The UK government's Northern Ireland statement in short - rewrite history as to how we got here, whinge about the impact with a handful of select figures, suggest preposterous and shallow honesty scheme to replace almost the entire protocol, threaten Article 16 later.
It is another fundamentally unserious document from the UK government with regard to Northern Ireland, taking the debate backwards and lowering trust. Obviously the proposals would be unacceptable to anyone, which leads to what happens in September. Conflict or climbdown?
Teaser alert - the largest section in the UK government's Northern Ireland command paper is on how we got to the current position. In case that provides a clue as to whether the emphasis is more on self-justification or practical solutions.
The government's writing of history over the Northern Ireland protocol not winning friends...
This is one of my favourite sections. If only there was a different negotiating context, such as the UK being allowed to pretend the problem away...
Quite taken also with this paragraph, since Parliament has not been an issue for walking away without a deal since December 2019, yet we still haven't done so. Almost like it was a completely empty bluff... a long whinge this section...
Strangely not mentioned - the 300 EU regulations the UK committed to apply in Northern Ireland. Because after all this long whinge has to be about how unfair life is, not what this government negotiated, badly.
Numbers are good, but these are rather fragments rather than serious evidence, and the 30% of NI small business selling less to GB rather odd, since that relationship isn't supposed to have changed whatsoever.
No Article 16 because the US wouldn't like it and the EU might impose trade sanctions (sorry, that's not what it says, but that's the real reason).
What to do? Rip up the entire protocol while claiming not to be doing so. Obviously unacceptable.
And here it is, replace the entire protocol with some kind of loose honesty box approach. An embarrassment that anybody could think this a serious proposal.
Just to prove it isn't really about any individual impact but the treaty as a whole, the UK also want to rip up the subsidies part of the protocol.
A standstill on current arrangement is what we de facto currently have. This could yet endure. Not much else in this lame apology of a government paper will do so.
EU unimpressed. And so we continue as before.
And here's the thing - yes there are GB-NI issues to address. Yes the unionists have a case. But this UK government approach is People's Front of Judea 2 days to dismantle the entire apparatus fantasy, not at all the engagement needed to make real change.
General response all round - nothing of interest whatsoever in the UK's NI paper, including any realistic proposals. Waste of time at best, making things worse possibly. We go again in September, and forever until the UK government aligns with trade and regulatory realities.
There is considerable commonality here, and not in a good way...
Anyway, remember the UK government pressures on the Northern Ireland protocol. Trade and political relations with the EU and US versus relations with unionists and backbenchers. The latter are worth political statements, but the former will win any serious consideration.
DUP still falling for UK government words, so in that sense at least job done. Nobody else believe them, but the DUP...
What have been the real implications on trade of the Northern Ireland protocol - as yet hard to tell?

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with David Henig

David Henig Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @DavidHenigUK

22 Jul
I was asked a few times yesterday where I saw discussions on the Northern Ireland protocol heading, and the simple answer is that we're right now in an unsatisfactory but not completely unstable equilibrium between all parties, which could endure.…
The EU thinks the UK is not implementing the protocol properly, taking account of EU flexibility, but ultimately should align. The UK thinks the EU is not implementing the protocol properly, taking account of UK implementation, and ultimately should allow a border free-for-all.
As long as the UK does not invoke Article 16 or the EU more serious legal action, then they can uncomfortably for both sides carry on as is - both unhappy it isn't being done to their specification, but both in particular not upsetting the US by going further.
Read 7 tweets
21 Jul
Insofar as I've been able to read until the paywall kicks in, more on the rapidly changing global trade debate, in which conditionality is increasingly threatening non-discrimination (although they may not be mutually exclusive) - driven by the EU and US.
It is the contrast between the active global trade debate on conditionality, and the UK's nice tariff and market distortion obsessions that is so disappointing. We could have played a part in the debate, as a new entrant, but chose instead to look back 50 years.
A sensible UK contribution to the new debate on conditional trade would have been to accept the necessity, but insist on the retention of broad principles such as non-discrimination and open trade. In other words, to use open trade to incentivise positive results.
Read 6 tweets
21 Jul
No better evidence of the extent to which UK trade thinking is outdated and out of kilter with global thinking than this Board of Trade report on Green Trade. As the EU and US discuss carbon border taxes, we propose, well nothing really...…
In so far as there is an argument in this Board of Trade report, it seems to be that reducing tariffs can encourage green trade because of specialisation. Which is not necessarily true (or false), new, or in any way groundbreaking.
In the trade policy community the particular joke on the UK government is that everything has to be connected to "anti-competitive market distortions", a simplistic universal notion pushed by a couple of advisers, dismissed as obvious and unimportant everywhere else.
Read 5 tweets
21 Jul
Marks and Spencer did not have a good Brexit transition, failing to get products to stores in France, and it looks like the reason might be that the Chairman does not understand international trade or the EU.…
You wonder how much of the farce of repeated unacceptable UK government proposals on Northern Ireland are related to thinking the EU does borders wrong, even though only within the EU do you get no border checks, and every other country has them.
Simon tries to put a brave face on the farce, imagining what if someone had a bright idea that might resolve the NI protocol - well then we'd need to convince the EU... which is of course not happening.
Read 8 tweets
20 Jul
Weird interview. Not feeling better about the past, present, or future of this government. But as to who did what when, no idea...
Struggling to work out how leaving the EU to take back control and make things better was consistent with then putting someone you know to be hopeless as Prime Minister.
The gulf between the Cummings big picture and his detail is vast enough to explain rather a lot, from Brexit to covid to Johnson.
Read 4 tweets
20 Jul
To be honest 'new thinking' or indeed just 'thinking' would be welcome from the UK government with regard to the Northern Ireland protocol, as compared to the usual shallow analysis, reheated leftovers and empty threats. Expectations low.
As a believer in precedent in international relations I have a strong feeling I'm not going to enjoy the UK's latest proposal on Northern Ireland tomorrow.
As predicted on Northern Ireland, same old UK government denial of trade issues and threats to breach treaty laughably called a “wholesale change of approach”. Two years, same nonsense repeatedly.…
Read 11 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!