On 16th October 1834
both Houses of Parliament were destroyed by fire. It was supposed that two cart-loads of wooden tally sticks, remnants of an obsolete accounting system that had not been used since 1826, were being burned in stoves in the basement of the House of Lords!
We might be forgiven for wondering if our now obsolete democracy might have been better served by a similar event in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Irish Government says it “Will enter negotiations directly with the European Commission about where to situate customs checks for cross-Border trade in the event of a no-deal Brexit”.
“We are not going to allow Ireland to be dragged out of the single market by default as a result of Brexit. That means, in a no-deal Brexit scenario, finding a way to get an agreement with the European Commission to protect the integrity of the shared single market.”
He warned that checks on the southern side of the Border on goods coming in from the North would be required to eliminate any risk that exports from the Republic would face checks on continental Europe. He also said it would be up to the British government whether it wanted to institute customs checks on goods crossing the Border into the North from the Republic.
“We face difficult choices in the context of how we introduce a checking system [on the southern side]” said the Tánaiste. “Checks must be introduced somewhere away from the Border, for obvious reasons, to protect the integrity of the single market, and to reassure other countries we don’t have an open back door into the single market through Northern Ireland”.
He said the Government’s discussions with the Commission have a “dual mandate” of protecting the peace process and protecting the single market.
Where were these suddenly created obviously possible southern checking systems while Mrs May was in office?