It’s on, it’s off. Oh wait, now it’s back on again…hang on though, it was never really on in the first place…and now we’re back to square one and it’s halfway through October. Tick tock, tick tock…
That seems to be the general consensus of our political commentariat, who’ve been following every tortuous twist and turn of these increasingly fraught and fanciful Brexit negotiations. Once again the thorny issue of the Northern Irish border has thrown a spanner in the works, accompanied by pie in the sky expectations of frictionless borders between two independent and self-governing jurisdictions.
Whilst the EU indulges the fantasy that it can maintain some kind of legal control over the UK post Brexit, Britain daydreams about sending goods and products into a foreign jurisdiction without so much as a cursory customs check.
If there was the political will to manage this change in a pragmatic and co-operative way, there would simply be no need for these circular conversations endlessly revolving around some non-existent, magical border solution, which is how we know this is a political issue rather than a legal or technical one.
For example, more than 4,000 passenger vehicles and 10,000 commercial vehicles cross between the US and Canada every single weekday via the Ambassador Bridge alone. In other words, the Irish border problem is eminently manageable if each party is willing to abandon its unattainable political goals.