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Brexit’s Collateral Damage

Five years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the costs of that decision are becoming clearer. Most perniciously, trust in Britain is declining fast as Prime Minister Boris Johnson denies the consequences of the post-Brexit agreement he reached regarding Northern Ireland.

LONDON – I confess straightaway: I am not a football fan. Too often, matches fall well below the sport’s claim to be “the beautiful game.” Nonetheless, I am dutifully watching some of the current European Championship. Naturally, I always want England to win, though I hate how English fans boo other countries’ national anthems. And, being British, I would support Scotland, Wales, or – though they did not qualify this year – Northern Ireland if they were playing a country from outside the United Kingdom.

My point is that I never want my country to do badly. And even though I passionately opposed Brexit, I want Britain to fare as well as it possibly can outside the European Union. But staying silent in the face of evidence that it is not amounts to the crudest and most mendacious sort of nationalism.

The UK has already incurred steadily rising costs as a result not only of Brexit but of a hard Brexit that people did not necessarily vote for in the June 2016 referendum. Yet, that is what we got in order to appease Britain’s right-wing media and politicians and to pave the way for Boris Johnson to become prime minister.

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