ALL eyes on Brexit.
What an absolute shocking mess.
Yes, the nation spoke, if you’re a Brexiteer. But, to be fair, quite a few people didn’t know what they were voting for. There’s been electoral fraud and the idea of sending money destined for Europe to the NHS instead turned out to be a big fat lie.
To be fair, Europe, sometimes quite rightly, has always been the whipping boy for the UK. The portrayal of the Common Market, European Economic Community and now, simply, the European Union, from our politicians and mainstream media has always been as if Napoleon, the Kaiser and Adolf Hitler were still waging war on us.
We didn’t want to join. Then, when we did, they didn’t let us. Then when they let us, the Tories took us in and Labour was skeptical. Then Labour wanted to renegotiate our entrance conditions.
Nevermind that many of the ills ascribed to Brussels were rather the fault of that small patch of London – Westminster.
Nevermind that the British government and establishment was to blame for many of the reasons why just over half those who voted Leave wanted out of Europe.
And it’s a wonderful sleight of hand that ignores many of the real problems on British streets. Blame Europe. Blame Brexit. Blame everyone and everything else you can, but ignore the pressing issues for most communities in Britain.
Problems that the money men, greed, capitalism, austerity and a disconnected British Parliament have caused or allowed.
Families struggling to get by.
The poor getting poorer.
Jobs gone to China or Eastern Europe.
The taxpayers, fooled by privatisation, forking out more to boost the coffers of the money men who continue to make fortunes out of it.
In my lifetime – half a century – we’ve seen schools become prisons, fenced off, grim-looking establishments for the most part now.
Chemists around the country also have steel fences, barbed wire.
We have security guards in GP surgeries.
Our entries, alleys, ten foots, call them what you like, are often gated.
Shops are shuttered with strong metal, with many employing bollards against the threat of ram-raiding.
The money lost by shops to theft grows annually.
Police detection figures are dropping.
Neighbours don’t know neighbours.
Ambulance staff and NHS workers are assaulted in record number.
Fire crews also come under attack.
Teachers are leaving the profession in droves.
Wages, in real terms, have dropped.
House prices and rents have soared.
Utility bills, supposed to be cheaper in the age of privatisation, have rocketed.
Transport costs, public or otherwise, have jumped higher than an Olympic pole vaulter.
People wait weeks for a GP appointment.
There aren’t enough beds in hospitals.
The NHS is chronically underfunded, understaffed and patients are waiting longer for operations.
People who have saved all their lives are losing everything when they go into care homes.
There aren’t enough care home places.
Manners are in short supply.
People seem to feel able to vent their anger more freely, putting their own ‘rights’ higher than that of society as a whole, with the establishment meekly approving.
What a country for our children. Where did it all go wrong? Not the European Union. And based on everything the UK government has done since that traumatic vote, Brexit won’t solve a single issue.
It will make things worse, when the grants the EU provides to poor areas of Britain disappear. Grants that Westminster is unlikely to replace with money we are supposed to save from our withdrawal from the European bloc.
Because if this government, whatever its political leanings, was serious about Britain, it would have been tackling the grassroots issues affecting communities decades ago.
Life is getting worse.
You can blame it on Brexit.
You can blame it on no-Brexit.
You can blame it on the boogie.
But the real problems are being ignored.