Editorial: Two rocks and a hard place.

Editorial: Two rocks and a hard place.

Three of the issues that have attracted attention in the wake of Brexit underscore both the law of unintended consequences and the emerging contradictions between the Brexit vote and the British Government response.

The UK voted for a hard Brexit – exiting from the Single Market with all that entails in terms of people, goods, services and capital.  The effect on Ireland was not an issue in the debate but has become a major consequence with the prospect of the hard border that Britain voted for being drawn across the Northern part of the island.

The vote says hard border but Theresa May has attempted to calm the waters proposing one that is “seamless and frictionless.”  The two are not reconcilable.

Gibraltar did not appear anywhere in the Brexit debate either but is now in view.  A former Governor Richard Luce says the free flow of people and goods is essential to the future of Gibraltar. But he adds there not a guarantee that, at the end of the day, the interests of Gibraltarians would not be secondary to those of an overall EU/UK Agreement.

Therese May though again tries to calm the waters saying “we want the best possible deal for the UK and Gibraltar.”  In the context of Luce’s comments and the vote that’s contradictory.

The other rock is Rockall where issues are around oil, fishing rights and Scotland.  Though we haven’t heard yet how the Prime Minister plans to calm those waters. But calming words won’t make the issue go away.

Leaving aside the rocks however the real hard issue will be resolving the hard border in Ireland if it’s even possible.