Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Forget the sermons - first read the small print


Since before the 2016 referendum and continuing non-stop, those against GB leaving the EU including - Joe Biden and other US Democrats , most EU bureaucrats, several European politicians (particularly the French) and of course our own Re-joiners - have been pursuing the following rhetoric:

"You must not go against or interfere with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement

There must be No Hard Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic thereby ensuring peace ".

Well we all agree with that don't we!!

BUT the question is how many of these people have actually sat down and studied in detail what is actually in this document?. Given that within the GFA there is a total lack of references to trade - I suggest not many have actually read it.

They are simply using this agreement to weaponize and "beat up" the UK for daring to leave the EU. Others particularly Sleepy Joe see it as a route to a united Ireland. The point is that now We the Little people need to ask "where is the evidence that any part of this peace agreement is threatened by the UK not being part of this inward looking Trade Block called the EU and us wanting the whole of our country to be recognised and operate as a free independent sovereign state making its own laws and trading internally without interference?"

Have these people read and understood the GFA?
Having read the agreement some years ago and again recently – on behalf of the Little people I have some queries for the experts to answer.

-QUESTION - Where is trade/commercial activity mentioned in this document?
Yes we were part of the EU free trade area at that the time it was signed but between the North & South there are already two different
- currencies - corporation taxes and VAT rates
- As well as different fuel, alcohol and tobacco duties none are mentioned in this agreement.
However we have manged to work these between our two countries for many years with little problem.

ANSWER - there is no mention of trade and commercial activity in the GFA.
-The Good Friday Agreement – is a fantastic declaration of peace and disarmament by both the authorities and the terrorist gangs of both persuasions including release of prisoners plus the future prosperity of N I. - That's it!

-Hard Border - Part of this disarmament and standing down in this agreement is by implication to get rid of any so called Hard Border by withdrawing the military and their infrastructure along the divide between the North and South. It's gone!!! never to return we hope.

-This peace agreement is wonderfully worded over 35 pages and here are some of the clauses that jump out.
1)Recognise the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of N I with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue their support of the Union of GB or a sovereign united Ireland.
2)Democratically elected Assembly in N I - to protect the rights and interests of all sides of the community.
3)The Westminster Parliament (whose power to make legislation for Northern

Ireland would remain unaffected) ………….
4)…….the British Government will pursue broad policies for sustained economic growth and stability in N. I.

Yes very selective quotes but for sure very important as they are about freedom/peace and the NI populations ability to make choices whilst remaining in the UK for the foreseeable future. OK included in the GFE is reference to working with the EU but only in as much as a British Irish Council to consider the EU dimensions in relevant matters…... No mention of a role for the ECJ. Also two excellent sections on Decommissioning and Security

BUT still no reference to cross border trade.
If you haven't already done so please read the whole thing yourself then try to figure out how will trading between two countries – one in the EU one out - differ to how smoothly it happens in the majority of the world and how it will it cause murder and bloodshed?

We of course all know that North to South checks on goods if kept in line with what happens in most countries internationally would be approx. 2% of all shipments this can mostly be done electronically and the use of trusted exporter schemes, any physical checks if needed can be done prior to shipment or on arrival in the Republic away from the border.

– check out the Switzerland and Norway interface with the EU. It's up to the EU (represented by the Republic Ireland) to sort out the mechanisms if they don't trust the UK not to send them products and produce that will harm their population and environment. Plus the South North movement of goods would be very light touch on the British side.

We hear the cry BUT BREXIT has changed everything – NO IT HASN'T - this agreement is and will be respected in full.

NOW: Are all people and groups mentioned in paragraph 1 saying such a system would cause the IRA to start bombing and shooting people again?

1) My personal view is No as any shipment delays and refusal of entry would be instigated by the Republic for goods going South. Going the other way would be no real problem.

2) If people really believe yes – then why is the future of 1,900,000+ peoples future for economic growth and the ability to have their own elected politicians represent them (rather than interference from Brussels and the ECJ) is all about pacifying a small terrorist organisation – makes no sense. The real threat is very rowdy demonstrations by Unionists if we do not stop this nonsense of a border down the Irish Sea and therefore within our own country. Of course all above will be called a simplification of the situation

– BUT STOP and STEP BACK – perhaps a simple thought process works.

Font size: +

Contact us

Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
246 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
London W1B 5TB
United Kingdom
Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames