Armed police will be everywhere
A hard post-Brexit border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will require a massive police presence, said Fergus Finlay. On a recent trip to a beach in northwestern Ireland, Google Maps took me on a winding route that crisscrossed the border. The line was unmarked, and only the speed limit signs, which switched back and forth between British miles and European kilometers, told me which country I was in. What will happen to that border if Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, leads the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, out of the European Union without a deal? The U.K. and Ireland—which will remain in the EU—will instantly have “two different tariff regimes, two different VAT regimes, and two different tax regimes.” It won’t take long for “a new smuggling industry” to spring up, and that will mean policing not only the highways but also every little back-road border crossing. There will be thousands of interactions between civilians and guards every day, raising the risk of a misunderstanding or even violence. You’d think such “hardheaded and sensible” people as the Northern Irish would never allow such a thing. But the hatred many Northern Protestants feel for the Republic and Catholics is so strong that they “will follow Johnson into economic oblivion” out of sheer spite.