Take back control? We’re asleep at the lorry drivers’ wheel

WE haven’t quite got the hang of this Brexit lark yet, have we?

Brexit was meant to signal the end of our reliance on a limitless pool of cheap foreign labour that suppresses wages and forces British workers on to welfare or into low-paid employment.


At the same time, leaving the EU was meant to set us free to make the UK an open nation that truly embraces the world, welcoming the skilled foreign workers that we DO actually need to power our economy.

Competitive wages for our own people and a warm welcome to the skilled foreign workers we need. That was the idea. It’s not happening.

The Government’s cack-handed solution to the shortage of ­qualified HGV drivers is to offer miserly three-month visas to European lorry drivers.

What supreme arrogance — to tell some hard-working foreign lorry driver that they are good enough to get the British through Christmas but not good enough to live here permanently.

Personally, if I was a proud European HGV driver, I would tell Boris to stick his temporary visa where the sunlit uplands don’t shine. Brexit was meant to be about taking back control — of our borders, our immigration policy, our working population, our ­destiny. Offering a 12-week visa to end the lorry driver shortage — or calling in the Army to do the job — is an admission that we are not in control.

If we need foreign drivers to get supply chains moving, then let them in and let them stay. Don’t treat them as what the Germans used to euphemistically call “guest workers”, meaning second-class grafters who do not enjoy the same rights as ­everyone else.

A panicky return to limitless cheap labour is not the answer.

If we need a foreign worker, we should be happy to see them come, and proud to call them our neighbour. This is a generous, welcoming, tolerant country.

Sir Keir Starmer suggests we should bring in 100,000 foreign drivers to fill the gap. But a panicky return to limitless cheap labour is not the answer, not when there are so many Brits looking for a living wage.

Job vacancies are currently at a historic high of around one million, approximately the same number of workers who were still on furlough when the scheme ended on Thursday. In a perfect post-Brexit world, the 700,000 who are expected to lose their jobs after furlough would slot into the jobs waiting to be filled.

And as much as headbanging Remainers would love it, not everything can be blamed on Brexit and the Europeans who went home.

Because there ARE British workers who want to work as HGV drivers. And the reason they are not climbing into an HGV cab today is because staff at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea have — like so many civil servants — become far too fond of sitting at home, half-heartedly working in their jim-jams while an astonishing 54,000 applications for HGV licences gather dust, waiting to be processed.

The lethargic DVLA needs a boot up its pyjama bottoms. Fifty-four thousand new HGV drivers would go a long way to keeping the supermarkets and petrol stations stocked. Perhaps not all the way, but 54,000 new drivers should ensure that Christmas is not cancelled.

Treat them as equals

And if there was still a shortfall of HGV operators, then this country should have the grace, generosity and common sense to welcome the foreign drivers we need. And then treat them as our equals.

This should be a country that rewards hard work with decent wages, wherever you come from. Don’t treat foreign workers as if they are needed but not wanted. And don’t treat our own people as though they are too feckless to do a hard day’s work for a good day’s pay.

We want a nation that trains our people to do highly skilled jobs while welcoming the foreign workers that our economy needs — a truly global UK that is gloriously free of the dead hand of anti-business bureaucracy, and an economy that booms so loud it is heard in every corner of the planet.

Wasn’t that the true meaning of Brexit?

Ana’s frock and awe . . .

ANA DE ARMAS reportedly experienced a “wardrobe malfunction” after the premiere of the new James Bond film, No Time To Die.

That’s a shame.


Because when Ana met a goggle-eyed Prince William earlier in the evening, her frock seemed to be working perfectly.

GREAL DEAL?

JACK GREALISH and his girlfriend Sasha Attwood are being called the new Posh and Becks. A bit of a stretch.

It’s true that Grealish, like the young Beckham, is a handsome, wildly charismatic England hero with an elaborate haircut.

Sasha has her own fame with 100,000 followers on Instagram. But when the footballer and the Spice Girl first made eye contact across a crowded Man Utd players’ lounge in 1997, only one of them was a global superstar.

And it wasn’t the man in the Alice band.

Keith is living proof

RESEARCH suggests that by 2100, humans will live to the age of 130.

Keith Richards is cited as evidence that we are already staying younger for longer. Although Keith does already look about 130.

Lila Moss: an inspiration

NEPOTISM is all the rage.

The world is full of musicians, actors and models who are the son or daughter of someone famous.

Most of them would be nothing much without the association to their fabulously famous mum or dad.

The notable exception is Lila Moss, daughter of Kate.

Lila graced the catwalk of the Fendi X Versace show with the insulin pump she uses for her Type 1 diabetes clearly visible on her thigh.

At 19, Lila has already stepped beyond the svelte shadow of her mother. And she is already an inspiration.

A NEW DAY FOR ACE AJ

ANTHONY JOSHUA will be back. Since his shock defeat at the fast and furious hands of Oleksandr Usyk last weekend, the verdict on boxing’s former golden boy has been damning.

“It is almost impossible to conceive a way for Anthony Joshua to reverse the unanimous decision,” said one respected journalist, a view echoed across the boxing community.

It’s true the ex-champ took a beating from a much smaller man. At the final bell, AJ was lucky to be on his feet. But Joshua can be a champion again.

He is bigger, stronger and younger than Usyk. On the night, AJ was tentative to the point of timidity.

“Too respectful,” said his friends. “Gun-shy,” said the rest. It’s the same thing.

Joshua can’t afford to lose a career-defining rematch against Usyk, who will be even fitter and sharper next time.

But AJ can beat Usyk if he imposes himself from the first bell. He must be willing to risk everything.

You don’t go from being the heavyweight champion of the world to a bum overnight.

Starmer's 007 plea

SIR Keir Starmer says the next James Bond should be played by a woman.

If Starmer suggested that the next 007 should be a middle-aged white bloke with a posh accent, eyebrows would surely have been raised.

But it’s a bit rich for Keir to berate the Bond franchise for its lack of gender equality. The political party that Starmer leads has now been going for 121 years.

And it has still never been led by a woman. Wonder Woman will be played by Tom Hardy, Henry Cavill or Idris Elba before the institutionally sexist Labour Party has a female leader.

ANGE’S RAYNER TERROR

ANGELA RAYNER, Labour’s deputy leader, refuses to apologise for calling Boris Johnson and his Cabinet, “scum . . . homophobic, racist, misogynistic . . . Etonian piece of scum”.

Why should Rayner apologise? The controversy is the high point of her career. The Corbynista comrades are in orgasmic raptures.

But the working class do not go around calling people “scum”, despite Rayner’s weird claim that “scum” is a word “you’d hear very often in a working-class Northern town. We’d even say it jovially to people.”

Really? “Scum” as a term of jovial endearment? "Can you get our kid a sausage roll from Greggs, scum?”

I suspect not. Angela has been hanging out with southern softies from Islington for too long. Working-class people do not think and talk like Rayner.

She is a political karaoke act. And when it comes to being a rough diamond, Rayner is all rough and no diamond.

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