Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
20 April 2018updated 24 Jun 2021 12:23pm

On the Irish border problem, the Brexit elite are still peddling fantasies

The EU has rejected the British government’s proposed solution, which aimed to avoid a hard border.

By Stephen Bush

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the government’s Brexit objectives have hit an Irish border-shaped obstacle after EU negotiators rejected the British government’s two plans for the border after the United Kingdom leaves, Peter Foster reveals in the Telegraph.

The problem hasn’t changed: if you want divergence on goods and customs, you have to have checks somewhere on the EU-UK frontier, whether that be on the island of Ireland (something both the British government and the EU27 have ruled out) or in the Irish sea (something that a Conservative government whose parliamentary position is reliant on the DUP can’t agree to either).

Look beneath the headlines and the Irish border solution looks a lot like a big win for the British government’s strategic priorities: the British government gets to diverge on the industries of the future and on services, no longer enjoys freedom of movement but effectively remains in the single market for goods and agriculture, a massive boom for British industry. All that and Theresa May could preserve one of the crowning achievements of the last 30 years of British politics, too.

But as ever, is that the Brexit elite are still peddling fantasies that you can have divergence without barriers.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action