Questions and answers on Politics StackExchange are frequently highly-politicised.

In an ideal world, when answers make testable claims, they should be backed up by references, and when deviation from this occurs, those answers should be selected against (ie. not upvoted).

I posted this question and received two answers, neither of which answered the question, or withstood a fact-check.

So I researched my own answer, which I selected as "the answer" after waiting several days for others to better it.

My answer is descriptive, factual and referenced.

And yet it has a net -1 votes.

The other two answers have 21 and 11 net upvotes respectively.

This is not a question of sour grapes: I actively want people to correct me and shine a light on my areas of ignorance.

In this instance the question has failed in its task of informing future visitors.

What happened here is that the answers have been vote-brigaded for partisan political reasons to hide politically undesirable answers.

Is a corrective mechanism needed?

  • 1
    I think ultimately the tax situation is too specialised for a political Q&A site, you need tax experts to answer it. Your answer assumes the whole thing is a made up problem, but if it was politicians like BoJo, Mogg and Davis would have been talking up the Customs Duty = Excise Duty angle already. As far as I can tell they have not. Even yesterday BoJo said new technology is needed. Telegraph-Is-Paywalled while he's convinced the problem can be solved, he assumes it does exist. – Jontia Jul 23 '19 at 13:33
  • Thank you. This site deals with complex and specialised topics every day. I briefed myself on the handling of excise at the Irish border in a few hours of research - it's all in the public domain. The question here is why answers that do not answer the question, and that are factually incorrect have been so disproportionately upvoted, and why my answer, that is factually correct has been brigaded by downvotes. As it happens the original question was spurred by reading a whitepaper written by the ERG (or a subgroup thereof) that used this angle to frame the border question). – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 14:37
  • I'll try and dig out the link. Meanwhile there is this tweet: twitter.com/stevebakerhw/status/1022019062535254017 – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 14:42
  • Here is the ERG whitepaper (Sept. 2018) that spurred the question: eureferendum.com/documents/ERGIreland.pdf. "There is, at present, a border between the two countries for tax, VAT, currency, excise and security; these are managed using technologies; these are managed using technologies without infrastructure at the border." – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 14:44
  • I can see where the language you used in the Question comes from. It might have been better to link to and quote this document originally. Essentially I think we arrive at the same question you've objected to in the comments, What even is a tax border? VAT, Excise duty are applied at point of sale. I've never heard the term currency border, the document uses the word "tax" to presumably mean income tax in its list of borders that already exist. – Jontia Jul 23 '19 at 15:00
  • The inclusion of such weak items as Currency and Income tax makes the rest of the point suspect. These things are so completely different to Customs duty that they can only exist in the summary to make the list longer and by implication, the problem of Customs seem smaller. "Look how many things we already deal with, one more isn't a big deal". – Jontia Jul 23 '19 at 15:01
  • 1
    It looks like People's Vote put out a rebuttal to the ERG document directly. Though the tone of the article is less scholarly than I would like. Rebuttal The most important point I've taken from here would be that the issue is not a simple matter of collecting the tax and meeting the standards, but that actual customs checks of imports into the single market from a third country are required as a matter of law. (Point 7) on the linked page. – Jontia Jul 23 '19 at 15:11
  • Side question: what is the syntax for linking in comments? – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 15:41
  • Excise is applied at the point of sale in some circumstances. Yes. In other circumstances it becomes due at the border. So you are correct, but only half-correct. I made this point repeatedly in the comments in the original question, even adding a full explanation to my answer. Everyone studiously ignored me. Actually, for VAT, there exists a similar situation, with it becoming due, in some important circumstances, when goods are sent across the border, but that is a side issue, and not the focus of the original question. – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 15:42
  • Income tax and currency are red herrings. I do not wish to use them in my argument because I haven't researched their significance to my original question. – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 15:43
  • 1
    I agree they are red herrings, but the fact the ERG include them in their list is telling. Obviously the ERG are not a disinterested neutral party, their whole remit is that the EU is terrible and the UK should leave. It is in their interest to minimise any issues, as much as it is in the People's Vote groups interest to highlight them. Links in comments; [ The Link Text ] ( the-link-address ), removing the spaces. – Jontia Jul 23 '19 at 15:52
  • Thank you. So my original question still stands. It can be answered in a neutral and non-partisan way: how is the excise border in Ireland managed? In my view, I answered this. The other answers to my original q are easily shown to not answer the question. And yet they got endless upvotes. – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 15:59
  • I think the answers have gone off on a tangent based on the comments rather than just focusing on the question asked. The context is obviously Brexit, the Withdrawl agreement and the backstop so extraneous information creeps in. The answers assume that you want to know why the NI/RoI border is a problem and why Excise Duty methods can't apply to Customs regimes. The ERG document says it can, the PV document says as a matter of law checks have to take place, rendering the comparison irrelevant. The money can be handled the same way, but there are additional problems. – Jontia Jul 23 '19 at 16:11
  • How and When is excise tax collected is a question that needs no reference to Northern Ireland. And is an accounting, rather than political question. So by mentioning Northern Ireland specifically, then I think you're actually asking something else. – Jontia Jul 23 '19 at 16:14
  • How and when excise is collected needs reference to NI specifically because of the unique nature of the border. When entering, say, Switzerland, there are Customs and Excise posts. In Ireland, there are no excise posts on the border. I am not saying checks will not be needed: indeed there are excise checks now (although not at the border). This is the specific question I am asking: how is excise handled given the unusual constraints disallowing border infrastructure? The ERG and PV documents, while interesting, are not mentioned in the original posting. – 52d6c6af Jul 23 '19 at 17:22

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