A STITCH IN TIME HELPS TO CAST MY VOTE ON THURSDAY

JOHN McGURK

Here’s a story which is very likely to affect the way I will vote in just two days’ time. It involves an immigrant who has managed to achieve what I was assured was impossible.

Last week I took a Harris Tweed kilt jacket to the dry cleaners but, as I was about to wrap it into a supermarket bag, I noticed there was a small hole on the back and more on a sleeve.

This was a jacket which had been inherited from my late father so it was special, very comfortable and undoubtedly far better quality than a similar jacket purchased today.

But it looked like moths had got to it and the jacket could no longer be worn with any sense of pride. Could it be repaired?

I took it to one of Edinburgh’s expensive independent tailors and asked if they could return my father’s jacket to its former glory.

“‘I’m so sorry Sir, but I’m afraid that this is impossible to repair. We will never be able to obscure these holes. We’ve tried everything before but it can’t be done.”

Seeing the disappointment on my face, he then smiled and quickly added: “ But if you would like to step across here I’m sure we will be able to find a replacement.”

A measuring tape appeared out of nowhere as the salesman prepared to earn another commission but I didn’t want a new jacket for £350. I wanted my jacket and to preserve a special item of clothing that my father had worn. I may even pass it to my son.

So I went on the hunt for a seamstress who knew her business and found a young immigrant from Belgium who took exactly the opposite view.

Without hesitation she told me: “ I will fix this and get it dry cleaned. Come back on Monday and it will be ready.”

When I picked up the jacket yesterday, she was true to her word. The jacket was indeed fixed and I can’t even see where the holes used to be. Brilliant…and all for a fee of £20. 

I immediately realised just how much an honest and hard-working immigrant from the EU was worth when the fancy tailor down the road was only interested in making a lucrative sale.

Let’s be honest about Thursday’s referendum vote.

We don’t know what will happen to the economy either way. The government can’t control immigration from outside the EU never mind those from inside.

Both sides have spun fear and alarm with no way of telling who is right or wrong. Both sides have clearly told lies. The television debates come down to who is most convincing.

Nigel Farage was at it again yesterday when he complained that David Cameron had exploited the murder of the MP Jo Cox to gain favour for the Remain camp.

Our current Prime Minster can hardly be regarded as a speaker of the whole truth either but this was another example of just how divisive, bitter and ugly this campaign has become .

Look no further than the BBC’s obsession over street vox-pops and see how Bexiteers have stoked up anger and hatred throughout areas of England, particularly over EU immigration.

There was another very telling take yesterday about Boris Johnson, the champion of the Brexit camp, whose claim that £350 million a week goes from the UK to the EU is another lie.

Martin Fletcher, a former Brussels correspondent of The Times (which is backing Remain) recalled our blonde hero during his time as a European reporter for the Daily Telegraph long after he lost his job on The Times for fabricating a quote but before he became Mayor of London.

Fletcher wrote how Boris had seized every chance to mock or denigrate the EU by filing stories that were undoubtedly colourful but also grotesquely exaggerated or completely untrue.

The effect was for Fleet Street to demand more stories about faceless Brussels eurocrats imposing absurd rules on Britain while positive pieces about the EU ended up on the spike.

Fletcher concluded: “ What began as a bit of a jape could inflict terrible damage on this country”.

In the end, voters on Thursday will be influenced by their gut feeling about the two major issues.

Those convinced that immigration is damaging to the UK will vote Leave.

Those convinced that the economy will suffer will vote Remain.

Personally, despite having read every ScotBuzz argument from Brexiteer Bill Jamieson and Remain supporter Peter Jones these last few months, my mind is still a muddle.

The EU is far from wonderful. Its defence of human rights is deeply flawed. Its corruption is mind-blowing. The way the EU has treated Greece is scandalous. Borderless crossings are a passport for terrorists.

Immigration has to be controlled and no-one disagrees.

Unelected politicians have too much say over UK lawmakers.

Maybe we can get more lucrative trade deals with the rest of the world but any threat to the UK economy, after a world-wide recession which lasted seven years, must be treated with great caution.

Any continuing economic uncertainty and long drawn out negotiations, as the markets freeze and the Pound flounders, could leave the UK in the lurch.

It may well be that the seamstress who fixed my father’s kilt jacket came up with a stitch in time.

 

jcmcgurk@blueyonder.co.uk

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