I voted for Brexit for leftwing reasons. In a nutshell, I hoped it would result in more leverage for low-paid workers and, thus, better pay and conditions and, therefore, a more equal, happier society (“Are Leave voters standing firm?” News).
However, I (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this) assumed that this could be achieved while remaining within the single market and customs union – that the EU would permit us a bit more British exceptionalism. It turns out they actually meant what they were saying about having to accept the four freedoms if we wanted to remain within the single market. Oops. More fool me.
If we leave the single market, manufacturing will suffer, jobs will go and the thing I was trying to achieve by voting for Brexit, ie improved equality, will in fact get worse.
Politicians and commentators tell us that if there is to be a second referendum on Brexit, public opinion will have to shift towards Remain significantly. I freely admit that if I were given a chance to vote on Brexit again, I would vote for Remain this time.
I encourage my fellow Leave voters to re-examine their reasons for wanting to exit the EU and ask themselves if they really made the correct call that they thought they were making. And if the answer is no, tell those pollsters that you have changed your mind and want another chance to vote on whether we should remain in the EU or not.
In your special report on Brexit, you describe Geoff Holding as voting Leave in order to put an end to “cheap imports of foreign goods, like the Chinese steel that did for the local plant”.
I would be interested to hear his views on the likely effect on UK steel production of the current plans to develop trade deals with China for a post-Brexit Britain.
Manchester Utd and miners
Unless my father, George Follows, who was killed in the Munich air disaster, was an outlier, then I question Roger Domeneghetti’s claim that the crash generated an innovation in sports reporting (“How the Munich disaster changed football writing”, Sport). He said that, post-Munich, sports writers “began to ask experts, such as managers, for quotes to add to their pieces”.
I have all my father’s sports cuttings from when he worked on the Daily Herald, 1954-58, and they are frequently leavened with quotes from players, managers, directors and referees. This is hardly surprising when one considers how close my father was to so many players and managers, especially those from Manchester United. They shared so many bonding experiences, such as fighting in the Second World War.
But perhaps the strongest one was being raised in a coal mining town. Matt Busby, United’s manager, had worked in a Lanarkshire mine. Jim Murphy, Matt’s assistant, plus six of United’s players in the crash, were from mining areas. My father, too, was the son of a coal miner. The coal industry not only kept the nation warm and turned the wheels of industry but was also a prolific supplier to the Football League of great footballers. As they used to say, if a manager needed a new centre half, all he had to do was whistle down a pit shaft and one would arise in the next cage.
This closeness and trust generated much conversation that was fit to print and my old man’s writing thrived on it. It still makes great reading, but don’t take my word for it. Patrick Barclay in his recent biography of Sir Matt Busby said: “By consensus George Follows was the wittiest wordsmith, Donny Davies notwithstanding.”
BBC stars are nothing special
I yield to no man in supporting Jane Standley (“Pay gap made me quit BBC,” News) and Carrie Gracie in their principled stand against the BBC’s flagrant breaking not just equal pay legislation but a deeper moral code. I condemn those who have arranged for their salaries to be paid through private companies, thereby enjoying a highly advantageous relationship with HM Revenue and Customs.
Yet the argument over pay equality misses another, equally important, point: that tax-avoiding, autocue-reading tailor’s dummies are paid such sums is beyond iniquitous. How can their salaries be justified when held against those who perform a valuable public service, such NHS employees involved in direct patient care, teachers, fire and rescue or the police services?
Grey area on the silver screen
Here we go again. The report on Finding Your Feet (“Britain’s first grey blockbuster”, News) shows a cast of about 20 mature actors, of whom two or maybe three (all male) have grey hair. Imelda Staunton says she wants to see “a silver-haired woman… allowed on screen”. Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Julie Walters and Vanessa Redgrave have already blazed a magnificent trail with their silver hair; what’s stopping actors of the stature and with the clout of Staunton following their example?
Female actors and presenters being “allowed” to go grey is surely a matter of simply insisting on their rights not to be subjected to ageism and sexism. Although I’m not an actor, my naturally silver wavy mane has been drawing unsolicited compliments for decades.
Dr Brigid Purcell
Making our own luck
Nick Cohen (“Rest assured, when Brexit bombs, it won’t be the fault of the Tory right”, Comment) considers that “Britain is a lucky country. It was on the winning side in two world wars”. I suspect that a little more than luck was involved.
Teachers’ pay not the issue
Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, believes that the Conservatives’ public sector pay cap is making it hard for schools and colleges to recruit staff (“Shortfall in teacher numbers hits 30,000”, News). As a teacher, the pay cap is affecting older staff more, who have been at the same grade for a while. Younger staff are not attracted to the profession because of stories they hear about workload, student behaviour and bureaucracy.
Throwing money at recruitment is not working. The government needs to sort out the conditions in the classrooms.
Animal thumps human
In Stewart Lee’s meditation on the rhythms of performance for human and non-human audiences he refers to the late jazz drummer Ronnie Verrell (“How I became the king of cetacean comedy”, New Review). He should be aware that, at least for the purposes of The Muppet Show recordings, Verrell was both human and “Animal”.
Going for a song
Helen Pidd (“So Britney’s coming to Yorkshire”, Notebook… Scarborough) contrasted the spin of the Tory council with reality for residents. Yes, it’s brilliant that big acts are playing the Open Air theatre, but is that money staying in the town and how many jobs does it sustain?
Scarborough is officially the low pay capital of the UK and the Tory council doesn’t pay the living wage to its employees, which the council leader, Derek Bastiman, omitted to mention. A lot of jobs are seasonal, paying the minimum wage, in cafes or hotels. The trumpeted potash mine is actually near Whitby so will not solve the unemployment or zero-hours contracts in Scarborough itself. There are more than 3,500 people waiting for a decent home.
Scarborough, like many coastal towns, needs a boost to its economy that EU funding could provide. Instead, further decline looks inevitable under a government and council that extol the scenery and “cheap beer”.
So what do you think?
Tell us in the comments.
Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/03/brexit-why-i-changed-my-mind-and-became-a-remainer/
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/11/letters-changed-mind-on-leaving-eu-brexit