Here is a straightforward solution to the backstop problem.
It eliminates any artificial border in the Irish Sea. This plan has all the positives and few negatives.
The border is kept open and both the North and South co-operate in a Joint Customs Inspectorate.
This would be made up of customs inspectors and accountants. Empowered by both Stormont and the Dail, working independently from both governments in its inspection and collection of duties and levying any fines from companies and individuals.
These would be done in their own place of business rather than on the border, thus avoiding any delays and bottlenecks. Both duties and fines would also be retrospective for perhaps three years to avoid any cheating.
The cost would be offset by duties collected for each government, with the EU and UK government making up any difference. Electronic systems, when available, could streamline the process. The above plan is the basic framework without the details.
My grandfather was born in Newtownards. I ran a successful export manufacturing business in Ulster for nearly 20 years through the Troubles.
This plan draws from my experience, love and admiration for the Ulster people.
Should the United Kingdom leave the EU without an agreement, there are two other plans, both of which would also benefit Northern Ireland.
I have been advocating inspection in business premises away from the border since January this year.
This plan is adaptable, otherwise, Ulster politicians should come up with their own acceptable solution.
Statesmanship and cooperation is the only way forward.
Clive Rumble, Hampshire