(Image: AP)

They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. But when it’s a false dawn, perhaps the darkest hour is just after.

When the UK left the EU on January 31, 2020, Boris Johnson hailed “the dawn of a new era”. More than two years later, the UK is depleted, disrespected and discredited. It is a cautionary tale -- a nation adrift and bereft where every political principle has been sacrificed on the altar of Brexit expediency by a government trying to keep disingenuous promises made by people who never really understood what they were pledging. Or if they did, they had their fingers firmly crossed behind their backs.

Johnson has said he has got Brexit done. But six years after the referendum, the UK is on the brink of a bruising legal battle with Brussels, if not a full-blown trade war, while the economy is grinding to a halt as wages stagnate, prices spiral, farmers and fishers despair, and small businesses throw in the towel, defeated by reams of red tape.