As in most workplaces I guess yesterday, some colleagues and myself had a frank discussion about the referendum. The age-division was apparent but the reasons not as straight-forward as have been caricatured by the mainstream media. We are all professionally employed people so I’m not going to claim that this is representative of anything than among our group. My younger colleagues voted Remain, but some did so reluctantly, as whilst they don’t like the EU and they don’t trust any politicians (both healthy outlooks in my opinion), they are worried about the future and didn’t want to risk the uncertainty of Leaving. They are too young to know any different and should not be derided for that. I can no more put myself into their mindset than I could that of my parents’ generation, born during wartime, experiencing austerity that I have never known. These ‘millennials’ are well aware that Brexit could lead to the break-up of the EU and the Eurozone if other countries follow suit. This will no doubt lead to the next financial crash being blamed on Brexit, rather than on the creation of the Eurozone.
So whilst some ‘millennial’ Remainers are being cast as cry-babies, I believe that that the vast majority are not. Their worries should be respected and not ridiculed. There are a minority of Remainers who are cry-babies, just as there are a minority of Leavers who are xenophobes, would be and still will be regardless of whether the EU exists. The cry-baby Remainers are so angry that they don’t know what to do. I heard a student couple this morning, with private school educated accents, talking loudly enough so that everyone around them could hear, how angry they are. They’ll carry on being angry long after they should have grown out of it, but hey ho.
But it is not just the ‘millennials’ who need re-assurance, skilled workers from other EU countries need to be assured that their employment and residential status are not under threat. Many may feel that it is and decide to leave, but if better employment opportunities existed in other EU countries then they would already have made that decision. I’ll admit a bias in that I work with professional people from other EU countries and I don’t want them to feel threatened; but I also work with professional people from outside the EU and they have to meet skills and qualifications criteria in order to live and work here. That the British economy depends on importing skilled workers, especially in STEM fields, is itself a damning indictment of the failure of our education system. Migrants from other EU countries without professional qualifications should not fear deportation, if they are employed on a permanent or fixed-term contract basis and paying taxes; or if they work freelance in some field and can prove that they are self-supporting and paying taxes. We need to stress to EU migrants that we do not object to the presence of the vast majority of them, but that the scale of immigration that the UK has experienced since 2004 is more than our infrastructure can cope with. This is especially true in England.
There is one group of people who have been overlooked and who are justifiably likely to feel the most insecure. In the first post on this blog I mentioned about Poland having lost part of a generation to children born in the UK to Polish parents. These children and those uprooted from Poland by their parents should not feel that they or their parents are threatened with deportation; many of those who moved to the UK during their childhood sometime during the last 12 years are now young adults and stuck in limbo. If they do not already have British citizenship they should be offered it. The same applies to the children of other EU nationals though the scale of immigration from those countries has been nowhere near as large. Of course the very fact that we were denied a referendum on the Treaty of Nice, which led to EU expansion, is why this issue has arisen in the first place. Behind the issue are thousands of people who should not just be dismissed as statistics.
Immigration is a thorny issue and the fact that it came to dominate the referendum is that since 2004 anyone who expressed concern about the scale of it, and particularly its economic impact on low-waged, low-skilled workers, was slandered as a ‘racist’ by the ‘progressive’ corporate globalists. That the scale of immigration has led to the slumlordisation of many inner-city areas and council estates, in which the housing stock was sold off by the Thatcher government, is something which these ‘progressives’ are happy to ignore. Immigration policy henceforth should be to reduce the scale to a level which is more sustainable, no more than fifty thousand people a year say, rather than six or seven times that amount as it is now.
Apart from the privileged cry-babies, whom I mentioned above and who want the referendum result to be invalidated to force another one, the other group of Remainers for whom I have no sympathy are Labour voters (there is an overlap between these groups). What happened on Thursday was the revolt of Old Labour (mildly patriotic and mildly socialist) against New Labour (corporatist, ‘liberal’ and globalist). The late Peter Shore MP puts the latter group to shame:
Contrary to the lies told by ‘progressives’ in their defence of the EU, we British are not, by nature, an insular people. We have long been more outward looking than most of the nations of continental Europe. For more than four decades we’ve been continually derided that Britain is ‘small and weak’. Britain is small but not weak and there are more than sixty million of us on this island. We have been derided that Britain is ‘old and tired’. Britain’s infrastructure is old and tired, but that is because our taxes have been diverted from upgrading our own infrastructure to finance the infrastructures of the countries of southern, central and eastern Europe, with lovely highways and bridges from Nowhere to Nowhere Else, such as appear on the Euro notes. We can and shall develop bi-lateral trade agreements with other countries, that is what the ‘progressives’ are frightened of, that the EU itself is becoming redundant.
Anyway, unless another referendum is forced through or the exit negotiations stall, there is no point in doing numerous blog posts about Brexit. That David Cameron has tendered his resignation as Prime Minister should mean that the government is not going to over-ride the referendum result. The EU, worried that the electorates of other countries will demand an ‘exit’ referendum, wants Brexit completed as soon as possible before the trend catches on. The SNP want a Dependence referendum so that Scotland can continue being ruled from Brussels, whilst Sinn Fein want an Irish Unification referendum to liberate English taxpayers from the economic burden of the Six Counties, so that all Thirty-Two Counties of Ireland can continue being ruled from Brussels.