So much for cutting red tape

Remember when Brexiters were constantly complaining about EU red tape? So now there’s this:

Under extraordinary proposals, truckers driving on designated roads to Dover and the Eurotunnel at Folkestone will need a digital, 24-hour “Kent access permit” which would be issued to them in advance of travel if they can confirm they have the required paperwork to take their goods across the border.

Chris Yarsley, policy manager for Road Infrastructure at Logistics UK, said the “Kent permit” plan was tantamount to creating an “internal U.K. border.” Drivers who don’t have one would face £300 fines and their lorries could be impounded if they don’t pay.

It used to be that a haulier could drive from Newcastle to Spain with no more than a cursory check in Calais. Under these proposals, a British haulier can’t even drive into Kent.

Or are we supposed to believe that a Brexit Border is somehow a good thing?

A classic of the genre

The genre being stupid people discover their actions have consequences:

An outraged Brexiteer has been ridiculed on social media for complaining about a queue at an airport in Amsterdam.

Colin Browning, who has been widely described by British media as one of the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit, took to Twitter on Thursday to complain that about passport check wait times at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

The tweet reads:

Absolutely disgusting service at Schiphol airport. 55 minutes we have been stood in the immigration queue. This isn’t the Brexit I voted for.

… and it’s worth clicking through because some of the responses are very funny indeed. But the bit that made me laugh was Colin’s claim that:

This isn’t the Brexit I voted for.

Yes it is.

Preparing to fail

Do you remember that photo, taken shortly after Theresa May had formally informed the EU of Britain’s intention to leave, of David Davis and the UK’s negotiating team meeting their EU counterparts. On the EU side, the negotiators each had thick folders stuffed with detailed guidelines intended to shape the direction and outcome of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations. On the UK side, the negotiators had… David Davis’ inane grin.

Before that, of course, we had the utter insanity of Theresa May invoking Article 50 and setting the clock ticking on the UK’s exit from the EU without having the first clue of what she wanted to achieve or how she was going to get there.

This was followed by three years of chaos as the UK’s clueless and incompetent government stumbled from one crisis to the next while allowing itself to be pushed into taking ever more extreme positions by their own Bennite wing. This carried on until everyone was so fed up with the whole mess that they let Boris Johnson tell them that throwing Northern Ireland under a bus and caving in to everything represented some sort of victory.

David Allen Green notes that nothing has changed:

The European Union chief negotiator produced draft negotiation guidelines for the next stage of the Brexit process: that is the future relationship agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

You can read the draft here, thirty-three pages of detailed guidelines, which if adopted will shape the next stage of the negotiations.

As Green notes, the EU negotiators understand the process and have put thought into making sure they are fully prepared for the next part of the Brexit negotiations.

The UK could have done something similar; a draft negotiation document, for example, which could have been put before Parliament for approval

There would be no problem with the Prime Minister doing this: he has had the civil service machine at his disposal since summer — plenty of time for the government to know what it wants from the next stage of negotiations, especially as he wants the agreement in place by the end of this year.

And there would be no risk for the Prime Minister in doing this either: unlike his predecessor, he has a majority in the House of Commons and so he could be confident of any such guidelines getting parliamentary approval.

Of course, no such document was published.

The obvious explanation for the United Kingdom government not publishing a document as detailed as that of the European Union is that it has (currently) no proposals as detailed as those of the European Union.

As in 2016-2020, the United Kingdom does not have a clue in practical or detailed terms what to do next.

This government hasn’t learned a thing.

Quote of the day: Massive, not obvious

On Friday we cross the threshold where Brexit must breathe the same air as other political projects. It sheds the immunity of abstraction and enters the realm of evidence. There will be no bracing inrush of liberty to get leaver hearts pumping, and no sudden cataclysm to vindicate remainers. If ending EU membership proves to be a mistake it will be a gradual tightening, a slow burn; the kind of problem that is easier to deny than to own.

Rafael Behr

Quote of the day: Anticlimactic

Revolutions unleash euphoria because they create tangible images of change and inaugurate, at least in the fevered minds of their supporters, a new epoch. Brexit can’t do either of these things. The problem with a revolt against imaginary oppression is that you end up with imaginary freedom. How do you actually show that the yoke of Brussels has been lifted? You can’t bring prawn cocktail-flavoured crisps back into the shops, or release stout British fishermen from the humiliation of having to wear hair nets at work on the high seas, or unban donkey rides on beaches, or right any of the other great wrongs that fuelled anti-EU sentiment – because all of it was make-believe.

Fintan O’Toole

Quote of the day: A Vainglorious Revolution

Having initially been bemused by the Referendum result, and then confused by the political crisis that followed, the election result has now cemented the new reality of Britain’s place in the eyes of the world – a “diminished” figure, being taught daily that it just isn’t important enough or powerful enough to exert much “control” over anything.

— Chris Grey on what “taking back control” really looks like.