Britain’s Labour Problem
The HGV crisis will in time doubtless be resolved. But the underlying UK problem of shortage of labour will not. Brexit has brought home to us that we have too many old people, too many disabled and too many unwilling to do menial jobs to meet our labour requirements. We do therefore now need seriously to ask ourselves whether Brexit was a mistake. We are also finding it difficult to strike trade deals with other major economies. Most of the trade deals we have we already had when we were in the EU. Am I right in thinking that the only new ones we have succeeded in striking are with Australia, Japan and Norway although doubtless there are others? But a deal with the United States, once regarded as the great prize, now looks a forlorn hope. The deal with Australia is regarded with much hostilty by British Farmers as they believe they they will be undercut. What point in trumpeting how environmentally friendly British farming is going to be when farmers cannot sell their products because ithey are consistently undercut by a farming regime that is cheaper because it has much lower environmental standards? We have got into an impossible situation about Ireland. We need to remember too that for years before we actually left the opinion polls were showing a considerable lead for Remain. But we were consistently denied a second referendum, doubtless, one cannot help thinking, because the leavers knew they would lose it. The whole campaign was conducted in an atmosphere of hysteria whipped up by the tabloids. Was this a worthy way for a mature democracy to conduct so momentous a choice/. There is a serious case, too, that we were misled during the 2016 campaign by egregious lies and questionable methods. What then should we do? Eat humble pie and seek to rejoin the EU – if they will have us? There is little point in seeking to join the single market alone as that involves the four freedoms with no say in forming EU policy. Or soldier on and hope for the best?