From top: a lone EU star projected on the cliffs of Dover, England; Bernard Purcell
With only a few hours left….
Bernard Purcell writes:
When Boris Johnson was Mayor of London one of his much-trumpeted achievements was the new, 21st century Routemaster Bus with three doors for entering and alighting.
From this month passengers using those buses can only enter by the driver-side door.
It means that the hugely expensive buses – they cost a great deal more than others in service and cannot be sold on – have no real raison d’etre other than as a costly gimmick to bolster Johnson’s image as Mayor.
Most of the batteries on the hybrids failed meaning that they ended producing more diesel pollution than any other bus, they get hotter than thirty degrees in summer causing serious problems for passengers, cost a fortune to repair and they cannot be sold on as no-one wants to buy them.
To add insult to injury they were built and sold by a Northern Ireland company owned by one of the DUP’s biggest backers and a massive Brexit supporter.
But London commuters are stuck with them for many, many years to come…along with the truly staggering multi-million-pound bills for Boris’s aborted Garden Bridge and island airport among others.
Don’t even mention the former Olympic stadium home of West Ham.
But Boris Johnson has moved on leaving all this behind him, and as Prime Minister, on Brexit Day, is working with a much bigger canvas.
You might ask why these are being mentioned on Brexit Day and the answer is, as a cautionary tale of what may be before us.
We know that he accomplished Brexit where others couldn’t – by betraying the very conditions about the British border in Northern Ireland that he had insisted on and said were non-negotiable.
He doubled down on that with bare-faced assertions that there would be no customs or regulatory checks between Britain and Northern Ireland even though this has been comprehensively refuted by Michel Barnier, Simon Coveney, Leo Varadkar…and his own HM Treasury.
Even as this is being written there are moves afoot to banish the very word Brexit from the public discourse – led by Downing Street and some of its cheerleaders in the national media – on the basis that Boris has ‘got Brexit done’ – and the commemorative tea towel is available for Conservative Central Office.
This is despite the fact that it is only now beginning with the European Commission poised to publish its trade deal negotiating mandate on Monday and this transition period – enabled by Article 50 – due to expire in a year.
And all the indications are that this government is attaching greater weight to its deadline than the content or detail of the trade deal – no matter how much many of us might hope that common sense and pragmatic, if not even enlightened, self-interest kick in.
Meanwhile, ‘Sir’ Nigel Farage and his motley crew of ersatz poujadists are dialing down expectations for their victory gala in Parliament Square, blaming ‘the establishment’ for thwarting their promise of music, comedians and celebrations – when even the most cursory glance at the law covering gatherings would have confirmed that they, with alcohol, are prohibited in that space.
For the very many people genuinely deflated by today the former British ambassador Lord (Peter) Ricketts’ widely circulated advice has been to emulate that other enthusiastic European, Winston Churchill and raise a glass of good champagne. Because, Churchill said, ‘in victory I deserve it, and in defeat, I need it’.
Or words to that effect.
Bernard Purcell is the UK-born, Ireland-reared and London-based editor of The Irish World. newspaper.
Earlier: Brexit Rap Battle
Top pic via Led By Donkeys