Brexit: EU points out logical fallacies in Boris Johnson’s request to remove NI backstop

Pop-eyed: Is this Boris Johnson’s reaction to the EU’s latest rejection?

The European Union has rebuffed Boris Johnson again, refusing his request for them to take the Northern Ireland border backstop out of any Brexit agreement.

BoJob had called the backstop “undemocratic”, and the EU’s representatives are to be lauded for their restraint in not mentioning the most obvious inconsistency in his argument.

It is best-elaborated in this tweet, responding to James Cleverly’s repetition of Mr Johnson’s comment:

That’s right.

Mr Johnson is in no position to call anything “undemocratic” while he owes his job to a tiny minority of the voting public – and insists on denying the rest of us an opportunity to vote on his leadership.

The European Union has rebuffed Boris Johnson’s attempts to tear up the Irish backstop, in a coordinated response that appeared to close the door on further meaningful Brexit negotiations.

Officials had already strongly rejected Johnson’s claim that the backstop was anti-democratic, pointing to the fact Northern Ireland had voted to remain in the EU and non-unionist parties were in favour of the backstop.

Johnson’s claim that it would be possible for two separate legal and economic jurisdictions to exist on the island of Ireland with an open border was judged “misleading” as EU law provided “the common framework needed to enable frictionless trade between member states today”.

While the EU has said it was ready to examine alternative arrangements to the backstop, officials have stressed that no such options exist today anywhere in the world.

Source: EU rejects Boris Johnson request to remove backstop | Politics | The Guardian

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11 thoughts on “Brexit: EU points out logical fallacies in Boris Johnson’s request to remove NI backstop

  1. Zippi

    We don’t directly elect our Prime Minister; that’s not how our system works. The only people who get to directly elect a Prime Minster are the members of their Party and of their constituency. Boris Johnson contends that the Backstop should never have been part of the Withdrawal Agreement, also, as you may remember, he wanted both the trade negotiations and the Withdrawal Agreement to be worked on concurrently. The E.U. refused. Had this happened, we may not be in this position. The Backstop, as it is, cannot be accepted by Parliament, because it treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the Kingdom and provides no exit, save that which the E.U. determines to be acceptable. The Withdrawal Agreement has been rejected by Parliament thrice, initially by the biggest defeat in Parliamentary history. Many M.P.s asked for the Backstop to be changed, or removed. The E.U. refused. Theresa May, who negotiated the thing, even asked for legal guarantees. The E.U. refused.
    Tell me, why is it that anything that the E.U. does is acceptable yet anything that our government does is not? The E.U. has “red lines” and they’re okay. Our government has “red lines” which are unacceptable to the E.U. so, our government is at fault, regardless of the fact that the E.U.’s “red lines” are unacceptable to Parliament. If the E.U. plays hard ball, that’s okay, it’s to be expected. If our government tries to play hard ball, it’s being obstructive, not seeking a deal, being irresponsible. Why are our politicians doing the E.U.s negotiating? The E.U. doesn’t need our politicians to do its negotiating. The Irish border sits between both the U.K. and the E.U. Surely it is in the interest of BOTH parties to look for a workable solution, rather than the E.U. just saying no. It is not just our problem. Aye, we voted to leave but we should be able to do that, be it in 3 months time, or 30 years. This issue needs to be resolved, now.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I wasn’t advocating direct election of the prime minister. I have pointed out several times that BoJob himself complained when Gordon Brown became PM in 2007 that he had no mandate from the general public because there had been no general election – but now he is in exactly the same position and has no mandate because there has been no general election.

      There are good reasons for the backstop to be in the withdrawal agreement as Theresa May negotiated it (remember her red lines? They got right in the way). There are good reasons the EU didn’t want trade negotiations happening alongside those for the withdrawal agreement. You may not agree with them, but they are valid.

      “Why is it that anything that the E.U. does is acceptable yet anything that our government does is not?” The answer to that is that the Conservative government is constantly trying to pull dirty tricks on both the EU and the people of the UK, and the EU’s representatives are aware of this and are not willing to allow it. Simple, really.

      If Jeremy Corbyn had been negotiating Brexit, we’d have had a “soft Brexit” deal that avoids all the friction over Northern Ireland, and a public vote between that and remaining in the EU. As you can see (the thrust of your argument seems to be in that direction), this would have been much better.

      1. Zippi

        I don’t see it as dirty tricks, I see it as a negotiating position. As I have said, before, one enters into negotiations asking for more than one believes that one can get, because something will have to be conceded, depending on how good you, or your negotiating adversary is. You don’t worry about what is good for them only about what is good for you. Our people seem to be preoccupied with our opposites, rather than with ourselves and what we want to achieve. Because of inevitable concessions, everybody has things which are non-negotiable. One must always be willing to walk away from negotiations, if they are really not going your way. You don’t want to accept just anything. The E.U. is negotiating well. We, under Theresa May, had no discernible negotiating position. Despite her “red lines”, Theresa May appears to have conceded much. My frustration is with the commentary. Our “red lines” are bad, because the E.U. won’t agree to them, the E.U.s “red lines” are okay, regardless of whether we agree to them, or not; it is this kind of double standard that is driving me to distraction.
        There might well be good reasons for the Backstop but its application and the fact that we will still be at the behest of the E.U. make it unacceptable. I am firmly of the belief that the E.U. has dumped it into our garden, for us to deal with, partly because we are evidently stupid enough to allow that, when, in fact, it should have been something that both parties should have been working on and I am disappointed by our politicians’ inability to do that constructively. Aye, the trade talks did not happen in tandem, because it was not in the interests of the E.U. This is good negotiating. Theresa May could have said, this is not acceptable but she did not. She has been played and played well but our politicians and political commentators should not criticise our government when it tries to play the same, necessary, game. In negotiations, we are not friends.
        What Boris Johnson does not have is the luxury of time.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        The problem with your argument is it is entirely possible for the EU’s red lines to be perfectly reasonable – as is the case with the NI border backstop. I remember the “Troubles” and I know it is life-endangeringly reckless to do anything that might spark them up again.

        The trade talks didn’t happen in tandem with the withdrawal talks because they couldn’t; our future position on one had to be known before the other could be discussed.

      3. Zippi

        I, too, remember the “Troubles”, which is why I think that it is in the interests of BOTH parties to work towards a solution, not leave it all to the other side.
        It is entirely possible for any “red lines” to be reasonable, provided that the opposing side is happy with them. It matters not what the “red lines” are, if your opposite does not agree to them, regardless of how reasonable they may seem to you. It all depends on what is important to each side. This is negotiation and I think it dishonest of our politicians and political commentators to suggest otherwise. As I said, we need to be concerned with what WE want and let the E.U. worry about getting what IT wants.
        By the way, there are E.U. business owners who think that that E.U. was wrong to set the timetable that it did. Without knowing what the future trading relationship is likely to be, they are unable to plan.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        There are UK business owners in the same situation as those in the EU. It’s not up to them, though.

      5. Zippi

        My point is that pretty much anything can be achieved with willing but it needs to come from both parties. I am a little ti-red of our government getting the blame for everything, when, in a negotiation, there are TWO sides, each wanting what is best for themselves. There is nothing wrong with that and In would say that it would be irresponsible of any government, or negotiating body to act otherwise. There is, in our political commentary, a disappointing and undermining double standard. The E.U.’s job is to get the best for the E.U. Our government’s job is to get the best for us. Neither side wants to give anything up, this is normal and to be expected so, why should our government always be painted as the bad guy in these proceedings, when that is the nature of negotiating? Everybody expects it of the U.S.A, why not of the E.U.? It’s the same process and we should be doing it, too.

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        If you think Boris Johnson wants the best for us, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed!

      7. Zippi

        Well, what he believes is best but that’s not the point; what I am referring to is the double standard. People aren’t criticising what he is allegedly trying to achieve, they are criticising his method, which, I am suggesting, is the norm and to be expected, because that is the nature of negotiating, it’s part of the dance; the E.U. is doing it and the U.S.A. will do it. We should be doing it. The trouble is that Theresa May didn’t negotiate well and Boris Johnson doesn’t have anything left to concede, in order to keep what he wants. I say, again; in negotiation, we are not friends.

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