Chris Patten: The UK’s hard Brexit choices have arrived

The UK government’s policy review reflects a characteristic Johnsonian feature: a chasm between aspirations and reality that cannot be bridged by make-believe and mendacity

‘New business in Asia cannot possibly replace all the business the UK currently risks losing in Europe’. Picture: Getty

Since the United Kingdom left the European Union, relations with its continental neighbours have gone from bad to worse. On both sides, a toxic blend of distrust and nationalism increasingly infuses almost every contentious issue.

On the EU side, both the European Commission and several member states have woefully mishandled the rollout of the bloc’s Covid-19 vaccination program. The EU has directed its threats of vaccine protectionism principally at the UK, whose vaccination campaign has ...