As the political machinations and recriminations begin on the back of the momentous decision to exit the EU by Britain, I can’t help feeling those who comment on these things have still not grasped why this happened.
David Cameron has tendered his resignation, and two Labour Party MPs, have tabled a motion to ask Jeremy Corbyn to resign as party leader facing a vote of no confidence.
An Oxford psephologist was wheeled onto Radio 4 yesterday to explain why the events had unfolded in the way they had.
And the British population, stands like a punch-drunk Boxer in the twilight of his career, who is given one last shot at the big-time, and hopes to give his opponent a knockout, or a bloody nose, but who stands numb-struck over the prostrate corpse in the ring as the final bell sounds. His head racing with thoughts. Will I be prosecuted? What will happen to me? Where will they take the body? Whose fault was it? Why didn’t they see this coming?
But this exit has been brewing for quite some time.
In any organisation, there are 4 kinds of people: Strategic (Senior Management, Directors, Chair etc) Tactical, (Middle Managers, Analysts, Creatives, Designers, Financial Staff, Personnel etc) Administrative (Secretarial support, PAs, Clerical grades) and Operational… (Every body else who does the service or produces something)
In smaller organisations, quite often, many operational tasks will be carried out by a few people, or they will share tasks making jobs varied, meaningful, interesting, and relatively secure and as a result unless a major downturn occurs, anyone working in them will feel appreciated, worthy and thus the worker will have self worth and a stable income.
Since the start of the 1980s, with the march of globalisation, more and more of the well-paid, but dull jobs have been either automated, exported to the far-east, or had the wages driven down to poverty levels. The increasing use of agency workers leading to inconsistent income, as peaks and troughs skewed demand, seasonal work and zero hours contracts, meant people could be laid off at will, and this devalued the workers output.
Those workers who work through the night to ensure that the parcel ordered at 5pm, arrives at the client’s desk the following day, means many now work long unsocial hours, are out in all kinds of weather, and are forced to wear hideous high-viz clothing that renders the wearer invisible to the opposite sex – all in the name of Health and Safety, and those in cinderella occupations – Trawlermen, Farmers et-al, all have an axe to grind.
In larger organisations, operational staff have been driven to despair as instead of employers competing for workers with higher pay, employees have had to compete against workers recruited from overseas willing to work for whatever they can get, just to get a foot in the door.
Those native workers felt aggrieved, and rightly so. If a chicken preparation producer can’t get workers for £6.50 an hour, then the answer in a social market world should be, to pay £7.00 or more, raising wages until recruitment and retention becomes less of an issue, drawing workers from other less well paid positions, or drive automation as a way of controlling costs – a market in operation.
Ever since the dark days of the 60s and early 70s, the British worker (operational staff) with his/her heightened sense of fairness, has fought for fair play in the workplace – ” A fair day’s pay, for a fair day’s work.”
Historically, it was Britain’s people who rose up against the Monarchy in 1215, to seize rights which were documented in the Magna Carta. The right to free speech, the right to freedom from arrest, unless the accuser issued a writ setting out the law that it is alleged to have been broken. Again in the 1600s, Oliver Cromwell outraged at the long Parliament attempting to give itself another period in office, chose to raise an army so that the people of Britain, could throw off the monarchy, and elect, and deselect those people to represent them in Parliament according to the law.
It was 1984, in the George Orwell book of the same name, where the people were pawns in someone else’s game. At the time, Mrs Thatcher, was manipulating behind the scenes, the politics of coal-production, when the man who was charged with bringing about a change to the deep mined coal-pits of Britain – Ian Macgregor, built up his coal-stocks, got an agreement to move the negotiations for pay deals, from the winter months, to the summer, and then engineered the strike, that would cause the whole of the country to schizm on one side of the political divide or the other.
That political divide and the hurt that went with it, stayed hidden beneath the surface for decades, smouldering, as the once proud mine-workers could no longer toil in the industry that made them men, earning a wage to support themselves and their families, they could no longer hold their heads high in society, and feel they were making a contribution, while building life-long friendships in the close-knit communities that had grown up around the pits, often with local vernacular, not heard more than five miles away.
The engineering businesses in the east midlands, the glass industry in St. Helens, the Chemicals industry in nearby Widnes, the cotton and wool mills in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the steel mills, that had grown up around these pits – particularly where men built things with their hands and took pride in their work had gone overseas, and here too, these men were emasculated, as the nation re-engineered itself around service industries, and with it went the jobs that would support whole families of perhaps 3-8 children, to be replaced with jobs in call-centres, warehouses, trucking, and of course retail.
Those men, educated (or not) as they were, for hard work, physically demanding work, are not naturally equipped for these new industries, and many never got over their loss of prestige, and income, while “down south”, the Yuppies, drove their Porsches, BMWs, Jaguars, Audi Quattros, and generally lived the high life, as the “City” had been de-regulated, and money was now greasing wheels.
This pain felt, was made all the more hurtful, when as we were ejected from the ERM, George Soros, built his fortune, on the backs of British taxpayers who were forced to pay an estimated £27 billion, for Norman Lamont’s attempts to defend the indefensible, while George Soros, personally made close to $1.5 billion, that day. Some of these new workers would be lucky to make £50.
The emergence of New Labour with its trio of architects – Peter Mandelson, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, it was hoped, would rebuild the fractured society, and give dignity back to these working men, but it was soon realised, this was not to be, as promises made to the city to “Live within our means”, bought support from the well heeled Bankers, now funding their prawn sandwich lifestyles, and their political aspirations as Britain’s financial services industry ballooned, giving Gordon Brown enough to achieve some of his long held dreams for Britain. PPFI (Public/Private Finance Initiative) meant if you worked in a QUANGO, or the government sector, you got security of income, fancy new offices, new hospitals, and/or schools, while those in factories, trucking, shipping, farming, got insecurity, low wages, or were fed crumbs from the table of European support grants.
These workers of whom I have spoken, do not concern themselves with the stock-markets – they have no shares, they do not concern themselves with pensions values – they have no pension, and their house is not mortgaged to the hilt – they can’t afford to buy.
This political event occurred precisely, because British politicians failed to get, or keep in touch with ordinary working men and women. The British are the most tolerant nation on Earth, but they have a high sense of fairness, and as a nation, they felt like there was no political party that understood and spoke to their needs.
As a former Lecturer, and Software Engineer, former I.T. consultant, former manager, Chairman of the local party during the early 80s and a former local councillor, as well as worked in Recruitment, and seen close-up what temporary staff have to endure, I have given it an enormous amount of thought. Despite 3 post-graduate qualifications which appear not to have been money, time or energy well spent. Men of my age, cannot compete with a 30year old man from Poland in the speed stakes, nor do we have the drive and determination that fired our enthusiasm, when in our 20s, when it was easy to make improvements to the workplace around us. Now all operational inefficiences have been squeezed out (at least in the private sector).
But also, what many have failed to see is that, if you are a mainland European, or from the African continent, or middle-east, which language do you learn as a second language, given that English is now the Lingua Franca of the business world, and therefore, which country do you go to, if you have a second language and want to get on?
Where is the political party speaking for ordinary British workers like that? During all the Brexit debates, only three people have even remotely touched on these subjects: Lord Owen, Nigel Farage, and Frank Fields.
This disparate group in their own way have understood, that without political control that responds to an electorate, we live in either a technocracy, or a dictatorship. None of which Britain’s workers voted for in 1975, as I did.
Brexit, was the only logical solution to a problem of mass movement of people, from those parts of the world where law and order are at the beck and call of those in power. Only in the Anglosphere, are the lawmakers subject to the common law and thus the servants of the people, rather than masters over them.
All those workers at the bottom of the economic heap, kicked the political and managerial elite in the groin: it’s not their racism, but a desire to want to stop the exploitation by management, and a high sense of hurt.
BUT, unless those in power recognise this, we will return to a world of the 1930s, as nation blames nation, and we know where that led.
And here, we see why the British needed to take back control of our Independent Financial, Political, and Military policies…