Brexit remains as divisive an issue as ever, with readers writing in to argue against a contributor’s claim that leaving the EU was a boon for the working class.
It has been pointed out that the end of free movement has had a negative impact on business and that post-Brexit living standards have not improved.
But some agreed with her, saying “whole business models” were built on “exploiting cheap EU labour” and that Brexit was necessary for sovereignty.
Read on to see what else has got people talking…
■ Barbara from Gloucestershire (MetroTalk, Fri) claims one benefit of Brexit is that the 330,000 EU citizens who have left the UK have opened up jobs for British citizens.
I work for a large restaurant company and we are struggling to fill these positions to the point where we are testing robots to help clear tables and deliver food in our restaurants. We’re even making changes to our service style to allow customers to place their orders using apps and websites – all because we can’t fill those jobs.
But that’s just the company I work for. What about the thousands of jobs left vacant in the NHS and other public services? We need these workers precisely because the British do not want these jobs. This is not a benefit of Brexit. In other words, it’s just another Brexit promise that failed to materialise. Pedro, Hammersmith
■ Barbara is correct in her analysis of who benefits from Brexit. Before 2020, many organizations based their entire business models on exploiting cheap EU labor. They would hire European (usually Eastern European) supervisors who in turn recruited entire groups of poor people from the EU to work for a small amount .
The company could then offer surcharges, profitable charges to commercial customers for cleaning, etc. Worse than that, the accommodation could be an empty office floor.
It is the upper echelons of society – Liberal MPs and the business elite – who are bemoaning Brexit because, while signaling their opposition to slavery, they have simultaneously and grudgingly accepted the mass exploitation of Europe’s poor and ignored the plight of the UK’s youth that needs education, jobs and affordable homes. Mike, Surrey
■ Barbara tells us about the riches raining down on the working class as a result of Brexit. What parallel world would that be? The one where there are no strikes over wages, where entire industries are not facing recruitment problems and where many have been forced to let staff go because of the cost of Brexit?
The one where interest rates don’t rise? (On top of things, but, yes, Brexit is contributing to price increases – I’m paying the bills for customs declarations for my company that were never needed before.)
Brexiteers are rejoicing that we have taken control of our border, forgetting that we had control anyway, but somehow we now have a border that is more leaky than ever. We are not affected by cheap words as much as some, Barbara, so you should try again. Joe, London
■ Well, I had every reason to “complain” the other day. While queuing for two hours to get my blue passport stamped at Faro airport, I received a text from my wife asking me where I was. It seems she was already sitting down with a coffee, having outgrown her “lucky” Irish passport. Nick, South London
■ What planet are you on Barbara? I got to the middle of your speech and there it was: “The middle class can’t see the benefits” of Brexit. This is the world you live in – and it shows. Believe me when I say that we are not “more likely to rent or buy a property”. It’s just not affordable or possible, and it won’t be until this Tory reign is over. Hopefully this opened your eyes. Jos., Essex
■ This is a response to the challenge of naming a Brexit benefit. Brexit made it easier for me to bring my wife into the country. I’m British, she’s non-EU and we used to live in Lithuania.
Although the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU did not cover our case, the Government decided to allow British citizens to return home to their families and benefit from the Settlement Scheme on the same terms as EU nationals.
This meant that we avoided paying for full health insurance for my wife and the simplified application process for pre-arranged status was easier than the Surinder Singh route – the result of a European Court of Justice ruling on free movement – that we had been on. Jonathan, Derbyshire
■ Recent letters to MetroTalk ask what has been achieved by leaving the E.U. Regaining sovereignty is the main thing. Being in the EU means that everything is standardized and centralized. There is a continuous loss of dominance at the center – a kind of trickle down effect – that will never end until a “United States of Europe” is created.
Each new rule from the EU supersedes the local laws of member countries. I voted Leave and would do so again without hesitation.
What I did not expect, however, was the three years of wrangling in the British Parliament following the referendum result, nor did I see how useless and pathetic our politicians would be – and still are.
I don’t think Labor would be much different if they came to power. I don’t have much hope for the future of the UK until a politician emerges who is actually a leader and can lead the country to a better future. Ed Lewis, Mansfield
■ Well done, Barbara. You are absolutely right about Brexit. The EU is nothing but a bully and vindictive state that has treated the UK as a lover and is ready to do as much harm as it can against the UK. Antonio Lewandowski, Oldham
“Bicycles as dangerous as cars? Cars aren’t made of marshmallows”
■ Comments from Paul and Nick that cyclists are more dangerous than cars (MetroTalk, Thu) are just more destructive, misguided nonsense from the anti-cycling brigade who just don’t like cyclists.
Do they think bikes are one-ton killing machines and cars are made of soft marshmallow? If they looked at the statistics, they would see that far more pedestrians are killed each year by motor vehicles than by cyclists.
Paul’s comment about cars never driving on sidewalks is simply not true. I see cars parked all over the sidewalk where I live, and recently I saw a woman drive on the sidewalk toward where I was walking to get to a mailbox.
Cyclists ride on pavements because they are afraid of being injured by cars, especially if they are children with little understanding of the Highway Code. If there were better infrastructure for cyclists, this would happen less.
In terms of licensing and taxing bicycles, this is not possible due to the sheer volume of them, and due to the different bicycle sizes, license plates would be difficult to fit on them.
So the only way we would be able to identify bikers would be if they wore ID numbers at all times, like in the TV show The Prisoner.
But I can’t imagine that this would be popular, especially if it was on foot traffic as well. Mike, Southport
“Mismatch in crisp bag colors and flavors? Package in!’
■ Regarding MetroTalk letters about pub crisps, salt and vinegar crisps should be called ‘vinegar’ because of the overpowering stench of rancid vinegar every time you open a packet. Graham, Dartford
■ Don’t get me started on the color of crisps. Picking up a blue bag thinking it’s salt and vinegar or a green one for cheese and onion, only to find it’s the opposite. Drives me crazy. Crisps Connoisseur John, Leeds
■ On WH South (MetroTalk, Thu), who complains about traditional pub chips. Get your own Walkers to enjoy with your pint. The chips most pubs sell aren’t that great. Vicki, West Midlands
What you said…
On Friday, we asked you whether people should keep their voices down in pubs, after a reader said he was sick of the racket while trying to have a quiet drink.
- No – it’s called a public house for a reason – 50%
- Yes – not a competition to see who is the strongest – 44%
- Neither – I’ll leave my comment below – 6%
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