Happy New year readers! It has been a while since I updated the blog, with Brexit and real world problems, it can be a juggle! However, a new year means another attempt at trying to be consistent and update you lovely politicos all that is going on in British politics. So without further ado, shall we talk Brexit?
Have you began to stockpile goods? Got all your essentials and supplies ready for when March comes along? lf your answer is no, you may want to start. With uncertainty over what kind of Brexit we’ll be having or even if we’ll actually leave the European Union on 29 March, many businesses and even households are getting prepared. So much so that storage containers and warehouses and warehouse freezers are full to the brim. Politicians too are getting prepared – in fear of a no deal Brexit, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling awarded £14m to Seaborne Freight to provide emergency ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, Grayling has come under fire for his decision after contracts revealed on Christmas Eve showed the company has never operated a ferry route and in fact has no ships. Erm, anyone else see a problem here?
Liberal Democrat MP, Layla Moran has criticised the transport secretary’s decision, stating: “Supporting new business is one thing, awarding a multi-million-pound ferry contract to a company with no ships is quite another”. Of course, Mr Grayling attempted to defend his decision on his appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I make no apologies for supporting a new British business”. A business without no ships? C’mon Grayling, even you have to admit you shot yourself in the leg with this one. But, despite the OBVIOUS problems here, the guy stuck to his guns, insisting the company was on track to begin its services from April (minus delays which have resulted in Seaborne Freight’s first ferry services delayed until late March).
Something tells me this won’t be smooth sailing…..
Labour and Brexit
A research study into Brexit attitudes within the Labour Party has revealed Labour members are significantly more opposed to Brexit than their party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The study, led by Professor Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London found 72% of members believe Corbyn should support a second Brexit referendum. 88% of members stated they would opt for remaining in the European Union if a second referendum was held. The results from the research contradicts the official Labour policy on Brexit which only supports the possibility of a second referendum if a general election is not held.
Jeremy Corbyn has yet to come out in favour of a second referendum but it hasn’t stopped groups within the Labour Party to pile on the pressure. A poll of 1034 party members found significant support for the leader; two thirds of those polled believed Corbyn was leading very/fairly well. Professor Bale said the study’s results would increase pressure on the opposition leader to “get off the fence” and encourage him to rethink his ambiguous position on the issue of a second referendum.
The big question is, can a second referendum really solve this Brexit debacle or could it cause even further divisions in the country? Considering Brexit will change UK legislation for a very long time, could this be the revolution, the civil wa we need to finally have a written, codified constitution like the US or France?
Business and Brexit
A recent survey by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) found 81% of UK manufacturers struggled to hire suitable staff at the end of 2017. The same was also found in the service sector, with 70% of companies citing difficulties in recruiting staff with necessary experience or qualifications.
The reason for the labour shortages? Brexit of course! Since the 2016 referendum, there has been a decline in workers arriving from the EU laving many British companies struggling to survive. Director General of the BCC, Adam Marshall, has pleaded the UK Government to recognise the impact the Brexit vote has had on labour, warning that companies “must be able to access skills at all levels.
Other things you may have missed…
The Foreign Office faced criticism after it wa revealed they had made victims of forced overseas marriages repay the costs of their return to the UK. An investigation found many of the 82 women repatriated between 2016 and 2017 in cases of forced marriage and to pay for their airfare to return to the UK, including living costs incurred after making distress calls. Others had received loans from the department to pay for their repatriation and were forced to relinquish their passports until their debts had been paid.
Pragna Patel, founder of charity Southall Black Sisters, condemned the revelations: “It can’t be right. Protecting victims from forced marriage must be seen as a fundamental right and not a profit-making business”.
Over the Christmas period, you may have heard news stories of migrants crossing the channel. News outlets pushed the notion that these migrants were trying their luck before tightened immigration controls as a result of Brexit with the belief that there wouldn’t be as much security due to the festive period. Many people criticised Home Secretary Sajid Javid to his reaction, as he had questioned whether those crossing the Dover border were genuine asylum seekers.
“A question has to be asked: if you are a genuine asylum seeker why have you not sought asylum in the first safe country that you arrived in?” he said. “Because France is not a country where anyone would argue it is not safe in any way whatsoever, and if you are genuine then why not seek asylum in your first safe country?”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt supported Javid’s comments, insisting his colleague had every right to ensure the asylum system “isn’t being abused”. These comments come after two men, one Iranian and one British, were arrested and questioned by the National Crime Agency in Manchester on suspicion of helping the migrants to cross the channel.
A quick word to say thank you to all readers from around the world for continuing to support Politics 360. Last year saw an increase in the number of regular readers and I hope to continue to increase those figures and see even more of you following the ins and outs of UK politics in an easy and readable format, only here at Politics 360!
Happy New Year! 😉