Brexit drama continues: Resignation underlines how divided UK is

 Brexit drama continues: Resignation underlines how divided UK is

Boris Johnson’s in-house Machiavelli, Dominic Cummings, may not have written the script for any of the Mission Impossible fantasies though his reputation — in some quarters at least — suggests he might easily throw one together over a quiet weekend.

Nevertheless, the Brexit saga, one he is credited with masterminding has assumed the pace and drama of anything Hollywood might conjure.

The decision by Jo Johnson, the British prime minister’s younger brother, to resign as a junior minister and step down as a member of parliament, citing a conflict in family loyalties and the British national interest adds an air of lurid spice and brother-on-brother incompatibility to this Shakespearean tragedy.

It may not be as dramatic as Michael Corleone’s decision in The Godfather Part II to have his brother Fredo shot but the warning it carries is every bit as as salutatory.

It was not the only warning in play yesterday. Irish ministers, none of whom would use the Dáil benches as a chaise lounge hopefully, have concluded that the fallout from a no-deal Brexit would be significantly worse than they previously anticipated.

Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting concluded with predictions of thousands of immediate job losses in tourism — up to 10,000 — and “carnage” in the fishing sector.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney gave details to his colleagues and they were briefly given sight of a document outlining the likely implications of no-deal.

So severe were the predictions that they were asked to return the document at the end of the meeting. Ministers were told checks on goods imported across the border were inevitable but that those checks would not take place at the border.

When pressed Mr Coveney declined to elaborate but it is understood that details may be published next week.

All the while the drama is at its most intense in London.

Even though the adventure has taken on the make-it-up-as-you-go-along air of free-form theatre it is unwise to confuse deliberate disruption with debilitating dysfunction or deception.

Fredo Corleone paid the ultimate price for his treachery. Sadly we may pay a huge price for the treachery of others.

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