Om my how much Covid-19 changed the world. For five years, the UK national conversation was nothing but the screeches of Brexit from all sides and endless comment and opinion pieces (I offer no defence, m'lud). Covid put a stop to all of that, we have heard little of Brexit since it was done.
Pre-dating even that, were the horror stories, originally more or less invented by one B. Johnson when the Telegraph's EU correspondent, about 'bendy bananas' and other such hilarious single market rules and regulations. This was a 20 year feast for British newspapers so to speak.
And lo, here we are in 2021 and we get a perfect marrying of the two old trends. Firstly, the Northern Ireland compromise, never really a compromise and designed solely to get Brexit done as per instructions from the British electorate is coming unstuck. The EU have decided that the main reason for this is the importation of British sausages (and mince) to Northern Ireland that now require health certificates for Export to the EU - certificates which, um, don't exist in the EU.
This has long been a simmering issue and it a classic of its kind. The UK, on doing Brexit, knew there was this risk as the Industry bodies have highlighted it for ages. In a typical fudge, the UK extended a grace period whilst negotiations were ongoing. However, the EU does not have to budge and it has not. It will simply insist Northern Ireland imports from Ireland and the EU itself - after all that is the point of their closed single market! The Eu commissioner is wallowing in joy at being seen to be fair, yet beastly to the Brits.
Meanwhile, the UK side can't believe the EU will be so intransigent and ignore all efforts to make exceptions for the UK. Lord Frost in particular, can't seem to understand the EU does not care about playing fair and sees the UK as a third country.
In fact, the situation is about to get worse, as for less high-risk meats such as frozen produce, the non-EU country of origin must be authorised for imports into the EU, and establishments that produce the meat must also be approved to follow EU standards. The UK has yet to be listed as such a country, which is cause of concern to British meat producers, some of which are heavily reliant on exports to the EU.
Brexit is back and back for good, I hope no one thought it would ever go away. Perhaps at the G7 meeting compromise will be reached, but it seems unlikely, the EU is being very tough, but is on solid legal ground on these issues and as we know, has past form for insisting on bizarre terms for food import and export.