Enniscorthy Guardian

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The UK departs not with a lion's roar but with a post imperial whimper

And so that's it. After three years of seemingly endless negotiations, votes and recriminations, the UK has left the EU.

For all that went before it the events of Brexit Day felt distinctly anticlimactic.

The momentous occasion long dreamed of by an army of belligerent Brexiteers was greeted with neither the riotous celebration or the immediate descent into anarchy that both sides of the debate had predicted.

Instead, as is so often the case with such events, it was a mundane affair. A countdown clock projected onto the facade 10 Downing Street ticked down to zero; a few fireworks were let off; there were some cheers from Union flag waving 'Leavers' and that, essentially, was that.

Big Ben didn't 'bong'; Boris was subdued and Britain bowed out.

Any of those arch Brexiteers expecting an eruption of joy and scenes akin to V.E. day will have gone home very disappointed.

The only group that seemed to get their money's worth from the occasion was Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party basket of deplorables.

Farage and his odious followers made, yet another, show of themselves on their last day in the European Parliament with a nauseating display of the puerile jingoism that they are so famous for.

Most in the EU will be sad to see the UK leave the bloc but few will mourn the departure of Farage and his offensive followers from the European stage.

Their last act in Brussels - to give another two fingered salute to a body responsible for the longest period of peace in Europe since the early days of the Roman empire - was typical of their boorish behaviour.

EU officials for their part quietly got on with business. Best wishes and expressions of friendship were offered to the UK; Union flags were taken down in EU buildings and then it was back to business.

For most in the UK little changed on Saturday morning with the 11 month transition period meaning day-to-day life won't be impacted by Brexit in the short term.

For Boris Johnson and his Brext cheerleaders - now safely ensconced in Number 10 - the hard work starts now.

The talks on the UK's future relationship with the EU will be tough and now that he is outside the bloc he will likely find his opponents at the negotiating table are far more ruthless and uncompromising.

It is here where Mr Johnson may finally learn just how diminished Britain's place in the world order has become in the wake of Brexit.

Talks on a trade deal with the US will also be difficult and talk of a rapid deal with the Trump administration are wildly optimistic.

The Brexiteers got what they wanted but how Brexit unfolds - and what it will ultimately cost the UK - is impossible to predict.

The UK may be on its own but there's a long way to go yet.

Enniscorthy Guardian