IT was difficult to know how to feel on hearing that Elon Musk, one of the world’s leading technology entrepreneurs, had cited Brexit as a reason why his pioneering Tesla electric-vehicle business was not setting up in the UK.

There was the difficult-to-escape, knee-jerk reaction that it serves Boris Johnson and his fellow Brexiters right. After all, it is important for everyone to learn that actions have consequences.

We live in a world where too many politicians seem to believe they can persuade the public that the normal rules of cause-and-effect no longer apply. They just keep banging on noisily as if, by saying that black is white, it will be so.

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The Brexiters, for instance, have said, although not so loudly recently, that leaving the European Union will be good for Britain, in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary and the significant damage already done by the mere prospect of this stupid move.

Mr Johnson and his adviser, Dominic Cummings, seem to have changed the narrative to focus on “getting Brexit done”.

This populist slogan is a very dangerous one because it might signal to some of the electorate that there are no consequences of Mr Johnson’s hard Brexit. That somehow it is just a matter of ticking the box and moving on. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Sadly, if the Prime Minister gets his way, it will only be when the UK’s woes mount and really get going after the end of the transition period that those voters who want to just “get Brexit done” realise what they have actually signed up for. By that stage, it will be too late to prevent the troubles created for themselves and others. You can sympathise with many of these people given they are being wooed by beguiling, and ideologically driven, orators.

When it comes to Mr Musk not investing in the UK and all the other economic opportunities and actual and potential jobs lost by the country already because of the Brexit fiasco, it is good for Mr Johnson to see that actions have consequences. Lamentably though, the fall-out from the Brexit odyssey is already affecting living standards, particularly those of people least able to afford it, and there will be much worse to come if Mr Johnson gets what he wants. Tory Brexiters must accept responsibility for this.

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As Mr Johnson tours the UK in the hope of winning a “working majority” in next month’s General Election to enable him to ram through his hard Brexit deal, and facilitate the Tories’ aim of cutting immigration, he has also seemed at pains to portray the Conservatives as the ones to tackle climate change.

This might seem like a curious notion to many, given experience over decades. But we live in bizarre times in which many of those hammered by nearly a decade of Tory austerity are queuing up to vote for the Conservatives to “get Brexit done”. Even though Brexit will make their lives worse, both directly in terms of the inevitable erosion of employment rights and indirectly as the UK economy pays the full price for Tory Brexit folly as further falls in immigration and the end of frictionless trade take heavy tolls.

Given the frequency with which Mr Johnson is emitting climate-change soundbites, Mr Musk’s declaration is surely unhelpful for the Prime Minister.

California-based Mr Musk had back in 2014 appeared to flag the possibility of creating a research and development centre in the UK. Such an investment from one of the world’s most-exciting technology entrepreneurs would have been a huge feather in the cap for the UK.

Mr Musk, after unveiling plans this week to build a European electric-vehicle plant for Tesla on the outskirts of Berlin, told Auto Express: “Brexit made it too risky to put a Gigafactory in the UK.”

Mr Musk, who also announced plans to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin, cited German expertise in this sector. And Germany has taken a very different approach to its industrial sector to that favoured by Margaret Thatcher, whose City-obsessed strategy had a devastating effect on UK manufacturing in the 1980s and early-1990s.

The Tesla entrepreneur’s comments about Brexit are entirely understandable. Mr Musk is a man with a powerful brain, at the cutting edge of innovation. But, while Tory Brexiters might not be able to figure it out, it should not take a genius to conclude that anyone looking to sell into the European single market would be wary of setting up shop in the UK. After all, no one, including Mr Johnson, knows at this stage what the UK’s post-Brexit trading relationship with the rest of the EU would be. All that is certain, based on the path of leaving the single market that Mr Johnson and his fellow Tory Brexiters are hell-bent on pursuing with unseemly haste, is that the future relationship will be much worse than the current arrangements.

The Tory election campaign is disheartening and at times frightening to watch, given the impact of what they are proposing on the living standards of millions of ordinary people. In contrast, the EU continues to provide room for hope, with its message that it is not too late for the UK to take the sensible course of staying in the bloc.

European Council President Donald Tusk riled Brexiters this week as he dispensed some good old common sense.

He cited “voices of Empire” in Brexiters’ claims that the UK can only be global again on its own. Mr Tusk contended that only as part of the EU could the UK play a global role, and “confront…the greatest powers of this world”. He talked about the UK being an “outsider” and “second-rate player” if it were to leave the EU, “while the main battlefield will be occupied by China, the United States and the European Union”. Given scale and the way the world is moving, amid heightened trade tensions, you can see the sense in this argument.

Mr Tusk cited a British friend’s observation that “Brexit is the real end of the British Empire”. Tory arch-Brexiters should ponder this.

Messrs Johnson and Cummings might want people to believe Brexit is inevitable. It is not. And, in these days when Tory spin is too often confused with reality, Mr Tusk summed it up well. Issuing a “don’t give up” message to people in the UK opposed to Brexit, he declared: “Things become irreversible only when people start to think so.”