The sick man of Europe – letter to the editor. UPDATED

Union Jack on the ground” by mac_ivan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The phrase ‘the sick man of Europe’ originally applied to the Ottoman Empire and has been used to describe various countries since, including the UK in the 1960s and 1970s as well as Italy, Greece and even Germany following unification.

The UK lost the label after joining the EEC and concentrating on trade within Europe rather than with far-flung (mainly Commonwealth) countries. Many older folk will remember rows over New Zealand lamb and butter. 

London became the leading financial and services centre in Europe and the UK the first choice of investment for many countries wishing to trade with the EU. Manufacturing was conceded to countries with lower labour costs; ‘made in Hong Kong’ gave way to ‘made in China’.

The UK  own label car building industry virtually vanished. Brands were taken up by German, Indian and Chinese companies. Japan invested heavily with Honda and Nissan, building highly efficient plants so that the UK even surpassed Italy in terms of cars and commercial vehicles made here.

As to food production why not let European countries with better climatic conditions grow our fruit and vegetables? After all, importing goods into the UK was easy because of the Single Market; and our farmers could depend on subsidies from Brussels and we could bring in workers from the EU to harvest the crops that our farmers produced.

We are now, once again, the real ‘sick man of Europe’. Not that politically or economically we are any longer part of Europe. We are a supplier with trade barriers to our biggest market. We are a customer who is scared stiff to apply the import controls that we agreed to. We have left behind virtually all the good stuff that membership gave us and have become a laughing stock amongst our European neighbours. We even have people – including many leave voters – complaining about queues at immigration points to European countries.

The ‘City’ is shrinking gradually. Service industries – legal, accounting, etc – are shrinking because of barriers that come with being a third country.

The benefits? I can’t think of any. Unless 15,000 tonnes of hormone injected beef from 12,000 miles away is a benefit.

Every news outlet is concentrating on #Partygate. The majority of people think or know that our leader lied about it.

Partygate may be the biggest ‘dead cat’ out there, But the biggest problem we face is Brexit. It is the largest elephant in the room by far. That is why Johnson should go. 180,000 plus Covid deaths is another reason. Fraudulent PPE contracts et al should also seal his fate.

Labour don’t mention Brexit. Liberal Democrats would love to. Perhaps, a big perhaps, if these two plus the Greens and the SNP get together to form a coalition, we can finally rid ourselves of this corrupt government.

A reasonable compromise for the Lib Dems would be to insist that looking at the possibility of joining the Single Market is a condition of working with Labour.

Just a thought. Don’t lose any sleep.

UPDATE: So here we are. As predicted, he won. 211 MPs and ministers put their own circumstances above those of their constituents.Johnson now has another year to lie, cheat, break international law and add to our misery. Let us hope that the other 148 who rejected him will no longer vote for his ridiculous agenda.

He is a dead man walking

Ian Jacques