Sorry to drone on about Brexit and all that, and I promise this time not to keep you too long, but how about this gem from Dr Liam Fox at the Tory party conference today. Migrants in this country would be the “main cards’ in the government’s negotiations with the EU about Brexit. So the doctors and nurses in our hospitals, the builders, the fruit pickers, the foreign students, the carers in our nursing homes, the night shifts in our local supermarket doing shitty jobs for little reward – they are but “main cards” with which to barter the future of the country. Is this really the best he can do?
Fox, who retains the term Dr despite not having worked as a GP for over 25 years and who attacks businessmen as “lazy”, despite never having run a business of any kind himself, is an incredible choice for the non job he holds as international trade secretary, responsible as he is for not being able to do any trade deals until the terms of our exit from the EU have been concluded. This man is a neoliberal on acid (not literally, I hasten to add), who believes in completely unfettered capitalism with no restrictions or regulations, so when he refers to people as being little more than “main cards” then you know he genuinely believes it.
This is a man who genuinely believes we can just tell the remaining EU countries to do whatever we tell them and they will fall into line, just like that, because they need us more than we need them. Oh no they don’t. But back to the point. Fox has been appointed as one of the three ministers who will lead negotiations to take us out of Europe so what he says, no matter how crass and stupid, counts.
Presumably, Fox will be happy to repatriate my mother and my grandfather, so good luck to him trying to find my mum’s ashes at South Bristol crematorium and my granddad’s ashes from Battery Point in Portishead and don’t confuse the latter’s ashes with my dad’s which were also scattered there. Although my dad lived in Canada, he was actually born in this country so leave him alone, Dr Fox. I’m not the only one who should be worried. How about Prince Philip who was born in Corfu? If I was him, I’d be scanning the easyJet flights for next summer once they come out.
If those wretched foreigners living here are mere bargaining tools, I assume the same will apply to the Britiah exp pats living throughout Europe. There are something like a million people living in Spain, the majority of whom are elderly and the minority just look elderly having spent too long in the sun. What if they became “main cards” for the EU negotiators? Where would we house all these people and how would the NHS cope? I suppose that extra £350 million a week the NHS was promised by Boris Johnson and the Brexiteers in the event of a leave vote will go some way to help. Let’s have a more serious debate than this, eh?
Yes, I know we are going to leave the EU and yes, we all know it is going to be very messy and damaging to the economy. And Theresa May has made it crystal clear that reducing immigration will be a greater priority than the economy so let’s not be surprised when we run into “turbulence” as chancellor Philip Hammond described it yesterday. The Bank of England has been printing money and throwing it at the economy since the referendum. Not just a few bob but hundreds of billions. This is serious.
This is not the time for spin and rhetoric – things are too serious for that. Politicians need to level with us and tell us just what is at stake and what they propose to do about it.
So far, there are no indications that neither May or her errant ministers have the first clue.