Friday, 22 September 2017

The grown-ups agree that there will be no Brexit

Vince Cable has been saying for some time that Brexit is unlikely. Now Paddy has been unequivocal: it will not happen because there will be parliamentary stalemate. (For once that metaphor, referring to the end of a chess game, seems appropriate.)

But we must be prepared for the repercussions of that outcome. 52% of people who voted in a referendum last year will feel cheated. Government (of whatever stripe) must go some way to meet the arguments of the Leavers.

There is some justification for the belief that at the bottom end of the labour market, immigration has a slightly depressing effect on wages. There is also resentment of people at the other end of the scale, including financial manipulators who are seen as abetting the financial melt-down in the UK.

If the minimum wage (I refuse to call it a living wage) legislation is policed as it should be, and there is stronger action than naming and shaming a few token employers, then the first objection can be met, especially as thorough inspection should also turn up non-EU citizens illegally employed, who must also be depressing wages.

Government should also withdraw right to remain status from those people who are or have been involved in activities which harm or have harmed the UK economy. Any outstanding international arrest warrants should be honoured. Benefit tourists should be deported - existing EU law allows this.

Of course, this will mean raising the staffing level of the Border Agency and of police forces, but the cost should be offset by the additional tax raised by the uplift in pay. Besides, Mr Dacre, would it not be a price well worth paying for a tighter immigration régime?

The answer to those who voted Leave in the genuine belief that the EU is a self-appointed institution and that it dictates all the law in its member states is clearly more education. The BBC has failed, and continues to fail, in this regard. This is a dereliction of duty, in view of its constitutional requirement to educate as well as inform and entertain. The government needs to be honest in explaining how it contributes to EU decisions and that it is not powerless in the face of the Commission. Political parties, including Liberal Democrats, need to take up part of this education burden, particularly as the majority of the print media can print lies about the EU with impunity.

The upside is that as soon as government announces that it has abandoned Article 50 negotiations and will seek to keep the UK within the EU, sterling's value will rise against other currencies' and inflation will stop - maybe even reverse.

1 comment: