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18 Sep, 19 tweets, 4 min read
Someone I know (offline) said they didn't understand the whole Brexit / Ireland / Trade thing. Didn't see the first few episodes, couldn't catch up, now lost.

So for those in the same boat, I'm gonna try to explain. This is (necessarily) simplified, but here goes
In 2016 we voted to leave the EU.

But if we do that without a Trade Deal, we risk making a lot of our economy noncompetitive.


Because if you don't have a Trade Deal, you have to use WTO (World Trade Org) rules. And those include tariffs.

What are tariffs?
Tariffs are a kind of tax: between around 10% and 90% of the value of the thing you trade. So for example, beef that we currently sell to Spain for £10 will now cost £19.

And that means it's cheaper for Spain to buy beef from France. So they will. So our beef farmers suffer.
We assemble lots of cars in the UK. We import parts (add tariff) and export cars (add tariff again).

So eg: 10% on car parts becomes 20% by the time we've imported the parts and exported the car.

So a Nissan made in UK cost 20% more than the same Nissan made in Denmark.
This doesn't mean Nissan will immediately close their plants in the UK. But it means next time they choose where to build a new model, they'll pick somewhere 20% cheaper, inside the EU.

Same goes for 1000s of manufacturers and industries that import parts and export good.
Why do tariffs even exist?

They're a form of tax (UK treasury makes money from tariffs on countries we don't have deals with), and they protect domestic industries (make other countries more expensive).

But we can't eliminate them. WTO exists, and we can't stop it.
But why are we struggling to get a deal with the EU? If they want one and we want one, it should be easy.

We do both want one. But ...

The Irish Border. Lots of people warned about this before the referendum, but were mostly ignored.
3600 died in violence the "Irish troubles"

This was ended by the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), which (to simplify it) "removed" the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Free movement, free trade, no guards. And a lasting peace.

So why is the border a problem now?
Because of something called "regulatory standards".

To facilitate free trade inside the EU, all nations agree to follow certain standards. That way, you don't need to check Product X meets your standard when you import it.

But the UK wants to no longer follow EU standards.
And that means we have to check goods at the Irish Border again.

And to do that we have to add checkpoints at the border.

And this breaks the GFA.

And unfortunately for the UK, the GFA has guarantors, who insist we stick to the GFA.
When the GFA was signed, multiple nations backed it by agreeing to step in and stop anybody from breaking it. For example, by adding a border.

Those guarantors include EU and USA.

So we are legally bound to NOT do anything to add a border in Ireland.
The EU can't sign any Trade Deal with the UK that adds a border on the island of Ireland.

The USA have said they won't sign a Trade Deal with the UK if the GFA is broken.

And between them, USA and EU are are around 50% of our trade. The costs to us of no deal could be huge.
Doesn't mean we won't trade with them at all. Just means the things we trade will be 10% to 90% more expensive... and as I said earlier, that will really, really hurt our economy.

So how do we resolve this?

Since 2016, the UK and EU have been exploring multiple options.
Those options are

1: A border between NI and Ireland
2: A border between NI and the rest of the UK, somewhere in the Irish Sea
3: Continue to accept EU rules


1: breaks the GFA
2: breaks up the UK
3: is the opposite of Brexit

There really isn't a 4th option
Theresa May spent years trying to look for a way around this, and failed.

Boris Johnson signed a Withdrawal Agreement (WA) last year which effectively did option 2 (border in the Irish Sea), but told everybody it didn't.

His govt voted to prevent parliament scrutinising the WA
And now he's saying he wants to break the WA (i.e. break the law) and look for a new solution.

But there are only 2 solutions left: break the GFA, or keep following EU rules.

The govt says they will find "alternative arrangements" before the deadline.
But nobody can say what those are. We have been looking for alternative arrangements since 2016. It cost Theresa May her job, and now Boris Johnson is up against exactly the same issues. His solution is to break peace treaties, but obviously, may object.
And that's essentially where we are.

I've tried to do this without putting my Remoaner slant on it, but here it is anyway: voting for the impossible doesn't make it possible. The GFA makes Brexit - at least the Brexit that was promised - impossible.
Obviously I have, for space, simplified things. It is not my intention to mislead, so I hope I haven't. My guess is, lots of people who believe in Brexit will try to find holes in what I've said.

But finding holes in this is easier than finding holes in the GFA.


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More from @RussInCheshire

20 Oct
Hi, lovely people who follow me.

Please also follow @MAGsaveslives, and watch this film.

And if you'll be patient with me, read this little thread about why you should consider lending them your support and - if you can spare it - a small donation or two.

I spent nearly 20 years consulting in the charity sector, and MAG are, in my opinion, the absolute best of the best.

There are plenty of campaigning landmine charities, but MAG actually go into conflict areas, get on their knees, and dig out the landmines.
They work to remove the millions of unmarked pot mines that every day kill, maim and destroy lives. They train locals to sustain that work. They disarm and resolve conflict.

And they provide prosthetics and healthcare to rebuild shattered lives and broken communities.
Read 6 tweets
20 Oct
#TheWeekInTory returns, and I’m very sorry, but it’s a monster. The little scamps have achieved quite a lot in the - yep - FIVE DAYS - since the last one.

Let’s dive straight in with probably the most gobsmacking sentence you’ll read all year…
1. NHS staff were polled on whether, in recognition of their efforts to fight Covid 19, they would prefer to be given a badge or a snack box

2. It was reported 2 out of every 3 hospices will have to make redundancies. In a pandemic.
3. The govt published a poster: “We plan to cut all homeless people in half by 2025”, which is a bit severe even for Priti Patel

4. The govt insisted we all comply with Test and Trace rules, and then excluded restaurants in the Palace of Westminster from Test and Trace rules
Read 45 tweets
19 Oct
I write this pretty much every year, to explain why I won't wear a red poppy. Nothing at all to do with hating Britain or not supporting veterans, or being a lefty do-gooder, or any other blame you want to pin on me

It's because of my dad's uncle Tommy. Here's the story...
Tommy Parry joined up to fight in WW1. Some in the family say he was underage, but I don't know.

Regardless, he was at Passchendaele, where he was shot by a machine gun.

As he lay injured, a shell exploded nearby, and the mud it threw up pretty much buried Tommy...
One of his pals saw part of him sticking out the mud, and he was dragged back to his trench, presumed dead.

As Tommy told it, his pals "dug me up to bury me".

The policy was not to retrieve bodies. Officially, those like Tommy were abandoned.

But Tommy was still alive...
Read 10 tweets
16 Oct
So it looks like we will soon be one of only a handful of countries that are NOT inside a trading bloc

A couple of empty wildernesses
A couple of pariah states
And us

There's a reason these things exist, and we will soon discover it...
Because when it becomes obvious how hard and expensive it is to be outside a bloc - and believe me, Leavers, it WILL become obvious - we'll certainly have to try to join one again.

But which one?

Well, let's look at that map again. Notice something?
Every trade bloc is made up of neighbours. There are no non-contiguous blocs. None

We aren't going to join the African Union. NAFTA isn't going to open the books to an island 3600 miles away.

We are at the edge of a continent, with only one bloc next to us.

The EU
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
Here comes another #TheWeekInTory, and I'm afraid it's quite lengthy.

The positive we can take from this is that if you start now, you can probably get through the 2 bottles of gin you'll definitely need before the end.

Uncork and begin...
1. Boris Johnson announced a new 3 Tier lockdown system, with the lowest Tier being “medium”, like at McDonalds

2. As part of the announcement, the Chief Medical Officer reassuringly said the plan wouldn’t work

3. The govt said “in all cases, we are following the science”
4. It was revealed the SAGE science committee told the govt to lockdown weeks ago, but that bit of science wasn’t followed very far

5. SAGE went on to say the govt’s “world-beating” £12bn Test and Trace system was having only “a marginal impact on transmission rates”
Read 36 tweets
14 Oct
You didn't ask for this, but I'm doing it anyway, so tough: a bit of a defence of Laura Kuenssberg.

If you come to this with your mind made up, you're unlikely to be persuaded. But I hope you'll at least give this some consideration...
I think Kuenssberg suffers from a problem many others do, but is high profile, so gets a lot of shit.

Lobby Correspondents like her used to be seen as fair, cos the politicians broadly played by the rules: briefings were mostly honest, policies were mostly delivered.

But ...
Globally, the populist right is flagrantly ignoring those rules. That's their deliberate approach.

But the BBC still has a duty to follow the rules - report what they're told as if its fact. And populists exploit this.

Her hands are tied by UK broadcast media convention.
Read 21 tweets

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