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Sat Aug 3, 2019, 06:16 PM

Brexit : Boris Johnson is an incompetent kidnapper trying to keep

Ireland hostage....by David McWilliams

We'll worth a read of the full article.

Brexit saga has become a bizarre hostage situation: Boris Johnson is the kidnapper, the ransom is the backstop and Ireland is the hostage. Johnson is demanding the EU drop the backstop or he will shoot the hostage. We’ve been here before. Traditionally, the mantra has been: “We never negotiate with terrorists.” Let’s see what happens.

We all appreciate the notion that if we reward bad behaviour, a kidnapper will resort to intimidation again. The European Union has a choice to make. Ireland will survive this. It might well be convulsive but the economy is strong enough, just. And then what?

When you think about it, the “no-deal” option is only “no deal for now”. No deal is not a long-term option; ultimately, the United Kingdom will have to do a trade deal with the EU. The facts are pretty straightforward – 47 per cent of all UK exports go to the EU and, in turn, 52 per cent of all UK imports come from the EU. No matter how the hostage drama turns out, no matter what the political and economic fallout, the UK will be back at the table very soon. The more chaos at British ports, the shorter the self-imposed mercantile lockout.

Perhaps the EU should sit tight and play the long game? Once he shoots the hostage, all his negotiating power is gone – and the problem for the kidnapper is that he can only wound the hostage, not kill it. All that will remain is the much diminished UK with its economic reputation in tatters. The damage inflicted on its economy will be much worse than anything inflicted on us and, once the dust settles, investors will consider which location is more attractive – the one with open access to the EU or the one with trade barriers, tariffs and red tape that has locked itself out of a market with which it still does half its trade.


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