Socialist Worker

Ordinary people forced to pay for politicians’ Brexit wrangling

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2735

Boris Johnson is posturing over fish

Boris Johnson is posturing over fish (Pic: Number10/Flickr)


The chaotic Tory handling of Brexit limps on towards further potential disasters.

As the talks about a trade agreement between Britain and the European Union (EU) failed to produce a deal, the deadline of 13 December was abandoned.

Instead they were extended right up until 1 January. This is the day when the current Brexit transition period ends and Britain is scheduled to break completely from the EU.

The talks are so fraught because they represent rival capitalist nation states fighting to secure an advantage for the firms that operate from within their borders. In addition they want to be able to proclaim a “victory” that will give them a boost.

The interests of ordinary people are forgotten.

Predictably the Tories turned to foreigner-hating nationalism to divert attention from their own problems. Right wing newspapers were encouraged to ratchet up the jingoistic rhetoric.

The Daily Express front page ran the headline, “Gunships to guard our fish.” The Daily Mail’s read, “We’ll Send In Gunboats.”

The Mail slathered, “Wildcat and Merlin helicopters are also being placed on standby to help with coastal surveillance.

“And military personnel have been seconded to the Joint Maritime Security Centre to help deal with any clashes in fishing grounds.”

Whether there is a deal or not, the way Brexit has been handled has ensured there will be disruption and talk of crisis.

Stockpile

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that the government has warned supermarkets to stockpile food and other essential supplies in anticipation of a no deal outcome. That will ensure a competitive surge that will lead to shortages in some areas. And it will mean a repeat of the long delays and tailbacks of lorries on motorways near the port of Dover as stockpiling leads to increased traffic.

Trucks headed for the port were stacked up for miles recently.

There has also been major congestion around Southampton and Felixstowe.

This is intensified by the unplanned way the system works.  Since September, the country’s biggest container port, Felixstowe, has been handling a third more goods than usual.

Businesses have competed to replenish stock after the end of lockdowns and have stockpiled because of the coming end of the Brexit transition period. The increase in demand has resulted in a fight for space on the container ships that go from China and other countries to the US and Europe.

Shipping costs have risen, which will be used as an excuse to put up prices for ordinary people.

The Tories’ handling of Brexit has been disastrous.

There are good reasons to break from the EU—which acts as a mechanism to impose big business demands across a continent.

But throughout the period after the 2016 referendum the Tories have prioritised helping business and imposing racist migration laws.

Working class people will be asked to pay the price of what results.


European Union border laws keep refugees on Lesvos in horrific conditions

European Union border laws keep refugees on Lesvos in horrific conditions (Pic: Guy Smallman)


EU border rules cause winter hell for refugees

A makeshift camp holding thousands of refugees on the Greek island Lesvos has flooded—heralding a winter of misery for people trapped by Europe’s borders.

More than 7,000 refugees are said to be currently living in tents in the camp, held on the island by European Union border laws.

The site, which flooded during heavy rain over the weekend, was built after the larger Moria refugee camp burned down earlier this year. Rather than allow all the refugees to pass into mainland Europe and onto safety, the Greek government has kept thousands in squalid conditions.

The camp is the brutal face of the EU’s drive to keep refugees out of Europe and deport them to Turkey.

Just last week Greek border police—who enforce the EU’s regime—were charged with beating refugees outside the camp.

The Moria Corona Awareness Team—a self-organised group of refugees—reported, “In the camp we have a new lake now, it’s very close to our recycling point. Raining since three days now and so many tents are wet and there is not any dry place to go.

“Yesterday a tent broke and they tried to fix and found an unexploded grenade, because this is an old army place.”

It added, “Already in October everyone said this happens with the first heavy rain. We are afraid so many people will get very sick now.

“This is how Europe thinks refugees deserve to live.”


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