Ever since the idea for a Brexit referendum was hatched at a Chicago O’Hare Pizzaeria Uno it seemed like a bad idea. Sure, Europe is overregulated but those favoring Brexit were no less inclined towards an activist government. And with greater barriers for trade and immigration it didn’t seem likely the move would promote Britain’s prosperity.
That was before the pandemic, and we should all question what we thought about Brexit. I’ve had to revise my own priors as Britain has outperformed the rest of Europe coming out of Covid-19.
U.K. bioscience gave us dexamethasone as a Covid-19 treatment and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The government there delayed second doses to get jabs into as many arms as possible, as quickly as possible. They’ve pushed aggressively on home testing for the virus, and allowed human challenge trials to identify viable treatments more quickly.
Despite a health care system that was overburdened even before the pandemic, the U.K. has performed well by moving separately from Europe.
Even this chart on doses administered per 100 people understates British progress because by delaying second doses they have provided vaccines to far more people than countries following strict dosing regimens.
Prevalence of Covid-19 in the U.K. – home to the more infectious B.1.1.7 variant – has plummeted even as it’s spiked elsewhere and France has gone back into lockdown.
Still, there are real costs to Brexit as 40 British expats was sent back to Manchester after the British citizens residing in Spain were rejected for entry into Alicante last week.
Despite Brexit, residents of E.U nations should be permitted to stay under the Withdrawal Agreement. However Spain’s new residency document – the TIE or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero – is a biometric card for foreigners living in-country. Without that card, the Brits were turned away.
They claimed that when they arrived at the terminal on March 29, they were greeted with a sign which read: “No tie card, no entry.”
…Speaking to Olive Press he said: “People with letters from Alicante Foreigners Office asking them to collect their residency cards were turned away…what more proof do you need of residency?
…In a statement, the [British] embassy said Brits planning to travel from the UK to Spain must make sure they meet the requirements to leave the UK and also to enter Spain.
I’ll take better access to vaccines if it means a few immigration headaches, but it’s still very much a shame to see increased border headaches stemming from Brexit and that reminds me of my reticence to see Britain exit the E.U. in the first place.