New Brexit pro­pos­als must be trans­par­ent

Irish Independent - - Letters & Editorial Comment -

IT is said that progress is sel­dom made by early ris­ers and more likely to be driven by the lazy in­tent on find­ing an eas­ier way of get­ting a re­sult. Nei­ther the sloth ap­proach nor that of the lark has yielded much to crow about in the con­text of solv­ing the Brexit conundrum. Ear­lier yes­ter­day, Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar was forced to in­sist that Bri­tain’s with­drawal agree­ment with the EU could be in ques­tion if a break­through is not made in talks by next month. It now ap­pears that there is fi­nally some “new think­ing” at Down­ing Street, and the prospect of “full align­ment” may be the chink of light we have been wait­ing for.

We must hope so. For the Dooms­day clock tick­ing in re­la­tion to avoid­ing a chaotic Brexit – never mind hard or soft – has been get­ting ever louder as the dis­tance seems to be grow­ing in­stead of nar­row­ing be­tween the EU and UK. This is gravely wor­ry­ing given the enor­mity of the con­se­quences of a fail­ure to find com­mon ground.

What­ever emerges has to be clear. Com­ment­ing be­fore news of any ad­vance, Mr Varad­kar cor­rectly noted: “We need to see it writ­ten down in black and white and know that it is work­able and legally op­er­a­ble.”

But Theresa May has until now re­peat­edly dis­missed any talk of back­slid­ing – while at the same time re­peat­ing the UK will leave the EU cus­toms union and sin­gle mar­ket.

It is to be hoped that we are fi­nally reach­ing the “end of the be­gin­ning” in Lon­don. In­formed sources are leak­ing that some prospect of com­pro­mise is in­deed be­ing en­ter­tained. Yet even if it is, can Mrs May sell it to an ut­terly di­vided party? Ire­land can­not eas­ily trade con­crete pro­pos­als agreed in De­cem­ber for some vague prospect of a fudged ar­range­ment on how the Ir­ish Border might look.

It says much that at this stage any move­ment at all must be wel­come.

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