AS MANY of you know or suspect, I am a big fan of Jacob Rees-Mogg and I really am not on the Boris Train (that is putting it mildly.) Therefore, it hurts to have to write that of the last two substantial speeches/interviews both have given, Boris gets the Brexit issue more than the Mogg. Believe me, that was tough to admit.
The Mogg gave an interview to Andrew Neil, and over all it went well in the face of some tough questions from Neil. However, the takeaway point from it seemed to be, Brexit will be good because we will get cheaper clothing. That was about it.
The Mogg barely mentioned the democratic gain from Brexit, nor does he ever mention immigration other than to tell us how wonderful it is. He seems to believe that most of the Northern constituencies voted to leave, including the much-discussed older voter, so they could get £10 off their next pair of Nikes. No, Jacob, that was not it. And on this point, I am afraid to say you are indeed out of touch.
A day or two later Boris gave a speech where he pointed out finally, that immigration was a big concern to many voters. He himself is ‘liberal’ on immigration (whatever that means) but he acknowledged that an endless supply of cheap unskilled workers have been holding down wages for the working class, and also let businesses off the hook when it comes to investing in skills and their workforce. So Boris, gets it, more or less.
I am sick of hearing about Project Fear Mark 2 – as Ruth Lea points out we are less than dependent on the EU and pretty good at trading world wide – but the debate about Brexit should not always come down to economics and how we will all be richer or poorer. The truth is some people will be richer and some may indeed be poorer post-Brexit. But many are willing to be poorer on paper if they have a job and their public services are sustained.
Brexit is the right thing to do for two very fundamental reasons neither of which has anything to do with economics. The first is the democratic deficit we all suffer from being within the political union that is Europe. We must bring democracy home, so to speak, and when that finally happens there needs to be some serious reform of our democratic institutions, which have been ruthless exposed as out of date and out of touch in the last two years.
The second value is that we must have control over our borders and who comes in. That is fundamental to what being a nation is. It comes as no surprise to me that after two years of foot-dragging on both building the wall in the United States and Brexit in the UK both the US and UK governments are in partial shutdown. Both votes were in some ways out of concern that immigration was too fast and happening without the consent of the people.
The open-border elitists have fought back and essentially brought both administrations to a partial shutdown. There can be only one winner on this: the democratic will of the people to pause an out-of-control immigration policy that has been destroying the working-class communities of both countries. That is what this is about – not cheaper shoes.