From Farage's flotilla to rotting exports – it's the story of Brexit, in fish | Marina Hyde


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Four years ago, Brexiteers led an iceberg-worthy event on the Thames. Now they’ve ghosted an entire industry

“Every revolution evaporates,” declared Kafka, “and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.” The government’s Brexit deal has gone one better, leaving both the slime of a new bureaucracy and heaps of rotting shellfish on the docks, as fishermen discover they cannot export them to the European Union. In public, environment secretary and reconstituted shrug emoticon George Eustice claims the EU’s shellfish ban is “legally wrong”, while in private his department informs the shellfish industry that the opposite is the case. Such a fine line, isn’t it, between having had enough of experts and having had enough of exports.

Even by their own standards, however, the Brexiteers’ ghosting of the fishermen is something to behold. Every day brings new stories of businesses folding under the weight of red tape or insurmountable non-tariff barriers, and a government response that’s basically: “I want you to know that what we had was really special and also I’m blocking you now.”

Related: If Brexit is 'done', then where's the dividend? | Martin Kettle

Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist

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