“Those few hours on Jan. 29 changed everything,” said Professor Hayward, who added that the decision from Brussels encapsulated Unionist suspicions about the protocol and shifted senior politicians away from grudging acceptance of it to outright opposition.

With Unionist support for the protocol disappearing, faith in the police in question, and friction over Brexit between the British and Irish governments, calming the violence could prove hard.

“In the past these things have been mitigated by very careful, well-supported, actions by community workers on the ground, bolstered by the political environment and rhetoric and demonstrations of the success of peace at the very highest levels — including the British-Irish relationship,” said Professor Hayward.

“You look around now,” she added, “and think: all those things are really under pressure.”

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How Brexit Ruined Easter for Britain’s Chocolate Makers

“We’d been told the product would arrive in France, so we put Calais as the point of entry. It went to Rotterdam, where it sat for six weeks,” he said. “Chocolate. Sitting in a warehouse. For six weeks.”

Through a shipping agent, he managed to get the import duty dropped. He learned a lesson about filling out forms, but that expertise won’t help him much.

“It’s impossible to find shippers that will deliver to Europe,” he said, “because there’s a backlog of goods in the pipeline.”

At Coco Caravan, a chocolate maker in the Cotswolds, the stasis has meant that Europe has gone from 15 percent of the company’s revenue to zero. That has caused Jacques Cop, the owner, to disappoint old customers and put off new ones. In recent months, prospective buyers in the Netherlands, France and Germany have expressed interest.

“They say, ‘We found you online and love everything you do in terms of being ethically sourced and vegan, but how are you going to combat the import-export problem we will have with the European Union?’” said Mr. Cop. “We can’t give them a clear answer, other than, ‘Yes, there will be additional costs involved.’”

Mr. Cop is also confronting a challenge common among small chocolate makers in Britain: importing raw ingredients from Europe. He stockpiled cacao in 2020 from his source of choice in Amsterdam. Now that it is time to buy more, obstacles have emerged. Transportation costs have doubled, which is bad enough. But Mr. Cop says his shipper refuses to take new orders because of worries that a shipment will somehow get blocked between Amsterdam and Britain.

“It’s to the point where I’m thinking of borrowing a Renault van and just driving to the Netherlands myself,” Mr. Cop said. “It’s a 10-hour drive each way. But I’m not sure I have another choice.”

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U.K. Government, Sensing an Opportunity, Wraps Itself in the Flag

LONDON — It started last week when the host of the BBC’s morning show mocked a cabinet minister, Robert Jenrick, for the Union Jack hanging conspicuously behind him, next to a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The flag, the host cracked, was not “up to standard-size government interview measurements.”

The host, Charlie Stayt, and his co-host, Naga Munchetty, who chuckled along, were quickly in hot water. After the BBC came under fire for disrespecting the British flag, both were reprimanded. Ms. Munchetty apologized for liking “offensive” Twitter posts that joined in the mockery of the minister’s flag.

Never one to duck a culture-war skirmish, the Conservative government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has seized on the flag flap to try to keep opponents on the defensive and the dissolution of the United Kingdom at bay.

On Wednesday, it decreed that, henceforth, the Union Jack should fly on all government buildings every day of the year, rather than simply on designated days. The only exception will be regional holidays when, say, the Scottish flag, the Saltire, would fly in Scotland on St. Andrew’s Day.

revised guidance on flags, noted that in the United States, the Stars and Stripes flies year-round, not just on federal buildings but also at schools and in front of polling places. Likewise in Australia, the national flag can be flown every day of the year from federal and state parliaments.

Britons tend to be less demonstrative about their flag than the citizens of their former colonies. Unlike Americans, they rarely hang it in front of their homes. The Union Jack arouses ambivalent emotions among some on the left, who associate it with Britain’s imperial past, and in parts of the United Kingdom, particularly Scotland, where pro-independence feelings run strong.

That, of course, is precisely the point for a government that is desperate to avert another referendum on independence for Scotland after elections there in May in which the Scottish National Party is expected to win a strong mandate.

was taken to task by a Conservative lawmaker, James Wild, for not publishing an image of the Union Jack in the broadcaster’s 268-page annual report.

“Do you find that surprising?” Mr. Wild asked, to which Mr. Davie replied, “No, I think that’s a strange metric.”

A former marketing executive who was chosen because of his ability to get along with the government, Mr. Davie pointed out that the BBC promotes Britain worldwide. The Union Jack, he said, flew proudly from its London headquarters.

Critics on Twitter lost no time lampooning the new reverence for the flag. They coined an off-color hashtag and attributed it to unhealthy nationalism, post-Brexit insecurity or cynical politics.

“This may be very ‘20th Century’ of me,” posted Simon Fraser, formerly the senior civil servant at the Foreign Office, “but I do worry when politicians start getting obsessive about flags.”

he posted.

Clare Hepworth, a trade unionist, quoted Bill Moyers, a broadcaster and former aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson, who once said of politicians who brandish flags, “They’re counting on your patriotism to distract you from their plunder.”

And, of course, it was another Johnson, Samuel, who in the 18th century famously said, “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

At a time when the government is winning broad public support for its coronavirus vaccine rollout — the country’s largest mass mobilization since World War II — a manufactured row over flags might seem unnecessary.

proposing to air two beloved patriotic songs without their lyrics because they evoked a colonial past that is at odds with the values of the Black Lives Matter movement.

outfitted at a reported cost of 2.6 million pounds, or about $3.5 million. He will be flanked by no fewer than four Union Jacks.

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Johnson Hopes Vaccine Success Can Inoculate Him Against Brexit Critics

LONDON — Britain’s rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines has revived the political fortunes of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Now, Mr. Johnson’s allies hope the stark disparity between Britain’s performance and the European Union’s will do something perhaps even more challenging: vindicate their larger Brexit project.

Pro-Brexit politicians and commentators are casting Britain’s vaccine deployment, which ranks among the fastest in the world, as an example of risk-taking and entrepreneurial pluck that comes from not being shackled to the collective decision-making of the 27 member states of the European Union.

With vaccination rates that are a fraction of Britain’s, threats of export bans on vaccines produced on the continent and churlish statements about British-made vaccines by leaders like President Emmanuel Macron of France, the European Union has seemingly done all it can to make it look like Britain picked the right time to leave.

“It is the first serious test that the U.K. state has faced since Brexit,” said Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent who studies the British right. “Boris Johnson is going to have a vaccine dividend, and that will give him a whole new narrative for the summer and beyond.”

the costs of Brexit since Britain severed itself from the European Union in January — damaging disruptions to cross-channel trade and businesses choking on reams of red tape, among other headaches. And it conveniently ignores the harrowing experience many Britons had with the virus before the first vaccine “jabs” arrived last December.

according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos MORI for the E.U.-U.K. Forum, an organization that promotes cross-Channel dialogue. Only 12 percent said they thought Britain had performed worse while 14 percent thought both had handled things equally well.

For all its early stumbles, said Kelly Beaver, managing director of Public Affairs at Ipsos MORI, “the British public feel that overall, the government has done well compared to its E.U. counterparts, no doubt a halo effect of the vaccination program that has, to date, been incredibly successful.”

Significantly, a slight plurality of those surveyed — 40 percent — said they thought Brexit had helped improve Britain’s handling of the pandemic, while 14 percent said it had made it worse, and 38 percent thought it had made no difference.

Overall, the survey shows that the strength of feeling over Brexit has faded somewhat although a majority expect it to increase food prices and make European vacations more difficult. And Britons remain sharply divided, not just over E.U. membership but also on other issues like crime, British values and political correctness.

Mr. Johnson’s vaccine bounce, analysts point out, could be fleeting if a new variant emerges or if the economy does not recover swiftly.

But Mr. Goodwin said one consequence of the vaccine success is that there are few signs of significant numbers of people rethinking the wisdom of Brexit or suffering the acute regret — or as he called it, “Bregret” — that some expected.

The British media has understandably given more coverage to the 28 million people who have been inoculated than to the post-Brexit trade disruptions that have afflicted some British food and seafood exports and left supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland empty.

The monthslong shutdown of much of Britain’s economy will also complicate the task of identifying the negative effects of Brexit, since they are likely to be lost in a sea of red ink. And long before the pandemic, economists predicted that Brexit’s biggest cost would be to dampen economic expansion, an effect that would compound almost imperceptibly over many years, rather than create a sudden shock.

In any event, the vaccine rollout has helped the government to hone a separate and distinct argument for Brexit, one that emphasizes responsibility and accountability over economic costs or benefits.

David Frost, a former diplomat who negotiated the Brexit trade agreement for Mr. Johnson and is now a cabinet minister, articulated this case earlier this month when he said Britain’s membership in the European Union had stifled its initiative, producing “a kind of institutional paralysis.”

Britain faced problems “which we seemed to find very difficult to summon up the will to resolve, and I do think E.U membership had a kind sapping quality to our ability to take decisions,” he said at the Policy Exchange, a research institute.

“Brexit doesn’t solve those problems,” Mr. Frost added, “but it does give us means to solve them, to move on, to get a grip but also to reform our attitudes and become a country that can deal with problems again.”

Britain, officials point out, made risky bets on multiple vaccine candidates and aggressively locked up supplies in advance — characteristics, they say, that were conspicuously lacking in the European Union’s plodding, lockstep, risk-averse approach.

But critics argue that Britain could have done much of what it did as an active member of the European Union. The British medical regulator always had the right to approve vaccines, on an emergency basis, faster than the rest of the bloc — as it did last December — and the government always had the freedom to buy doses separately from the bloc, as some other E.U. countries have since done.

The strengths of Britain’s rollout, these critics said, are rooted in its robust scientific establishment, which developed the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine, and its widely revered National Health Service, which has delivered the doses. Neither of those were strengthened by leaving the European Union.

Britain cut its own deal with AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish company, which is at the heart of its clash with the European Union, which was slower to make such purchases. Brussels has accused the company of giving Britain preferential treatment at the expense of the bloc.

European leaders will be weighing a plan this week to halt vaccine exports temporarily as a way to demand reciprocity with Britain and other countries, and that could leave Britain — and Mr. Johnson — badly exposed. The country relies heavily on vaccines manufactured in factories in Belgium and other European countries to keep the pace of its inoculations going.

“What Brexit changes is Britain’s ability to protect the overseas parts of its supply chains,” said Mark Malloch Brown, a diplomat and former Labour government minister who chaired an anti-Brexit group, Best for Britain. “The crisis, looked at from the other end, exposes Britain’s vulnerability.”

Britain’s reliance on the European Union goes beyond a steady supply of vaccines. It is by far Britain’s largest trading partner, and the two sides have close links in security and law enforcement. While Mr. Johnson himself has avoided using overtly provocative language against Brussels, he has overseen a rapid deterioration in relations since Britain officially cast off on Jan. 1.

“I’m worried that they’re getting so carried away by the evidence that Brexit was a good thing, that they’re going to carry on dissing Europe,” said Jonathan Powell, who served as chief of staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Then the next time we need them for something, it’s going to backfire on us.”

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Boris Johnson Pins UK Future on US Ties, as European Bonds Loosen

LONDON — Having cast off from the European Union, Britain wants to bind itself closer to the United States in a perilous world, according to a long-awaited blueprint for its post-Brexit foreign policy, released on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented the document — which grew out of a lengthy review of security, defense, development and foreign policies — as an argument for how Britain will stay relevant globally. One way, he said, is to help the Biden administration face down challenges from Russia and China.

“In all our endeavors, the United States will be our greatest ally and a uniquely close partner in defense, intelligence and security,” Mr. Johnson said in Parliament. “We will stand up for our values as well as for our interests.”

The prime minister and his allies have long argued that Brexit would liberate Britain to act as an agile maritime power on the world stage — a concept they called “Global Britain,” in language more suited to marketing than diplomacy. This 100-page report was an effort to put some meat on the concept.

a diplomatic backlash.

“It is structurally inevitable, given our other relationships, that we should turn to America,” said Simon Fraser, a former head of Britain’s Foreign Office. “For Biden, that is a big opportunity.” Still, he added, the review was a “serious effort to think through the risks and opportunities.”

Critics said some of Mr. Johnson’s initiatives seemed grandiose for a country that is now essentially a midsize power off the coast of Europe. The deployment of the carrier to Asia, for example, harkens to Britain’s imperial past, as does the government’s emphasis on rebuilding its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The prime minister took note of that criticism, insisting, “Global Britain is not a reflection of old obligations, still less a vainglorious gesture, but a necessity for the safety and prosperity of the British people in the decades ahead.”

abandoned by the United States after former President Donald J. Trump took office.

The transition from Mr. Trump to President Biden had once seemed fraught with risk for Britain. Unlike Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden opposed Brexit and has displayed little interest in pursuing a trade agreement with Britain. Mr. Trump had dangled a trade deal with the United States as a reward for Brexit.

But Mr. Johnson has worked hard to cultivate Mr. Biden, announcing policies on climate change and global health, as well as military spending, which dovetail with the priorities of the new president.

In November, Britain will play host to the United Nations’ climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. That is expected to give Mr. Biden a stage to showcase the renewed American commitment to the Paris climate accord. Britain’s military spending is a fillip to NATO at a time when Mr. Biden also hopes to shore up the alliance.

But there are still places where Britain and the United States could part company. The lack of emphasis on Britain’s relationship with the European Union will disappoint some in the Biden administration, who are trying to revive international cooperation after the unilateral approach of the Trump years.

Britain’s decision to expand its nuclear arsenal may also cause tensions. In its last defense review in 2015, the government disclosed the numbers of missiles and warheads that it planned to carry on submarines. In this review, Britain said it would no longer give numbers for its operational stockpile.

“The decision to reduce the level of transparency on the U.K. nuclear stockpile will not go down well with U.S. officials who want to signal an openness to more progress on nuclear disarmament,” said Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank in London. “The U.K. decision on this would have been easier to sell to the Trump administration.”

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Europe Says Britain Is Violating International Law Over Northern Ireland

BRUSSELS — The European Union announced on Monday that it is taking legal action against Britain for what it called a violation of a legal agreement over Brexit and Northern Ireland that was part of a trade pact forged between the two sides last year.

European officials said Brussels was responding to a move this month by the British government to unilaterally ease trading and border rules for Northern Irish businesses by extending a grace period for implementation of the Brexit accord.

Under a protocol on Northern Ireland that was part of the pact, Britain is required to consult the European Union on changes to its implementation — which it did not do. The protocol was aimed at ensuring that there was no hard border between Ireland, a member of the bloc, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

The officials said Britain had twice in the last six months unilaterally broken the agreement, first with a bill last December that dropped some elements objected to by the European Union, and then with the unilateral decision earlier this month to extend a grace period for British goods arriving in Northern Ireland until Oct 1.

has written to David Frost, his British counterpart, urging Britain to refrain from putting the unilateral steps into practice and instead work with Brussels to find joint solutions that could provide British businesses stability and predictability.

“The E.U. and the U.K. agreed the protocol together,” Mr. Sefcovic wrote. “We are also bound to implement it together. Unilateral decisions and international law violations by the U.K. defeat its very purpose and undermine trust between us.”

Relations between Britain and the European Union have been tendentious for some time over issues surrounding the Northern Ireland protocol, the larger agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc, and over vaccine supplies.

Brussels has accused Britain of holding back vaccines scheduled for Europe and even of a ban, which does not exist, on vaccine exports. In return, the British government has touted the speed and success of its vaccine procurement and rollout, comparing it to the slower pace of the European Union, and argued that Brexit has made that success possible.

The legal process over the grace period allows Britain a month to respond, and another month for examination. If not resolved before then, Britain could be brought before the European Court of Justice and face trade sanctions.

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Piers Morgan Can’t Wait to Bring the Worst of America Home

The opportunity for a new era in British television begins in the studios of LBC, a radio station that has tested, and effectively stretched, the British legal requirements that broadcast news be “balanced.” Instead of offering down-the-middle recitations of news developments, the network serves up clashing and sometimes strident debates over issues. The station thrived during the long run-up to Brexit, making clear to broadcasters that they could abandon their starchy customs and reflect more partisan passions — as long as the stations didn’t embrace just one political side.

Now, television is poised to fill the space that LBC opened. The most ambitious player in this new arena may be Andrew Neil, a Scot who transformed The Sunday Times for Mr. Murdoch in the 1980s before emerging as one of the BBC’s most formidable interviewers. He’s a conservative, but his style shares almost nothing with his right-wing American counterparts, who alternate between tossing coddling questions to Republican politicians and obliterating obscure liberals who have foolishly wandered onto their sets. Mr. Neil is an equal opportunity interrogator, and may be best known in the United States for a hoisting in 2019 of the conservative figure Ben Shapiro. In the 2019 British election, the Tory prime minister Boris Johnson refused to submit to an interview with him.

Credit…David M. Benett/Getty Images

I reached Mr. Neil at his home in the French Riviera, where he has been weathering the pandemic and preparing the start of a new 24-hour cable channel network, GB News, this spring. When I called, he was watching “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin.” “I think there are things to learn from it in terms of programming, and the visuals are very strong,” he said of the left-leaning American channel. “In terms of formatting and style, I think MSNBC and Fox are the two templates we’re following.”

Mr. Neil has raised 60 million pounds (about $83 million) to start the channel, including investments from the American giant Discovery and the hedge fund manager Paul Marshall. (Mr. Marshall’s son, unrelatedly, is taking time off from playing banjo in the band Mumford and Sons to “examine my blind spots” after praising a far right book on Twitter.) Mr. Neil said he expected that sum to last the network at least three years, though it’s a pittance by the standards of American cable news.

He said he planned to hire some 100 journalists, a fraction of the more than 2,000 at the BBC, but aimed to capture the resentment of the London-centric media by having many of them broadcast from their hometowns in the north. The channel will rely on other news services for its breaking news, he said, and focus its resources on producing American-style, personality-driven news shows. But he said he wouldn’t follow the American right into outlandish conspiracy theories, and he has denounced Donald Trump’s claim that he won the U.S. election.

“I don’t think there’s an appetite in Britain for ridiculous conflict,” Mr. Neil said. Still, he plans to carry a segment on his own prime-time show called “woke watch” in which he can mock what he sees as progressive excesses. He cited as an example a recent report that British nurses were told they could use the word “chestfeeding” rather than “breastfeeding” to be inclusive of transgender people.

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Britain Delays Brexit Border Checks for Goods Coming From Europe

LONDON — It was something politicians spent an age debating, diplomats devoted years to negotiating and officials spent a fortune preparing for.

But on Thursday Britain made the embarrassing admission that it is still not fully ready for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s biggest political project, Brexit.

Almost five years after Britons voted to leave the European Union, the government said it would wave through some goods arriving at British ports from the continent until January 2022 — a tacit admission that it lacks the capacity to perform the border checks required by Brexit.

The latest postponement to the Brexit process came as a relief to British businesses because it averts the risk of supermarkets running out of fresh produce, or car factories missing out on parts supplies.

according to a survey by Make UK, an organization representing manufacturers. Half said administrative and other costs associated with shipping had risen.

With tensions growing over trade, vaccine supplies and other issues, relations between London and Brussels have deteriorated into a state of semi-permanent friction.

In a statement, the British government said it was changing plans at the ports in response to complaints from businesses that had faced severe challenges during the pandemic.

“As a sovereign trading nation outside the E.U., we have freedom to take decisions in our national interest — and in the interest of our businesses,” said David Frost, who negotiated the Brexit trade deal with the European Union for Britain and is now a cabinet minister responsible for implementing it.

“We will now introduce border controls broadly six months later than planned to give traders time to focus on getting back on their feet as the economy opens up after a difficult year,” he said in a statement.

Still, the decision has prompted some mild ridicule from those who hark back to the 2016 campaign slogan urging voters to support Brexit and “take back control.”

The new ethos, critics joke, is to do this by not exercising any control at all.

British businesses welcomed the decision.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, a trade organization, said that without the delay, his sector faced “disruption, extra costs and potentially shortages of some goods, all of which were potentially avoidable.”

Applying the checks originally planned would also have had an impact on continental truckers’ willingness to come to Britain, which was “already fragile,” he said.

Many trucks delivering goods from continental Europe to Britain return empty to avoid time-consuming checks when they arrive in countries such as France, Belgium or the Netherlands.

Thursday’s decision followed the announcement of a separate and much more politically sensitive choice to delay fuller border checks on goods going from Britain to Northern Ireland.

Because trade with Northern Ireland is covered by a separate agreement with the European Union, Britain’s unilateral decision to delay checks on some goods headed there has angered the bloc, which says it violates international law.

The bloc’s executive body, the European Commission, is expected to begin legal action against Britain in the coming days.

Tensions between Britain and the European Union have alarmed businesses. Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, described Thursday’s decision as a welcome but temporary solution.

“What businesses want to see is an end to the damaging political rhetoric from both sides, and a focus on improving border flow for the long term,” he said.

Mr. Wright echoed that sentiment and said that Thursday’s announcement reflected not just a lack of infrastructure at British ports but also a worry that many continental firms were ill-prepared for the new paperwork.

But Mr. Lowe, the analyst, said that British preparations for Brexit had been hampered by political considerations and by the government’s desire to present the policy in a positive light. That meant that companies were given little information about the volume of red tape until late in the process.

“To prepare properly was to acknowledge that from an economic perspective Brexit was a bad idea and to acknowledge that it meant that businesses would face problems,” he said.

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