63 thoughts on “De Tuesday Papers

  1. pedantic

    The Irish Daily Mail: have the 35 taken voluntary redundancy there yet? Or have they been warned it’s their ‘last chance’, before it becomes involuntary!

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  2. ReproBertie

    The British Taoiseach has her new letter to bring back to the British Dáil. This has to be approved by the UK parliament before the EU will vote on it. The backstop remains.

    Both “parties do not wish the backstop solution in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to become applicable, that were it to do so it would represent a suboptimal trading arrangement for both sides, and that both parties are therefore determined to replace the backstop solution for Northern Ireland by a subsequent agreement that would ensure, on a permanent footing, the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland, in full respect of the integrity of the Union’s internal market and of the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.”

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  3. Richie O

    Brexit stuff broke late last night and moved quickly. Stories had to be sent. Websites will have more up to date pieces. Just letting you all know! Thanking you.

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    1. eoin

      It’s rotten for the newspapers which are still engineered around a single publication every 24 hours. All sympathies to you.

      You say there are updates, but, in terms of the Times Ireland, which has some decent journalists who will be across this story, where can the updates be found? It’s 8am and there doesn’t appear to be any update to the Irish-angled articles posted at 12.01am.

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  4. Emily Dickinson

    Doesn’t matter what this bit of paper says. The numbers aren’t there to get any deal through the HoP. The only way to break the logjam is a general election and/or a second referendum. Might be some futile kicking of the can before that, though.

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  5. Giggidygoo

    Well. well. well. Isn’t Varadkar the important one? Isn’t Ireland?
    well – No! He, and this country are not. While the negotiations are ongoing, they are ongoing without us. Varadkar, the Two-bit Taoiseach sits on his tod, awaiting his updates and instructions from Barnier and Co. By phone.
    Daffy finally realizing that the situation is grave. Murphy and Harris glad of the short break from the spotlight.
    Boys incapable of doing men’s jobs.

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    1. Cú Chulainn

      Mr. Goo, you are living in a parallel universe. In case you’ve missed it, if there’s to be a border it’s going to be the down the Irish Sea. We don’t need to rub any salt in the open wound.

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    2. ReproBertie

      We are the EU. The EU negotiates as one, not by dragging representatives of 27 states in to talk to May.

      Hiow many EU leaders do you think were consulted for their approval of this new letter? We know Varadkar was.

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      1. baz

        You’re on the sauce early. Laughable clutching.

        Leo and co caught with pants around their ankles.

        The EUs real power brokers now in charge. Ireland who?

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          1. Giggidygoo

            Agreed backstop is it?
            Sure that’s great. No need for the UK Houses to vote then. You’d better get over there and tell them – sure aren’t they some idiots? Some clown posting comments on a news article in Ireland knows better than British MPs.

            I’ll put it into words for you shall I? Teresa May and the EU have agreed the wording of a ‘Proposed’ backstop. That ‘wording’ hasn’t been agreed by the UK. Therefore the UK and EU as such haven’t agreed anything.

          2. ReproBertie

            Yes, it was agreed by the EU and UK negotiation teams and accepted as part of the WA by the UK cabinet. It’s an agreed part of any deal the UK gets no matter how much they squirm, threaten and cajole and no matter how many times you type “proposed”.

      2. Giggidygoo

        How many EU leaders have a land border with the UK? Varadkar, above any other EU leader, should be at the heart of these negotiations. But it’s coming up to St. Patrick’s day, and he has photo shoots to do. Not that he’d be at the heart of it anyway – sure a memo or text message or voice mail normally suffices.

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        1. ReproBertie

          The negotiatons were between the EU and UK. It’s not hard to understand unless you choose not to in order to score internet points among the idiots.

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          1. Giggidygoo

            Even harder for you to understand that Ireland is the ONLY EU state with a land border with the UK, yet the boys in our government are either not allowed to be, or incapable of being, part of the negotiations on a situation where Ireland (once again) can be hung out to dry by its ‘partners’.

            If the Withdrawal Agreement is an agreement, then why is there disagreement?Even the worst of clowns can see the stupidity of mentioning an Agreement, when there isn’t any agreement.

            If a backstop exists, then ….. well refer the the previous paragraph.

            tsk tsk.

          2. ReproBertie

            The Irish government and representatives have been so ignored by the EU that the single issue holding up the UK’s departure is the border issue and the agreed backstop, a UK suggestion, is the only sticking point.

            The notion that Ireland’s interest is not being heavily represented in the negotiations is clearly fantasy but it makes you feel better about hating Leo so carry on. The rest of us will stick with the reality.

          3. Giggidygoo

            Aye, we are so liked and protected by the other EU members, that the proposed backstop original wording/meaning is being diluted before your very eyes and you love it. A Leo liker alright.

          4. ReproBertie

            The WA has not changed. The Backstop has not changed. If it hasn’t changed how can it be diluted?

            It’s funny how desperate you are for the rest of the EU27 to throw Ireland under the bus just because you hate Leo.

            Spain and Gibraltar say “Hi” by the way.

          5. MaryLou's ArmaLite

            It is hard for him to understand anything that might dissuade him of the view that SF/IRA will solve all our problems and everyone else will make things worse.

    1. ReproBertie

      Spends more time in court than in the Octagon.

      Maybe he needs someone to remind him about the whole “martial arts teaches discipline” thing.

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      1. Bertie blenkinsop

        I think I was over generous with my timeline when I said “dead, broke or in prison in 5 years” after he fought Mayweather.

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  6. eoin

    What happened to the online version of the Irish Examiner front page story with the headline?

    “UK backstop demand “completely unacceptable””

    Has the online team at the Examiner donned the “green jersey”, were they warned not to publish the concerns of ministers who were responding to last night’s u-turn by the habitually sozzled president of the European Commission? Where is the Examiner’s story about the opposition to the new cobbled-together deal?

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  7. eoin

    Maybe this Brexit agreement needs constructive ambiguity, but Theresa May was clear last night, this “instrument” has “joint equal weight” with the draft withdrawal agreement and the UK could “ultimately unilaterally disapply the backstop”. Theresa May is in a hole but if that interpretation is anywhere near accurate, it’s no wonder unnamed Irish ministers are saying last night’s u-turn is “unacceptable”.

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  8. dav

    Re the backstop “changes” today is going to be akin to waiting around until somebody shouts that the emperor is naked.

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  9. eoin

    Even the politicians who get paid to understand this stuff are saying they need wait to hear what the attorneys general (British and Irish) make of this “unilateral declaration”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-unilateral-declaration/unilateral-declaration-by-britain-on-brexit-withdrawal-deal-idUSKBN1QS2V8

    Britain appears to be committing to avoid a “hard border on the island of Ireland” but that term, “hard border”, isn’t defined. Also, it isn’t clear, if there is a conflict between the commitment to avoid a hard border and the intention, set out in the agreement, to end the post-Brexit deal, which will trump the other – avoiding a hard border or being free to negotiate a new deal.

    Remember back in December 2017 when the EU/UK issued an outline of negotiation objectives and there was conflict and contradiction between paragraphs 49 and 50 in that document, but the contradictions were overlooked because everyone knew the DUP would not support Theresa May otherwise, well, it looks like we have the same type of conflict today.

    If Ireland could choose between the old agreement without last night’s “instrument” and this new deal that we have today, we would choose the former, no doubt. But if it’s a choice between the new agreement and no deal at all, which is better? In the short term, it’s this new agreement, but for anyone with a vision for our country in 50 years, it’s probably better to have no deal, followed by one or more border polls, followed by reunification.

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      1. eoin

        The draft withdrawal agreement in December kept the backstop “unless and until” an alternative was found which was acceptable to Ireland (EU really, but Ireland has a veto). So, Ireland had the power.

        The position today is, in my opinion, the UK can unilaterally abandon the backstop if it conflicts with the trade deal the UK wants to negotiate with the EU. The unilateral declaration last night

        https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-unilateral-declaration/unilateral-declaration-by-britain-on-brexit-withdrawal-deal-idUSKBN1QS2V8

        makes it clear the UK is to avoid any [undefined] “hard border” but the document also sets out the intention for the UK to negotiate a trade deal with the EU. What happens if it can’t negotiate a trade deal with the EU without abandoning the “hard border” commitment. In other words, which trumps the other, the intention to negotiate a trade deal or the commitment to avoid a “hard border”.

        The Taoiseach appears certain that the UK will not abandon the commitment to avoid a hard border even if that commitment conflicts with the UK’s intention to negotiate a new trade deal. I think he’s being unrealistically optimistic.

        Or, in other words, if you enter into a contract today which is deliberately ambiguous or lacks specificity, then that contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And if the contract is invalid, is it better now all round to declare there is no deal which will make demands for a border poll irresistible.

        Now, if the EU were to produce its own “instrument” which made it clear the EU would not agree a trade deal with the UK which did not include a backstop, then I would be more confident. Why hasn’t Leo demanded such an EU “unilateral” instrument?

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          1. eoin

            That’s what Leo says, isn’t it.
            On the other hand, Theresa says the “instrument” published last night is a “joint instrument with joint equal legal weight”.

            Those two positions appear deeply contradictory to me, how about you. Who is right?

          2. ReproBertie

            How would a trade deal result in a hard border?

            The legal instrument released last night clearly outlines what happens if they can’t agree a trade deal by December 31st 2020 and nowhere does it allow for a unilateral withdrawal from the back stop.

          3. eoin

            “How would a trade deal result in a hard border?”

            If a trade deal were to ban from the EU certain goods produced by the UK (different standards in UK, third countries exporting goods to the UK for re-export), then the only way to enforce the ban would be to establish checks at a border.

          4. ReproBertie

            But under the terms of the WA, the backstop remains until a trade deal produces a situation where the backstop is no longer required. Your example does not fit that picture so the backstop would remain if that was the best deal they could come up with.

  10. eoin

    Hey BS, “boo boos” is no longer a rude word!

    The British attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, describes the claim by the venerable Jon Snow of C4 that the AG is being pressured to say yes to the “instrument” published last night.

    “boo boos”

    https://twitter.com/Geoffrey_Cox/status/1105393787243778053

    I wonder would our attorney general Seamus Woulfe use such language.

    And separately, the ex-Australian PM describes the optimism expressed by Brexiteers that they can negotiate superior deals with non-EU countries as

    “utter boo boos”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/11/former-australian-pm-kevin-rudd-calls-brexit-trade-plan-utter-bollocks

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  11. eoin

    The British attorney general publishes his legal advice about last night’s developments.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/785188/190312_-_Legal_Opinion_on_Joint_Instrument_and_Unilateral_Declaration_co..___2_.pdf

    Like Harry Truman with economists, you can imagine Theresa May asking for future AGs to only have one hand!

    On one hand, the declarations last night do clarify the will of the British not to be permanently stuck in a backstop, but, on the other hand ” the legal risk remains unchanged that if through no such demonstrable failure of either party, but simply because of intractable differences, that situation [inability of UK/EU to agree new detailed relationship deal] does arise, the United Kingdom would have, at least while the fundamental circumstances remained the same, no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement. ”

    Geoffrey says the risk of being permanently stuck in a limbo backstop with the EU is “reduced” but Brexiteers want to see it “eliminated”. In my view, the new arrangements last night will not be sufficient to win approval this evening (or tomorrow if a 24 extension on the vote goes ahead).

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    1. Cian

      Thanks Eoin
      Better link for that document: (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/legal-opinion-on-joint-instrument-and-unilateral-declaration-concerning-the-withdrawal-agreement)

      So Cox is saying that if the UK and EU can’t find a better solution (and they both need to deploy a sincere desire to reach agreement and the necessary diligence, flexibility and goodwill) that they can’t break this agreement. Is that not like any other contract?

      And if they can’t find a better solution, does that not imply that this is the optimum solution?

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    1. gobbledy

      for the record

      I gave the Bake Off show a look after reading your columns. It’s a pleasant distraction. Thanks for your help

      Reply

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