Posted 20 hours ago

Brexit Unfolded: How no one got what they wanted (and why they were never going to)

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In this sense, the fact that 568 ml bottles of champagne will be permitted to also be marked as imperial pints represents no change at all. And all communities of Northern Ireland are severely affected by the ongoing collapse of the power-sharing institutions and its consequences, of which this week’s mass public sector strike is one of the most serious examples.

But what the Post Office scandal should tell us is that it is now, when the damage is being done, that public outrage and outcry is most needed, as it is only that which galvanizes effective political action. If they can genuinely show that some of these claims are false, it becomes easier for them dismiss those which are true. As with most Brexit stories, there is much which is obscure and convoluted, starting with whether pints of champagne were ever on sale and if so when. It will just mean that the relative gap between the rates of UK-EU and UK-ROW trade growth will have shifted. But it is a battle which is far from over and, as time goes by, it will change in its nature, as the effects of Brexit become harder to disentangle from other factors.However, having done so, honesty also demands of Brexiters that they accept how this impact differs from the promises they made. For all these reasons, Alexandra Bulat, another campaigner in this area, and who is now the first British-Romanian Labour County Councillor, argued in February 2018 that public perception that Citizens’ rights had effectively been dealt with during phase one was mistaken. Although the idea of champagne pints as a Brexit benefit has never been widespread – the Berry interview from August 2016, referenced above, is the first mention of it I can find – that of the restoration of imperial units of measurement has a much longer and deeper significance going back to the 2002 ‘ Metric Martyrs’ prosecutions, to the extent that these are seen by some as the ultimate origin of Brexit.

Amongst current high-profile examples is the long-delayed full introduction of controls on imports from the EU, the next main substantive phases of which are due to begin next week. Inevitably, Brexiters were quick to try to rubbish it, such as in a ‘Briefings for Britain’ article (curiously, written in the first person but credited to Briefings for Britain collectively, so we’ll never be able to assess the author’s credentials). That’s not to dismiss some of the good work the IMA has done, including winning a court case against the Home Office in 2022 on one aspect of EUSS’s functioning.Less comfortably, it includes the role of those who disdained the victims as criminals and those, comprising almost all of us, who didn’t give very much care or attention to what was happening, at least until we saw it depicted on TV. Five years on, and with the EUSS in place and giving rise to cases including, but certainly not limited, to those recently reported in the Guardian, it is now becoming clear that this is not just a scandal in the making but a scandal in progress. This case illustrates one of the biggest travesties of the EUSS, the government’s refusal, despite repeated requests and legal challenges, to create a paper version of proof of settled status.

In this clear-headed assessment, Chris Grey argues that this painful legacy was all but inevitable, skilfully unpacking how and why the promise of Brexit dissolved during the confusing and often dramatic events that followed the referendum. That Brexit, and hard Brexit at that, was and is supported by unionist political leaders doesn’t negate that.Above all, it’s a searing account of the deep failure of political leadership in our country at a moment when it was so desperately needed.

So in this area, it seems that Brexit is only one, and perhaps not the main, source of the problems. Whereas, internally, we may see a crucial distinction between leavers and remainers, from outside it is simply the case that the British people chose to leave.

Secondly, using the same old trick as they did with Covid and Ukraine, we can expect the Brexiters to use the impact of the Houthi attacks to explain away the impact of import controls. In a sense, people like Hawkins and Bulat (and others associated with the3million and similar organizations) can be compared to the very early campaigners in the Post Office scandal, and O’Carroll with the journalists who first began to report it.

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