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The bill for Boris Johnson’s Brexit is coming in and it’s punishingly steep

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You would have to possess a heart of stone not to weep with laughter at some of those who are now suddenly complaining about Brexit. It is a bit late for Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, those lusty sponsors of the great experiment with the UK’s prosperity, to be wailing that they have been betrayed. I smiled to see that Roger Daltrey, the Leave-supporting lead singer of the Who, has joined the chorus of rock stars furious that the post-Brexit visa rules will ruin their prospects of touring across the Channel. Mr Daltrey will have to sing Won’t Get Fooled Again to himself before moving on to Boris the Spider and I Can’t Explain.

It is particularly rending for the soul to witness the rightwing press discovering that the cause they so noisily championed is not the nirvana that they sold to their readers. They were cheering when Boris Johnson flourished the Brexit deal that he concluded on Christmas Eve and proclaimed: “This is a cakeist treaty.” The UK would be having the sweet stuff and eating it by gaining lots of shiny new benefits from being outside the EU while still enjoying the historical advantages of frictionless trade with its closest neighbours.

All those acquainted with Mr Johnson and his casual relationship with the truth will have taken that with a juggernaut of salt. Consider the prime minister’s specialist subject of cake. Anyone trying to take a fresh cream cake across the Channel now does so at the risk of having it impounded at customs because it is a dairy product. A Dutch TV report, which has since gone viral, shows border officials confiscating sandwiches from motorists arriving in the Netherlands from the UK. One driver agrees to surrender the meat in his sandwich, but pleads to be allowed to hang on to the bread. The frontier guard responds: “No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to the Brexit, sir.”

Comedic tales of travellers being deprived of their snacks are the funnier side of an otherwise deadly serious story. The bill for Mr Johnson’s Brexit is coming in and that bill is a punishingly steep one. It is being paid by the fishing fleets in Scotland and the West Country that are tied up because they are unable to export their catch. It is being paid in a slump in activity at Welsh ports because the trade they used to handle is being diverted........

© The Guardian

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