There’s a reason Michael Gove said during the EU referendum campaign that he’d had enough of experts: they all know what they’re talking about.
And, in relation to Boris Johnson’s new Brexit “offer” to the European Union, they are in pretty much universal agreement that it’s a heap of horse manure.
To cut a long story short, Boris has proposed that Northern Ireland stays in the single market for goods (while the rest of the UK leaves), but that the whole of the UK would leave the customs union. The Northern Ireland Assembly would also be able to vote every four years on whether to keep these arrangements.
Essentially, this would create two borders in Ireland: one between the North and the Republic (since they would have different customs arrangements), and one between the North and the rest of the UK (since we would have different rules on goods).
Less than an hour after its release, this proposal has received the full treatment from experts, who fail to see the logic in Johnson’s plan.
Jonathan Lis, deputy director of the think tank British Influence, has given probably the most brutal description of Johnson’s offer, calling it “total, unadulterated garbage” in a post on Best For Britain’s Twitter page.
He carried on to say that “The government has pretended the last two years never happened and merely recycled the fantasy plans the EU categorically rejected in August 2017.”
Meanwhile, David Henig, co-founder of the UK Trade Forum, has questioned whether, “anyone in the UK government bother to ask any other Northern Ireland party whether the plan was acceptable to them? One suspects not. Utterly irresponsible.”
Indeed, although the DUP has given its backing to Boris’s offer, virtually every other party in Northern Ireland supports the backstop (which Johnson is attempting to circumvent). And 56% of Northern Ireland voted to Remain in the first place.
Trade expert Allie Renison has also noted the sheer, baffling scale of Johnson’s task, highlighting that he’s attempting to renegotiate a Brexit deal in two weeks, when the two sides have been at an impasse for over three years.
Oh, and Henig points out that Johnson’s offer would present, “Spectacular opportunities for smuggling and fraud,” presumably due to Johnson’s fanciful idea that customs checks can take place using mobile phones or drones or something.
All things considered, a pretty embarrassing effort from our clown Prime Minister.