Cap'n Grumpy wrote:
Shan wrote:So I hear that Arlene said there was never a hard border on this island. That's a bit creative.
Depends on what you mean by hard or soft.
What many regarded as a hard border was nothing to do with customs and everything to do with security.
Prior to that there were customs posts but (and I may be wrong in this) most cars and light vans etc passed freely through without hassle. Larger goods vehicles were prone to checks, but even then not all, or so I have been led to believe.
Possibly you could call it a soft-boiled border, but nothing like the queues of vehicles that have been witnessed at other borders.
Mid to late 60's is as far back as I remember and you got a separate triangle tax disc for the car for crossing the border, customs posts stopped all cars and asked "anything to declare" , the smaller roads were marked "unapproved " and there were no customs facilities on them, not so bad if stopped with no taxable goods but bad if stopped with goods.
Smuggling happened with easy to carry stuff on tracks and taking chances on the roads at night.
Move forward to late 70's things got more sophisticated with radios and cars scouting roads, then the paramilitaries got involved to get their slice of the pie.
Army appeared around then but they only ever bothered with guns and semtex, saw many loads of fuel etc checked and waved through. Beef butter and grain went round and round lifting VAT refunds, customs posts got blown up and retreated back from the border, people got rich people died.
Then the customs union kicked in and most things became similar price, diesel laundering, cigarette petrol and drink smuggling started. At present cigarettes and drugs are about the height of the smuggling. Diesel laundering is not depending on the border.
And all is well but a bit boring crossing the border at present, in fact a lot of today's youth couldn't tell you where it actually is once they get off the main road and see the road signs change.