If the UK’s Article 50 period were a progress bar, it would now be at 97%. When it reaches 100%, the UK will leave the EU by automatic operation of law in circumstances that are currently unknown.

The UK government negotiated a draft withdrawal agreement 114 days ago, without apparently having made any effort to work out what could actually get through Parliament (let alone its own party), and has spent the past three and a half months wasting time, postponing action as far as possible, and negligently running down the clock. Now they’re working on setting up the blame narrative: that it’s all the fault of the intransigent EU rather than their own mutually incompatible requirements and failure to establish a consensus before going into discussions.

And here we are, three weeks away, with no idea of what April will look like.

The government is now pissing away money (admittedly probably only a small proportion of the amount they’re pissing away in total on Brexit) on adverts everywhere, like this:

Bus stop advert: “How will leaving the EU affect me?” / “The UK leaves the EU
on 29 March 2019. To find out what it means for you, visit

If you actually visit the Prepare for EU Exit website referred to, you won’t find out much at all (emphasis my own):

What all drivers from the UK may need to do to drive in the EU and EEA when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.

Prepare for the rules and processes that will apply to trading or moving endangered animals or plants listed under CITES, or their products if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

How possible changes to aviation security would affect businesses and passengers if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal.

What you may need to do to travel to or in the EU and EEA after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.

How leaving the EU without a deal would affect mobile roaming in EU and EEA countries.

Accounting and audit if there’s no Brexit deal

VAT for businesses if there’s no Brexit deal

There are pages and pages of this stuff, but it all boils down to maybe you’ll have to make a load of changes to how you operate in three weeks’ time. Or maybe you won’t. And maybe it’s too late anyway. It’s too late for passport renewals or pet vaccinations, for example.

On top of it all, those are just the consequences that can be planned for in advance. Small changes to border formalities can have big impacts: French customs officials working to rule this week have created tailbacks of lorries all the way to Belgium.

One day, when this shitshow is all over, the people responsible need to face trial for the negligence with which they’ve handled the past three years.