16 June 2022
Diary of a Corbynista
All Down to Brexit
by Don Urquhart
I woke from a snooze to observe the carriage procession arrive at Royal Ascot. I was told that nobody does pageantry like this and there was much vox popping with ladies who had made special efforts with their garments, particularly their hats. Given enough drugs I might just have swallowed the Panglossian line that all is lovely in our fair land. However there is plenty of evidence that this is not so.
Is it all down to Brexit? Now voting for Brexit looks like crass stupidity but we weren’t all English Nationalists, far from it in my case – I had a hard job explaining it to my good friends in Germany. Much head-shaking!
When deciding to vote for Brexit I did not consider Northern Ireland. I suspect I was not alone. In the big TV debate on the eve of the referendum, Ireland was not mentioned once. The Brexit case was put by Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Gisela Stuart. For Remain we had Ruth Davison, Sadiq Khan and Francis O’Grady. In Paxman’s pre-referendum programme he went into the audience to solicit the views of glamour model Jordan. We were suckered. The other guys suckered later in the process were the Irish Unionists who were told there would be no customs checks on goods passing between Northern Ireland and the UK mainland. No border in the Irish Sea! Then Johnson signed the withdrawal agreement with the EU, now his best chums, so that he could go into the General Election proclaiming an oven ready Brexit. Now that there is a border in the Irish Sea, the DUP are refusing to return to Stormont and Johnson is telling us how poor the Brexit deal was that he had personally concluded and commended to the populace. He has Britain standing alone against the world as he cajoles our media into presenting his illegal Protocol Bill as all brought about by the EU’s intransigence.
While the RMT and the various train operators flex their muscles for a national strike next week, a less publicised strike is entering its second week in West Yorkshire where bus drivers are in dispute with Arriva the company running the local buses. I was volunteering in a Credit Union in 2016 when we had an influx of new customers with Eastern European looking names. The bus company Metroline had hired drivers in Rumania and we helped them because they could not open current accounts with the high street banks. I had voted for Brexit because the Tory government and big employers saw cheap, docile EU Labour as a way of keeping wages down.
With strikes in the offing plenty of people are shaking their fists at the spectre of resurgent Trade Unionism. Had it not been for Trade Unions most of those well-dressed ladies and Hooray Henries at Ascot would have been working 16 hours a day for a crust of bread and doffing their caps to the gentry. So I am on the side of the strikers and dismissive of those who would set worker against worker.
I voted for Brexit and admitted pretty soon that I was wrong. Being conned by politicians is not against the law. And in my defence I would have you look across the pond at the thousands who were conned into trying to overturn their democracy and the millions who still worship the person who instigated it.
To most people’s relief the days of our mini-Trump are numbered.