Just thought I’d spread the word about Full Fact, the amazing fact-checking charity organisation that employs a great many clever people (including an old campaigning friend from the 2010 election), and which is entirely funded by donations.
Just in case you suspect they might be secretly funded by shadowy organisations, they are very open and honest about where they get their donations from – see their Funding page if you need to know more.
I mention them, because I am currently researching a new blog about if and how any agreement to leave the EU, which demands some kind of border betweeen the UK and the EU, and therefore the Republic of Ireland, can ever be compatible with the Good Friday Agreement, which promised there would be a seamless border. This is of course a very simple summary of a very complex agreement. I went to Full Fact to see if they had the answers (they kind of do, but there are more details, like electronic borderless trade and so on, which they don’t cover, yet, and which is one of the aspects I’m currently researching). But I did find their Brexit page to which I’ve linked above.
I was inspired to discover whether there could be a solution at all after publishing my blog about the theories of how Brexit happened in the first place, and after Boris Johnson said in the Telegraph this morning that he and his fellow Hard Brexiteers would be willing to support the PM if she found a way to persuade the EU to agree that the ‘backstop’ could never become permanent, and we didn’t by default stay in the EU. This link is from the FT, because you have to subscribe to the Telegraph to get the original story. I should probably subscribe to the FT, really, but hey, I’m driving traffic to them… So anyway…
With the deal we have at the moment, albeit one defeated in Parliament, this is what would happen – we would by default stay in the EU, bound to it/them until we’ve figured out a solution to the Irish border question. I’ve read the whole agreement. It’s there in black and white. It says, on Page 307, “The provisions of this Protocol [i.e. that pertaining to the Irish question] shall apply unless and until they are superseded, in whole or in part, by a subsequent agreement.”
By the time I came back from work to edit this – one should never post in a hurry – there appeared something called The Brady Amendment, which seeks to replace the ‘Backstop’ with ‘alternative arrangements’, but it seems the Hard Brexiteers like (from the FT again) “Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said his group of around 60 MPs would not back the Brady Amendment because it did not say “what the backstop would be replaced by”, a move that will probably lead to its defeat. “She ain’t getting no blank cheques”, said another pro-Brexit hardliner.”
So the PM is so desperate to get support for any kind of deal, she is urging her party to back something that doesn’t actually say what it is. You couldn’t make it up.
I will keep you posted about my new blog – as you can imagine, it is already involving a lot of research, and will need a lot more before I can confidently publish anything. Which is more than can be said for the goverment, it seems.