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In nobody's interest for Brexit to fail

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Yesterday also had some of that Millennium non-event reality about it. The grave predictions that the 11pm end of the Brexit transition would lead to chaos proved unfounded. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Yesterday also had some of that Millennium non-event reality about it. The grave predictions that the 11pm end of the Brexit transition would lead to chaos proved unfounded. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Yesterday also had some of that Millennium non-event reality about it. The grave predictions that the 11pm end of the Brexit transition would lead to chaos proved unfounded. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In 2000 an existential threat to our way of life presaged the coronavirus by two decades. We were told that the so-called Millennium Bug would strike when our computers failed to recognise the changeover to January 1, 2000.

In the event, dawn came as normal on January 1. Planes remained airborne, traffic lights and computers worked normally.

Yesterday also had some of that Millennium non-event reality about it. The grave predictions that the 11pm end of the Brexit transition would lead to chaos proved unfounded.

For many Brexiteers this was the moment they had been waiting over four years for, to "take back control".

For Remainers, nevertheless, this was a sad reminder of perhaps the greatest act of political self-harm for the UK since the Second World War.

Yet there is nothing to be gained by repeating the arguments for and against, nor is there any point in claiming that a majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain. We weren't asked on our own, but the entire UK was.

Life will not be the same but it will go on, with differences.

The UK and the EU will give traders "grace" periods to adjust, though some online businesses will suspend services to us until there is more clarity.

People should be aware of possible roaming charges on mobile phones, motorists crossing the border will need an insurance Green Card, and EHIC cards for emergency health care in the EU are valid until their expiry date.

They can be replaced by a UK Health Insurance Card, as yet unspecified, or an EHIC card for Northern Ireland residents from Dublin. In this context we must all take every step to avoid Covid-19, which remains immensely dangerous until mass vaccinations start to work.

Yet our "can do" attitude, which we have shown countless times in the past nine months, can make a difference between a workable and an unworkable Brexit.

It is in none of our interests now to let it fail. Surely even in a country infamous for disinterring lost causes, we can recognise when it is time to move on.

Belfast Telegraph


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