Breaking a Brexit deadlock
BSSB.BE youtube 22.02.2019
* ‘It’s been two or three years nearly. We’re sick of it’
Phil Barron is manning the truck wash at the port in Hull. A sign nearby reads “Keeping Britain Trading”.
Barron is concerned about the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on Britain’s ability to do just that at the busy port, a hub for freight traffic from Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. But he’s not concerned enough to change his mind. He says he voted to leave after a terrorist attack made him question immigration.
“It made me think, hang on, I don’t want all these North Africans coming in through Europe, and I still don’t.” Which attack? Manchester, he says immediately. In reality, the attack at the Ariana Grande concert happened a year after the Brexit vote. There’s been “too much scaremongering”, he adds, but he’s talking about trade, not terrorism. “At the end of the day, people still want to buy products from the UK and products from Europe, so there’s still going to be that interaction.”
Brexit is more complex than he realised, and he has sympathy for Theresa May, but doesn’t know what people expected with a Remainer in charge of the negotiations. Whatever happens now, he still wants out. “I haven’t swung to the other side.”
Steve Petherbridge, who is here to have his truck washed, hasn’t changed his mind either. Like most people I speak to, he is impatient with the protracted negotiations. “They’re saying now we’ll stop in. We can’t stop in. We voted out, and deal or no deal, we’ll stop out.”
Nearby, two Hungarian truck drivers are having lunch in the front of a cab. They are wary about talking, and don’t want to give names. “Brexit was a joke,” one says.
Will a no-deal Brexit make their lives more difficult? “Actually nobody knows.” At the moment, one of the men says, there are not enough people manning the UK customs posts, and he doesn’t know where they’re going to recruit additional workers from. But he drives an ambient food truck, and long delays at the ports would be disastrous.
In 2016, slightly more than two in three of this city’s 260,000 residents voted to leave the EU. More recent opinion polls seemed to suggest a shift in public mood. According to polls by the pro-referendum group Best for Britain last year, the constituency of Hull North is now 60 per cent Remain, a swing from 52 per cent Leave; Hull West and Hessle, which was 67 per cent Leave, is now 54 per cent Leave. But if the people of Hull and the surrounding towns are suffering Leavers’ remorse, they’re not admitting to it.
The attitudes to Brexit are as hard to pin down as everything else about Hull.
Anne Gorman from Galway, who has lived just outside Hull for 16 years in total and works in the National Health Service, loves the city for its warmth, sense of community and resilience. She voted Remain, and believes the referendum result here was a pushback by a community that felt left behind. “There is an objection to the large number of non-nationals that have come into the city over the last five years or so, but the main reason is the old guard feel neglected,” she says.
YOUTUBE: Corbyn in Brussels to break Brexit deadlock
The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: neweasterneurope.eu