This desperately absurd Brexit outcome is the latest sorry indication of what we have becomeby Jonathan Lis / September 24, 2020 / Leave a comment
On Wednesday, Michael Gove offered the British people another reminder of what they had voted for. On top of the shock to our economy, loss of our trading markets and breaches of international law, we have found a new way to take back control: installing a new border for lorries in Kent.
In the Commons, Gove confirmed that hauliers will require a “Kent access permit” to ensure they have the correct paperwork before they reach the Channel ports, thereby preventing long traffic jams. This announcement follows the furore over the frontier currently being implemented in the Irish Sea. And so in the latest crime against irony, a government which wanted full control of borders in the pursuit of freedom has ended up erecting two new ones inside its own country.
Gove’s letter to industry on the “reasonable worst-case scenario” revealed that up to 70 per cent of EU-bound lorries may not be ready for the post-transition controls, up to 7,000 could have to queue in Kent for two days, and the disruption could in fact get worse as January progresses.
Of course, in practical terms the Kent permit is a viable solution. As trade experts have pointed out, it reduces the certainty of gridlock at the ports themselves. It will not eliminate delays elsewhere: lorries will be held back with paperwork at depots and factories instead. And as with everything else Brexit, it will dramatically increase costs and red tape for businesses already hammered by Covid-19. No matter. Sovereignty is the goal and sovereignty must win out.
Now, then, is the time for firms to get ready. Which leaves just one small problem: they can’t.
Naturally, businesses need to know what tariffs are coming so they can prepare. This was the exact purpose of the 21-month implementation period, which was slashed to 11 months, and runs out in just over three. This was the period designed to enact the trade deal. But as we know, that deal hasn’t been signed, and both sides are open to the possibility it never will be. All businesses know is that there will be some kind of trouble in all circumstances. Needless to say, it is difficult to implement new arrangements in under 100 days, and harder still when they don’t yet exist.
And so, as night follows day, the government seeks to blame Brussels. This week Environment Secretary…