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On June 23, 2016, the People of the United Kingdom Voted in a Referendum to Assert Their Right to Self-Determination
And as soon as UK voters made their intentions known to their government that they wished the UK to leave the European Union, the EU set about creating a political device to keep Great Britain in the European Union. And that trap is called ‘the Irish backstop’.
Which is a flagrant attempt to prevent the right of the British people to self-determination and self-governance. (Self-determination is a legal term; Look it up if you don’t understand how profound it is in international law)
Self-determination is all the rage in globalist circles — especially in EU countries — most of which loudly espouse the right of people across the world to self-determine their future, etc., etc.,
Except when it impacts the EU…
Hypocrisy? You bet!
How Can a Bloc Like the EU Promote the Right to Self-Determination Yet Seek to Subvert it in EU-member States?
Because they can.
They can, because nobody has called them on it. Because the EU is thought to be too big and too powerful to oppose.
And as long as that attitude persists the EU will continue to win, unopposed, every battle (that they don’t have to fight, because no one has the courage to stand up to them on it) at which point, two things will happen; Every country that doesn’t stand up to the EU will become 2nd-class beings on account of surrendering without a fight, their human rights to the EU; And the EU will increasingly become the Emperor nation with no clothes.
That’s an unsustainable realpolitik and no good will ever come of it. For any side.
With 20th-century thinking like that it’s no wonder there was decades of trouble in Northern Ireland.
Attention! ‘Win-Lose’ thinking is Dead. In the 21st-century we Utilize ‘Win-Win’ thinking. And if You Don’t, You’re a Dinosaur
Welcome to the 21st-century where we sit down like adults and work out a ‘Win-Win’ agreement that both sides can live with.
Gone are the days when it was ‘the winner takes it all’ in politics (great ABBA song here) and everyone else was expected to die without making a fuss. So uncivilized!
With all of that in mind, let’s skip to today’s news, shall we?
There we shall see who remains in the 20th-century — employing the ‘Win-Lose’ monster to prevent Britons from self-determining their own future — and who has stepped into the 21st-century and promotes the idea of a new agreement that works for both sides.
“While I will energetically pursue a workable withdrawal agreement for the UK, the withdrawal agreement has been rejected three times by the House of Commons. It’s not going to pass. So that means reopening the withdrawal agreement and securing the abolition of the backstop.” — New UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
“I think he seems to have made a deliberate decision to set Britain on a collision course with the EU and with Ireland in relation to the Brexit negotiations. Only he can answer the question as to why he is doing that.” — Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney
So, there we have it!
The UK people voted for self-determination, the EU created a trap called the Irish backstop to keep the UK in the EU; Theresa May, the former UK Prime Minister spent three years valiantly trying to work out a ‘Win-Win’ withdrawal agreement with the EU (but ultimately failed because she was negotiating with 20th-century thinkers who only understand ‘Win-Lose’ thinking) and therefore, the proposed Withdrawal Agreement failed to pass in the UK House of Commons three times.
And now, insult upon insult, Simon Coveney (who is probably a very nice man, but doesn’t understand the concept of ‘Win-Win’) is practising diplomacy via the media, trying to blame British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the mess the EU created in the first place. Astonishing!
George Orwell would be aghast.
- Downing Street says no new Brexit talks until EU drops backstop — FT
- UK PM Johnson tells Germany’s Merkel: The backstop has to go — Reuters
For his part, Boris Johnson has taken the best possible path to deal with such 20th-century thinkers — he has refused to deal with them until they drop the backstop portion of the Withdrawal Agreement.
If he fails to stand firm on it, his party will suffer in upcoming byelections (if any) and will almost certainly suffer historic losses at the next UK General Election which is scheduled for May 5, 2022 and could result in UK Conservatives being tossed from power for a generation or more if Brexit isn’t delivered.
PM Boris Johnson, having set himself and the UK on the best possible course to deal with the intransigence shown by the EU, can only lose by backtracking and caving-in to their unreasonable plot.
Now, all you 20th-century thinkers please return to the 20th-century. You don’t belong here. It’s been nice/not nice hosting you, but please, Go Home! And don’t come back until you understand the concept of ‘Win-Win’ — which means working out an agreement that works for all sides. Capisce?
It’s up to you whether you choose to become part of the solution towards a stronger European economy and society, or remain part of the problem where the rest of the world advances while the littoral states of Europe continue their toxic medieval-based strivings.
Learn about the disasters caused by (in this case, European) 20th-century thinking:
List of Conflicts in Europe in the 20th-century (Wikipedia)
With less than 50-days until the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019, no Withdrawal Agreement exists to guide future relations between the UK and the EU.
Although no reference to a such a withdrawal agreement appeared on the 2016 referendum ballot it seemed appropriate that UK and EU governments should attempt to create such a legal document in order to facilitate a better future relationship.
Subsequently, the two governments agreed to create a ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ (WA) document and try to have it ratified by their respective houses of Parliament. And while the EU27 hasn’t tried to ratify the agreement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May offered it up for consideration in the House of Commons where it was voted down by a margin of 230 votes in one of the largest defeats in the history of the United Kingdom.
The 585-page Withdrawal Agreement was diligently prepared by Theresa May and her Ministers and there’s no doubt that the EU side also worked ceaselessly to produce it, yet British MP’s were singularly unimpressed by the ‘backstop’ clause dealing with the Irish border. That particular section of the agreement is 175-pages long, plus 10-pages of addenda. Yikes!
In any event, all parties in the House of Commons voted it down handing in the worst defeat for a governing party in the House in 100-years, thereby stalling further progress on Brexit negotiations.
So, if you arrived here looking for the reason why no agreement exists to guide Brexit with less than 50-days until the official Brexit date, you’ve found it.
The Irish Backstop portion of the WA (185-pages in total) is solely responsible for the lack of a Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU. But the remaining 400-pages would pass in the UK House of Commons in minutes — and would easily pass in all of the EU27 countries too. There’s simply no dispute in the WA, except for the portion that deals with ‘the Irish backstop’.
As ‘the Irish Backstop’ has Failed, What Alternatives Exist?
Until last week, everyone involved in Brexit negotiations was locked-on to the idea of getting the Withdrawal Agreement passed through the House of Commons and then getting it passed in the EU27 parliaments.
And now that it has failed so massively, we are compelled to seek other options and such options to resolve the Irish backstop issue are only limited by our creativity.
- The territory of Northern Ireland was created a couple of centuries ago when the ruling Monarch of Great Britain purchased the territory and it thenceforth became part of Great Britain. Therefore, Northern Ireland could be sold or granted to the Republic of Ireland by the owner of NI which would be today’s Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (thereby obviating the need for ‘the Irish Backstop’ and guaranteeing near-instant passage of the Withdrawal Agreement) who would only do so if a majority of Northern Ireland’s people expressed their wish to join with the Republic of Ireland. Which would make for an interesting Northern Ireland-only referendum question, wouldn’t it? Assuming The People of Northern Ireland voted to leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the ruling Monarch would be well advised to accede to their wishes and let them leave. One important caveat must be in place, namely, that any property and historical buildings, monuments, etc., would need to be disassembled and returned to Great Britain as they are the property of the UK and from a pragmatic standpoint I doubt that statues of Sir Winston Churchill etc., would remain standing for long in a Northern Ireland that would join with the Republic of Ireland. Even the Stormont building in NI could be removed ‘brick-by-brick’ and relocated to Great Britain. If Northern Irelanders voted to leave the Kingdom, no doubt some would want to relocate to Great Britain to maintain their UK citizenship and their relocation to the UK should be facilitated with greatest care, speed, and respect, should that particular set of events ever occur. However, if The People of Northern Ireland voted in a referendum to stay in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the ruling UK Monarch and the UK government are obligated to accede to the wishes of Northern Irelanders and continue to support their full rights of UK citizenship and devolved governance in NI.
- Another way around the present impasse would be for all trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to be routed through Liverpool for customs and inspection — by air or ship — instead of having a so-called ‘Hard Border’ between the two Irelands. Items valued under £100. (or some other mutually agreed and arbitrary number) could be exempted so that shoppers crossing the border between ROI and NI by car could purchase small items, etc., without incurring any tax liability or having to pass through a hard border crossing. Unlike every other country in the world, a hard border just isn’t acceptable due to the decades of conflict caused by poor leadership and oversight in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland that led to a horrible, divisive, and toxic power vacuum which led and fed the conflict. Let’s hope that politicians, corporations, and royalty in the 21st-century don’t drop the ball like that again. Ever. And I hope that every one of them that dropped the ball are roasting in Hell to this very day, paying for the fecklessness that caused such misery to hundreds of thousands of people on the island of Eire.
- Another suggestion is for new technologies exist that could be used to track and collect tariffs/maintain safety certifications, etc. on goods sold between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and between other EU countries and Northern Ireland, and between overseas countries and Northern Ireland — and I believe it’s possible. The amount of information that can be contained in one bar code (a simple bar code!) is astounding. All that needs happen is for each such item to be scanned by a bar code reader. I can only imagine what modern and more sophisticated technologies could accomplish. Perhaps cooperation between the UK and the EU on these new technologies would result in the same scale of technological revolution as the introduction of the bar code and both countries could lead the world in such technologies. Wouldn’t that be great?
In short, if UK and EU leaders want to find a way forward they will and if they don’t find a way forward it’s only because they don’t want success.
IMHO, there’s no reason that political power vacuums should be allowed to occur in the 21st-century. Such power vacuums have proved disastrous in the past. So, let’s decide now to choose that better path, whatever it may look like.
It isn’t the job of citizens, of corporations, of sports teams, nor of any other organization to solve the political problems between or within developed nations, it’s the remit of politicians to solve political problems, therefore, let’s go forward with those sentiments in mind and together, write a much better script for our respective peoples so that everyone gets to live in peace and prosperity.
Think about it for a second. The thing we call Brexit is being held-up by a tiny item called tariffs. It’s ridiculous. (OK, there are some other things too, but for today let’s talk tariffs)
At the moment, the UK is still a dues-paying member of the European Union and is therefore obligated to charge the same tariffs as any other EU country, and such broad agreement on external tariffs, combined with low or no tariffs between members, or even standardized tariffs between members, is part of what makes up what’s commonly called a Customs Union.
When the UK exits the European Union it’s right to assume that the UK will no longer charge the same tariffs as the EU.
In fact, that difference is part of the problem between the EU and the UK in the post-Brexit timeframe, and businesses near the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland border may find themselves affected by this change-up.
How Would a Zero-Tariff UK Economy Work vis-à-vis the European Union post-Brexit?
What if the UK decides to embrace an economy where no tariffs are charged?
There would, of course, be people who complain (on the UK side) about a loss of tariff revenue for UK government budgets, while on the Republic of Ireland (RoI) side, businesses located near the border might worry their customers will drive to Northern Ireland (NI) to save 6.5% worth of tariff value on their purchases.
Which are immensely easy problems to solve!
How to Solve a Disparity in Consumer Prices (Due to Tariffs) Across an Uncontrolled Border
- Offer a rebate to Republic of Ireland businesses located within, say, 100 miles (160 kilometres) of the Irish border and such rebates would be equal to the (tariff portion of the) savings RoI consumers would enjoy by shopping in Northern Ireland. In this way, RoI shoppers won’t bother travelling to NI to save (usually about 6.5%) on the price of imported goods and consequently, RoI businesses won’t lose sales to the (then) zero-tariff regime north of the Irish border. We’re talking about small amounts of money on each transaction — but over the course of a year, especially for small ‘Mom and Pop’ businesses in RoI, it could add up and potentially at least, represent a hardship for those business owners. Who will cover the cost of the rebates? The UK, of course. Why would the UK government want to do that? It’s just one more irritation that the UK government can remove from the negotiating table to simplify Brexit. Such rebates might cost the UK government as little as £1 million per year. Of course, it might cost as much as £20 million per year. But, with so much to gain (a quicker and less hairy Brexit) the UK government could afford to pay the Republic of Ireland those rebates a full 10-years in advance at the beginning of each decade.
- For businesses in the EU that import from other countries and are required to charge tariffs on behalf of their government — all they need to do after March 29, 2019 is add the UK to the list of countries they must charge tariffs.
- For companies that export from the UK in the case where those goods are shipped to the EU or other countries — there’s no hassle with a UK zero-tariff regime because there are no UK tariffs to add to the final price — no matter where those goods land in the EU or wherever in the world they go after that.
- The same is true for goods that originate in America (for example) but are shipped through the UK before being shipped on to the EU. Whatever the price of the item from America + zero tariffs added by the UK = landing in the EU with only the taxes or tariffs that originated in America. The UK adds nothing in the way of tariffs, nor takes anything away from those tariffs. The term for that is revenue-neutral tariffs.
It’s so easy when you know how!
How Could the UK Recover Lost Tariff Revenue and Pay the Proposed Irish Tariff Rebates?
There would be two costs for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cover:
One would be the loss of tariff revenue which would represent a large annual cost — and the other would be the relatively small cost of rebates to RoI businesses located within 100 miles (for example) of the Irish border.
a. For as long as the UK has been in the EU Customs Union, consumers have unknowingly paid the cost of tariffs on goods imported from outside the EU. In some cases the tariffs involved are quite low, but in other cases EU countries are required to charge up to 18% tariffs on certain goods coming into the EU28. All EU consumers pay an average of 6.5% more for goods imported from outside the EU due to those EU tariffs. But as soon as the UK leaves the EU Customs Union it would no longer charge EU tariffs and the cost of imported goods in the UK would fall by an average of 6.5%. Which is a good thing, except that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would need to cut spending by that total sterling amount or, add 1% (or less) to the national sales tax to make-up for that lost revenue. Most Britons won’t even see the difference. But if you’re a Briton who buys a lot of imported goods you’ll be slightly better off.
b. If you’re a UK business, it’s one less piece of paperwork you have to deal with and one less revenue stream you must collect on behalf of HM government.
c. If you’re the Chancellor of the Exchequer, you’ll lose millions in tariff revenue, but you’ll gain even more from the (less than) 1% addition to the national sales tax. But even more important, you’ll save millions of pounds in spending to oversee, police, and navigate all that tariff collection. Those tariffs don’t get collected by themselves! Nor does every business remember to forward those tariff revenues to the government on time, etc. Nor will the Chancellor be required to keep abreast of competitor nation tariff structures and constantly adjust tariffs for the UK to remain tariff competitive, nor will the Chancellor be required to notify the WTO about tariff changes. Because, no tariffs!
A Word About the WTO
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a great organization that was created to ensure countries play fair with each other, especially on tariffs and on the dumping of goods at outrageously low prices, thereby harming the country importing their goods. And if you’re a developing country, you definitely want to be a WTO member as the WTO will protect you from larger, more aggressive countries and their powerful transnational corporations.
However, it makes rules in accordance with its membership wishes and some of those rules may surprise you.
WTO rules do not apply to trading partners that charge tariffs lower than the WTO tariff schedule (which was recently increased to an average of 6.55% on a long list of goods) therefore, trade deals can be done more quickly without WTO tariff regulations to complicate things.
The WTO won’t arbitrate between non-WTO members, nor will it intervene where countries charge tariffs that are lower than the WTO tariff schedule. Nor will it involve itself where two countries have a dispute within a free trade agreement previously agreed by both sides — unless requested by one or both parties to mediate disagreements within that free trade agreement.
In short, countries that don’t charge tariffs have no dealings with the WTO, they owe it nothing, and they have no tariff disputes. (Because they have no tariffs to argue about)
Many things come together beautifully for the UK were the government to decide to operate a tariff-free economy.
Not only would Brexit be streamlined, the Irish border situation becomes simpler to settle, relatively small rebates can offset any hardships for RoI businesses located close to the Irish border, CEO’s from other countries would appreciate the ease of doing business in the UK, any losses in tariff revenue for HM government can be offset by a (less than) 1% increase in the national sales tax, and free trade agreements become simpler to negotiate.
The UK wouldn’t need to re-apply to become a WTO member, nor would it fall under WTO jurisdiction in trade matters, nor would the UK need to pay annual dues to the WTO.
And imported goods in the UK would become cheaper by an average of 5.5% roughly speaking (dropping the 6.5% average tariff on imported goods + 1% national sales tax increase on all goods = 5.5% cheaper on imported goods) which can help consumers in regards to their discretionary spending.
The government would save millions of pounds sterling annually because it wouldn’t need thousands of workers to work in the Treasury’s tariff section, adjusting tariffs, comparing tariffs, ensuring tariffs are properly implemented, ensuring that tariff revenue is properly submitted to the government by UK business, dealing with the WTO, and handling lawsuits caused by disagreements over which tariff schedule must be applied on a given product. And many more miles of red tape than that, that the UK government could forget about forever.
Just another list of the benefits of Brexit, my friends! Happy weekend!