.”

But the backstop was a compromise between our government and the EU to honour the Good Friday Agreement. We agreed it because we have a historic responsibility to maintain peace in Northern Ireland. This month’s bombing in Derry/Londonderry is a reminder that violent terrorism is not consigned to Northern Ireland’s past.

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The backstop is the direct descendent of a deal Boris Johnson and David Davis agreed in December 2017 when they were still in the Cabinet. Now those same Brexiters, and their fellow hardliners, are intent on making such big changes to it that it no longer fulfills its purpose.

The prime minister agreed to do their bidding this week and reopen the deal she herself agreed. But the EU will never agree to the changes Brexiters want: either a time limit on the backstop or some kind of escape clause. The backstop is an insurance policy. It doesn’t make sense if that policy can expire or be cancelled if talks break down later.

The people of the island of Ireland are on the frontline. A hard border means new physical infrastructure. The smart technology Brexiters say will avoid this simply doesn’t exist, not even on the most seamless borders elsewhere in Europe – between Norway and Sweden, or the EU and Switzerland. Any infrastructure – customs posts, security cameras or lorry parks – and the people manning them could become a target.

The whole of the UK will also be damaged if we crash out without a deal. We’ll find it hard to bring in vital supplies such as food and medicine. We’ll struggle to export to our neighbours. And our relationship with the EU will be poisoned.

If this is where we end up, be in no doubt: the Brexiters, not the EU, are the prime culprits.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

8 Responses to “Brexiters not the EU will be the culprits if we crash out”

  • “Hardliners will blame EU intransigence if there’s no deal. But it’s their own recklessness which threatens chaos for the whole UK and peace in Northern Ireland.”

    Wrong — if we crash out it won’t be because the Brexiters miscalculated, it’s because that’s what they wanted all along, to allow their disaster capitalist buddies to clean up.

  • Mr Carty is spot on, this has been my thoughts from the beginning ,that it’s a chance to make a killing for the hedge fund elite who are waiting like vultures to clean up. In or out ,they don’t care a fig for the country as long as they come out on top.Most of the MPs are trying to hold on to their well payed job so they are scheming for themselves and not the voters interests. The truth will out hopefully.

  • Very true, the speculators will have a field day. The wealthy elite will cleen up. The poor buggers in the middle will scratch their heads and cry “I thought this Brexit was supposed to be good for our Country, thinks seem to be much worst?” The poor will be forced into massive hardship, many will die early of broken hearts and crushed dreams, the Country will loose big time, the EU will prosper, we will regret that we listened to the Brexiteer lies for decades to come.

  • The blame game is certainly being directed towards Remain MPs and the rest of us who have been questioning the Governments motives. Lord Digby Jones was challenged by Emma Barnett on BBC radio yesterday that his claim in 2016 that “Not a single British worker would lose their jobs because of a Brexit” is clearly untrue. Rather than admit that the largest problem is due the Hard Brexiteers pushing towards No Deal, the job losses are down to the business uncertainty being caused by the elitist MPS in parliament who want to thwart The will of the people in his bizarre thinking. I think they are trying to Teflon coat their excuses.
    We need to call all these chancers to account before its too late.

  • Brexiteers must be blamed for their rhetoric as well as their recklessness. It has left too many people incapable of knowing the truth. Just three examples.
    (1) The Leave means Leave campaign, launched by Farage soon after the 2016 referendum, was a campaign that (a) the UK no longer to be a member of the EU AND (b) 7 other policies long favoured by hardline Eurosceptics be implemented. The slogan “‘LEAVE’ MEANS LEAVE” was taken over by the Prime Minister. It sounds truistic, as indeed it is until the word ‘leave’ is deprived of its English meaning and stands in for what is wanted by a very particular group of ideologues.
    (2) One (among several) reasons why it is incorrect to describe the 2016 referendum as ‘A MASSIVE DEMOCRATIC EXERCISE’ is the High Court’s ruling that the Electoral Commission failed properly to implement electoral law, its approach to the law being called by the court a “recipe for abuse of the spending restrictions”.
    (3) The referendum MPs legislated for in 2015/16 was ‘merely advisory’—so described by Lidington (then Minister for Europe) in debate on the bill, reminding MPs of the referendum’s status as set out in the HoC Library’s briefing to MPs.[Its status was overridden when Cameron said ‘YOU DECIDE’.]
    The nation’s problem is that the rhetoric has taken hold. And thanks in part to the PM’s having wanted to placate the hard-Brexit fundamentalists, the referendum in the public mind is no longer seen for what it is, and Parliament is unable to legislate for its result.
    Parliament’s inability to legislate is a further reason (alongside the original one) to hold a People’s Vote. But I fear that the rhtetoric has so much taken hold that too many people are now persuaded that the People’s Vote campaign was a ruse intended to BETRAY those who voted Leave in 2016 (i.e. the 37% of the electorate whose will has come to be known as the will of the people).
    It’s become very hard not to despair.

  • What do Brexiters think ought to happen if there’s a time-limited backstop and no satisfactory technological solution has been found when that time limit is reached? The answer, “That’s a purely hypothetical question because a technological solution will be found,” will not do, since if they are so confident about that, then they have nothing to fear from the backstop.

    Sadly, the Brexiters don’t have a monopoly on inconsistency: the Labour party says that it doesn’t like May’s deal because it wants to remain in a customs union. But with May’s deal that’s what you get: since technological solutions are pie in the sky, the backstop will come into force and we’ll have to keep the customs union.

  • Devil and the deep blue, springs to mind, all project fear seems to be targeted on the consequences of leaving and the ignorance of those supporting it. Those orchestrating the remain position have done a fantastic job of keeping the public ignorant about the forthcoming changes to the way the EU operates. I note Mr Corbyn is aware though. Therefore all remainers would also do well to do their homework regarding their preference before it’s too late, in staying we lose many benefits we currently enjoy.