This week marks the third anniversary of Brexit. According to a national poll, every UK constituency, bar three (all of which are in Lincolnshire) believe we were wrong to leave the EU. So, what has gone wrong for the project that was supposed to make all of our lives significantly better?
Let me remind you of what the leave campaign promised during the referendum campaign:
- YOU’LL BENEFIT FROM BETTER CARE, PROVIDED BY OUR NHS, THANKS TO THE RE-ALLOCATION OF FUNDS FROM THE EU BUDGET – NHS waiting lists are at an all- time high.
- CONTROLLED IMMIGRATION WILL LEAD TO REDUCED WAITING TIMES FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES – Net migration is at 440,000 right now – that is an all-time high.
- EXCESS FUNDING THAT IS CURRENTLY SENT TO BRUSSELS COULD ALSO BE USED FOR EDUCATION MEANING BETTER PROSPECTS FOR YOUR CHILDREN – Funding per pupil is no higher than it was in 2010.
- CONTROLLED IMMIGRATION WILL MEAN YOUR WAGES WILL RISE – There is a labour shortage – but wages are falling fast, with a drop of 4% over the past three years.
- YOUR FOOD SHOP WILL BECOME CHEAPER – Brexit has added £210 per family to annual food bills over the past two years.
- YOUR FAMILY WILL BENEFIT FROM A RESURGENT ECONOMY LED BY NEW AND FLOURISHING NEW BUSINESSES FOLLOWING THE REMOVAL OF BUREACRACY AND RED TAPE – The UK economy is forecast by the IMF to be the worst performing of all advanced nations this year, including Russia. And red tape has got worse for SMEs, not better.
Of course, a global pandemic and a European war have not helped the economic outlook for the UK- but both crises impacted on every other nation too – and they have fared better than us. Some will point to statistics that suggest that we are performing as well as our European peers – but wasn’t Brexit meant to result in us performing better?
The other argument that is now offered by Brexiters is that Brexit has ‘not been done properly’. Well, it’s hard to take that line seriously when you recall another Brexit promise – ‘the trade deal with the EU will be the easiest we’ve ever done’ – and that in 2019 Boris Johnson had his ‘oven ready deal’ sorted.
Today, I listened to the excellent ‘News Agents’ podcast, and their interview with the lead British Brexit negotiator Lord Frost.
Frost reckons that we will see the benefits of Brexit – in ten years’ time. Well, they didn’t put that on the side of a bus did they? Happy Brexit anniversary? There isn’t much to celebrate I’m afraid.