Re: The optics don't look good
You've got rather a lot of that wrong. The Good Friday Agreement is much less specific as to what it allows or doesn't on the border. It wasn't written with the case of us leaving the EU in mind. So in fact, a border away from the border type fudge is probably perfectly acceptable. Remember that the current border is already a tax border and already suffers from a certain amount of smuggling and tax dodging - that's accepted because it's too hard to stop - and it would be too politically damaging to try.
Also, and this nails the bullshit that the EU care about the Good Friday Agreement, even if no Irish border were a part of the GFA - how the hell could having a border between NI and the rest of the UK be any less a breach of the treaty? Which was the EU demand until May decided that a temporary full customs union was the only way to make the backstop work?
That myth is also nailed by the fact that if there's no deal, the EU are still pretty clear that they'll either force Ireland to put up a hard border, or they'll put a border in the sea between Ireland and the rest of the EU.
There is a massive tendency from those who oppose Brexit to pretend that all EU red lines are good and reasonable, and all British ones are bad and should be abandoned. This is utter bollocks and people need to do more critical thinking.
Also it's perfectly sensible to want a backstop to avoid a failure to agree a deal in future talks - but fucking stupid to continue to insist on one that's destroying the process of the pre-talks agreement - and guaranteeing a hard border. Not that it is of course, the EU could promise to not errect a hard border in case of no-deal. Which they haven't, because they might not. Although the logic of having spent 3 years preaching about how they care about the GFA and promisinig not to throw Ireland under the bus - would make them look pretty fucking awful if they did. But then does anyone remember the Greek bail-out process? Or in fact the Irish and Cypriot bail-out process. All of which were pretty fucking unattractive - and in case of the Greek one also disastrous. Causing the worst depression in modern economic history in a state not involved in a war.
So yes, the Irish border is a big problem. But there are plenty of ways to solve it. The actual problem is that we haven't yet fucking discussed them. Because the EU and the Commission decided that it wouldn't be allowed to discuss details of the future trading arrangement until after we had left the EU! Which was either massive fucking incompetence, or rather more likely a stupid and arrogant attempt to try and control the negotiation process in order to gain a negotiating advantage that has poisoned the negotiations to such an extent that there's a greater than 50% chance of us leaving without a deal. So how do we know that May's ideas for trusted trader schemes and the like are unworkable? We know the EU negotiating team rejected them 2 years ago without even looking at them formally - we don't know they can't be made to work. The Swedish / Norwegian border is option, and Norway aren't in the Customs Union? They are in the Single Market though, so have the same product regulation - but the EU also rejected May's Chequer's agreement - which addressed the issue by having us follow Single Market product rules. She made the effort, her negotiating partners didn't. They undermined her premiership to such an extent that she was unable to pass the agreement they made - and perhaps it's time they considered doing their jobs properly? Just a suggestion...
For all her many faults it was never May who negotiated in bad faith. She took the opinion that no-deal would be a disaster and was willing to destroy her own career and party in order to follow through on that logic and get whatever agreement she could. It is her negotating partners who created that situation, and they aren't being asked for much compromise in order to correct it - so it's down to them to sort their shit out - or admit they don't want a fair deal and accept the consequences. Then they'll have the choice of fucking over Ireland to maintain the perfect integrity of the Single Market - or agreeing those compromises that they should have started talking about 3 years ago. Rather than wasting 9 months fucking about with demands for €100bn - before they'd even move on to the technical aspects of leaving - let alone the most important bit (the future relationship). A negotiation that was only briefly begun in July last year - and resulted in a virtually meaningless 28 page declaration.