Andy Richardson: Boris is uniting people in opposition

He’s got a funny idea of freedom. Boris Johnson sold his Brexit idea on the basis that we’d all be heading to sunlit uplands where deals were done, money flowed like a river after a storm and Michael Gove would no longer be required on our TV screens. Great.

Lorry queues could become more regular
Lorry queues could become more regular

Oh, and there was the £350m-not-£350m for the NHS, which we all believed, didn’t we? If two buses were passing, would we get £700m a week? Probably.

It is no surprise, therefore, that there’s going to be an internal border in Kent and that there’s going to be a border but there’s not going to be a border down the Irish Sea. We’ll break international laws if we can’t get our own way. There’ll be costs where there were none before, with tariffs on goods. There’ll be closed doors, new barriers and it’ll all be called – wait for it – freedom. Bunting time. Crack open the Kentish sparkling wine.

Gibraltar, incidentally, may impose restrictions on British goods and JP Morgan is moving £230 billion from the UK to Frankfurt. Still, at least we’ll have a bigger supply of Kentish apples – if they ever get out of Kent.

Covid has proved to be as expensive as marrying an apex predator with four previous husbands, yet credible reports into the long-term costs of Brexit say that’s going to be even more expensive. Woohoo. Just when we needed more debt, here it comes.

Key questions remain. Will smugglers on the new Kent and Sussex border be able to move illicit consignments of jam across the Downs? Will Michael Gove be reminded of his 2016 quote that there’ll be absolutely no changes on the day after the new trading relationships come into force? And will the two-day lorry queue supplying I-need-it-yesterday-parts for our car industries be driven by guys who’ve disconnected their tacographs?

Boris Johnson promised to be the Prime Minister of unity. He’s been as good as his word. His backbenchers are angry with him for breaking the law, the Daily Mail hates him for creating Lockdown V2.0, Mr Murdoch appears not-too-pleased with his incompetence and there are times when he appears to have internally combusted as Sir Keir Starmer uses the oldest of tricks – honesty – to expose his failings at the dispatch box.

Rather than uniting people in support, he’s uniting them in opposition. Oh, lest we forget, Christmas is cancelled. Ah well, there’s always Rishi Sunak. Perhaps he could wear a cape and save Christmas, as well as the economy.

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