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Jonathan Edwards: Why Brexit isn’t Over

Brexit is not over and it suits Boris Johnson to keep hostilities going, writes Jonathan Edwards

OPERATING within the Westminster political bubble, it’s often difficult to escape the feeling that you live in a parrel universe divorced from reality.

The Conservatives won the last General Election in late 2019 on the Prime Minister’s boastful claims that he would ‘Get Brexit Done’.

It isn’t hard to understand why his message seduced an electorate tired of the Brexit stalemate.

The warnings that the British Government’s policy would only herald the start of matters weren’t particularly palatable when contrasted with the idea of a quick fix.

To recap, the deal signed by Boris Johnson was essentially the initial negotiating position of the European Union after the 2016 Referendum.

In other words, to avoid creating an economic border on the island of Ireland, the British state would split into two different economic zones, with the Six Counties of Northern Ireland remaining within the EU Single Market and Customs Union.

The prime minister tried to spin this as offering Northern Ireland the best of both worlds – Johnsonian Cakeism in action.

With the British Government deep in political trouble and facing a likely Sinn Fein victory next week in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, it is reported that they will introduce legislation to annul the protocol unilaterally.

The consequences of this action would include breaking international law and further tarnishing the reputation of the British State.

It would also jeopardise the entire Trade and Cooperation Agreement the UK has signed with the EU.

The result? A trade war with the EU and consumers left to shoulder the inevitable economic costs.

The current deal has already led to a foreseeable 6% surge in the price of food.

One factor driving this surge is that businesses and consumers are now paying nearly £5bn a year in customs duties, nearly a 100% increase from the situation before leaving the EU’s economic frameworks.

A third of businesses actively exporting goods has also fallen since Boris Johnson signed his deal.

Considering the importance of exports to a healthy economy and government revenues, it’s remarkable that there hasn’t been more criticism of a British government trade policy that is completely self-defeating.

Unfortunately, this, too, was completely foreseeable.

With a Labour party afraid of the B-word, the Tories are getting away with economic sabotage.

Starting a deliberate trade war with the EU would inevitably make matters far worse.

Considering everything else going on in the world, it seems a very strange political decision to launch a course of action that would further inflate living costs and deflect attention from the threats posed by Russian imperialism on the continent.

However, we live in the political world of a deranged Tory party whose political philosophy is based on short term survival.

The Prime Minister hopes that reigniting a political fight with Brussels will re-energise his political coalition.

The big electoral unknown is whether the people of these islands have grown tired of the act and of a Westminster elite that cares only for self-preservation.