Some Brexit thoughts.
At its core the deal negotiated by both sides is a balance between:
- UK red lines (no single market/customs union)
- EU27 mandate (single market integrity)
- joint commitment to no hard border in Northern Ireland
Any credible solution cannot ignore these
UK red lines are unlikely to change. If anything, they have become redder with Johnson.
EU27 mandate is unlikely to change. There really is no point to the EU without the single market. This is not ideology or philosophy, but hard economic and long-term interest.
Point of the backstop is to avoid a hard border under all circumstances. Any alternative must achieve this same effect. Saying, "we'll figure it out another day" doesn't do that. A time-limit defeats the point. Saying, "technological alternatives are available" is a falsehood
No two countries in the world today share an open and frictionless border if outside both a single market and a customs union.
There are 16 customs stations on the Swiss border. About 24,000 lorries cross it each day. Every lorry has to stop for customs declarations.
The onus to put forward an alternative that would provide today the assurance that both sides have committed to (or to explicitly ditch that commitment) is on UK/Johnson.
So far, UK/Johnson haven't done so. Spoiler: the reason for this is that there probably isn't one.
The same goes with avoiding no deal in October. The chances of no deal have imho always been higher than many assumed because it's ultimately a hard deadline and it is unclear, to me at least, how MPs can stop no deal short of revoking art.50 (eg twitter.com/AlbertoNardell…)
The onus on requesting and articulating (for example, to hold an election) an extension will be on the UK.
Should there be no deal, the EU would implement a series of sector-specific unilateral measures and provide financial assistance where needed. It would also set pre-conditions to return to the negotiating table, which look a lot like the existing deal buzzfeed.com/albertonardell…
The onus of managing no deal in the UK will be on the Johnson government alone. Hoping that the EU blinks and that any of the fundamentals change, believing in Britain and in "mini-trade-deals" (whatever that means) with countries around the world is cute, but isn't a plan