All I got for Brexit was a Boris Johnson tea towel

2 mins read

Maybe the worst thing about Brexit is having to indulge Nigel Farage his hour of isolationist glory as he sticks two fingers up at the European institutions the UK has broken away from.

Across Europe, it does feel like the end of days.

A country that sacrificed so much to save Europe from tyranny by fighting two world wars, is now basking in the delight of becoming Little England again where only foreigners with special talents are welcome.

Boris got his Brexit done, but the future still remains uncertain, as the UK has less than a year to sort out its future relationship with Europe.

It’s going to be a messy divorce where Britain will have to compromise if it wants the benefits of frictionless trade that the single market offers.

Of course, London wants to believe it is in the driving seat but being on the outside of the bloc looking in will have its downsides no matter how positive a spin BoJo likes to put on it.

Despite the parties, popping of champagne corks and all-round optimism of a bright new dawn for an ‘independent’ Britain, the UK is a divided island where Brexit divisions run deep.

Remainers lost the battle to keep the UK’s European identity and there is no turning back for the foreseeable future, but Brexit will still define how Britain views itself in the world.

And it will take the passage of time before the British people can reflect on whether cutting the EU umbilical cord after 45 years in the union was the wisest of choices.

The UK has formally left the European Union, but it has immediately entered an 11-month transition period to decide on its future relationship with Brussels.

For now, many things will stay the same but, thankfully, Farage will no longer be an MEP because Britain has departed from the EU’s political institutions and agencies.

That means no more EU summits for the British Prime Minister – Boris will need a special invitation if he wants to address his fellow European leaders. He won’t be missing much.

However, London can stride forward and negotiate humongous trade deals with the USA, Australia, Japan and anyone else it chooses to do business with.

But dealing with Trump to deliver a gold-standard US trade deal will make the Brexit torment feel like a tickle from an ostrich feather.

British passport holders will also witness a visible change in that their EU burgundy-favoured passports will turn a deeper shade of blue, reminiscent of a time when only one empire stood tall.

The new colour will be phased in over several months, with all new passports issued in blue by the middle of the year.

Existing burgundy passports will continue to be valid as museum pieces or objects of derision and ridicule.

Battlefield of Europe

If Remainers didn’t need any more visual signs of their defeat on the battlefields of Europe, about three million commemorative 50p Brexit coins entering circulation should cheer them up.

In this new post-Brexit era, travel will be the same as before, at least until 31 December 2020, after that you might need a visa to travel to the UK and join a different queue at passport control.

EU driving licenses and pet passports are still accepted but if negotiation goes pear-shaped then there will be alternative arrangements for each country.

And the odds are that the post-transition phase will be as seamless and smooth as skating over wet concrete.

Freedom of movement continues to apply during the transition, allowing Brits to live and work in the bloc, while EU nationals can do the same. Again, uncertainty lingers over the future arrangement.

There will be glitches in the system as the EU and Britain try to untangle what has bound them together for so long.

Whatever happens next, things will feel a lot different for citizens on the ground. European politics will morph after one of its key members decided that being part of a wider family is second to pursuing self-interest.

Britain must be careful that its Brexit bravura doesn’t trigger the breakup of the United Kingdom with Scotland and Northern Ireland feeling left abandoned on a stranger’s doorstep.

‘Stronger together’ no longer seems to be the anthem of our age as Britain skips joyfully down the yellow brick road.

Are the distant cheers for a new beginning or the beginning of the end?