The UK will probably announce a ‘no deal’ Brexit on Wednesday after being unable to agree with the EU about how to solve the Irish border problem.
What it means: A big EU summit is coming up this Wednesday, which is apparently the last chance for the EU and UK to agree to a deal on Brexit. Because Brexit negotiations have gone basically nowhere, most people agree a ‘no deal’ Brexit is now very likely, which lots of economists think will be really bad for our economy.
The biggest problem is that nobody can figure out what to do with Northern Ireland, and specifically about how freely people, goods, services and capital (that’s money peeps) should be able to move between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and Ireland (which is part of the EU).
Usually, debates like this about free trade and immigration revolve around whether countries get more value from giving individuals and businesses as much choice of things/job applicants as possible or by protecting their own industries and nationals by pushing people to buy or hire local (through things tariffs and border controls).
But Northern Ireland is a different story. That’s because for years its citizens have been arguing about whether Northern Ireland should be part of the UK or part of Ireland. This argument has caused a great deal of hatred, violence, and the deaths of 3,500 people during the so-called ‘Troubles’. The two sides eventually agreed that Northern Ireland would stay as part of the UK, but have no borders or restrictions on people and stuff moving between it and Ireland.
Unfortunately, putting restrictions on people and stuff moving between the EU and UK (which requires a border of some description) is what Brexit has become all about, so now everyone is scratching their heads trying to figure out a way to do that without upsetting a load of people in the process.
Putting a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland won’t work, because it’ll piss off people who see the two as one country. Putting a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK won’t work, because it’ll piss off people who see those two as one country. And not putting a border anywhere will piss off people who voted to ‘take back control’ by stopping EU stuff and citizens coming into Britain. Any ideas?
We’ve moved beyond a world where your country was all that matters. Our economies have become bigger than we realise. Things we use are less and less likely to come from our own country and more likely to have been imported from a country across the globe – this has become so normal that we’ve forgotten what a huge implication this has for how our economies work…