09:48AM, Tuesday 01 May 2018
Our Prime Minister’s ‘turn the other cheek’ approach to negotiations with the EU may be consistent with her Christian upbringing, but it is not necessarily in the national interest.
To take just the latest humiliation which the EU is proposing to heap upon our bowed heads, our over-conciliatory Government has supinely accepted that the land border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic represents a problem for us, when in reality it is a problem for them.
For the past quarter of a century we have been happy to allow goods to flow into the UK across that border without any attempt to intercept and inspect them, because we trust they will conform to EU Single Market standards and therefore they do not need to be checked.
That will not change when we leave the EU, that is not unless the EU arbitrarily decides to allow EU producers and exporters to break EU laws and send rubbish over the border.
In contrast the EU cannot assume that the trickle of goods moving the other way from the UK into the Irish Republic and the rest of the EU will continue to conform to EU standards once we have left the EU, and that could create a problem.
However, the problem will be for them, not for us as they like to pretend; in principle we could just tell them we will do nothing to restrict the present free flow of goods coming in from the Republic, and it is entirely up to them to decide what they want to do on their side of the border.
On the other hand we could decide to overlook their unreasonable attitude and helpfully offer to enact and enforce new UK laws to prevent any goods which the EU would find unacceptable being exported across the border into the EU, and if they were prepared to trust us on that it might at least ease their near-paranoid concern about the integrity of their precious single market.
Dr DR Cooper
Belmont Park Avenue