Last night I caught part of a documentary item in which members of the public talked about their reasons for voting OUT in the EU referendum. Once again, the focus of most people’s arguments was immigration. It seems that in most parts of the country you can’t get a job, a doctor’s appointment or a school place for your child because of EU migrants taking everything.
And this must be true because we were told, or at least encouraged to believe this, by those paragons of virtue Johnson, Gove and Farage.
But let’s think about this. I live in a town with a reasonably sizable number of EU immigrants, mainly Polish, but with a fair sprinkling of other nationalities. And yes, I have trouble getting an appointment at my surgery, but from what I can see, it is the lack of doctors that is to blame, not the patients. Whenever I do get there, what I generally see is a lot of elderly British people. So actually, the problem lies with our aging population and a lack of funding and support for GPs over recent years. From my experience, if it weren’t for the migrant staff working in the NHS, the problem would be much worse.
But, by the Brexit argument, these European doctors, nurses and ancillary staff are actually taking our jobs from under our noses! I mean, if they weren’t here more Brit’s would have a job. Err, wrong! They are here because we have a shortage of people trained and willing to do the work. If you can’t get the job you want, maybe you are either under qualified, unsuitable or expecting too much.
Another problem being blamed on migrants as the lack of places in local schools. Yes, in some areas large increases in population have led to a shortage of places. After all, local authorities plan for future demand based on birth rate, and if a large enough number of families move into an area, this will inevitably lead to problems. But this can happen anywhere and not necessarily be caused by EU migrants. It can also be brought on by premature school closures and by a funding regime that does not allow for any slack in the way of extra places. Schools are encouraged to be full as this is the only way to secure funding. Consequently intake numbers are artificially reduced and staffing and resources cut to suit.
Cutbacks forced by the government have left many local authorities struggling to find even the minimum they need to provide health, social and education services in their areas. Whether there were migrants or not, these draconian cutbacks have devastated services all over the country. If you can’t get the health care you need, blame the government whose budget cuts have forced the closure of hundreds of centres and outreach services and drastically reduced training facilities. It is their policies that have led to disillusioned and underappreciated staff leaving the NHS and our schools in greater numbers than we can replace them. It is successive UK governments who have laid waste to many of the services we have some to rely on, not immigrants, and certainly not the EU.
Cameron and his allies were unable to retaliate against the Brexit claims about the effects immigration is having on our services and economy, because they knew, as did Outers, that Cameron himself was to blame for most of it. He was hardly going to stand up and say, “Actually folks, it’s my fault, not theirs!”
And what is all this about sovereignty? Yes, the EU is not perfect and it does occasionally pass some seemingly ridiculous laws, but nothing like what is claimed by the Eurosceptics. Most are aimed at levelling the playing field across member states, ensuring that free trade and movement can work effectively. It is the UK government’s policies that have resulted in a lack of housing (thanks to the sale of housing stock), under staffing and funding of emergency services, and cutbacks in health care and social welfare.
But the biggest threat to the Eurosceptics of the right is the EU’s on-going agenda regarding our rights. The likes of Gove and Farage want to return to a system that protects the elite at the expense of the workers. They don’t want any of this human rights or worker rights nonsense getting in the way of securing their fortunes and their life styles.
Does anyone actually think that Gove and Johnson give a monkeys about you and me? Of course not. From where I’m standing they look like self-serving elitists seeking power and influence. But now that all their lies and deceptions have been brought to light, I hope that any chance of leadership are now well and truly quashed. And as for Farage, hopefully this time around he will stay resigned! The less I have to see or hear of that egotistical maniac the better.