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Well, that didn’t take long!
Boris Johnson has been UK Prime Minister for 85-days and suddenly the UK and the EU seem to be getting along better, and a new and apparently worthwhile Brexit deal is agreed between the parties.
Of course, there’s no pleasing every side. Such agreements are enormously complex and there will always be concerns and doubts in various quarters.
The ‘devil is in the details’ as they say. But with sufficient goodwill on both sides, the UK and the EU are from this moment onward, moving forward on a better and more holistic path.
Quotes from the Brussels Summit as the New Brexit Deal was Announced
- EC President Donald Tusk: “A deal is always preferable to No Deal.”
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “the UK and EU have agreed a great new deal” and “the UK is leaving the EU as one United Kingdom.”
- Jean-Claude Juncker said the deal is “fair and balanced” and that, “there is no need for a further extension.”
- And the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier said, “the new deal should provide legal certainty in every area.”
- The DUP’s Arlene Foster said her party “cannot support the deal” although DUP support is crucial to passing this deal in Parliament. Interesting times, indeed.
Finally a Deal Worth Signing!
This isn’t Theresa May’s Brexit deal warmed-over. The Northern Ireland backstop for example, isn’t part of this agreement.
Also, Northern Ireland remains within the UK and in the UK Customs Union.
However, unlike England, Scotland and Wales, Northern Ireland remains within the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market which is ultra-important for the Northern Ireland economy and is much more convenient for the Republic of Ireland — thereby negating any need for a hard border between the two Irelands.
Further, Northern Ireland’s seat of government (Stormont) has the opportunity to opt out of this arrangement every four years.
As regards the rest of the deal, the new agreement allows the entire UK to leave the EU (at the end of 2020) as one United Kingdom (the same way it joined). And the leisurely schedule allows UK and EU businesses sufficient time to make preparations for a new regulatory environment beginning January 1, 2021.
All-in-all, quite impressive.
I must reiterate that no one side was ever going to get everything they wanted out of a Brexit Deal, but that really isn’t the point.
What is the point is that the present era of economic uncertainty is ending. And that’s good for the UK, good for the EU, and it’s an agreement that’s respectful of Northern Ireland’s unique position in all of this.
A hearty, Well Done! to leaders and negotiators on all sides of the Brexit paradox.
Congratulations to Prime Minister Theresa May for working out a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to allow the present minority Tory government to continue in office.
And congratulations to DUP leader Arlene Foster for negotiating so well on behalf of her jurisdiction, thereby gaining £1.5 billion in additional infrastructure and other funding.
That’s a ‘Win-Win’ for the Tories and for the Democratic Unionist Party — and more importantly (sorry, Theresa and Arlene!) it’s a ‘Win-Win’ for residents of Northern Ireland.
Infrastructure in Northern Ireland is in bad shape and the funding appears at an opportune moment, as there comes a point when it becomes cheaper to tear down a bridge (for example) than to pay ever-increasing maintenance costs.
The same is true for all infrastructure. Whether roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, airports, or the underground infrastructure that carries water to homes and businesses, all of it has a ‘best before’ date where leaving vital infrastructure spending for too long can cost more than the savings of not doing the work.
Of course, £1.5 billion isn’t going to fix it all. But I wouldn’t be surprised if two years of successful DUP ‘confidence and supply’ support gets the residents of Northern Ireland additional infrastructure spending allocations, courtesy of DUP leader Arlene Foster and Prime Minister Theresa May.
And why not? Arlene Foster prevented a divisive and perhaps extended Parliamentary crisis — one that would’ve prevented much good from being done in the United Kingdom.
Speaking of which; See how infrastructure spending is increasing in Northern Ireland, and how it isn’t in Scotland? Not only additional spending, but PM May and DUP leader Foster also negotiated more devolved powers for Northern Ireland.
NOTE to Nicola: It’s great to have a particular ideology, but when it costs your jurisdiction £1.5 billion in the form of missed infrastructure funding, it’s time to review what you think you’re accomplishing!
Loss of opportunity is also a metric by which UK leaders must be measured — it certainly is for heads of government everywhere else — and not as much as it should be, but it’s still an important marker of successful leadership.
Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland’s SNP missed the boat. Arlene Foster of Northern Ireland’s DUP didn’t. And UK Prime Minister Theresa May begins to look like a bit of a deal-maker, which can only be viewed as a good thing as we head into Brexit. Well done, Theresa!
- Confidence and Supply Agreement (Conservative and Unionist Party) (Theresa May statement)
- Agreement between the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party on support for the government in Parliament (Conservative and Unionist Party) (full text – PDF)