Post by Graeme Wall Post by Recliner Post by Roland Perry
Post by bob Post by Certes Post by D A Stocks
I notice the Norwegians have started construction of a bored road
tunnel link at Rogfast which is on a similar scale in terms of length
and depth to that required to cross the North Channel. They have also
I hope they ban cheese! :-)
The EU will certainly require us to have a customs queue leaving the NI
tunnel, where everyone is carefully searched for cheese sandwiches which
they might smuggle into the Republic of Ireland and onwards to France.
The EU was perfectly happy to have an arrangement with no customs border in
the Irish Sea, it was written into the agreement with Theresa May. The
decision to have a customs border in the Irish Sea was the decision of the UK
The new one under Boris, who had previously said that no such revised
agreement was possible.
Specifically, he flatly denied that there would need to be a customs border between GB and NI. Even he must have been
well aware when he told the blatant lie that a hard Brexit meant that there would inevitably have to be a customs border
between GB and the EU, and the GF treaty prevented it being between NI and Ireland, while the EU would certainly stop it
being between Ireland and the rest of the EU. That meant that it logically had to be between GB and NI.
May's deal avoided that problem by keeping GB on the EU customs union, but that form of Brexit was much too soft for the
Vote Leave team that ran Boris for his first year in office (now largely gone).
The simple answer, not just for the NI problem but also all the other
problems now killing small businesses, the fishing industry and the
music industry, is to apply to join the Single Market and the Customs Union.
I'm not sure that a soft Brexit like that would appeal to anyone. You can either be a full EU member, and play a part in
setting and agreeing the rules, or be completely out. I would have preferred the former, but now we must make the most
of the latter. There's little benefit in being an associate member, subject to the rules, but not having any say over
I think many of the customs issues are short-term and soluble. Some simply require more familiarity with the rules (both
for traders and the authorities), while others need business to change how they sell to the EU, to make it more like
they sell to others. This might mean having distributors within the EU to deal with individual customers, rather than
doing it directly.
For the bivalve molluscs, the EU should probably be more flexible, as it had apparently promised, or we need to set up
the purifying facilities on our side. So, for example, we could set up export purification tanks in Kent to handle all
live mollusc UK exports via the Tunnel and Dover, replacing the EU plants that currently do the job on the other side of
the Channel. In other words, we should add the value on our side of the Channel, rather than exporting a lower value
product to be purified by plants on the other side. It looks like a business opportunity for someone, and let's hope we
are the ones to take it, rather than expecting, say, the Dutch to set up such plants in Kent.
The touring musicians problem need some accommodation by both sides. Our Home Office was too adamant about restricting
such visits to the UK, and didn't think through the consequences for our own touring performers; but the EU is also
being too bureaucratic. This seems like an easy problem to solve if both sides weren't so pig-headed.