Steve Anglesey brings you your weekly check on how Project Fear is becoming Project Reality.
It has been a gloomy week on the sunlit uplands of sovereign Britain, with Brexit red tape causing trade to take a Monty Python turn.
There are empty shelves in some smaller UK cheese shops, with Michael Harte of importer Bridge Cheese explaining: “Companies need to fill in the same amount of paperwork for shipping a whole container of cheese as they do for a small pallet of cheese. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Wholesaler Rowcliffe has “given up” exporting cheese to the island of Ireland after delivery times went from 48 hours to five days, and the Cheshire Cheese Company has stopped sending £25 truckles to the EU because each consignment requires a £180 health certificate, signed off by a vet.
In other Pythonesque news, not even half a bee of the 15 million a Kent apiarist is trying to bring into the country from Italy is safe from the threat of being burned by customs officials.
Only queen bees are now allowed to be imported directly from Europe into Britain, and though beekeeper Patrick Murfet believed he had found a loophole by receiving the baby bees via Northern Ireland, Defra have sent him an email warning that “Illegal imports will be sent back or destroyed, and enforcement action (criminal charges) will be brought against the importer”.
Finally, four Yorkshiremen had a row over the negative effects of Brexit on local business. Engineering firm boss Chris Cox was among a trio who complained about red tape to the Sheffield Star, saying: “It’s a total disaster and the most ill-prepared situation I’ve ever come across.”
But chemicals company CEO Graham Royle hit back: “It is only a disaster for companies that are too busy whingeing and blaming the government, instead of taking the responsibility of preparing their businesses for the changes.” Mr Royle, who voted Leave at the referendum, stopped short of calling Brexit “bloody luxury.”
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