Peter Foster @pmdfoster Europe Editor of the Daily Telegraph. Formerly based in Washington DC, Beijing and New Delhi. Opinions my own. Mar. 26, 2019 3 min read

What is this? Prizes for guessing. I'll give you a clue. It's to do with #brexit and the Irish Border @BorderIrish

So here's a thread on why Leo Varadkar @LeoVaradkar is playing a dangerous game pretending that in a 'no deal' a border wont exist. It will. 1/Thread

In recent days there's been talk in Dublin that the border won't really be a border...checks will be set back.

Well, that picture is of the old customs park in Newry...8 miles from the border. It was there until 1992 when the Single European Act made it redundant. /2

Cue triumph among Brexiteers that it 'unicorns do exist'....that in a 'no deal' scenario the Irish would just create the 'invisible' border that the Malthouse crew said was possible all along. /3

Except it wont be that invisible, will it? (Did I mention that old customs park in Newry was new in 1988, because the old one got bombed)...but I digress.

How is this 'invisible' border going to be created? Presumably with massive derogation for Ireland from Brussels? /4

Let me just check that, since this week EU published its completed 'no deal' planning notices...

"The EU will be required to *immediately* apply its rules and tariffs at its borders with the UK."

Mmm....no derogations there. /5

So what might that border look like? Well, @MichelBarnier gave some inadvertently candid insight back in January to the Luxembourg Times....sounds like a border to me. /6

 https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/there-will-be-checks-if-uk-crashes-out-admits-barnier-899727.html 

I asked couple of people I know in Northern Ireland industry if they think there will be a border in the event of a 'no deal'.

Let me summarise: "Yes". /7

And how do we think all those checks and controls, even set back from the border, are going to go down in Northern Ireland's border constituencies, all of which are Sinn Fein controlled? What do we think that's going to do the local politics? And the constitutional question? /8

Coz it seems pretty clear, per @michaelgove in the Commons recently that Direct Rule will be imposed pretty much immediately. /9

Then there remains the violence question.

I was in Dublin last month, talked to new dissidents group.... there stuff may have been pretty low-grade so far (those letter bombs) but they are clear: "there are boys who will come out of retirement. Just unilaterally". /10

Which why all this talk of a non-border border is so irresponsible, even if it suits Mr Varadkar's domestic needs. It is not just Westminster politicians, it seems, who play fast and loose with reality for short-term political ends. /11

Mr Varadkar prefers to say a 'no deal' is unlikely, and that in that event, Dublin will 'hold London to its commitments', which means implement the backstop anyway in a 'no deal' world.

I imagine, after the UK published its smugglers charter is a long shot. /12

And one final thought. A no deal is very unlikely, I agree, but all this Irish talk about borders being made to work will be used against the Irish in the coming negotiations.

Recall, that begins with a massive hunt for 'alternative arrangements'..../13

You can expect that when that negotiation begins, all that brave talk about making the border work will be quoted right back at both Brussels, the Irish and whichever poor sap is British prime minister.

Honesty is a better course. From both sides.

ENDS/14


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