by Alex Massie
"And in place of confidence, then what? Strife? Quite possibly. Confusion? Certainly. Every smoke signal emanating from Whitehall suggests the actual process of Brexit, as opposed to the psychological satisfaction gained from the decision itself, is proving to be hideously more complex than might be reckoned ideal. Ministers have not yet been straight with the public and the longer they peddle the line that all will be right on the night, the more they set themselves up for a fall should the public begin to worry that, actually, life’s just a little more complicated than that.
On the Irish border, for instance, London assures us everything is fine and perfectly workable. The UK’s frontier with the EU will not be a real frontier, or at least not the kind of border people imagine when they hear the term. Dublin, awkwardly, disagrees. This, the Irish say, is not an “Irish Question” at all; it is instead a “British Question” and you got yourselves into this mess, so you can get yourselves out of it.
As the European Commission says, frictionless trade is not possible outside the single market and customs union. This is not a threat, or a rejection of British proposals; it is merely a statement of a clear and present truth. Brexit is not a Lampedusa novel: it is not possible for everything to change so things may remain the same. All of which leads inexorably towards the dismal conclusion that the reason Mrs May keeps her cards so very close to her chest is that they are very low-ranking cards."