Brexit's third anniversary: It's past time to get real about the damage leaving the EU has done to UK – Scotsman comment

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As Brexit Britain’s third birthday is marked with wild “Independence Day” celebrations, a joyous nation is united in praise for the foresighted political leaders who made it happen.

Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and co may have fantasised about such acclaim, but unfortunately – for them and everyone in Britain – the reality is very different and today’s anniversary will pass by with little fanfare.

The Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have both masked the damage being done to the UK economy as a result of putting up barriers with our most important trade partners and cutting off businesses from a large supply of staff, but it is there for all to see in the widespread reports of import/export problems, unfilled job vacancies and economic statistics.

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Covid and high inflation because of Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine created global crises, but somehow the UK economy appears to have been hit the hardest. The 10.5 per cent inflation rate is the second-highest in the G7 group of countries, while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that the UK will see the second-lowest economic growth of any G20 country this year – ahead of only heavily sanctioned Russia.

The latest bad Brexit news comes from in an open letter from more than 75 organisations, including the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, other zoos, safari parks and animal sanctuaries, who warn that breeding programmes of endangered animals are at risk. They are calling on the UK Government to negotiate with the European Commission to smooth the transfer of zoo and aquarium animals between Britain and the EU, after a staggering 85 per cent fall.

The most ardent Brexiteers may dismiss such pleas as the work of “Remoaners”, but our elected representatives need to live in the real world, not some bizarre fantasy island where everything is glorious, if such practical problems are to be resolved. And that means dropping the anti-European rhetoric, mending the damage done during a bitter split, and coming to amicable agreements with Brussels.

Animal-breeding programmes are important but there is a long list of other problems, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, that also still need to be fixed. Three years on, it’s past time to get real about the damage done by Brexit.



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