Tag Archives: Brexit

The Book they tried to Ban: Brexit Rant

My book is still a couple of months away from publication. Here’s an excerpt from a chapter that I didn’t include in the final draft.

 

Don’t Mention the War

I didn’t feel strongly either way, but I voted to leave the European Union. The EU had expanded to include former Communist countries. Some of the new entrants had very different cultures from the established EU members. They had no experience of mass immigration and they had much weaker economies. I couldn’t see what they were bringing to the party. We had the fifth strongest economy in the world at the time of the referendum. Maybe we should have helped form a breakaway Premier League?

A couple of the new member countries made it clear they weren’t going to take their share of refugees from Syria if they were asked to. Other member countries had economic problems, and it looked for a time as if they might be forced to leave the union. Citizens in other member countries also wanted to leave the EU. So, if the EU was to break up, someone had to be the first to leave and make the first move. Someone had to be Ginger Spice.

If anyone is to blame should the whole thing go tits-up, it’s Cameron’s fault for calling a referendum. The government made no provision for a leave vote whatsoever. For me, all the pathetic scare-mongering from people like George Osborne helped make my mind up how to vote. Maybe it was a token gesture on my part to call their bluff, but none of us expected the leave result.

I was now apparently a “Hard Brexiteer” because I took the government’s pre-referendum flyer as gospel. They led us to believe it would be easy. Cameron was going to invoke European Union Article 50 the following day and we would leave the EU lock, stock and barrel. I thought we’d just cancel the direct debit and unsubscribe from the newsletter. They told us no different. Nobody said there would be months of legal wrangling before Article 50 could be activated. Nobody mentioned a huge divorce bill, a lengthy transition period, or the thorny issue of the Irish border. Unsurprisingly we have heard nary a word from Dave Cameron since he deserted us, the slimy toad.

I don’t think the EU appreciates what a sensitive issue the Irish border is. The EU wants a proper border between Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland (European Union), yet in other parts of Europe they allow borders where there shouldn’t be any. There’s an illegal border on Cyprus, which is EU territory. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, my arse – there’s no such country. It’s only recognised by Turkey. Turkish Cypriots are EU citizens, whether they like it or not. Talking of borders, the EU stayed quiet on the matter of Catalan independence in 2017. Whatever happened with Catalonia – are they independent now or not?

Brexit was subsequently blamed for many of the country’s problems. Banks and other institutions used Brexit as an excuse for making staff redundant. In the wake of the referendum, Lloyds bank announced 200 branch closures and 3,000 job cuts, but it transpired that the redundancies were planned before the referendum. The funniest claim came from Mayor Kahn and TfL who said that the “uncertainty of Brexit” was partly to blame for TfL expected loss of £400 million in 2018. It was nothing to do with Brexit. People were deserting the underground because it was overcrowded, full of rowdy people, and prone to cancellations and delays. Buses had lost their popularity because they were too slow. TfL had also shot themselves in the foot with the unrestricted licensing of private hire. This started a race to the bottom and made it cheaper to travel by mini-cab than a bus.

Many in big business are nervous about the UKs withdrawal. Of course they are. They’re worried they won’t be able to get any more cheap labour from Eastern Europe. It’s not Brexit itself which causes panic; it’s the uncertainty and the scare-mongering. Uncertainty is acerbated by the slow progress of negotiations with the EU. Mrs May took three months out for a vanity election in 2017, and talks have been conducted at a French escargot pace ever since.

The British are tough people, or at least we used to be. It’s generally older people who voted to leave the EU. The older you are, the closer you are to World War Two. Our ancestors were tough. They had to be. They needed faith and determination. Not enough people believe in the country any more. A stiff upper lip is now seen as cold and insensitive, but we need to pull together and invoke the Spirit of the Blitz once again. Sadly, it’s no longer PC to say that Britain’s great, or call to make Britain great again.

Time will tell how things will develop once we’ve left the EU. It might be a disaster. Some of our own citizens want us to get a bad deal so they can say”I told you so”. I say off to Traitors’ Gate with them. I’m still not sure how I’d vote if there was a new referendum tomorrow, though I’d probably stick with my original decision and see things through. If the referendum result isn’t respected I’ll be in Trafalgar Square with Nigel Farage setting fire to the EU flag.

The EU had to make it difficult for us in order to warn others about having the same ideas about leaving, but how dare they ask us for all that money? I can’t help thinking that the EU is something of a boys’ club, and I wonder how much money is spent on fat cat pensions and the EU wine cellar (admittedly, I might be sore because I don’t have a pension. Or a wine cellar).

I suggest the EU remember what the UK did for Europe during the war. Germany built up its infrastructure quickly enough after trashing Europe. European transport systems make ours look like the third world. Britain’s Family silver had been sold off to foreign investors years’ ago. Foreign transport systems are cheaper and more efficient than our own. Is this because so many of our transport systems are run by European governments? It’s the same with our domestic energy supply. We had rationing until 1953. We didn’t pay off war-time loans to the USA until 2006 – around £27 billion in today’s values. Other countries progressed while we were still crippled with debt from the war. I think we deserve some respect. If I was Mrs May I’d tell the EU to bugger off, we don’t owe you anything.

People confuse the EU with Europe and think you’re anti-European if you want to leave the EU. You can still drink fine wine in Paris and eat cheese strained through an old man’s sock. You can still lie on a Spanish beach until you turn red and sizzle like a chorizo sausage. You can still drink murky over-strength ales in a Belgian bar. You can still do whatever you normally do on a weekend in Amsterdam they can’t touch you for it.

I’m sorry we’re not such close trading partners, and that borders will re-appear, but I love Europe and Europeans, and I shall continue to take most of my holidays within the EU and the English-speaking world. Admittedly, preference is given to those countries that were on our side in the war. The European project has sidelined the Commonwealth countries: countries with whom we share deep ties, and a common language. A few of them mght have funny ideas about civil rights, and they might put your head on a spike if they think you might be gay; but during the war our Commonwealth cousins rallied round. There were also the plucky Poles, Czechs, Greeks and Scandinavians. But lest we forget, there were also some Bayern Munich-supporting wannabees who aligned themselves with the team they expected to win. They know who they are. It’s sad that the Germans are still telling the Greeks what to do. Search out the World at War series on the Yesterday channel for further details. I guarantee you’ll be a frothy-mouthed Hard Brextremist by the end of it – though I warn you though, that the series lasts longer than the actual war.

So what’s all this got to do with the London cab trade, I hear you ask. Probably nothing. Who knows? Anyway, I’ve gone on a bit in this section. File my ideas under half-baked if you want to, but I reckon I know as much about it as some of the so-called experts I hear on radio phone-ins.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment/Opinion

I’m Backing Britain

(original edit of my article for Taxi magazine)

By the time you read this, Our Glorious Leader, Theresa May, will have triggered Article 50.  When Mrs May presses the button, we have two years to leave the European Union.  I didn’t feel strongly either way when I voted out, and only time will tell if I made the right decision.  All I know is, all the uncertainty, and all the talking down of the country, has caused anxiety.  We just need to get on with it and go forward with a bit of confidence.

I didn’t think leaving the EU would be so complicated.  It didn’t bode well on day one, when David Cameron shirked his responsibility and had it away on his toes.  He didn’t expect the referendum result, nobody did; but plans should have been in place for that eventuality.  While everyone’s dithered, there have been court cases, more voting in parliament and the Lords, and threats from the EU that they’re going to give us a tough divorce (well, they have to do that to deter other countries from leaving).  And now the Scottish Nationalists are trying to distract proceedings and split the United Kingdom at a time when we should all be pulling together.  Finally though, The Queen gave her assent, and it looks like it’s going to happen.  Sadly, modern royals have little to do with the day to day running of the country.  Centuries ago, the king or queen dictated everything, but all they get to do now is put a rubber stamp down where they’re told to by some public school upstart.  I’d like to see the Queen given more powers, not less.  Maybe let her chop a few heads off like in the good old days.  They could start with Nicola Sturgeon.  Anyway, I digress.

I’m not sure why negotiations are expected to last two years.  I don’t understand all the talk about hard-boiled Brexit, Full English Brexit, and semi-skimmed Brexit.  The referendum question was binary: in or out.  When I voted out, I assumed we just pulled out and went our own way.  This scenario was known as Hard Brexit after the referendum, and became something the detractors told us they never meant.  I thought we’d just cancel the direct debit and unsubscribe from the newsletter.  In the coming months we could decide which EU laws to keep and which ones to dump.  Once we’d found our feet, we could maybe send out the Queen’s Navy to warn off Spanish trawlers, and any other Johnny European who wants to try it on.

In the days leading up to the triggering of Article 50, the Chancellor of the Exchequer reversed his budget plan to increase National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.  The original move gave the wrong signal.  At a time when Britain was preparing to go it alone, it would’ve been more positive to provide support to entrepreneurs and small business people.  Big business generally wanted us to stay in the EU.  Of course they did; they need cheap labour to exploit through the EU.  While they pay their staff peanuts on zero-hours contracts, or on sham self-employed arrangements, they can make deals with the taxman.  Their workers can then make deals with the Benefits Agency to top up their meagre earning with tax credits.  International big business is essential of course, but we also need to support grass roots growth.  We rely too much on foreign investment, and not enough in the skills and flair of our own people.

People say importing and exporting will cost us more.  I don’t see why:  if the EU imposes trade tariffs on us, we’ll do the same.  We’re importing too much anyway.  We should be buying domestically as much as possible.  With the big stuff, I find it shameful the police are driving around in foreign cars.  I’m not sure where the steel comes from to supply the huge Crossrail project, but I suspect much of it is foreign too.  This is where we need to start.  I’m not sure how British our cabs really are, but there’s not a lot we can do about that anyway.

On the everyday shopping list, if we insist on summer fruits in the winter, it’s right we pay through the nose to have produce in from sunnier climes.  Why not just go without strawberries until the British ones are available?  Switch to something else for a while.  Most of my beer is British, and I only buy foreign wine because the excellent wines that are produced in England aren’t available in my local shops.  In fairness, they’re a bit pricy too.  Maybe if more people demanded it, more would be produced, and prices would come down.  New Zealand isn’t in the EU, so I can live with that.

It’ll be several years before we know who was right or wrong on the EU debate.  There’s no point moaning about it, or casting blame.  We need to start looking forward.  There are sure to be new opportunities we haven’t yet thought of.  Who knows how we’ll stand with the USA or China in the future.  We should forge closer ties with the Commonwealth.

Let’s start now:  stop talking the country down, and think positive.  Let big business take care of itself, and support local our artisans – yes, like your local taxi drivers:  each one an individual British business person.  Eat and drink as British as possible – and preferably in British measures such as pints. Wetherspoons supported Brexit, and that’s where I’m going now.  Over a foaming tankard of British ale I’m proudly able to say that I drink for England.

Leave a comment

Filed under Published Articles

A Week in Politics

No wonder there’s such unemployment – George Osborne has taken all the jobs for himself!  He’s the new editor of the Evening Standard, while remaining the MP for Tatton. He has no experience of running a newspaper, and thinks he can fit it all into four mornings a week.  Being an MP clearly isn’t demanding enough. He also has his hands full with big business consultancy and trousering many thousands for after dinner speeches. As Chairman of the Northern Powerhouse, I wonder how that fits in with the Southern Powerhouse of the London Evening Standard?  If I were Mrs May, I’d tell him there was a conflict of interest and give him the boot.  He’s hardly going to be impartial as a Conservative MP on the Standard.  He probably drives for Uber in his spare time too. Anyway, thanks for your threat of financial Armageddon and an austerity budget.  That’s what made people like me vote Brexit.

Jimmy Krankie lookalike, Nicola Sturgeon, has demanded another referendum about Scotland leaving the union. It’s only 2 1/2 years since the last one.  It’s outrageous splitting the UK is discussed before formal discussions have even started on leaving the EU.  In the unlikely event that Scotland votes to leave, we can hardly negotiate two exits simultaneously.  Can’t you wait two or three years?  You’ll have a better idea how things are looking.  I think there could be a civil war in Scotland if they vote to leave.  Many Scots like being British and would like to stay in the UK.  It’s be no means certain the EU would have them either.  If they do leave and manage to join the EU, should their economy collapse, it’ll be the EU bailing them out, not us. Get real.

Donald Trump reckons British Intelligence spied on him for Obama.  Is this man high on spice?  Yes, and MI6 are still spying on him through his TV.  Every time he switches on repeats of Downton Abbey, Jim Carter is recording everything he says.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment/Opinion

A Week in London: Full English Brexit

Hard-Boiled Brexit

When I voted in the referendum I didn’t see a disclaimer in small print saying “Subject to further voting in parliament.”  No wonder Dave was so keen to resign and have it away on his toes.  The voting form didn’t ask if I wanted a soft or hard-boiled Brexit either.  No, I voted for a total exit, and that’s what the government should have delivered without delay.  Dave should’ve triggered Article 50 before he went, then cancelled the direct debit and unsubscribed from the newsletter. If nothing happens by early next year, I predict a riot.  Look for me in Trafalgar Square setting fire to the EU flag.

Riots

Talking of civil disobedience, 53 soap-dodgers were arrested in London on Saturday night.  No-one knows exactly what these masked demonstrators are campaigning for, nor do they.  But you need to be really hard to throw bottles at the Polis wearing a mask.

Poppies

I understand FIFA have threatened the England football team with sanctions should they wear poppies for an international game, as it’s political.  More Johnny Foreigners interfering with our business.  I hope Gareth Southgate encourages the wearing of poppies.  If he wants to ban something, stop players wearing those stupid headphones when they get off the team coach.

5 Comments

Filed under Comment/Opinion