Tuesday, 17 December 2019

On the brink

So, that's that.

For people like me who didn't really buy the 'will of the people' schtick when a mere 37% of eligible voters who voted in 2016 to leave the EU, when that small minority of the population was woefully ill-informed about how we should leave, when we should leave, and how much say MPs should have in deciding the answers to those questions, it was a final throw of the dice.

I voted remain in 2016 but I've no great love for the bloated, over-bureaucratic and self-satisfied and self-serving EU. It's just that our economy's roots are too deeply entangled after forty years to free ourselves without doing untold damage. To our tree.

So I'd have been quite happy for Labour's plan to have another go at it, now we know the facts. It would have been awful. But it would have been informed.

I was also quite hoping in my own sweet and politically naive way that we might just get a result that did something - anything - for the millions suffering real, daily poverty. For the NHS. For schools. For all those things we need to be the nation we are.

But, of course, it was not to be.

I’ve been thinking a lot since Thursday night about this. I live in an area that voted overwhelmingly for Brexit in 2016, and that last week returned a Tory with an even bigger majority (it was already huge).

Why do the Turkeys keep voting for Christmas? Putting aside the obvious and overwhelming antipathy to Corbyn nationally, my constituency has historically, consistently and - in my view rather foolishly - returned a Tory forever. They’d have voted Tory even if God himself or the Pope or Kelvin and Oti had been standing.

Then there’s Brexit.

As well as rural poverty, a local hospital about to break under its many burdens and with key departments threatened with closure,  an almost complete lack of other public services, a shortage of housing, and a local (Tory) council (county and local) so cash-strapped and so crippled with inertia that they don't seem to be able even to acknowledge emails (sent by yours truly twice - the first time back in May!) there's the issue of getting GP appointments and accessing all the other services creaking under the crippling strain of a large migrant influx.

I can see why people voted to leave. What I can't understand, nearly four years on, is how they continue to believe that leaving the EU will solve anything.

Because the problems were there long before the migrants arrived: problems of underfunding, problems of micro-managing public sector workers to extinction, problems of a severe shortage of nurses, teachers, doctors and... money.

'Not my problem,' people seem to say. And they’re right. It isn’t. When you’re struggling to feed your own family how can you possibly put your mind to helping others? (Leave aside for a moment the fact that it’s precisely this kind of person who DOES most often help.)  How can you do x and y and z for you and yours and make a difference to someone else's life?

Which is where the politician comes in: of course you can’t, this message, runs. Of course it’s not your problem. It's the system. It's the migrants. It's the homeless. It's the poor. It's the sick. It's the thick. It's the disabled and the needy and the hungry and the lonely.

Just don't ask us who created a society which leads to all this.

Just vote for us and we'll sweep it all under the carpet/sweep them all away back to their own country/sweep them off the waiting lists/sweep them to the food banks/sweep them to the grave...

I don't know what the solution is. All I know is that I haven't much confidence in Brexit or Boris to solve it. Maybe Corbyn couldn't have done it either.

But someone needs to do something.


Before it's too late.

This poem comes from the collection 'Knick-Knack, Union Jack' by Nicholas Fitton, out now and available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2mpmqQl

1 comment:

  1. Good on you for noticing that politicians have allowed migrants into the country to use as a weapon against the population.


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