Brexit has divided the nation, yet on in less than 24 hours Theresa May will become the next Prime Minister in the UK—can she unite the Conservative Party and the country? Yesterday Andrea Leadsom stepped down from the race to become the next Prime Minister, and while some may feel she quit too soon, I for one can see that she made a sacrifice—to unite the party and country and allow Article 50 to be invoked now rather than in September as was previously announced. In addition the press did not help things and stirred up more discontentment by quoting out of context, and sadly this was The Times, which shows that their standards have dropped. However, this does stop people questioning whether Brexit will happen, and when. Theresa May will have no excuse not to invoke Article 50, but do the public trust her? Much will depend on the Cabinet she chooses, so there will be a stormy week ahead as some will lose jobs, and others may gain roles in what will define the history of the UK. David Cameron leaves after gambling and losing. People gave the EU a chance and it hasn’t worked out. It’s not all Cameron’s fault, as his predecessors had a large role in allowing the UK to lose its independence over the past decades, and left things in a bit of a mess.
On the other hand I still hear farmers and factory owners bleating on about the loss of cheap EU labour. The simple fact is most of these jobs are seasonal, and therefore a normal person (with a family and bills to pay) cannot make a living from the ad hoc wages. I know for a fact that many people work casually by coming on holiday and getting paid in cash on farms, or work exchange programs where people work in exchange for accommodation and meals. Why should a whole country suffer for a few that wish to make more profits when it suits them? If they paid a decent and regular wage, I’m sure people would work, but not on zero hour contracts, and to be laid off at will. How can anyone support a family on this basis? They claim there is no one in the area to work, but the reality is these migrant workers whom they claim to love, actually live in caravans or share bedsits. Is that a real kind of life? Before the free movement of workers, farmers and factories hired students to do this kind of work, and many students struggle to find part-time work now because of the migrant workers.
Slowly people are accepting that Brexit will happen, and now we need to see how the government will negotiate terms. I don’t expect it will be easy or straightforward, but is necessary and inevitable. The key element appears that free movement must be stopped or controlled, and is separate from a single trading market, although the EU is insisting that free movement is part of the parcel for a single market. In history that was not always the case, and it wasn’t until 2004 (Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) when free movement was ratified in a treaty (and updated several times), but still allowed countries to impose restrictions as Ireland did for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals. Many are asking what about the migrants that are already here? Maybe some will return home because they had only intended to remain for a few years, or others may wish to settle? While their status is an issue, it’s not crucial compared to the implantation of the laws of the land. The fact is many of the migrant workers have no intention to remain in the UK, and always planned to return once they had made money. Now that the sterling has dropped, they may not find that plan profitable any longer.
The media are not helping to unite the country either will more scaremongering. They have freedom of speech, but how much is fact or personal supposition? Their job is to report facts and not maintain the Project Fear, or Smear as many are now calling it. I watch while history is in the making, but I hope those who voted ‘remain’ will eventually realize that the correct decision to leave was made and to put their energies into supporting the UK. Protesting isn’t going to change the result of the referendum, and surely their energies are better spent on getting on and supporting the nation rather than fuel and feed the fear frenzy?