KEN HOUSTON NOVEMBER 8 2016
Alistair Osborne, chief business commentator at The Times, was unusually upbeat, albeit ever so slightly tongue in cheek, in opening his column the day after it was announced that the economy had grown by 0.5 per cent in the three months after the Brexit vote.
“And then,” he continued, “the crowd-pleaser from Nissan: it’s not only building the new Qashqai at Sunderland but some X-Trail motor too.
“Who could be unhappy about all that?”
Well, erm…..perhaps someone called Alistair Osborne; yes that Alistair Osborne.
Here is the same business sage in doom-laden mode in the same paper within 24 hours of the EU referendum result.
After suggesting that our financial service industry could transfer to Frankfurt, with a consequent jobs purge in the City of London, Osborne continued: “And inward investors will get cold feet while Britain is bogged down in renegotiating trade agreements even if it would serve right (my italics) the 61 per cent in Sunderland who voted Leave if Nissan pulled investments.”
From which the clear inference is: ‘If you stupid Geordie oiks lose your jobs for not voting the right way, the Metropolitan way, you deserve everything that’s coming.’
In terms of Remainer bad losers, this really took the biscuit, especially as Osborne will probably earn at least four times as much as a Sunderland car worker (before expenses) and actually enjoy going into work each morning.
But while perhaps the worst example, the comment reflected a general reaction among the liberal-democratic elite to the referendum result, one which continues to this day.
The Scottish independence referendum also produced bad losers who spewed a lot of bile but, in all fairness, at least this seemed confined to the “troops” or perhaps even just the “camp followers”.
To the best of my knowledge I have not heard of Nicola Sturgeon, or other prominent mainstream ‘Yes’ campaigners, criticise (at least not in public) ‘No’ voters for being too stupid or too feart.
Gordon Wilson, the SNP’s elder statesman, did conjure up the idea of winning a second referendum because independence was a generational concept and the oldies and fuddy duddies who had opposed it in 2014 would eventually die off. Which seems fair comment given that it might be construed as fact rather than prejudice – especially as Mr Wilson is, himself, no spring chicken!
This contrasts with the situation south of the Border where a lot of people who should know better continue to suggest that the majority who voted Leave were either racists, thickos or in the early stages of senility.
It really is incredulous to hear liberal-lefties, who support unregulated postal voting for people unable to speak English, suggest that the Brexit result was flawed because working-class Leave voters were simply not intelligent enough to make an informed decision.
Now we have people like the intensely-annoying Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal-Democrats, coming on the box and saying, hand on heart, of course the result must be respected but…..it might be better for MPs to have the last word in Parliament because perhaps ordinary people didn’t quite understand the issues before voting Leave.
Most recently none other than Tony Blair – whose immigration-lite policies were largely responsible for the Brexit vote – has entered the fray to propose that the EU referendum should be completely re-run.
Outrageous? Of course but on balance, I think I prefer Blair’s brass-necked honesty than the guerrilla tactics currently being employed by those cross-party ‘Remoaner’ MPs to subvert the will of the people by stealth.