So here we are with petrol shortages and long queues. Carol tried 4 places en route home from work on Friday and failed to get any fuel. Knowing we had to head to London yesterday to join Becksy at a long-planned retirement party for 3 of her former carers, and with not enough fuel in the car, I had to search for garages at first light yesterday morning. Fortunately our local garage was open and there was not a huge queue. I filled up. Phew. We later headed off to London and headed back home afterwards getting back around 7pm. There were huge queues at every garage we passed during the day so we didn’t try and get more.
The fact was that we used a quarter of a tank on the journey and Carol has 3 longish commutes to work this coming week and I have a very important dental operation to take Becksy to in London again on Friday (that we have been waiting for, for over a year). What do you do, stick or twist? This morning I decided to twist and head out early to the local garage again; it was all closed up, fuel having gone. I went to Morrisons and it too was closed up with the no fuel signs up. Oh lawd. So I headed off to Tesco in the off (and last) chance that they might have some. There was a long queue but it looked hopeful. Half an hour later I was filling up thank goodness. I spoke to the lady cashier and she told me they’d had two deliveries in the last 24 hours and had loads of fuel but because everyone was filling up, she was not confident it’d last more than a day. It’s a frigging nightmare but I don’t feel guilty. We need to ensure we can work and take Becksy for essential operations.
So here we are more than 5 years after the Brexit vote to leave the EU, and 18 months since we actually left, what has actually been achieved? I confess to being a Remainer but I think it’s a valid question. Because as I see it:
- there is a massive shortage of HGV drivers as many were compelled to return to their European homes. And this was compounded when covid restrictions meant that HGV driving tests were suspended;
- we now have petrol shortages as a result, compounded by the fact that there is panic buying now;
- we also have gas supply shortages because we can no longer lean on our EU partners to supply us spare capacity.
- energy companies having been caught out by hikes in wholesale prices are going bust at an alarming rate meaning that our fuel prices this winter will rise astronomically;
- we’ve run out of CO2 supplies preventing many critical food processes to be undertaken;
- partly because of that and the shortage of HGV supply drivers, and the lack of food pickers who also returned home to Europe, we are starting to see food shortages in our supermarkets. That will almost certainly be compounded by panic buying as we saw in the early days of lockdown;
- the NHS having heroically worked its collective butt off for the last 18 months dealing with covid never did get that money it was promised as a result of Brexit, and now we are faced with the longest waiting lists in history for procedures;
- massive tax rises are planned today for all the problems;
- our much-praised vaccination programme seems to have run out of steam a bit with more than 100,000 people working in the NHS/care service refusing to be vaccinated. How can that be allowed? And many young people are choosing not to get vaccinated too;
- the Government’s totally inept handling of the Covid situation has resulted in 8m cases in the UK and almost 140,000 deaths. That’s about the same impact as Russia dropping an atomic bomb on York. You’d think that might trigger a more dynamic Government response;
- the mashed up negotiations on Brexit have caused a horrible trade situation across the N.Ireland/Ireland border putting at risk all the progress made under the peace agreement;
- our Government has done a three-way deal to be part of the process to sell nuclear submarines to Australia but they’ve not been able to convince US President Biden, who is not a fan of our Government, to offer the UK a trade deal. And this was thought to be an absolute cert under Brexit.
So I ask just what was the point of it all? Are we really that much better off now under Brexit than we were 5 years ago? I know 17.5m people who voted for it will probably still disagree with me so just what have been the positives that outweigh all the above horrendous outcomes?
Answers on a very small postcard please.