Anyone up for creating a solution to the Irish Border problem?
I love a challenge, so here’s my first go - see my disclosure below.
I thought the OGN would be a good place to crowd-source ideas, so please do add comments and share with any other armchair (or pro) negotiators, democrats, techs, Irish Republicans, Unionists, Irish Americans… - in fact anyone with a passing interest in a negotiated settlement. I would like to know where it fits, any drawbacks and any suggestions for improvement.
Full disclosure - my wife and children are Irish passport holders. I proposed in Ireland and had my honeymoon in Ireland. Our cousins are Irish. However I am English. So I have a personal interest in making sure there is not just no return to a hard border in Ireland, but no descent into conflict between Ireland or any of the countries of the UK.
I decided to have a crack at a solution after I heard one of the negotiators of the Good Friday Agreement, Jonathan Powell, saying that the problem was, that no-one had yet presented a solution to the UK being outside the EU that did not require physical border infrastructure in Ireland - and a resulting descent into conflict.
I am sure others have proposed solutions, but none have clear support and most importantly trust from the key parties affected, namely the Irish and Northern-Irish publics - this is the aspect that is most glaringly absent from solutions presented so far.
If Powell is right, and removal of border infrastructure and free movement has maintained peace in the last 20 years, then finding a practical solution to maintaining that state regardless of Brexit is a neutral and worthwhile goal.
Equally for democratic tech developer like me, supporting difference and devolution without the need for inefficient, slow, paper-based checks at physical borders is a problem ripe for the modern civic-tech community to resolve. Hence I think we should dive right in and make borderless trade a present day reality.
This is my starter for ten, and a call-out to the many better minds than me to put in their wits to make the impossible - reality.