Forget the curtains and the money – Johnson’s legacy will be the bitter taste of Brexit | Polly Toynbee

AAmid slippages, losses, disappearing investments and declines in exports, the drip of Brexit damage never stops. I collect examples every week, as if I was collecting spent mortar cartridges from a battlefield. Wednesday was 450 jobs lost as an auto parts maker, Toyoda Gosei is preparing to close factories in Rotherham and Swansea and move to the Czech Republic.

A breathtaking £ 800 roll of gold wallpaper distracts our eye. A prime minister who has stacked tens of thousands of bodies, while apparently fixing buddies taxes and buddies contracts, has his eyes set on the stalks. No one knows how deep Boris Johnson can sink in the mud and still swim.

But history will record a great political crime above all the others, its eccentric dishonest are only illuminations on its edges. The offender who missed Brexit halfway across the country with a star dust of false promises to secure the throne will leave Brexit ruptures behind long after he leaves.

The most serious to date is to jeopardize the peace in Northern Ireland, as Arlene Foster is overthrown by the impossible contradictions of Brexit. There was warnings: two former prime ministers spoke in Derry just before the referendum, when Tony Blair said that “there should be checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which would be simply unacceptable”, while that John Major warned of a “historic mistake” that would destabilize the Good Friday deal. But Foster, a staunch Brexiter, dismissed the “deeply offensive” story that remains frightening.

The DUP’s impossible position on Brexit will be inherited by the unfortunate candidate who succeeds him. Why support Brexit when Northern Ireland was against it and the border dilemma triggered a red warning? Why support Boris Johnson when, of course, he would miss it with his protocol for splitting the UK? Why did the DUP not ask the whole of the UK still in the single market?

Unionists, like too many British people, have been seduced by this magic word of sovereignty: how ironic that it can now break the union. Of this Johnson and his demolition crew knew nothing and cared less. There was always Kate Hoey, a doughty unionist, to keep promising: “Brexit will not hurt Northern Ireland at all – on the contrary, it will light up its future.” Now, in retaliation, protesting against protocol, she complaints that “Northern Ireland did not have Brexit”.

Just so. No one got the Brexit they imagined, because none have ever been acceptable or sustainable. That was the trick of the leavers: they never said what kind of Brexit, because any version was a killer. So here we are with the worst Brexit deal ever. Next week’s elections in Scotland look certain to secure a nationalist majority: the more repulsive the Conservatives at Westminster, the more attractive Holyrood’s independence. As the European Parliament approved Brexit this week, Scottish cultural leaders pleaded with MEPs to welcome Scotland back to the EU.

This week, leading UK arts organizations wrote to Johnson asking him to address the visa, customs and work permit crisis that is preventing them from touring in the EU, providing them with the income they need to to survive. Johnson promised them last month that he “fix itBut he can’t ‘fix’ things, because every industry, from fish and finance to ballet, is asking for a ‘special offer’. There’s no problem with his hard Brexit: it’s the same deal all third countries get. As President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stress: “Faithful implementation is essential.” No wonder the European Parliament added a resolution this week calling Brexit a “historic mistake”.

No big bang so far, but Brexit is silently draining power and money: far more than the £ 350million a week on the infamous bus is already lost, Professor Nigel Driffield of Warwick tells me Business School: £ 1.3 billion already fled the City, while “the delivery of gilts since the referendum is worth a whole bus.” CEO of JP Morgan tell shareholders that European cities take over the activities of London and that “Europe has the upper hand”.

Large lost foreign investment goes unrecorded: Pernille Rudlin, a leading Japanese business consultant, tells me: “The UK has attracted fewer new businesses from Japan than other countries in Europe since Brexit. Prior to 2016, the UK was the top destination for Japanese investment in Europe. “

The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee yesterday confirmed the problems in fisheries and agriculture, as EU imports pour in while UK exports are stranded, Warning that “companies will relocate their activities to the EU or stop exporting to Europe”.

Also this week, Make UK, representing the manufacturers, responded to official figures posting profits at the lowest for more than a decade, accusing a “unique cocktail of circumstances” mixing Covid and Brexit. To take just one example, James Greenham, managing director of medical equipment maker EMS Physio, says he’s paying a fortune in new export costs and losing customers: Swedish company, finding three-day deliveries four weeks late, turned to another supplier in the Netherlands. He grits his teeth in irritation at government ads telling him to trade with Mexico instead – where, he says, there are huge regulatory hurdles. “We were sold a lie.” Every week I collect oars of these tales.

Wallpaper and lies can bring Johnson down, but Brexit is the crime against the country he will be forever damned for. Riots and the fall of Arlene Foster jeopardize the peace deal in Ireland, and the UK’s breakup is on the razor’s edge. A necessary trigger will soon be available for Labor to lead the charge against the bad Brexit deal. In his mad rant at the Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson accused Labor of voting against, and many would like it to be – although between a rock and a tough place, no deal is an option. Long before the next election, Labor will lead the cause of guiding Britain back to the single market and the safer haven of a Norwegian solution.

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About Dawn Valle

Dawn Valle

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