Monday, January 31, 2022

No Brexit benefits on second anniversary

Today, on the second anniversary of Britain's leaving the EU, Boris Johnson vowed to implement a plan to overhaul EU laws copied over after Brexit which he insisted would encourage businesses to invest in the UK. The prime minister said a "Brexit Freedoms Bill" would make it easier to change thousands of EU-era regulations that remain in force.

Post-Brexit 'red tape' - customs forms and regulations that apply to all countries outside the EU - has resulted in massive queues exceeding 10 km at the port of Dover, though there has been little press coverage since the chaos began soon after the new regulations were implemented on the 1st January this year. Similar queues have also been seen near Calais for lorries trying to enter the UK. Brexit has seen losses in many sectors for those living in the UK. In January 2020 the credit card giant Mastercard announced it would raise the fees it charges EU merchants when UK cardholders bought goods and services from them online by fivefold.

Shortages of EU workers - many of whom returned home after Brexit - has seen knock-on effects in deliveries, veterinary shortages and fuel shortages over the past two years since the UK left the EU.

But while the British press has largely ignored many Brexit repercussions, Britain's reputation abroad has been damaged with foreign papers almost revelling in schadenfreude.

There were many predictions prior to Britain's leaving the EU, from Lord Buckhead's "Brexit will be a shitshow" to predictions that inflation and costs for consumers would rise. Most have been realised two years after the UK's departure from the EU.

In November 2020 it was reported that Brexit would deliver a 4% long-term hit to the UK's GDP, or to put it another way the UK's Brexit losses will be more than 178 times bigger than trade deal gains, this from the government's own figures.

Due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic many Brexit repercussions have been hidden from public view. However, as the world begins to return to 'normal' the disaster will be less easy to hide. UK tourists will begin to notice repercussions as travel becomes more difficult and costly with increased queues at borders, roaming fees & red tape with visa requirements for travel to the continent. The headlines will continue over time concerning Brexit repercussions but few of them will be uplifting.

Today's papers, two years after the UK's departure from the EU, were a mixed bag with the Daily Mail and Daily Express promoting the PM's plan to bring about Brexit benefits while others headlined with tax rises, inflation and burglary figures. Tomorrow will be less focused on the sunny uplands of Brexit. Instead most papers will be embroiled in reporting the theatre that took place in parliament today as Boris Johnson attempted to explain away the much redacted Sue Gray report into the so-called partygate affair examining the drinking and party culture that took place at Number 10 throughout the pandemic and when much of the country was in lookdown. Another exercise in kicking a political can down the road.

tvnewswatch, London, UK