- Quick Withdrawal
I know I bang on about the pace of life in France all the time, how out of step it seems to be with everywhere else and certainly with the headlong rush that is the UK, but I really miss it when I’m not here. Home is always an easier place to cope with the world anyway, but when that world is like an old steam train having its carriages stripped of wood to go ever faster, knowing that shops still close at lunchtime for example is a source of comfort.
I just think everyone needs to take a deep breath and calm the hell down frankly. I was probably spending too much time on Twitter and Facebook anyway, but the shrieking hysteria that governs those places at the moment means that I’ve backed away, partly for my own sanity, but also the endless banshee-like wailing is like some poor, mad old woman on a night bus, surrounded by carrier bags and doom. You’d wait for the next bus rather than sit next to her right? I’m keeping my distance. Things are happening quickly enough without vein-pumping, head-spinning conjecture dominating and running wild. Social media has become Chicken Little for adults.
Yes, there’s Trump. A man who inherited $25 million and still managed to go bankrupt six times. He’s now showing, in an impressively short space of time, just how unsuited to public office he is, any public office. I wouldn’t let him look after a small municipal putting green in a backwater market town never mind being the most powerful man in the world. At least show some dignity man, the world is a complicated place and the last thing it needs is the President of the United States behaving like a toddler, surrounded by people rolling their eyes all mouthing, ‘I think he’s just overtired.’
That Great Britain was the first to suck up to him was no surprise. We’re so desperate to be loved and feel relevant and May’s decisions in office so far meant that she had no choice. And those decisions are suddenly starting to come thick and fast. I almost miss the days of post-referendum policy vacuum, the sniggering, saucy postcard discussions of soft versus hard Brexit and laughing at almost anything that David Davis said. Things have happened so quickly that it’s completely passed Jeremy Corbyn by. Bless him, like a Japanese soldier still fighting the war on some remote Pacific island, he’s decided it’s time to fight for a good Brexit deal. Mate, they had the vote already. You told your party to lie down and accept it. You are too damn late.
So we’re going hard Brexit and people can argue about the economics of that all they want, nobody really knows what will happen. It’s unpleasant though living in a time when leaders of major countries are almost willing some sort of disaster to happen to justify their entrenched positions. Trump needs a terrorist attack on American soil to validate his anti-Muslim country border controls and May needs the rest of Europe to choke and fall apart, like a Le Pen victory in France. That way Britain flouncing about aggressively would look prescient rather than an ad-hoc decision made because the nuances and diplomacy needed for a soft Brexit were just too complicated for the limited minds she has put at her disposal.
Immigration for instance, the main reason why a Hard Brexit is being sought, isn’t going to be as black and white, no pun intended, as people seem to think. The government can refuse to ‘let in’ a couple of thousand orphans, disgracefully I think, and thereby pander to racists and the ‘we’re full’ brigade, but as far as figures go – and that’s what’s important here – it’s just another front page grab. Even Stephen Crabb, who stood for the leadership of the Tory party and is no liberal, has written an article decrying the current nonsense about immigration. The economy, post hard or soft brexit, needs, relies on immigration. Already the farming industry has begun lobbying for special rights for immigrants to be allowed to continue working in the UK. These will be the same farming communities who voted Leave and told ‘metropolitan elites’ that immigration and so on was ruining the country. Right, I get it. You’re allowed immigrants on low wages to do the jobs nobody else wants to do, but a healthy multi-cultural society enjoyed by others is an affront is it? The hypocrisy is ludicrous. Let’s see what happens when the UK agriculture industry is starved of its heavy EU subsidies too. There’s been snow in Spain this winter meaning a shortage of courgettes and iceberg lettuce, and the masses aren’t happy, a sign of things to come. I hope then that Minister for Agriculture Andrea Leadsom is geared up to actually supplying the country with what they want post-Brexit, because a diet of corn on the cob and Cox’s Pippins alone won’t cut it frankly.
The truth is the government and sections of the media have been utterly dishonest about immigration. Immigrants pay far more in taxes than are taken in ‘Benefits’. It’s as simple as that. Whatever post-Brexit economic plans this government has, and I suggest you maybe look on the back of fag packets in the Downing Street bins for more details of that, it will flounder without immigrants. Any new international trade agreements, for example with India, will include making it easier for members of those countries to get UK visas. There is already a massive skills shortage right across the UK economy and if you believe that the government is going to suddenly plug that gap with heavy investment in education then you’ve been reading the sides of too many busses.
They will find a way to massage the figures. Immigration may not even change that much, but we’ll be told it has. Foreign students will probably be taken off the figures. New definitions about what actually constitutes an immigrant will become so vague as to be meaningless except in terms of officially ‘lowering’ the numbers. And so it begins, with denying opportunity and humanity to a few thousand pitiful orphans, all for politics. Well if Hard Brexit means an economic version of the quick withdrawal method, be aware it doesn’t always work and when it doesn’t those children can come back to haunt you.
There. And now that I’ve added to the frenzy with opinion and disaster mongering of my own, I’m going for a long lunch at home followed by a nap. Alarmism can be so draining…
Thank you for reading this blog, so far it’s had way over 100,000 views. Feedback is always welcome, from all sides, but keep the abuse to a minimum because I’m very much a snowflake, albeit an angry one.
You can buy my two best-selling books here and the next will hopefully be out this year. And if you’re a literary agent, please get in touch.