On trade, finance, migration, food standards and more, the UK suffers fresh ignominy on a daily basis
Five years ago today, in the early hours, Britain discovered what it had done – and what had been done to it by the liars, charlatans and rogues who mis-sold Brexit as “taking back control”. The wound is as fresh as ever. Breaking apart political parties and reversing erstwhile red or blue wall seats is a minor matter, but Brexit’s explosive division of the country by social class, geography and a deep sense of personal identity is a lasting injury.
Few have changed their mind: though polls put remain (or return) ahead by a nose, no one wants to be put through that hell again. Brexit is done for the foreseeable future, though a government thriving on national disunity strives to keep it alive with infantile culture wars and “anti-woke” phoney patriotism. Polls give the Conservatives a 14-point lead, as they head into next week’s Batley and Spen byelection. No surprise, for what party in power could dream of a better boast than this: the vaccines are genuinely bestowing the gift of staying alive on every single citizen. And Britain is out ahead of other European countries: pollsters tell me voters sincerely (though unjustly) believe that had we remained in the EU, we couldn’t have had our own programme. Despite EU vaccinators catching up, and the UK having more dead and more debt than they do, Covid is still a convenient cover.