HAVING most unsurprisingly failed to show any meaningful benefits of leaving the European Union since the lamentable 2016 vote, it seems the Conservative Brexiters want another 10 years to pull some kind of rabbit out of the hat.

Quite what that rabbit would look like is entirely unclear. No specific description has been given.

All the while, businesses and households struggle on a daily basis with the actual impacts of Brexit, with all the major unnecessary and detrimental upheaval that has come with this foolish crusade.

These troubles seem of far, far less concern than they should be to Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary. Mr Raab signalled a belief at the weekend, when presented with some of the woes that Brexit has created, that people should take a 10-year view of this exercise.

Imagine if the executive team of a major company decided to do something that experts had advised against very strongly, and the projected shambles materialised, and, as well as not holding their hands up and admitting they got it wrong, the top brass asked for 10 years to show it might work out. When it was clear it would not. You would imagine they would not be around for long.

However, a lack of accountability is something that seems to be just part of the everyday lives of the Brexiters who pack Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

To say this is a far-from-ideal situation would be a gentle euphemism.

Obviously, we do not need to wait 10 years to see the impact of Brexit. This folly had been weighing heavily on the UK economy for years by the time the coronavirus pandemic struck, dragging on growth. One of its effects has been a serious dampening of business investment, during years of uncertainty.

We have already seen many UK businesses set up operations in continuing European Union member states to try to protect themselves from the effects of Brexit, or at least mitigate the impact. This was happening long before the transition period – which had kept the UK in the single market following technical Brexit on January 31 last year – ended on the final day of 2020. And all the signs are that businesses have been very active on this front since, as the projected shambles has materialised.

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It is less than two months since the end of the transition period, and already Amsterdam has overtaken London as Europe’s largest share trading centre. The Conservatives have so often been the champions of the City of London, but the Tory Brexiters seem unperturbed, with ideology once again trumping all else for them it seems.

And, of course, we have the major problems being encountered on a daily basis by exporters in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK as they have tried to continue well-established trade with the EU following the UK’s departure from the European single market at the end of last year.

It is an enormous and incredible fiasco but Mr Raab, a huge supporter of Brexit, seems completely unruffled.

Mr Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show at the weekend: “We have also been clear that there are changes that come with exiting the transition period, and what we’re trying to do is support businesses as best we can to manage those.”

It would be good to hear the Tory Brexiters stop talking about “changes” when the things they are being asked to comment on are very negative effects. Change can imply something good or bad. There has been nothing good from Brexit, although there have been celebrations by the likes of Home Secretary Priti Patel about a hugely detrimental clampdown on immigration from EU countries. We are talking about major adverse effects, not “changes”.

Mr Raab went on: “I think if you take a 10-year view, as well as looking at the short-term risk, which is right to do, actually the growth opportunities in the future are going to come from emerging and developing economies around the world, in particular the Indo-Pacific.”

This, to put it mildly, goes way beyond the usual “jam tomorrow” timescale of politicians. And, of course, Mr Raab is, as he seemingly looks out at the horizon and imagines positives invisible to so, so many others, certainly not addressing the massive adverse effects of leaving the single market that we are having to deal with right now.

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He talks about a 10-year view. Of course, the Theresa May government of which he was for a while part published forecasts of the impact of Brexit on a 15-year view. Maybe he should take a look at those? Or maybe he might not want to. After all, they tell the opposite story from that he seems to believe in. Whatever the case, he certainly should deal with what is happening right now, rather than just kick everything out far into the very long grass.

The May government forecasts showed Brexit would, with an average free trade deal with the EU, result in UK GDP in 15 years’ time being 4.9% lower than if the country had stayed in the bloc if there were no change to migration arrangements. Or 6.7% worse on the basis of zero net inflow of workers from European Economic Area countries. These are, for the avoidance of doubt, huge numbers. And the forecast based on no change to migration arrangements is obviously now way over-optimistic, given the view of this Tory Government on immigration and the clampdown it has already implemented on this front.

All the while, as Mr Raab dreams that the UK is somehow going to be a big beneficiary of growth of distant developing Indo-Pacific economies and plays down huge problems in trading with major EU member states on our doorstep, the effects of Brexit continue to rack up.

Paul Sheerin, chief executive of industry body Scottish Engineering, laid out some of the troubles for companies in this key sector in his column in The Herald on Monday. Maybe Mr Raab and his fellow Brexiters would care to take these on board, and the myriad other issues for households and businesses, rather than talk about how people should wait 10 years to see how things pan out.

Mr Sheerin makes his view on what the UK Government should be doing plain, declaring: “This situation is serious, and it needs urgent help from the Government that took us into it, delivering on their promise of smooth trading with our single largest trading partner.”

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Spelling out the troubles, Mr Sheerin says: “Companies report a general lack of capacity in both directions, meaning shortage and delay to raw materials and parts needed to build and manufacture, followed by huge problems to get finished goods out and into the hands of customers in a timeframe close to that originally promised. Business has moved supply chains on to airfreight at exorbitant cost to make up lost time, and despite this, workers have still had to be sent home due to lack of parts to build with.”

This is a dismal situation for a company to face at any time, let alone in these grim days of the pandemic.

Mr Sheerin also observes that “shortage of capacity brings the inevitable consequence of the supply and demand curve, resulting in up to six-times normal costs to move outbound goods”. And he notes “the very real resulting costs of extra administration can be an up-to-tenfold increase in some cases”.

The Brexiters really need, as a matter of urgency, to heed the warnings of Mr Sheerin and others with a deep knowledge of what is going on about the huge disruption to trade flows, and how the situation could get even worse in short order with loss of customers.

HeraldScotland: Boris Johnson Picture: Oli Scarff/PA WireBoris Johnson Picture: Oli Scarff/PA Wire

Brexit woes encountered by the seafood sector in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK, and food producers more generally, have rightly commanded many headlines, but troubles are being faced across many sectors. The situation is very difficult for many engineering companies, which have seen supply chains built up over years and decades thrown into disarray by Brexit and are having to deal with the huge bureaucracy that the UK Government has visited upon the country’s businesses with its folly.

Highlighting the fears of engineering companies in Scotland, Mr Sheerin warns “the biggest concern cited every day is that their EU customers finally run out of patience with the delays they are experiencing in buying from the UK and look around for alternatives without the barriers we have chosen to initiate”.

He is right – the UK has chosen to initiate the barriers with the hard Brexit chosen by Mr Johnson.

It has been noted elsewhere that it is most unusual for a country to impose trade restrictions on itself. It is indeed.

The clock is ticking in terms of the time left for companies which are still able to do so to try to mitigate the damage in terms of retaining EU customers and crucial revenues. This is vital to businesses and the economy, and it requires the UK Government to sort out its mess.

Mr Raab really needs to stop gazing at the horizon and look at what is happening on the ground. And suggesting to people, without anything to back it up, that all will be well on the Brexit front in 10 years’ time is, quite frankly, utterly ridiculous. And entirely unacceptable from someone who must, with his fellow Cabinet members, be accountable for this Tory Brexit.