Brexit: like Christmas every day

Strangely, for someone who bangs on about the catastrophe of Brexit every day, I don’t want to reverse the Brexit referendum. 

I want it to plough on regardless, and let Brexiteers learn the consequences for themselves.

Unfortunately the Brexit crowd are – and I genuinely don’t mean this offensively – like 12 year old children. That’s fine. We were all 12 once, and many of us (including myself) occasionally revert. We want and we want, and refuse to see that all those sweets will rot out teeth. We just want.

But the truth is, Brexiteers have suffered 25 years of having their every bad impulse reinforced by the nastier end of the British press, like the child-catcher offering sweets. And it’s been very convenient for every government to blame the EU for screw-ups created in Westminster.

After a generation of that, it’s not going to be possible to sit down and explain consequences to the Brexiteers, no matter how hard AC Grayling tries. Nobody wants to listen to the consequences. They voted for Christmas every day, and they want Christmas every day. 

If we – the grown ups – attempt to cancel Christmas, the tantrums will be epic. Better let them find out the hard way.

So my advice is: wake every day and force feed them the reality of “Christmas every day”. The reality is: you’re sick of a family of people “just like you” by the 28th. By the 1st January you’ve had your credit cards stopped due to unusual activity. In mid-January your home is repossessed, and your kids are in a diabetic coma by Valentine’s Day. 

But even hearing that, any 12 year old will stick fingers in their ears and refuse to accept the truth.

The only way back is forwards. We have to let Brexit play out and stop attempting to reverse the decision. It feels undemocratic. It feels rejectionist. The mood music of Remainers is Scrooge-like, and all Brexiteers want is plum pudding and custard.

Instead, I want sensible grown ups to focus on the opportunity for a second referendum when the consequences become clear. Because at some point average Leavers will see that even with all the power of government and an army of Brexit negotiators fighting the good fight, Christmas every day is a godawful nightmare.

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Why aren’t Leave asking these questions?

10 simple questions.

If we don’t find answers for these, Brexit will fail, even on it’s own terms. 

Why is nobody from the Leave campaign asking these?

  1. 26% of NHS doctors are migrants. It takes 7 years to train a doctor. We plan to expel even skilled immigrants after 5 years. So where are the courses to urgently train 23,000 replacement doctors?
  2. 11% of othe NHS staff (nurses, midwives, therapists, lab technicians etc) are migrants. Where are the training bursaries to attract the 50,000 replacements we need? The new colleges? The new teachers?
  3. UK has a 19,000 mile coastline. To keep out migrants – a key promise of Brexit – we need thousands of border security staff. We are training none. Why not?
  4. The National Farmers Union has warned that a lack of migrants will affect food security. Where are the apprenticeships to train the 80,000 seasonal workers farming needs?
  5. The Dept of Transport anticipates 150 miles of daily tailbacks in Kent after Brexit. Where are the road widening schemes? The lay-bys? The traffic management investment?
  6. The Civil Service Managers Union estimates we’ll need 28,000 additional civil servants to replace EU provision. Where are the job adverts? The buildings? The training?
  7. The UK currently has 92,000 care home staff vacancies, and 150,000 carers are immigrants. Where is the funding to train 240,000 new care home workers?
  8. The UK hospitality industry employs 456,000 immigrants. Where are all the spare Britons willing to clean rooms and serve food for minimum wage?
  9. 200,000 migrants work in UK construction. We’re in the middle of a housing crisis. Where is the funding to train British replacements?
  10. 320,000 immigrants work in financial services. Where is the training to replace their skills in the next 12 months, especially as 11% of tax revenue relies on that industry? Without them we have to make cuts bigger than the entire education sector.

In case it’s unclear, that’s at least 1,397,000 jobs – many highly skilled – that we need to fill in 12 months… or start training two years ago.

And that’s just the direct jobs: it doesn’t count all the additional teachers, administrators, quality controllers and examiners required to attain the quality we expect from so many of these vital skills. 

Removing or barring immigrants – as the government plans to do – is only half the question.

Replacing those immigrants’ essential contribution to our economy and national fabric is the bit the Leave campaign has never explained.

And even if migrants aren’t banned, our attitude to the world is already driving them away. Its already happening, and Brexit hasn’t begun yet. Reports show a 48,000 fall in immigration over 3 months to June 2017. Over 12 months, that’s a loss of 20% of the vital roles we’re clearly unable to replace from the British population. 

If you back Brexit, you should be asking this stuff, not asking about Labour or terrorism or democracy – all important issues, certainly, but ultimately not related to keeping the UK going day-to-day. Having enough workers to get food into the supermarkets, however, isn’t optional. That’s the stuff we need from day one, and on literally every subsequent day.

I have heard absolutely nobody from the Leave side ask these questions, or make any attempt to answer.

I have seen no job adverts, or announcements of plans for new nursing colleges, training programmes or building schemes. 

So one last question: if Brexit is happening, why is nothing essential to Brexit happening?