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The Brexit Benefits just keep on coming
"Sorry, no petrol".
A sign that is being increasingly seen in forecourts around Britain. The reason? Lack of lorry drivers. The cause? Not exactly Brexit, but not exactly not.
You see, whilst Brexit introduced a lot of additional red tape and paperwork for imports and exports, it also removed the concept of freedom of movement. These two things on their own would have had an impact on hauliers, that - like with fruit and veg harvest - tended to rely upon a large number of European workers.
The other part of the equation is Bitchy Patel. She, as Home Secretary, has crafted a nice "hostile environment", and the government seem proud that they are acting badly to foreigners.
Sadly, a part of the Brexit narrative was that "foreigners are bad", and some delusion that "taking back control of our borders" would stop all the foreigners.
As has been seen in the time since, the illegal immigrants keep on coming. In boats, dinghies, dead whale carcasses, rubber ducks... if it floats they'll try it. But, wait, there's a clue in the name - illegal immigrants. These people are not EU citizens. Leaving the EU wouldn't affect their rights to come to the UK, they didn't have any. Which means that effectively, Brexit got rid of a lot of the people that the country actually needed. Bullets in the toes, there, guys.
Now, sure, fair enough, there are some European immigrants who are horrible people and shouldn't be allowed to set foot in a public area. But then again, there are citizens just like that. Who d'you think populates the prisons?
A person's country of origin might influence the way that they think. I'm sure you can imagine several Polish stereotypes, Italian stereotypes, etc. But their country of origin does not determine what sort of person they are. Are they beneficial, or not? Are they a good worker, or not? Will they create trouble, or not? These questions depend upon the person.
So, then, we have a country that has left the EU, effectively ceased all freedom of movement, has set up a regime antagonistic towards foreigners whether they be those migrants we hear people shouting about on television, or the supposed friends across the Channel. Patel, and by extension the Border Force, hates them all equally. And it shows. And it has not been missed on Europeans.
Trust me, it's not just The Guardian that points out the horrible things that the Border Force are doing to European citizens who have the correct paperwork, but are seemingly arbitrarily told they don't, and rather than try to be nice and work out what's gone wrong, decide instead to treat the person as an illegal. This sort of crap has not been missed on Europe.
Now that the pumps are running dry and the shelves are getting low on stock, the government graciously and generously offers a set of 5,000 three month visas (ending on Christmas Eve) to allow European lorry drivers into the country (and 5,500 poultry workers).
I could write something here, but honestly nothing says it better than Edwin Atema for European lorry driver's union (FNV) who said that their drivers (quote) will not go to UK for short term visa to help UK out of the shit they created themselves (unquote). It's on the Radio Four Today programme of 2021/09/27 at about +1h57.
With the government starting to line up army drivers to deliver petrol, there is a much larger question about the sustainability of the road haulage industry. The Road Haulage Association says that the country is short of around a hundred thousand drivers, and about a fifth of those left because of Brexit. So the government's planned five thousand is a quarter of the amount that left over Brexit, and a miniscule fraction of the number needed to get everything moving again.
Of course, the die-hard Brexit supporters, unable to understand a complicated word like "consequences", will instead hold this up as proof that "they all hate us anyway".
Now, there is a problem with truck drivers. Poor conditions, unattractive pay (lower in the UK), and a general lack of respect are making fewer people want to be HGV drivers. And, as there are fewer (and as some of those who are around are on strike) there are interruptions to deliveries. This can have knock-on effects for businesses that run a tight JIT, because JIT allows you to keep minimal stock and rotate what you have, but it is not a fault tolerant system.
The proper answer is to improve the pay and conditions of HGV drivers. Make it a job that one can be proud to do, not sort of a "some fat arsed heavy metal freak that drives crap around all day", which - for the record - describes exactly none of the truck drivers I've met in my life, but it still persists as a stereotype.
For sure, this is not a Britain-only problem. But the fact that the British government has made the place so hated that nobody wants to come when they're being offered jobs, that very much is a Britain-only problem.
My local service station, no problems. Supermarket? Mostly full shelves. They seem to run out of weird things in an erratic manner that might have more to do with Covid and isolation rules than truck drivers. The company I work for? We're working our asses off right now because our current turnover is way above expectations and the norm. I may even be working through the normal winter holiday. Christmas is very much not cancelled. Which, uh, isn't quite the same as what Johnson has been hinting at.
So, slam the door on the EU, then realise that you actually need a few Europeans around, then offer to use-em-and-lose-em, and then... did you really expect Mr. Atema to have said anything else? Well, maybe not quite in that language, but on the other hand it got the full strength of the message across in the fewest words.
Chock this one up as another Brexit Benefit, right?
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|David Pilling, 30th September 2021, 13:04
Down here on the ground... The thing one hears most often is "If people would just behave normally it would be OK. I filled up both my cars this morning." As if no one is self aware.
BBC has for weeks been putting out panic inducing pictures - fuel is the one that came off. We have been here before, the original fuel scare in 2000 was justified there really was a shortage, but subsequent ones were just rumour, they still ended with long queues.
It is interesting if a real 0.1% shortage in anything would lead to the catastrophic collapse of a modern supply chain. For years past my favourite crisps would vanish from M&S, I did not buy every packet of crisps I could get hold of.
Fuel though is different, as with the gas price, amusing how this is going to play with the net zero moves. People are in favour, but as long as it is not them.
The BBC made the banking crisis around 2008 worse - panic inducing footage of people fighting to get their money out.
Lots of lorries on the Motorway yesterday - obviously not realistic to see any shortage. I'd be hard pressed to say availability in shops was worse than normal.
There is a tale that there is a world wide shortage of cat food (on Google) - not kidding. What ya gonna do...
|Rick, 30th September 2021, 14:55
Fuel is a special thing. No fuel, no car. No car, no job. Panic!
As for the cat food, what a weird thing to run out of.
I'd better go panic buy all I can see.
Alternatively, open the door, hand the little furry critters a printout of a picture of a mouse and say "this is your dinner now, go find it".
|J.G.Harston, 1st October 2021, 15:45
I've not been able to get plain chocolate Hob Nobs for months. Arrrghh!!!!!
The worst the current nonsense has impacted me was that last week I noticed a tyre looked flat, so planned to fill it up at a petrol station air pump. But three stations I went past were closed because the *petrol* pumps were empty. After driving 50 miles home I got to an air pump and found the tyre was down to 8 Proper British Units* when it should have been 30.
*I've no idea what they are measured in, the pump and the handbook just says "30psi".
|Rick, 1st October 2021, 17:32
Don't you have air lines in supermarket car parks? (near to the filling station, usually in proximity to the car wash)
PSI is Pounds per Square Inch. It's either that or Bars that tyres are inflated to. I prefer PSI because it's pretty easy to aim for 20, 30, 40... As far as I can determine, my toy car inflates to 1.6 bar. One point six? Oh FFS, just say "just under 25 psi", that's usually marked as a dash in between 20 and 30...
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