tisdag 10 september 2019

Johnson meets Vradakar and looks frustrated

The two prime ministers are shown standing side by side. Johnson looks frustrated and bewildered. Small wonder. It is difficult to negotiate with people who insist on irrational behaviour. The Single Market trade rules are nothing if not irrational, since their underlying principle is that goods should be KEPT OUT of one’s own country. That is what the EU tariffs and other restrictions are intended to do. They are an application of the long discredited seventeenth century economic theory known as ‛Mercantilism’.

The Irish will be the biggest losers after Brexit because so many of their imports come from the UK. They will either have to bear the additional costs of the EU's tariffs or obtain their supplies from alternative sources in mainland Europe. Since this involves a long voyage round the tip of Cornwall, these goods will carry the burden of higher transport costs; the route is too long for economic RoRo services.

The Republic was effectively obliged to follow the UK into the then EEC when it joined in 1973, due to the volume of trade between the two countries. The logical solution is for the Republic to follow the UK out again. Better still would be for the EU to embark on a programme of radical reform, to achieve free trade with the whole world, unilaterally if necessary. This would give rise to widespread benefits, because the problems that the Irish will face already have an adverse effect on the economies of countries in eastern Europe with borders with non-EU countries, who are cut off from their natural hinterlands; trade cannot even take place between businesses in adjacent towns when one is in, say, Latvia and the other in Belarus, giving rise to a situation where important regional hubs like Daugavpils in Latvia have become ghost towns.

If the Irish really want to restrict the inward flow of goods from the UK, they could always invite the Royal Navy to lay mines at the entrance to the ports of Dublin, Rosslare and Cork.

The Scottish nationalists who want to subject themselves to the same punishment presumably do not understand the implications.

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