What can I say about Brexit that hasn’t already been said? The only thing I can add is my opinion which, like all the others, is utterly worthless.
I think the obvious question is; with so much negative evidence and so little positive, why does this bad idea still have any momentum? In search of an answer, my instinct is to look at the most vocal and obvious supporters of this movement and deduce from there.
No one that I have spoken to has been able to come up with a reasonable argument for making such a far-reaching change to the status quo. They speak about immigration numbers and they repeat the sovereignty mantra, some feel that the financial contributions our country makes to the EU would be better spent in this country. These gripes would all be valid arguments, in their own small way, if they would be solved by the UK leaving the EU. But these issues are not real, they are vaporous phantoms, conjured up specifically to enrage the people most indignant about them.
For example, it would take a special kind of deep denial to believe that English politicians have our best interests at heart. The recent expenses scandal shows who they really care about. These are the people, with no oversight, who will be looking after our interests post Brexit.
I don’t know Nigel Farage having never met him in person, so to judge him, I will rely totally on how he presents in the media. This is a handy trick I learned from leave voters, who used it to make up their minds on the biggest decision they’ll ever be called upon to make. The things he is reported to have said paint a picture of a rather nasty type of person. His vision of how this country should look reminds me of my childhood, and compared to now, that is not an appealing prospect.
Imagining that we can return to some imaginary, halcyon bygone era is not the solution to anything. We are expected to believe that leaving the EU would cure all social evils, restore the rule of law that has been emasculated by Brussels, and remove the curse of foreigners roaming our streets. The good old days.
Among my memories of the 1970s is Wednesday’s early-closing, when it was thought that refusing people the right to buy stuff was a good idea. In those days, walking along the deserted high street had a post-apocalyptic feel. Sundays, when the shops remained closed all day because, presumably, it would offend Jesus, were so stultifying that life seemed to stop.
This is the England to which I feel Farage wishes us to return. Little England, a place where foreign people are not welcome.
Recently, in shops and cafes, I have encountered the hostile type of welcome reminiscent of those days. The polite “can I help you sir?” with the lilt of eastern Europe in the accent, seems to be giving way to the “what do you want”, delivered in an abrupt and surly manner. This latter is what passes for customer service in a post-Brexit version of England.
It’s as if they feel politeness will diminish them somehow in the eyes of the person they are supposed to be helping. They need to remind you that even though they work in a service job, they are as good as you.
The English workforce, feeling it has been unable to compete in the provision of polite and efficient service, has decided to play foul and chase the competition away. There seems to be an assumption that once the foreign job thieves have been hounded out of the country, there will be employment for all. This is only part of the story. There is a reason why this country has always imported labour, there are very few people here who will work efficiently or correctly at the jobs the foreign workers do so well. Foreign people who, with their work ethic, and their understanding that service doesn’t equal servility, show up their English counterparts in stark relief
As the proprietor of a company that provides a service, I am able to say that we are all in service jobs. No matter our position in the organisation we all exist to assist others, to help them to buy something. What we do to support ourselves and our families, does not define who or what we are.
The vacuum left by the exodus of immigrant labour will not be filled by an influx of grateful English workers, who have just been awaiting their chance to excel. What will happen is what always happens when competition is removed, there will be a relieved slump and a lowering of quality.
This is already happening. Since the Brexit vote I have experienced it in my own business. Replacing the foreign workers with indigenous has led to a startling déjà vu experience for me. Unreliable labourers and overpriced tradespeople, the demand for short working days and long weekends, have all been an increasing occurrence in my life. Absences due to dramas at home and unlikely tales to explain them, versions of the dog ate my homework. This is where the country is going because our homegrown labour feels they are too good to do the jobs that are available. The snobbery that these jobs are only fit for foreigners.
Doing our jobs in a more efficient way may provide advancement, it may make us feel more worthwhile about ourselves, it may even lead to improved financial rewards, but it doesn’t make us worth more than another person. By the same token, doing a job less well than another may bring about termination of employment, but that doesn’t make a person worth less than another.
I choose to see the surliness as symptomatic of the attitude of Brexit. There’s an unpleasant sulkiness about the people who voted to leave the EU in the referendum. The tag they’ve come up with for the remain voters `Remoaners’ says it all. It implies weakness in the people who feel inclusiveness is preferable. Recognising and stating that the referendum outcome did not represent a clear political mandate, is whingey. That there is something robust and strong about being separate politically from our geographically, and historically, closest neighbours.
There is a kind of evil about the desire to split the country in half that seems inherent in the leave voters. To me, Farage and his political allies epitomise this quality. The dichotomy, represented by a person who, while claiming to want to be apart from the EU, has his snout in the trough at the same time, seems lost on his supporters. They probably have some ring-fenced thinking that allows them to justify his hypocrisy, changing the system from within perhaps. I’d probably be able to find an appropriate soundbite on Youtube if I cared enough to look. But this is opinion so I don’t need to research facts.
Sovereignty these days is about political expediency. This country is ruled by the market, and that is not in the hands of the European Union. The UK has more political freedom within the EU than any other member state, but that is not even the point anymore. Separate countries are anachronistic, union is the way of the future, which is why the old people voted to leave while the young wanted to stay.
The young people today are not afraid of the things that scared their grandparents, having grown up without seeing local war they don’t see why being joined to Europe can be bad. This is probably due to the EU’s existence, tighter and closer political and market ties have kept us from killing each other. Necessity rather than manners has kept us polite, the EU and its constitution is a construct, but unified belief in it has given us common cause with the rest of Europe.
It wasn’t long ago that we tore each other apart, slaughtering millions, in the name of being different. The causes of the last big European conflict were laid out in the one before. This behaviour has been systematised throughout European history, having common cause is preferable to perpetuating that system of national identity.
DNA shows that we are all human beings with common ancestors, there is no reason to be separate. If we allow higher thinking to guide us it would bring us together, the monkey mind demands its own bananas and doesn’t want to share. Evolution requires that we act on this sooner rather than later by softening the borders and allowing humans free movement.
It was my intention to stop without mentioning the excrescence that is Boris Johnson, but nothing about Brexit would be complete without mention of this vile entity. Because this is only opinion and I have not researched any facts, I can only report what I vaguely remember hearing in our flawlessly even-handed, and balanced press.
One thing I heard was that he used to be a journalist, which is probably where he learned to be so scrupulously honest, and it was he who invented the fake stories about EU regulations being forced upon us. Stories that were rife in the 80s and 90s about bananas needing to be curved to a certain degree, and about machines designed to ensure that British manure had the correct smell, originated from his farcical reports in the rag he used to write for.
That he whipped up anti-European sentiment is certain. Whether he did that to satisfy the agenda of his employer or just to upset his father, one of the first-generation MEPs, I am not even going to make an unsubstantiated guess at. What I am sure of is that this buffoon is now the prime minister of England.
This constitutionally dishonest man made up outrageous claims during the Brexit referendum campaign, then stood by them when questioned. He lied about how he was going to vote on key issues for his own political gain. He publicly promised support to his leaders and then voted against them on several occasions. This proven liar now leads this country’s parliament.
To understand the leave voter, you only need to look at their leaders, the oily, untrustworthy, self-aggrandising Farage and the lying, devious actor, Johnson. It speaks volumes about the people following them that, despite the hypocrisy and lies of these two being exposed, the flock still follow.
Despite the chaos of the years since the referendum, the ample evidence that this is not a good move for the country, the leave voters make excuses and hold firm. Whether it is caused by bloody mindedness or just stupidity doesn’t matter anymore.
Our currency is in the toilet, the economy has reportedly contracted again, major businesses are moving away from London bases, and there is a nastiness in the air as political will has declared open season on the immigrants.
The predators are lurking like lions on the Serengeti. They watch, as the wobbly-legged and ill looking wildebeest wanders dazedly away from the safety of the herd. If we sever ties with Europe, our poor little country, standing alone and unprotected will be pounced upon by the rapacious asset-strippers of the world economy. Soon, the meat will be gone the carcass picked clean, and the bones bleached by the sun.
The architects of this probable fate will still be standing there on the deserted high streets, blinkers in place as uncollected rubbish blows around past the empty shop windows, celebrating their pyrrhic victory with choruses of “England is great again”.