Why I regret Brexit

In this week’s Catholic Herald (out Friday)

Well, that worked, and just as Britain was taken into the Common Market on a lie, so it will be taken out of the European Union on a lie; leave won with huge support in traditional Labour areas of the north, the midlands and Wales. Some of these towns, such as Boston, had had a big influx of eastern Europeans, but many had little immigration. More puzzling, too, many of these areas were in receipt of generous benefits from Brussels, even if it was via Britain’s generous contribution to the Euro-pot. In a subsequent poll a third of leavers said their main reason for voting was immigration – and so the strategy was a success.

And yet at the time of writing the pound and London stock market continue to plummet, and financial experts are stating that the UK economy is showing all the hallmarks of a recession. This uncertainty could be mitigated if Conservative Brexit leaders made a common statement that, whatever happens, Britain will stay in the single market.

They cannot do that, however, because that would be to admit their campaign was a total lie, along with the figure of £350m a week and a promise to save “our” NHS – which in actual outcomes is one of the worst health services in Europe. That would be to tell the working-class voters of Sunderland and Swansea that the Brexit leaders cannot deliver on immigration and that they were duped.

Read it there

Comments so far

  1. “At the fair a fellow dad told me that a project at work he’d spent months on was now suspended and his job was insecure. I know the guy. I know that he works most weekends and has a huge mortgage, all to support his three kids; he’s a better man than me. I began to feel physically sick as he told me this. For I voted leave.”

    This is nothing compared to the crash which is coming because the financial system is still riddled with bad debt. And that crash was coming regardless of the referendum. I feel for that guy but at the end of the day we cannot be guilt tripped during the democratic decision making process.

    “I’m not sure how that will change if the stock market continues its downward spiral. I now have severe concerns about the reality of Brexit, and am learning the wisdom of the old adage that one must be careful what one wishes for.”

    The FTSE has already stabilised.

    “For as long as I can remember I’ve been against the European project’s political ideal, or at least bemused by it. Working through the horrors of World War I and its bigger-budget sequel by subsuming national identity into a whole always seemed like exactly the sort of hare-brained utopian scheme that caused us so much trouble in the 20th century; something like that was bound to cause more conflict in the long term. The economic benefits of the single market are obvious, but why involve ourselves in political projects that have more to do with the psychological aftermath of conflict felt in France and Germany?”

    The economic benefits for who? Millions have been locked out of them for decades. The free flow of capital and labour is for the benefit of the elite not the ordinary person. A few middle class people may get in on the act but the insufferable superiority complex which comes with that isn’t worth it for me.

    “The situation I hoped for, and voted for, was that of Britain being in a second-tier of some sort, the European Economic Area or “Norwegian option”. Norway still has to obey around 30 per cent of EU regulations, and contribute towards the union without any say, but this is a small price to pay for access to the market. The upside would be that we got back control of fishing and farming and a few other areas; the downside that we still had to accept free movement of people.

    I’d like some controls of borders. The social cost of eastern European migration is low, but free movement with countries that are considerably poorer puts unbearable pressure on the working class in rich countries. Realistically, however, there is no option where we can have the single market and control of our borders, and leaving the single market would wreck our economy.”

    I would have to disagree regarding the social cost: first of all it has put huge pressure on public services around the country, secondly it directly impacts our own working class (both black and white workers) and the fall out from that in terms of unstable work and thus unstable family lives is simply not worth it.

    The truth is, we can have what we want if we push hard enough for it. We are not the only country in Western Europe which is opposed to continued free movement.

    “Many prominent figures in the Conservative Party favour the Norway option, but Vote Leave chose not to set this out in its campaign because, I imagine, they wanted to make immigration the issue.”

    Which was fine since that was what many people were rightly concerned about.

    “Well, that worked, and just as Britain was taken into the Common Market on a lie, so it will be taken out of the European Union on a lie; leave won with huge support in traditional Labour areas of the north, the midlands and Wales. Some of these towns, such as Boston, had had a big influx of eastern Europeans, but many had little immigration. More puzzling, too, many of these areas were in receipt of generous benefits from Brussels, even if it was via Britain’s generous contribution to the Euro-pot. In a subsequent poll a third of leavers said their main reason for voting was immigration – and so the strategy was a success.”

    Ahh the ignorance argument. No, many people have seen what mass immigration has done to other areas near them and have decided that they don’t want the same coming to them. They may or may not have been aware of the EU funding but so what, it should be the UK government which is investing there. For too long we have bought into the myth that we are having austerity because ‘we’ were ‘living beyond our means’ when the truth is that the overwhelming reason for the huge public debt and deficit was having the largest bank bailout in the world in 2008. Start taxing the corporations, some of whom barely pay any taxes, and invest that in undeveloped areas rather than continuing the absurd economics of agglomeration in the cities.

    “And yet at the time of writing the pound and London stock market continue to plummet, and financial experts are stating that the UK economy is showing all the hallmarks of a recession. This uncertainty could be mitigated if Conservative Brexit leaders made a common statement that, whatever happens, Britain will stay in the single market.”

    Ed, it’s already stabilised. For now. And the reason why i write ‘for now’ is wholly unrelated to Brexit. We were ALWAYS going to have another major crash.

    “They cannot do that, however, because that would be to admit their campaign was a total lie, along with the figure of £350m a week and a promise to save “our” NHS – which in actual outcomes is one of the worst health services in Europe. That would be to tell the working-class voters of Sunderland and Swansea that the Brexit leaders cannot deliver on immigration and that they were duped.”

    This is conjecture, Ed.

    “And so leave voters are left with a sickening feeling that we have helped to bring about a great disaster – and this is not even to get into the tangled mess that is Scotland, Northern Ireland and our relations with the Republic.”

    I’m not left with any sickening feeling at all. Well, only at the hand wringing and liberal sneering.

    “In hindsight, I have a great idea for a remain poster, in which we’re asked how we’ll feel when a friends tell us they are losing their job over Brexit. As the great John Hume’s father told him, you can’t eat a flag.”

    Have a bit more faith in this country, Ed.

    We need intelligent writers like you ready to help lead our national renewal. It’s no time to go soft now.

What do you think?

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