The so-called agreement announced yesterday (19/3/18) proves just one thing. The Tory government has yet again kicked the can down the road on the Brexit negotiations. They should be dealing with the difficult issues first, not last, to avoid wasting time making agreements that can never be implemented. Many people realised months ago that this Tory Government is incapable of negotiating a fair Brexit deal and are spinning it out just to remain in power for a few months more. They know that admission of failure is likely to trigger an immediate general election, especially as they will lose the support of the DUP over the Irish border.
The big issues the Tories are not able to deal with and have therefore postponed:
1. The Irish border: there is no way that you can have a soft border with the Irish Republic unless Northern Ireland effectively remains part of the Single Market and the Customs Union. Green Leaves recognised this from the start and have been calling for an Irish re-unification referendum since before the 2016 EU referendum. The only other alternative is to move the customs border to between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a situation totally unacceptable to the DUP and Ulster Unionists. A referendum vote to re-unite with the republic is the only way that that Unionist veto can be over-ruled.
2. Fishing: under Article 125 of the agreement, the UK will not be taking back control of our fisheries when we leave the EU – something which the Government had previously promised. I predict every MP representing fishing communities will agree that we must have absolute control of our waters and fish from the end of March 2019 and anything less is totally unacceptable. As this must be put to a vote, there is no way that this will pass in the House of Commons.
3. The EU is suggesting that the EU Court of Justice should decide on any impasse between the UK and the EU. For instance if there was no agreement on Northern Ireland, the EU’s draft protocol for a ‘fallback’ option to resolve the Irish border would take precedence, which would see Northern Ireland remain in the EU Customs Union and aligned with much of the Single Market after Brexit. Again unacceptable to the DUP.
4. But the big issue: not even mentioned by the UK Tory negotiating team, is the massive trade deficit that the UK has with the EU and the unsustainability of this ever expanding trade to the world's environment. The UK must develop self sufficiency after Brexit; learn to live within its means if it is not to become bankrupt, both financially and environmentally. Financially its trade is in a worse situation than the likes of Greece, which has been crippled by austerity. Environmentally, we are still learning just what a horrific disaster 100 years of plastics have been and we know that drastic action to vastly reduce our consumption is needed now. Not in three years, ten years or fifty years. We should be campaigning for Brexit be the catalyst for action on the environment NOW!