The other evening, I was in a theatre alongside 1,350 other people. We were enjoying a comedy show. The audience was asked, “Are there any Brexit supporters in the house tonight?” Only a handful of people shouted back, which is telling in itself. Quick as a flash, though, the comedian said “Well, you do realise that after October you are going to have to wash your car yourself?” which got a huge laugh and applause.
But it’s not a joke. There is a real chance that Europeans who currently work in the UK – doing more than washing our cars – such as being surgeons and university lecturers – may decide to leave Britain. Yes, I know there’s also a chance they’ll decide to remain (which if they had been able to vote that’s almost certainly what they would have said). No-one really knows.
However, this week we discovered yet more uncertainty which will arise after Brexit. A report from UK energy companies pointed out that after October 31st they may not be able to guarantee energy supplies in the UK. That’s because we get so much of our energy from EU firms that they could well prioritise European countries ahead of the UK. At the moment, they cannot do that because we are in the EU, which prevents them from such favouritism. So, if you do nothing else between now and October, stock up on batteries and buy a windmill.
The Tory party leadership (I use that word loosely) contest continues with yet more “willy-waving”. The two candidates are trying to out-do each other in how much money they are going to spend to support us in the event of “no-deal” (conveniently forgetting to tell us where the money is coming from). Those in farming and fishing were promised a whopping £6bn. If everyone in those sectors were to get the money on 31st October, they’d receive around £10,000 each. That’s less than half of their current average annual salary, so it’s not the big figure we are meant to think it is.
Besides, Jeremy Hunt, who promised this, says he wants to do for farmers and fisherfolk what the Government did for the financial services sector after the crash of 2008. Well, what the Government actually did was oversee 186,000 job losses in banks since that time, with a further 75,000 estimated to arrive post-Brexit. I bet the farmers and fishing families are thrilled with what they’ve been told.
Plus, as taxpayers we are still paying for that chaotic post-crash mess; we still own much of the Royal Bank of Scotland, 11 years later. It must be so heartening for those in the agricultural sector to see that Jeremy Hunt has such a grasp on reality.
Mind you, farmers and fishing industry stalwarts would be no better with Bonker Boris. After all, he did say “F**k business” when asked what impact Brexit would have on the UK commercial sector.
So, what have we discovered in the last week about Brexit? What we already knew. It’s a total mess and the two people competing to get us out of it are both in a fantasy land devoid of any grip on the real world. But don’t panic, at least you don’t have a self-confessed sex abuser in charge of the country. We can look across the Atlantic and realise we are in a much happier place after all.