Brexit Talks Get Even Stupider Than Ever

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I haven’t followed the Brexit negotiations in detail—life is too short, right?—but I know the basics. I know, for example, that the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland has become a big issue. The problem is simple: Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain, so if Britain exits the EU then there needs to be a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, both Ireland and Northern Ireland are dead set against this. So now the negotiations between Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have come to this:

Reports suggest that May and Juncker were willing to accept a deal that would in essence have seen Northern Ireland remain within the EU’s single market and customs union, even though the rest of the United Kingdom is likely to lose such privileges.

Such a deal would prevent a hard border from reemerging between the two parts of Ireland and ensure that smooth trade relations could be maintained. But statements from the Democratic Unionist Party, or DUP, the group that May’s government now depends on to maintain a majority in Parliament, were quick to thwart that. “We will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the U.K.,” DUP leader Arlene Foster said in a news conference Monday afternoon.

….Even as the DUP threw a wrench into the talks, the governments in Scotland and Wales, as well as London Mayor Sadiq Khan, were also quick to state that if Northern Ireland got preferential treatment, they expected a similar deal.

Ireland is not willing to accept a border with Northern Ireland. Answer: leave Northern Ireland in the EU (sort of). But Northern Ireland won’t accept any kind of border with the rest of Britain. And anyway, if Northern Ireland gets to stay in the EU, then Wales, Scotland, and London all want to stay in the EU too. So we’d end up with a map like this:

I wonder how long it’s going to take before Britain just gives up and decides to cancel Brexit entirely? And if they do, will the EU even allow them to stay? Beats me. I’d probably be chuckling over the whole thing if it weren’t for the fact that my country elected as president a game-show host who is plausibly thought to have colluded with Russia in order to get elected. We don’t exactly have anything to chuckle about when it comes to national idiocy.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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