On shelves tomorrow.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 31, 2020
“This is the greatest moment”.
Nigel Farage, the former head of UKIP, speaks to a roaring crowd of partygoers in Parliament Square in London on Brexit Night.
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 31, 2020
Good bye & good luck to my friends in the UK. History is changing course tonight. I hope we can make the new realities work. Despite all that has happened through BREXIT so far, we will miss you in the EU as a close friend and ally. 🇬🇧🇪🇺🇮🇪
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) January 31, 2020
Parliament Square, Westminster, London, UK,
This is the moment the Union Flag 🇬🇧 was removed from the EU Council building in Brussels ahead of #Brexit.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 31, 2020
In silence outside the EU parliament the Union flag is lowered and replaced with an EU flag 🇬🇧 to 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/TaaGNUWfQy
— Nicola Bartlett (@NicolaRBartlett) January 31, 2020
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
Outside the British Embassy on Merrion Road in Dublin 4.
Harpist Ruth McDonnell plays a Brexit-lamenting The Parting of Companions by 17th Ulster century harpist Rory Dall O’ Catháin.
“Ní neart go cur le chéile – unity is strength.”
They’re taking it well.
Earlier: A Limerick A Day
A Brexit/General Election 2020 visit by, above from left Minister for Finance and Expenditure Paschal Donohue, Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney .
Tonight at 11pm Britain will leave the EU.
Earlier: A Limerick A Day
From top: Irish and UK passports; Adrian O’Neil, Irish Ambassador to the UK
Living in Britain?
Bernard Purcell, London-based editor of The Irish World, writes:
This Friday at 11pm local time the UK will formally leave the EU. The next 12 months will be a transition period during which time EU law and regulations will still be in force here.
So too, will current rights enjoyed as EU citizens, such as free movement.
Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK Adrian O’Neill and the Embassy of Ireland have this week issued updated information on just what the transition period, and the days that follow, will mean for Irish citizens here in the UK and British citizens in Ireland.
In short, they say, the Common Travel Area means that Irish citizens living in the UK (and vice versa) will continue to be able to travel freely, live, work and access education and social services as before.
The Irish World asked Adrian O’Neill (Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK) to further clarify…
Will I still be able to travel freely between the UK and Ireland after Brexit?
“Yes. Irish citizens can continue to travel freely between the UK and Ireland in the same manner as before. Don’t forget your passport (or other valid I.D. depending on how you are travelling)! And if your passport is out of date, the fastest way to renew it is online.”
Can I still study in the UK?
“Yes, Irish citizens can still study in the UK on the same basis as British citizens.”
What does the CTA mean for further and higher education fees for Irish citizens studying in the UK?
“Your fees will be set at the EU level for 2019/ 2020 academic year, and will continue on that basis for the duration of the programme for which you have registered. The CTA means Ireland and the UK will take steps to ensure Irish and British citizens can continue to access further and higher education on the same fee basis into the future, including after Brexit.”
Can I still rent a place to live or access social housing supports in the UK as an Irish citizen?
“Yes, you can still rent a place to live and you continue to have a right to access social housing supports, including supported housing and homeless assistance, on the same basis as British citizens.”
Can I still vote in the UK as an Irish citizen?
“Yes, Irish citizens resident in the United Kingdom, and British citizens resident in Ireland, have the right to vote in local and national parliamentary elections. The right to vote at local and national parliamentary elections will remain subject to Irish and British citizens having reached the established voting age and having registered on the electoral roll in their respective jurisdictions.”
What social welfare entitlements will I continue to have under the CTA?
“Irish citizens and British citizens in each other’s State have the right to access social security benefits on the same basis as citizens of that State. This includes arrangements for Social Insurance schemes, Social Assistance schemes and Child Benefit.”
What about healthcare?
“The CTA also applies to healthcare so Irish citizens in Britain can continue to access healthcare as they do now, on the same basis as British citizens.”
Can I use my Irish driving license in the UK?
“Yes. The UK Government’s stated position is that, post Brexit, arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change. Visitors to the UK, with driving licences from EU Member States, will enjoy the same arrangements as today.”
What about if I’m travelling to Ireland on a UK driving licence?
“Visitors to Ireland with a UK driving licence will still be able to drive in Ireland on holidays.”
And can I bring my UK registered car?
“Yes, if you are travelling in 2020. It is possible there may be changes in 2021 after the end of the transition period.”
Yesterday: Ode To Joy
The Irish World
Pics: PA/ Irish Embassy London
“Put your flags away, you’re leaving… and take them with you… goodbye,” says the European Parliament Vice President Mairead McGuinness to cheers from the Parliament pic.twitter.com/4reGibVPa7
— BrexitCentral (@BrexitCentral) January 29, 2020
At the European Parliament in Brussels.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage waves the Union Jack as he delivers his farewell speech to the parliament before he gets cut off for disobeying the rules.
Fine Gael’s Mairéad McGuinness, vice-president of the parliament, tells him “goodbye” and reminds him to take his flags with him.
Earlier: Britain On The Brink
Previously: He Is Among Us