There are no credible proposals, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is playing games. So much so that his statement to Parliament today had scant regard for the legal text of the plans he submitted. According to the Irish Prime Minister, they deviated significantly.
The Prime Minister says the government is committed to finding solutions "compatible" with the Good Friday Agreement. The Peace process he says is the "fundamental basis for governance in Northern Ireland and protecting it is the highest priority for all."
Yet, Johnson's proposals would run a coach and horses through the heart of the Good Friday Peace process.
He says there will be "no hard border" with the Republic of Ireland. But this is predicated on electronic customs checks, which in turn depend on businesses working within the law.
I am not convinced that bootleggers will easily be found at their point of destination and checked, electronically or otherwise.
The Border between Sweden and Norway is an example of how difficult creating a frictionless border can be.
A frictionless border depends heavily on maintaining standard regulations on trade. Any deviation creates an opportunity for smugglers, and bootleggers exploit differences in policy. That is what happens at the border between Norway and Sweden, and it is why border checks are necessary.
Freedom to write our own rules is what attracted many to vote for Brexit. But Norway shows this also creates a business opportunity for criminals.
Without border checks, the Irish border will become leaky, and there would be a flood of illicit goods crossing the border.
Boris Johnson told the House of Commons there would be no border checks. That merely is being economical with the truth. The checks will happen somewhere...but...not at the border.
We can only conclude that Boris Johnson's proposals are not offered as a serious attempt to reach an agreement.