Shortages of, well, everything. Fuel, groceries, hope. The party in charge of the government shucking and jiving at it’s party conference, on the one hand singing karaoke and on the other blaming everyone but themselves for the country’s problems. Citizens incensed that even after election year promises not to raise taxes, taxes will indeed be raised. All as inflation rages, a pandemic endures, and no end is in sight for the misery.
Some third world s***hole nation?
No, this is England.
More specifically this is Boris Johnson’s England. The England of Brexit, the England of “You can’t tell us what to do Brussels”, the England that reveres it’s monarchy as the monarchy becomes more soap-operay and less relevant every day. This is the England that said “21st Century? Nah, thanks mate, we’ll stick with the 20th. Course it’d be better if it were the 19th”.
A recent article in the no longer failing New York Times points out the disconnect the English public is experiencing with their Tory government. While the Tories spent a weekend partying at the party conference in ever so manly Manchester, the public was attempting to find food at the grocery stores and fuel for their cars. A shortage of lorry drivers (that’s truck drivers for all us US of A types) has the supply chain for many items ground to a halt. Why the shortage? Lots of them were older men who took the pandemic as a sign to retire. Meanwhile newer younger drivers were prevented from getting the proper licenses because the licensing offices were closed because of the pandemic.
Ah you say, so it’s all about COVID. Well, it’s a contributing factor, but a bigger reason is that 20% of the nearly 100,000 drivers needed to keep the English economy moving left the country when it voted to leave the European Union. Why? Because they were the so-called “wave of immigrants” who were keeping the English working man from having a good paying job according to the Brexiters. Hence those immigrant workers took the attitude that it was better to jump than be pushed and went over to the Continent for a surer paycheck, oops I meant pay cheque, and the better employment standards they were used to under the EU, standards that the English were proudly declaring they were going to do away with.
All products ultimately make it to your shelves via a motor vehicle. It’s the basic number one fact of the consumer society. And if there is no one to drive the motor vehicle, despite the best intentions of Waymo or their competitors, the shelves don’t get stocked. Same for the gasoline that your dino-mobile runs on. It doesn’t get to the pump without someone bringing it there first.
Thus England has lines down the block for petrol (gas) stations. Headlines in newspapers scream about “lines lasting days”. That fabled English stiff upper lip gets more and more difficult to maintain when sitting in a queue just to get some petrol. Keep in mind also that just as petrol stations can’t get the black gold, Texas tea, neither can the public buses that ferry so much of the population. And when a modern country’s population can’t move about freely the economy of said nation starts to grind to a halt.
And what does the Prime Minister, the head of government, say to all of this?
It ain’t my fault you wankers.
OK, he wasn’t that blunt about it, but the sentiment is the same. In the past few weeks he has come up with at least three explanations for the food and fuel shortages:
Initially, he denied there was a crisis. Then, he said the shortages were not about Brexit — contradicting analysts, union leaders, food producers and business owners — but were hitting every Western country as they emerged from the pandemic. And finally, he cited the stresses as evidence that Brexit was doing its job in shaking up the economy.
“It is the ultimate in post-hoc rationalization — the idea that this is a well-thought-out plan, that we intended to do this all along,” said Jill Rutter, a senior research fellow at the U.K. in a Changing Europe, a London think tank.
In other words yeah, I meant to do that. Just ask my girlfriend, Morgan Fairchild.
More and more the English public is coming to realize that Brexit was nothing but a bill of goods sold to the public so that a cadre of money managers and vulture capitalists could make fortunes while the actual working man sees his pay and his quality of life slowly ebb away. A 21st Century economy needs not only the technocrats but the final milers, the people who make the decisions and plot the course as well as the ones who implement the plans and bring the products to market. And a 21st century economy needs to be fully engaged with it’s neighbors and trading partners. Isolationism won’t cut it these days. What happens over there eventually has repercussions over here.
Which is why Americans should be paying attention to what’s happening in England. We could be going through the same thing they are right now, but we made a course correction in 2020. We threw out the Brexit loving orange skinned idiot and his gang of thieves despite what their acolytes claim. We should thank our lucky stars we did. Imagine an America with 20% fewer truck drivers, fewer restaurant workers, fewer maids and gardeners, fewer base level employees. You know, the ones Repugnicants keep saying are stealing American (white people’s) jobs. They aren’t stealing those jobs, they’re the jobs most non-immigrant Americans don’t want to do. Pay those people fairly, allow them to climb the ladder of success, let them pay taxes and take advantage of social services and become an important part of the American fabric.
If you don’t then you end up like our friends in that blessed plot, that earth, that realm, that England. And it will make not having toilet paper on the shelves a mere happy memory of easier times.
We’ll end with my favorite song off one of the five best albums of all time. It’s about the crumbling of a marriage as a metaphor for the crumbling of a society.
Cause the high heel he used to be has been ground down
And he listens for the footsteps that would follow him around