This is going to be a difficult post to write. I was challenged yesterday to demonstrate the benefits of Brexit for Remainers. Good idea. Let's look at their concerns and counter them, was my initial thought. The arguments against Brexit fall largely into two sorts; first is the stance of a privileged elite of achievers, who argue on economic, trade, legal, philosophic and rational grounds, argue that sovereignty is silly poo-poo and that glorious globalism is the only sensible way ahead. Well, we've argued all those points to death, and only actual Brexit will prove who is right.
The second sort of argument is that which one hears constantly on social media, on MSM interviews with the young, with students and travellers, with EU workers in Britain, from metropolitan remainers, and is far more personal and self-concerned. It is that Brexit will constrain their rights, their freedoms, their free stuff. Erasmus, free rail passes, EU subsidies for universities sending students to study in other nations. The more hysterical will howl that Brexit is stopping them travelling to, living and working in Europe. One can argue, demonstrate and reason that Brexit will have little effect on any of these rights - but will probably curtail the hidden subsidy paid by UK taxpayers for some 'free' stuff such as medical treatment. This is one of the most heinous costs. The UK charges the EU27 for medical treatment for EU citizens in the UK, and the EU27 charge the NHS for treatments provided in Europe to Brits. It's what the EHIC does. Except we pay the EU about £775m a year but the NHS only collects £50m a year.
I could have gone on but would have been wasting my time. Figures and facts and lists won't counter the injury the second group have received - which is to their sense of entitlement. Their outrage is due to their deep sense of entitlement to ease, comfort and convenience having been offended. We're taking away free stuff. Facts and reason can't counter that.
Then I watched 'Brexit: The Uncivil War' again and was reminded what we are fighting for; people.
If you pop into Dot's in Jaywick fairly early, you may be surprised to see the quality 'broadsheets' amongst the piles of tabloids. Nowhere, not even Jaywick, is a stereotype. Although the ONS tells us that 50% of residents here have no qualifications at all, 7% have a degree and 4% a professional occupation. I know this to be true. I used to sail these waters and know people. One such who helped me with great kindness lived not in Jaywick but in a caravan at nearby St Osyth. He had a degree from Edinburgh and could crack through the Times crossword, but drink had cost him a life, job and marriage. When you look at pictures such as this and wonder who lives in these places, don't make assumptions.
Independent, bloody-minded but poor retired people who shun Council or sheltered accommodation. Long-term sick and chronically disabled. And if you've seen Ken Loach's film, here live the Daniel Blakes. Maybe a third of residents have some sort of work, but those in full time employment get out whilst they can, to addresses not on credit blacklists, away from the pervasive sourness of quiet desperation.
Jaywick is not somewhere known to the rich middle-class kids ligging taxpayers for their Erasmus holidays, fleecing taxpayers for their medical care when they fall off their skateboards in Ibitha. Their new iPhones cost ten weeks income for many Jaywick residents, their trainers a month's food. And their concerns for the people who live in these places? They want them to die, to reduce the Brexit vote.
When I watched these scenes in the C4 dramadoc I felt anger, compassion, frustration and pride in equal measure. We are either One Nation or we are nothing. We either spurn selfish grasping privilege or we are demeaned. When did sharp-elbows and rapacious self-interest become middle class virtues? When was it OK to discard whole cohorts of people such as these? If I voted Brexit for anything, it was to win back from the globalists, from the bureaucracy of the unelected elite, from the fat, corrupt and uncaring establishment, some measure of redress, some correction to these imbalances.
And yes, there is one over-riding and critically important thing that Brexit can do for Remainers. It is to show them that their fellow man is not just the native they met on their gap year in Thailand, but the older bloke in the TKMaxx trackies in the Co-op queue at home counting the coins in his palm.