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Brexit … where are we going?

I did say I wouldn’t write another blog on Brexit but I’m so uncomfortable on this issue at the moment, I can’t help myself and speaking with other local business owners, their viewpoint is similar.

The language being used now and the need for a common sense approach to enter the negotiations with the EU really has to be realistic and grown up.

The politicians, mainly Tories, Media and Remainers are obsessed with immigration, that Brexit was all about immigration. During the Conservative conference they have pledged to ‘name and shame’ companies for hiring foreign workers, cut number of foreign doctors, put landlords in jail for not checking tenancy residency papers.

Please, what are these people talking about?

‘Name and shame’ – like there is something shameful and morally wrong about having foreigners on the payroll. As a business owner, I want the very best people working in my business, without any form of discrimination. Now they want to ‘Name & shame’ businesses, to force businesses to discriminate?

Across all industries, the Office for National Statistics reports that there are 3.45m non-Britons working in this country, yet only 1.63m unemployed, so the figures don’t match the rhetoric. This argument is painfully piss poor and yet it’s used again and again.

With a skills shortage already, and the demand for fewer overseas workers in the building trade for example, will mean it would worsen the industry’s ability to deliver the much needed new homes this country requires. Ask the house building firms. I’m in the property sector, there is not a single developer or house build saying we need less skilled tradesman. The building industry relies on ‘foreigners’. We should be arguing what we really need as a country, demanding new homes, new schools, expanding doctor’s surgeries and increasing our infrastructure. Which brings me on to my next point.

‘Doctors Policy’ – they are ‘ALLOWED’ to stay until we train up sufficient indigenous workers. Like these foreign doctors who have been here for decades treating, caring for and saving our lives, are here at our tolerance. Because after all, what other possible attitude could you have towards an immigrant? Certainly not equality. Certainly not friendship. They are different, a foreign infection. At best we ALLOW them temporary residence.

They are not people, with families and friends, lives and careers, they are not people who we say hello to when we buy milk or invite to a party or the well-mannered Eastern European serving our dinner in a restaurant. Who do research, start companies or teach our kids.

As I mentioned in my last article, my grandparents were Irish immigrants and the same thing happened decades ago, there were signs on the bed & breakfast ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ the Irish were below dogs. The fact is, immigration itself it not the problem, it’s the mass wave of uncontrolled immigration in one go. Society needs time to adjust, to slowly experience other cultures and the benefits this brings, rather than a big shock and indigenous population forced to adjust to new experiences and alien cultures so abruptly.

During the leave campaign, the argument was clear. It was about further countries joining the EU and Britain receiving another wave of immigration. I received a leaflet through my door, about Turkey other Arab countries pouring into our country. This is the real argument why many ‘leave’ voters voted leave, on the subject of immigration, it was about another wave hitting the UK. ‘Taking back control’.

The mood in Westminster on immigration is going in a very different direction, the ‘us vs them’ game, our people and ‘the others’, its simply wrong. The poison over immigration needs to come out of the Brexit negotiations and in politics, it is really going to cause problems in all types of areas of our society, if this is not addressed. Every time immigration is discussed, it’s a problem, despite the enormous cultural, social and economic wealth we gain.

The need to welcome, not deter, overseas interest in Britain, to attract the young, enthusiastic, healthy, driven, adventurous individuals with a strong work ethic. If the politicians have their way, they are going to use them as a pawn and risk losing. We can welcome back all the geriatric, retired British from overseas. I wonder what group is better for a society and economy.

We need to benefit from globalisation AND Europe. Everyone wants to retain the products of Europe, to enjoy a glass of Italian red wine, drive a BMW but also to open our markets to New Zealand, India and America without restriction and red tape.

The single market has no internal barriers and product discrimination which is great if we can retain access to this but in addition, the UK can remove the outside common tariffs to countries around the world. The EU is not a club, it’s a protection racket, hence why some EU politicians are saying ‘they want to make leaving as painful as possible or others will want to do it.’ It just shows, its self-protectionist, a closed shop, anti-competitive, in an increasingly global world. Britain is leading the way into the world and around the world, Britain was seen as being part of Europe, now Britain is part of the world.

In conclusion, Theresa May confirmed she would pursue a hard Brexit and pull Britain out of the single market, this would be economically insane. The horse has already bolted on free movement and in my view, we should retain free movement to current EU states and any further joining states (like Turkey) would be subject to controls. This is the outcome I believe the majority want and the minority would accept.

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Posted: 16th October 2016

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