Brexit was supposed to demonstrate that the UK was a great sovereign nation which had no need of EU membership. It has, instead, demonstrated the opposite, but this no Brexiteer can admit, and so Bridgen has constructed a suitable apologia for the Sunday Brexit, still called the Express, where he lays the blame for labour shortages elsewhere.
“TONY BLAIR'S push to get half the country's young people to go to university has contributed to Britain's shortage of HGV drivers and other skilled workers, according to Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen” claims the headline. And there is more.
“For many years I have been raising the issue of the shortage of lorry drivers, citing the lack of dedicated apprenticeship scheme as far back as 2015. In the intervening period, the shortage of drivers has doubled and only now have the Government acted and implemented a lorry driver apprenticeship” he claims, but this is total bunk.
There were no supply chain problems - like a shortage of lorry drivers - before the start of this year. But in the past, any shortage could be made up by hiring workers from elsewhere in the EU - as with harvesting all that fruit and veg that will soon be rotting in the fields. Those workers paid taxes, paid for housing, and spent money in the local economy. Some started up their own businesses, reopening shops that had been abandoned.
Now that bold, brave and sovereign UK has gone it alone and decided to be less welcoming, many of those workers are leaving, the benefit to the economy working in reverse. This, as with all Brexit benefits, is, in Bridgen world, someone else’s fault. Under appreciation of key workers, he claims “is one of the major contributing factors to the Brexit result that the metropolitan liberal elite didn’t grasp in 2016 and which they still don’t”.
Ah, that mythical “metropolitan liberal elite” once more. Worse, Bridgen, through his insular approach, is all for keeping out the rotten foreigners™, but manages to miss the Brits who migrated the other way - to other EU member states - under free movement rules. Their education may just have helped them on their way. Now that avenue is closed off.
But not to worry, this Tory MP is now backing higher pay for lorry drivers and other key workers. Perhaps he would care to be totally honest with his audience and admit that this will mean higher prices for goods and services, which would also have nothing at all to do with Tony Blair. His journey into honesty could also concede that all of the problems he highlights are down to the Tory Government of which he is a member.
Instead, he tells us “To deliver on its levelling up agenda, the Government has to highlight the value of skilled manual vocations and start an honest conversation on the worth of many degree courses”. Like doing a biology degree and becoming an MP, you mean?
Andrew Bridgen kicked himself in his own arse. But, sadly, he is none the wiser for it.
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