THERE seem to be rather a lot of “alternative facts” emanating from the Brexit brigands in the wilds of Westminster. According to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, issues surrounding the vortex of chaos that is the new Brexit exporting procedures are mere “teething problems”. That’s not how the Scottish fishing industry describes the wholesale destruction of its trading routes, customer bases and family businesses as its world-renowned produce fails to make it through the complicated red tape of regulations and border controls born out of our exit from the EU.

Their descriptions are unprintable in this family newspaper.

And it’s not just fish and seafood that is being hit hard by the “sunlit uplands” of Brexit. In fact, it’s looking very gloomy for supermarkets in Northern Ireland, which are facing empty shelves and greatly reduced customer choice in product range. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is trying to convince everyone that this has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit. A bit like the way he tried to persuade everyone that there wasn’t going to be a border down the Irish sea ...

Here’s the thing – we’re not even three weeks into Brexit as yet and it’s only going to get worse. Alt-facts and pathetic attempts at spin are hitting a brick wall as the evidence outweighs the mythology and false promises.

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Fishing firms have already been demonstrating outside government departments this week over their abandonment by a British Government that promised them the world, with Johnson’s wishy-washy promise of compensation as yet to be confirmed.

There was no sign of Raab meeting these demonstrators (socially distanced of course) to re-iterate his claim on Andrew Marr that his boss had signed “a great deal” for the industry. His absence spoke volumes. But the Home Secretary sent the police instead and issued the Scots fisherfolk with fines for breaking Covid travel rules. Welcome to Brexit Britain!

The spin from the UK Government is desperate. It insists these industries have failed to prepare for Brexit, that they were warned of the changes, but they haven’t made the necessary adjustments on time. This, from a Government with a long history of blaming citizens rather than itself for its incompetence.

Caught Covid? It’s your fault for not keeping to the rules even when they were totally confused in the first place, and people were encouraged by the Government to “Eat Out To Help Out” and “Save Christmas”! It’s exactly the same story with Brexit and the ludicrously complicated new border controls imposed by Johnson in his last-minute deal with the EU. Everyone is to blame except the lunatic running the asylum.

Now the PM has apparently said it’s the seafood exporters who are responsible for chaos at the borders due to them “not filling in the right forms”. Even for Johnson, this comment takes some brass neck. According to logistics experts, these new post Brexit regulations comprise many different elements across the supply chain, with umpteen forms to fill out and hand to officials at different points in the journey, creating the opportunity for multiple errors at various stages holding up the stock. Frictionless borders? It’s a glory hole of pitfalls and bureaucracy.

Undeterred by his big, blatant web of deceit, Johnson has gone on to suggest the problems at Dover have also stemmed from restaurants on the continent shutting down because of Covid and the demand for seafood dropping as a result. Finally, he re-iterated his broken Brexit mantra of a “sea of opportunity” awaiting fishermen across the whole UK.

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As if this wasn’t enough in terms of a slap in the face with a wet kipper, Tory Business Minister Paul Scully has finally issued governmental advice to businesses on how to operate post-Brexit and post-single market access – 24 days AFTER the actual severing of ties. He even had the audacity to advise them to prepare to “avoid disruption”.

Yes, we are living in an episode of The Thick of It, except that for the firms going bust and seeing their livelihoods go down the drain, they haven’t got the luxury of turning off the episode as the credits roll.

The UK Government does not just deploy alternative facts, it is living in an alternative reality. All this talk of Brexit dividends seems to have gone to their heads when in fact its probably gone into their pockets and their pockets only.

In this nightmare of a cautionary tale, there was only ever going to be a handful of winners from Brexit and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the ordinary, working folk.

Long past time for the rest of us to wake up.

Back in the 1970s, when Tory PM Ted Heath took Britain into the European project, a top Scottish civil servant bitterly wrote “in light of Britain’s wider European interests it seems they (the Scottish fishermen) are expendable” Now as another Tory PM takes us out “they” (the rest of us) are “expendable” once again.