Brexit is going to come to grief of one sort or another

Northern Ireland could be the issue over which Brexit talks collapse

The issue on which this mismatch of intentions is going to come to grief is the Northern Ireland border. Theresa May made a series of contradictory promises in the December agreement with the EU. She promised the Irish no hard border; she promised the DUP no border in the Irish Sea; she promised the Brexiteers we would leave the single market and the customs union; and she promised the EU there would be full regulatory alignment between North and South for matters relating to “the all-island economy”.

To square this circle she put forward three possible answers: that the issue could be solved by technology; that the Free Trade Agreement with the EU would be so good that there would be no need for a hard border anywhere, let alone Northern Ireland; or, if neither of these worked, that the full alignment with the rules of the internal market and customs union would be maintained.

There is no resolution to these contradictions, and either Theresa May is too dense to figure this out, or hopes everyone is too stupid to notice. You can’t simultaneously stay in Europe to avoid a hard border, and leave it and build one. Her policy seems to be one of whatever it takes to stay in Downing Street as long as possible, and at this point it eludes me why. What’s the point? History has already judged her, and the judgement isn’t good.

Reality is soon going to come crashing down on this hapless wreck of a prime minister. It is not possible to satisfy hard-assed Tory Brexiteers and an open Irish border at the same time, not without either a unified Ireland in Europe, or as the cretinous Rees-Mogg mischievously suggested, having Ireland leave Europe and join the UK, which is about as likely to happen as snow in August. Less.

The obvious solution is to avoid the train-wreck of Brexit altogether. But that would result in the collapse of May’s premiership, because many Tory MPs would stop supporting her. She’s on the road to hell, and should resign sooner rather than later.

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