Whenever the possibility of higher holiday insurance costs, the return of roaming charges, vast lorry parks set aside for customs posts, an increase in form-filling and delays for goods moving in and out of Great Britain, visa charges and queues to cross borders was broached during the 2016 EU referendum campaign, it was abruptly dismissed as yet another manifestation of “Project Fear”. It wasn’t going to happen.
The European Commission spelt out much of the detail in a paper released last week, as Steve Peers of the University of Essex told last Thursday (thread HERE), but it has taken until today for our free and fearless press to catch up, only waking up to the new reality once Gove’s ad campaign was announced. The BBC relayed the news cautiously.
“Potential changes to travel insurance and passport rules for UK holidaymakers after Brexit are being highlighted in a series of adverts starting this week … Britons intending to travel to Europe should ensure their passports are valid for a specific period, they have comprehensive travel insurance, and they check their mobile phone roaming policy”.
Mobile phone roaming policy? Ah well. Remember the warning that roaming charges could return after Brexit? That’s now Project Reality. Higher travel insurance costs? There’s no agreement on continuing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme - more of that Project Reality. Also, “people travelling to Europe from the UK with pets should contact a vet at least four months before their trip”. No more pet passports. Project Reality.
Fancy moving abroad? Better do it before the end of the year, and get residency permissions sorted, because, as Peers points out, “Certain rights are protected under the withdrawal agreement for those who have moved before the end of the transition period, but otherwise more stringent national and EU law applies to immigration”. Project Reality.
So when “Oiky” Gove tells us “While we have already made great progress in getting ready for this moment, there are actions that businesses and citizens must take now to ensure we are ready to hit the ground running as a fully independent United Kingdom. This is a new start for everyone in the UK - British and European citizens alike”, what he means is that our freedoms have been taken away. And those that are left will cost us more.
More than 17 million voters were successfully had for mugs by Gove and his pals. Including those whose underlying health conditions means they can wave goodbye to their fortnight in Spain. Or the Greek islands. Or the Algarve. Or anywhere not in the UK.
Project Reality is now upon us. But don’t worry, you won - so get over it.