“No one,” say many EU remainers, “voted in the referendum to make themselves worse off.” To which I reply, “Oh yes, they did.” Loads of people voted to make if not themselves worse off, then certainly their children. Some are honest enough to admit as much.
I have crossed metaphorical swords with countless folk who felt “taking back control of our borders” as being critical to their decision to vote leave. “It’s too easy for people to get into our country,” they say. “We need to tighten our borders. We need to stop free movement. We need to pull up the drawbridge to Europe.”
Tightening our borders will mean huge delays at the ports. Dover modelled delays from 2-4 minutes resulting in 17 mile tailbacks. The Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has not denied that delays could be around 45 minutes per truck. The tailbacks will cover most of southern England if we go down that road. But we must tighten our borders, right? We need to get rid of the customs union. This will knacker countless companies who rely on just in time products reaching their factories, like the entire automotive sector. But we need to get rid of the customs union, right?
Then, we have those wretched foreigners who come over here from Europe and work, especially the those who work as doctors and nurses, for example. We need to stop this, even if we die prematurely. Cancer specialists they might be, but they are bloody foreign. If it means our own children cannot enjoy the rights we enjoyed, like living, loving, working, studying and travelling freely abroad, it’s just too bad, right? We need to look after our own first, unless they are the younger generation, many of whom happen to be our children.
You see, I don’t buy the argument that people didn’t vote to make themselves worse off: they did. And let’s not accuse all of them of being too stupid to know they were going to make themselves worse off because that’s just patronising.
Even if the buffoon-like PM Theresa May manages to cobble together some kind of deal to leave the EU in relatively soft terms, it will only be because she has kicked the can of detail down the road. Again.
Every type of Brexit will make the country worse off because Brexit itself will make the country worse off. So, what can we do? My answer to that is Christ alone knows.
The referendum campaign was between a bunch of right wing liars (Vote Leave and Leave EU) and a bunch of right wing scaremongers (Cameron, Osborne and the rest of the shower who tried to scare the British public into remaining instead of offering a positive outlook on Europe, the kind supported by Winston Churchill after World War II). No one spoke for those who believe strongly in internationalism and a united Europe. But who spoke before the referendum for blue collar England who voted to leave?
Years of grim austerity left millions of people feeling that they had been abandoned. And when the architects of their abandonment, who just happened to be the politicians who were in the spotlight urging the country to remain in the EU, spoke, large chunks of Britain spoke loudly by bringing about exiting the EU, despite the enormous act of self harm they had voted for themselves to endure. Those in places like Sunderland who voted to leave must also have known how a hard Brexit could destroy their good jobs at Nissan, but they wanted to lash out anyway. They understood the risks to education, to the NHS. They concluded it would all be worth it.
So, we must conclude that many people voted to make themselves worse off for what they saw was the greater good. They voted to stop free movement for foreigners and their own children, they knew the pound would collapse if we voted to leave, they knew that jobs would go. And now all of us must hang our future hopes on the worst prime minister this country has known in a century, a woman who leads a massively divided party which is at the mercy of free market vandals. And if they mess up, the only alternative is a hard left Labour Party offering a return to the 1980s and economic calamity.
It doesn’t look good, but let’s not keep repeating the lie that no one voted for the shambles that’s about to envelope the country. Many people did just that.