Lies and damned lies

The recent announcement that the government are postponing doing any checks on imports from the EU to July 2022 (from January 2022, from October 2021, from January 2021) has got me thinking about the various promises made by Boris Johnson and his cabinet of horrors.

Let’s start with “Let’s Get Brexit Done”, the slogan which I’m confident won him his 80 seat majority in 2019. (If you haven’t read it, can I reference my “This will never end” post from some years ago now). Obviously this is further postponing anything looking remotely like “getting Brexit done”. I will concede that in one sense it’s a very sensible move – were we to introduce physical border checks next month, I think the probability of food shortages which would eclipse those we’re already seeing would rise to nearly 100%. After all, the labour shortages caused by removing upwards of 200,000 EU workers from the economy have already made us more dependent on imports of food than we were before Brexit. But it is absolutely NOT “getting Brexit done”.

Let’s move on to the Leave campaign’s “taking control of our borders”. Now, the EU managed very efficiently to take control of their borders with effect from January 1st of this year, instituting customs checks which have resulted in days of delay at ports and many millions of pounds of rejected and spoiled goods. But we were not ready, despite having had from 2016 to 2020 to put systems in place, and we still apparently aren’t. We are not controlling our borders with the EU at all so far as goods is concerned (except for the one EU border they were unable to take control of, because it is within the UK, in the Irish Sea, between Northern Ireland and England, Scotland and Wales). All our attempts with the NI border so far to comply with our treaty obligations and actually do the necessary checks properly have partly failed, partly just resulted in economic and political turmoil. Add to that that while we seem keen to make life difficult for EU citizens with a perfect right to come to the UK, we are so unable to stem the flow of refugees across the Channel that we’ve asked the French for help.

How about Boris’ “Oven ready deal”, which was another slogan which contributed to his 2019 win. That phrasing related mostly to the Northern Ireland protocol, which kept NI in the common market and customs union so as not to have a land border in Ireland and tear up the Good Friday agreement. Now, David Frost, the man who actually negotiated the oven ready deal, is saying it’s a bad deal and has to be renegotiated. And he got made a Lord for his work on that – and a member of the Cabinet. Which makes him an “unelected bureucrat” running the country. Do I not remember “get rid of unelected bureucrats running the country” as another clarion call of the Brexiteers as something we’d get rid of?

Lastly, at least for the moment, is the “stop foreigners stealing our jobs” which was not an official campaign slogan in 2016, but which was muttered by a huge proportion of Brexiteer voters. Well, we’ve persuaded or forced over 200,000 EU nationals to leave – and we’re flying in fruit pickers from as far away as Nepal to fill the jobs which, apparently, no-one in this country wants to do.  We’re short of lorry drivers, warehouse workers, food production workers, nurses, doctors, hospitality industry staff… and the list goes on.

(Edited to add) Boris assured us, back in 2016, that once Brexit went through we would see cheaper energy. We now face a hike in wholesale gas prices of around 300%. OK, the wholesale prices in Europe have gone up too – but only by around 50%… we, on the other hand, also left the EU energy market And, speaking personally, our energy supplier has gone bust; we’re not sure what the repercussions of that are going to be, apart from everything costing more.

What we’re not short of, it seems, is lying Conservative politicians. Though other MPs aren’t allowed to point out that they’ve lied – it’s the person pointing it out, not the liar, who is excluded from the House of Commons. And, of course, no-one who can be “got at” by the government (which, sadly, includes the BBC) is allowed to blame Brexit for anything at all…

Yorkshire bylines thinks we’re in danger of seeing the England of Orwell’s nightmare vision in “1984” realised. I just trust that we’ll have an election earlier rather than later, hope above hope that Labour and the LibDems can get some electoral pact going and form a non-Tory government together – and undo as much as possible of the nonsense which is Brexit. Because if we don’t, I can see no option other than a revolution to shift them, and I really don’t want a revolution.

Just in passing, we seem to have most of what was decried as a ridiculous “worst case scenario”:-
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