Whichever way it breaks, Ireland ‘no divergence’ deal threatens Tory govt


Earlier today, European Commission President Donald Tusk tweeted his excitement about an imminent deal between the UK and the EU on the Irish border:


Shortly afterward, the Europe editor of Irish broadcaster RTE tweeted breaking news about the nature of the ‘progress’:


‘No regulatory divergence’ – essentially, that the whole island of Ireland will operate on a single regulatory framework, which is very, very similar to the ‘sea border’ solution for the island that was emphatically rejected by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP):

dup border.png

The announcement, expected to be formalised imminently, shows a weak Tory government digging itself into a very deep hole in its desperation to get trade talks moving with the EU and save face in front of the UK public.

An expert on Irish affairs, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the SKWAWKBOX:

Working-class Protestants will oust Arlene [Foster] in days if she goes along with this.

Ms Foster feels similarly. In a statement issued while this article was being written, she was unequivocal:


A very deep hole indeed, as journalist Aditya Chakrabortty and Sky’s David Blevins and Beth Rigby recognised:



rigby dup.png

But it might be devastating in two ways.

There are basically only two ways for the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland to have a single regulatory framework. One is the ‘sea border’ – a system with no regulatory border between Eire and Northern Ireland.

The other is for the whole UK to remain in the customs union and single market, so that there will be no regulatory border between Ireland and the whole of the UK including Northern Ireland.

Option one is a DUP ‘red line’. Option two will trigger a massive revolt among the ideological Tory ‘hard Brexiteers’.

The question is whether Theresa May prefers to throw away her ‘confidence and supply’ deal with the DUP – or to start a civil war with the xenophobe fringe of her own party.

And given the Tories’ incompetence on pretty much everything in recent months, she might very well manage to end up doing both.

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  1. May in one move risks doing what the IRA and Protestants fought over for decades. She will undo all the efforts carried out to get the Good Fridqy Accord. She risks losing the support of DUP and end result she will cause and election and lose here Parties MP’s jobs as well as their employees – just because she has become a useless waste of space and incompetent.

  2. We must prepare ourselves, this Tory government could fall at any moment.

    Fortunately we are indemnified against that increasingly probable outcome.

    We have a Labour government in waiting that is ready to take over the negotiatiations and deliver the best possible Brexit deal for this country.

      1. I am a democrat and therfore abide by and respect democratic decisions.

        I am also a pragmatist and understand that it would be electoral suicide to disrespect the decision taken by 52% of voters and 65% of constituencies.

        The proportion of Labour supporters who voted to leave was even higher, 70% of Labour constituencies voted to leave.

        Your argument is therefore based upon nothing more than a counsel of despair.

        I take the view that any possible economic downturn resulting from leaving the EU will be more than offset by the Labour Shadow Chancellor’s national investment programme to invest in the infrastructure and people who live in this country.

        That is the difference between you and I. I believe in this country and its citizens and residents. You clearly do not.

        Good luck with your protest against democracy. You have Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell and the Liberal Democrats on your side.

        What could possibly go wrong?

    1. In your later reply you said you abide by democratic decisions – bear that in mind.

      Brexit was driven by a hard core of rightwingers and the BBC who made sure that most of the public were kept ignorant of the facts. There was absolutely no attempt by our major public broadcaster to let the public know exactly how the EU, one of the most democratic institutions on Earth works. Instead, they were fed a diet of racism and jingoism, virtually without challenge by Farage and his crew who were hardly ever off our screens. Even then It resulted in only 37% of the electorate supporting Brexit.

      When the public are lied to and are not in possession of all of the facts, for example the Impact Assessment which we paid for, I do not call that democracy!

      If you really do believe in democracy, now that all the facts are becoming clearer, you will have no objection to another referendum at the end of the ‘negotiations’. What could be more democratic than that?

      1. You think the EU is one of the most democratic institutions on earth?

        What an absurd claim.

        The EU has an unelected executive and an unamendable constitution.

      2. The EU is much more democratic than, say, the House of Lords, the US Presidential elections, and many others.
        All th ‘deals that the Brexiteers claim were done by an ‘unelected council’, were rubber stamped (or amended) by MEPS, and signed off by her Majesty’s ministers. Voting in the EU – and elections – are based on proportional representation, which most people (including most in the UK), beleuieve is much fairer than first past the post.
        Mote and Beam – or PKB?
        Or the usual Brexiteer lies and half truths?

    2. I can see now why you supported the Leave decision, you really do not know how the EU works.

      1. a country can leave the EU within 2 years – the UK is doing so.
        Ireland has been struggling for 800 years to get out of Britain’s grip and Scotland for about 100. Compare and contrast!!!

      2. Jack the EU has form, remember TTIP that was being negotiated secretly behind closed doors, MEPs were not part of the negotiations, if an MEP wanted to attend the discussions they were escorted everywhere in the meeting, were not allowed to take notes, and if they divulged any part of the discussions, they would be in serious trouble. That is the way they conduct business, just like the talks over Brexit, no one knows what the real negotiating positions are, that’s not democracy.

      3. Actually I voted remain but as I said at the beginning of our conversation, I am a democrat who accepts outcomes I may not agree with.

        And I do not wish to be too harsh but your strategy of electoral suicide is simply deranged.

        Good luck with your protest but I am more interested in Labour winning power than being a protest movement.

      4. ‘rotzeichen’ – Because of trade confidentiality negotiations are often done behind closed doors but the governments of the EU member states gave the European Commission a mandate to negotiate on TTIP in June 2013. The mandate set out the parameters within which the Commission may negotiate.

        Any result of the negotiations would then have to be voted upon by the EU Parliament of all the member states.

      5. ‘Internal Affairs’ – Electoral suicide is forging ahead with a right wing policy which everyone can see is failing.

        When elected, why should Labour have to pick up the pieces of a Tory disaster and negotiate to Leave when it’s not Labour’s policy to leave, it’s just crazy?

        We should square with the public and let them know that when they have ALL the facts, which they certainly didn’t have last time, they will be given an opportunity to either confirm or change their opinion. Only those who fear the result could object.

      6. But Jack, where were the elected representatives involved in the oversight of such negotiations, surely you understand in the final analysis, within the time frame when the vote was to be taken, that no politician could have properly assessed the implications in a document of that order, this is after all the 21st century where democracy was being subordinated to corporate power.

      7. ‘rotzeichen’ The Commissioners who are charged with the negotiations are appointed by their respective governments in exactly the same way as we appoint the Governor of the Bank of England or the Head of the NHS. Not every official in every branch of Government has to be elected.

        However, when a conclusion is reached by the Commission, it has to be democratically considered by the Parliament. Unlike decisions made by the Bof E or the Head of the NHS.

  3. Today, media pundits are trying to pander to Brexiteers and give them cause to be upbeat that a deal is in the offing and Theresa May is going to return in triumph. However, negotiators in the EU are letting them have their moment of optimism knowing it will all collapse again for the reasons cited by Skwawkbox.

    When will the Brexiteers learn that because we do 67% of our trade with Europe yet they only do 16% of their trade with us, we have far more to lose by leaving. Our bargaining power is minuscule which is why May has to make concession after concession.

    1. I’m curious as to how those quoted percentages (67% and 16%) are calculated. Our doing 67% of our trade with the EU (i.e. it’s shared amongst all the other 27 countries) is straightforward enough but I’m dubious about the comparison that “they” do only 16% of their trade with us. As each individual EU country has 27 others within the EU with which to trade, it needs only to do less than 4% trade with each other member in order to do 100% trade with the EU. If we are indeed getting 16% of the entire trade done by the EU then that would mean the other 27 countries, plus the rest of the world, are sharing the remaining 84% between them. So our getting 16% of the total, as just one country of 28, doesn’t look bad at all. Tricky things those pesky percentages. Or maybe it’s been worded incorrectly?

      1. You contrive to miss the point: It’s 16% of the EU’s trade against 67% of ours. That means they are in a strong negotiating position. Stronger even, as those EU members with a ‘higher than average’ UK trade (eg France, Germany) are among the strongest, and – apparently – least concerned about losing it, while the weaker nations, by and large, have even less trade with the UK.
        Ireland, of course, has other fish to fry, and luckily, most of the people in NI (66%) agree with them.
        No need to be a mathematical troll; just follow the argument.

      2. No, @Andrew Heenan and @Jack YOU are missing the point. What I am trying to get across is that the 16% of all EU trade which is done with the UK cannot be described as “only”, for it is the largest slice of trade the EU do with any one single country! As indeed per the ‘Full Fact’. figures

      3. groovmistress you most certainly ARE missing the point and are spinning in exactly the same way as Farage. The point is even if we are the largest customer of the EU, we only take 16% of their trade but they take 67% of our trade.

        Would you rather lose 67% of your income or 16% of your income?

  4. It took 20 years up to the 1980s for Neo-Lberalsm to capture th Tories (Thatcherism) then the US (Reaganism) then the bonus prize was New Labour (Blairism) then Scottish Labour then the EC but before Neo-Liberalism all Governments in the West controlled labour supply and capital supply which I would argue Labour needs to get back to as an example to he World plus with Jeremy Corbyn a Left Wing Democratic Socialist Labour threatens to break the Neo-Liberal Straught Jacket! Perhaps in this context a concern is that people may use Ireland to get into the UK? Solution – no border between the North and South of Ireland but border checks at ports in the UK from the South and North but of Ireland Southern Irish and Northern Irish citizens can just walk though the No Border Entry without checks, potentially solves the conundrum and pleases all as no chage on the South and no Northern Irish citizens treated different to rest of UK citizens (plus pulls rug from under the Scottish SNP) – food for thought?

      1. I attempt to address the conundrum but with Eire in the EC and the UK out how can we offer something to Eire and make no change to N.Ireland whilst controlling labour (and capital supply) and people not bypassing this. I voted to Remain and campaigned to stay in the Neo-Liberal EC to fight alongside EC socialists and trade union partners to end Neo-Liberalism from within (and warned of the danger of a lack of a positive campaign) BUT WE LOST and as democrats you have to accept the result and this so that framework has gone! The problem for Left Wing Democratic Socialists was if it was never Leave or Remain but how can we build a left wing democratic socialist society as an example to the World? It must now be as independent nation states co-operating but taking back control from Neo-Liberalism capitalism.

  5. Dunno what all the fuss is about. All they have to do is satisfy four simple criteria (we’ve known this for months).
    1. “A whole and indivisible UK.
    [tories, DUP and Brexiteers repeatedly]
    2. No damage to the Good Friday Agreement, so continuing easy access between North and South.
    [NI’s Brexit vote, DUP, Sinn Fein, Republic of Ireland etc., etc.]
    3. No hard border within the UK – so no hard border at the Irish Sea.
    [Tories, DUP, Brexiteers]
    4. We have an impenetrable, controlled, supa dupa border with the EU, over which WE have control (whatever that means).
    [Brexiteers, etc., etc.]

    Simple, really. When you think about it.

  6. What will be of extreme importance here is how the Irish people both of the North and South view whats being proposed in this deal. I am sure there will be many from both camps who will take the view that this is just a step closer to a Single Irish State. In addition this Tory Government has little desire to keep on propping up the Northern 6 Counties and the deal,if there is a deal, will suite them fine.

  7. “a country can leave the EU within 2 years – the UK is doing so.
    Ireland has been struggling for 800 years to get out of Britain’s grip and Scotland for about 100. Compare and contrast!!!”
    A brief history lesson may help.
    The EU hasn’t proposed blocking our ports while we starve on a (failed) potato crop – while allowing exports of barley etc. to the mainland.
    The EU hasn’t sent in judges whose stated aim is to hang as many of us as possible.
    The EU isn’t proposing to send in soldiers to murder, rape, and burn down churches, as Ireland has suffered for hundreds of years.
    The EU isn’t (so far as I know) sending weapons to ‘loyalists’, plus intelligence and a ‘get out of jail free card’, as the UK did in NI until 1998 (or later).
    I could go on, endlessly.
    And don’t start me on Scotland. Or Wales.
    The EU is positively civilised, isn’t it?

    1. Andrew: what about the treatment meted out to Greece when it was the German Banks that crashed the Euro zone economies. They received Euro Quantitative Easing which has been denied to those countries made to pay for the crash.

      This article by Bernanke show the serious problems facing Europe due
      to rigid fiscal doctrines, the trade imbalances and a single currency. In short unlike our united Kingdom, Europe’s countries competes against each other, but can’t readjust their countries imbalance due to the single currency. http://www.businessinsider.com/bernanke-on-trade-imbalances-in-the-euro-zone-2015-7?IR=T

      I could have chosen several other documents to make this same point but Bernanke like him or not does understand this relationship within Europe, and whether on the right or the left all understand this.

      1. Rather than get drawn into another discussion I should point out that this is to do with the EU Bank and not the EU. Also, Yannis Varoufakis the Greek finance minister agreed that Britain should remain, despite the poor treatment received by Greece.

      2. What a load of Brexiteers piffle. The EU sports the poorer economies, and all of them are making good progress. In fact or fish going to help per EU nations was a central plank of Dear Nigel’s campaign to leave.
        Greece was, of course, a special case. A basket case. Tax was optional, their economy was run on fraud. And they had no wish to change.
        Granted the EU was pretty tough. But what was the alternative?
        The mistake the EU made (yes, with our connivance), was letting them join before a programme was agreed to sort it out.

      3. Sorry for typos, I’m in the pub.
        The EU SUPPORTS poorer nations, and our DOSH going to them was Nigel’s complaint.

      4. You do have a funny view of what is supporting when you call Greece a basket case.
        Who do you think owns the most debt in Europe Greece or Germany?
        I’ll put you out of your misery, Germany does http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36723034

        These Banks are what brought the world wide crash not Greece, which is 3% of the whole European economy.
        But who got bailed out by QE, not Greece but Deutsche Bank.

        You have also just let your veil slip down on your attack of another member state by parroting the usual disclaimer, it was their fault anyway, but all the so called sick southern states were all doing nicely until the Bankers crashed the economy.

        Deutsche Bank is the sick man of Europe not Greece.

    2. I suppose you would need to ask that question to a person from Greece, who saw 25% of their country’s GDP wiped out in 12 months by the troika in order to protect the wealth of the Franco-German duopoly which runs the EU for its own benefit.

      You have fallen for the propaganda that the EU is a cooperative of states.

      The EU is a realist enterprise, its rules and institutions are designed to allow its founding states to maintain control.

      The rich states in the EU exploit the poor states, they take their brightest and best workers to grow their own economies and leave the poorer states unable to grow their economies.

      It’s a shame really, it could have worked if they had had copied the model of the American constitution more closely with an elected executive, a constitution that could be amended and senators from each country to give countries equal representation.

      The problem is that EU put the cart before the horse. They needed a massive pan European investment programme to create parity of income across the EU before implementing the political harmonisation – freedom of movement would have worked, instead it is now driving inequality across Europe.

      Its other fatal flaw was entering into a deal with neoliberalism in order to provide the funds to keep the political show on the road. The deal it struck was that the neoliberals allowed the EU to have higher than normal standards of regulation but in return demanded privatisation and austerity. That was a profound mistake which highlights the economic instability of the project.

      It is all a bloody mess really that will take a generation to fix.

      On reflection we are certainly better off out of it.


  9. Well thank goodness that we can all be reassured by Theresa May’s fantastic record of successes throughout the BREXIT negotiations. Just look at what TM and her team have managed to achieve since the referendum, one can’t fail to be impressed.
    We are really lucky to have a leader like Therese May to skillfully lead us through the minefield of BREXIT.
    What could possibly go wrong with TM ‘in charge’.

  10. Heenan73 – the EU supports poorer states like the rope supports the hanging man.

    Check the facts on Eurostat.

    Only 5 EU states have above the median average wage across Europe. Most of the other EU states are stuck in the 20th percentile

    Can you guess which countries those are? That’s right, they do of course include Germany, France, the U.K. and the tax haven Luxembourg. The rich EU states.

    Their GDPs are more than double the other EU states and it is no coincidence that poorer states are haemorrhaging millions of their best workers to the richer states.

    Freedom of movement is destroying the economies of the majority of EU states. A billion here and a billion there in subsidies does not butter any parsnips.

    Freedom of movement can work as a policy but it requires an approximate parity of wages in all EU member states, which will require a massive investment programme of over 3 trillion euros. One only has to look at the savagery of the EU in its dealings with Greece to understand that France and Germany will never agree to such a forward looking programme of investment in EU states.

    That is why the EU is doomed to fail.

    Essentially people like you are nationalists hiding behind a cloak of internationalism. All you care about is economic growth in your own country and that growth comes at the expense of poorer EU states.

    But you do not really give a damn. That is the truth of the matter.

      1. A million items being produced in one sector in one state in Europe.

        Is that your defence for the damage and inequality being inflicted on the overwhelming majority of states’ economies by the EU’s policies, Steve?

        I rest my case.

      2. But, Internal Affairs, you haven’t made a case to rest. You sneer atSteveG for quoting one statistic, but your entire trolling campaign has been based on one statistic. Your ignorance of the EU is astounding, and your lies are pathetic.
        And you ignore all challenges to your BS (textbook troll)
        Best go to the UKIP site – you’ll fit right in.

      3. I have provided a wide range of statistics to support my argument, Mr Heenan, as the reader can see.

        Whereas you have been forced to resort to baseless attacks, reflecting the paucity of your position.

        Feel free to keep protesting against democracy along with Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell and the Liberal Democrats.

        I will focus instead on returning a Labour Government and on achieving the best possible post Brexit outcome for this country,

  11. how about looking at the decisions made by the eu to pull together all the military of individual countires into one big eu army? Ask about what PESCOE is? Ask where all the funding is going if not to our military? What exactly is May’s percentage to the eu even when we have supposedly left? Despite everything britain is not leaving the eu -it is supposedly redesigning a new pathway for peace and defence with the eu – no? This is how the eu works – it is trying to create itself in the image of a nation state – which it is not – and expect evryone else to give up sovereignty and to parralel NATO and infiltrate africa – follow the money ….

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