W hat do my friends the musicians Sting, John Etheridge and Tom McGuinness (of the Manfreds) have in common, apart from music? They have recently told me they are witnessing first-hand the frustrations of Brexit: loss of the benefits of freedom of movement, and the bureaucratic damage inflicted on one of this country’s widely recognised strengths, namely the creative arts.
In this they are joined by most British manufacturers and members of the hospitality industry. These are struggling to find replacements for the EU workers who have been made to feel unwelcome and have been effectively banned, or voted with their feet. All their would-be employers think Brexit is hugely damaging to their respective businesses, and would like to reverse it.
Moreover, they cannot understand why the Labour party is being so wet on the issue. One hears the view thatKeir Starmer is playing a cautious and clever game. But one also hears the view that, for all the efforts of Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves to convince the public that Labour has a vision, this vision is coming across as being somewhat blurred, and mistily confusing.
At a time when opinion polls show that clear majorities of respondents think Brexit was a mistake, and one of the prime culprits, the egregious Nigel Farage, admits that “Brexit has failed”, Labour seems terrified of seizing the opportunity of a political lifetime, and simply going for rejoining.
Before we continue, it should be noted that, inevitably, Farage blames everyone but himself for the disaster of Brexit, and shows no signs, as yet, of fulfilling his promise to “live abroad” if Brexit proved to be the disaster it indubitably is.
The ultimate irony, as the former EU commissioner for competitionRead more on theguardian.com