UK Brexit position on Ireland exposes indyref hypocrisy
This week the UK Government finally clarified their post-Brexit position on Ireland.
It confirms the hypocrisy we wrote about in our previous blog on this topic.
According to the Financial Times the plan is to make trade as frictionless as possible.
At the Irish border, companies could be given a “continued waiver” on declaring their exports and imports. Smaller businesses could be exempted from any “new customs processes at all”, while big businesses could be given “trusted trader arrangements” to reduce formalities.
The UK Government also propose to protect the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland.
In the words of Brexit Secretary, David Davis.
The UK and Ireland have been clear all along that we need to prioritise protecting the Belfast agreement in these negotiations, and ensure the land border is as seamless as possible for people and businesses.
It should be noted that it is unclear if these proposals are viable. They rely on the EU agreeing to them and that is far from a certainty. The EU might think that they are unworkable and that they could create a backdoor into the Single Market. The EU also has a vested interest in not letting the UK leave with all the benefits and none of the responsibilities of being a full EU member. The biggest barrier to the plan is that it’s in the interests of the EU that the UK is worse off after leaving. The EU is unlikely to incentivise its own demise.
Still, regardless of whether these ideas come to fruition or not, they do expose the hypocrisy of the UK government as the plans contradict their stance towards Scotland.
First of all, we are constantly being told over and over again that it is foolish to risk the construction of barriers between Scotland and our biggest trading partner. Yet this is exactly what the UK is about to do, even in the unlikely event that their plans are accepted by the EU.
Real barriers to Scottish trade are about to be inflicted on the country by a decision we voted against. The UK has put us in a position it is constantly warning us to avoid. Yet the UK government seems content to argue that the UK can thrive in this scenario.
It should be noted that the Scottish Government never intended to erect significant trade barriers with the UK. In 2014 the plan was for Scotland and rUK to both be in the Single Market. It is only now, because of the UK Brexit decision that Scotland voted against, that significant trade barriers are inevitable regardless of our future choice on independence.
Secondly, in 2014 we were told by UK government ministers that Scottish independence would have led to passport checks at the Scottish border. Well, it is clear from the UK rhetoric towards Ireland that this scenario is far from what the UK would want in reality. It has been exposed as another blatant scare story to be filed alongside the Spanish veto, and the imaginary EU queue.
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