A blog post by Dr. Ben Warwick for the University of Birmingham’s Perspectives, discussing the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’.
They say you can insure anything. Pay the right price and you can insure David Beckham’s foot, a food critic’s taste buds, or even against the rain ruining your holiday. But can you insure the economic stability of an island, and decades of peace? That’s the essence of the Brexit Backstop question.
About half of the MPs in Westminster are unhappy with the backstop and have asked the Prime Minister (bizarrely, with her encouragement) to reopen negotiations with the EU on this aspect of the divorce deal. Specifically, they want the Backstop replaced with ‘alternative arrangements’ that can keep the Irish border open. The funny thing (if there is anything funny about any of this) is that the Backstop already makes provision for alternative arrangements. The Withdrawal Agreement notes that the UK and EU intend ‘to replace the backstop solution…by a subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements’. This is why the Backstop is referred to as an insurance policy; everyone hopes it won’t have to be used.