Having taken the time to investigate the backstop arrangement in the withdrawal Bill with a European MEP, I can report as follows.
The Backstop arrangement is an insurance policy against the erection of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. Our Government’s preferred route initially in dealing with this, was via superior technology that would efficiently deal with the comings and goings of goods between the two countries (that has not yet been invented!). The European Union have decided that in the meantime, they would prefer a Customs Union (CU). Firstly it was suggested between Mainland Britain and Ireland (North & South), and then more latterly it was agreed it would contain the whole of the United Kingdom. This Customs Union (CU) would last as long as the EU considers other ideas to deal with the border issue to be inferior to that of the CU. Please note that the UK would not have a say on our exit from this arrangement! I am told that the EU’s ultimate political objective is to unite Ireland and possibly to reunite Gibraltar with Spain (with or without our consent)?
The Customs Union (CU) looks after the external border of the EU and dictates Health & Safety and Common Standards of goods flowing into it. This also includes Trade Tariffs. These standards and tariffs are set by Brussels and as from April, as we will be outside the Union in a transition arrangement, we will have no say in the rules. This will hamper our own ability to strike our own trade deals with other countries, which as an independent sovereign country we should be able to do so, to survive literally?
I am afraid the news get worse, tighten your seatbelts! If the EU does a trade deal with USA for instance, that includes zero tariffs on a number of goods exported to them and imported from them, why would the USA want to deal with us, what could we offer them? The USA have what they want, entry into our market for free as dictated by the EU, and we would still have to pay full tariffs to them, putting our own manufacturers at a big disadvantage to European manufacturers of the same products! As we would be outside the EU, the new arrangements with the USA would not include us on goods exported, only on goods imported! We would have no negotiating position!! This would apply to all Countries the EU have deals with; it has taken them 40 years to build up to these deals!
Finally our Foreign Policy would get affected to! In the event that Russia invades Ukraine (hopefully not); Trade Sanctions as our first weapon would largely be negotiated by the EU because we have no say in ours Customs arrangements! Oh Dear!
I am sure some people would criticise this article as being either inaccurate ( I am reporting what I was told) or having taken a rather nuanced point of view of the potential agreement; After all the withdrawal bill was supposed to be negotiated in good faith by friendly nations? But can we really trust the people we are negotiating with? A legal agreement is a legal agreement ( The Withdrawal Bill). The world can change ( Mr Trump & Mr Putin ), not to mention the troubles in Europe, and I don’t think we ought to be too trusting? Let us hope Mrs May can achieve a better deal, other- wise a no-deal is a better option in my humble opinion, and this is coming from a Remainer!
I hope I have not spoiled your Christmas but we must stop the MP’s voting for this, if the above is true! At least questions ought to be asked!
Happy Christmas Ian Jamie