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Boston and the tragedy of Brexitland Locals feel their town has turned against them

'The Government has blown it.' (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

'The Government has blown it.' (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)


January 31, 2023   7 mins

The disco started at 8pm. Pints were poured, game soup was served and, as 11pm drew near, the music stopped so the landlord could play Land of Hope and Glory. A few people started to cry. It was January 31, 2020 and, finally, Britain had left the European Union. “It was such a relief,” the landlord tells me. “We’d stuck our heads above the parapet and won. There was a sense of togetherness — that things would finally get better.” And have they? “No. Boston is awful. The situation is perilous. The Government has blown it.”

Three years on, the Robin Hood Inn has closed. If you want a drink on this street in Boston, just south of the town centre, you’ll have to make do with the Eastern European off-licence a few doors down.

Surrounded by fens to the north and marshes to the south, Boston looms over a dank sea of flat expanses; an island town that has always been the exception. Once, it was the biggest port in England after London. Today, it is the fattest town in the country, the least integrated, the lowest paid, the most murderous, and the most Brexity.

According to new polling by UnHerd, Boston remains the capital of Brexitland, albeit not by its 2016 margin, when 75.6% voted to leave. Still, Boston and Skegness is the only constituency in the UK that does not think it was wrong to leave the EU: here, 37% of voters believe it was a mistake, while 41% disagree. Our polling also reveals it to be the most concerned about immigration: 72% believe “levels are too high”.

Todor arrived here from Sliven, Bulgaria, a few months before the 2016 referendum, looking for the “breadbasket of Britain” and its promise of jobs for those who work hard. “I came with my friends after reading about Boston on the internet. We lived out of town in a caravan and picked cabbages, down on our knees for 10 hours at a time.” Now 29, he works in a food-processing factory, packing flowers, broccoli and potatoes for £350 a week. He can just about afford to rent a bed-bug-infested, one-bedroom flat with his girlfriend and month-old baby. “My friends and I were the first to come to Boston from Sliven,” he says proudly. “Since then, another 2,000 have followed.”

Sitting in his coffee shop on the corner of the town’s cobbled marketplace, Moroccan-born Anton Dani points out these new arrivals. “They come on a daily basis,” he explains. “You can tell who is new and who is not.” He gestures to the small groups of young men standing around the square; they are smoking, staring, whiling away the time until they can register for work. Dozens of families are milling about the city centre, too. “Often you know they are new because they are very poorly dressed — and they are with children who should be in school but haven’t been enrolled yet.”

Anton grimaces when I ask about Brexit: he is a Ukip-then-Conservative councillor, and was the town’s leading campaigner for Leave and its Mayor on Brexit Day. “I don’t think it’s made things better… Now we have a lot of migrants from Bulgaria and many of them are gypsies.” Brexit, everyone here agrees, has failed to stem the number of migrants arriving — though what that figure is remains unclear. We know that between 2004 and 2014, Boston’s migrant population grew by 460%; and we know that there was a tenfold increase between 2011 and 2021. But these are only the people who have registered their presence — and as Anton explains, “there are a load of houses with up to 10 people living in them”. Whatever the true number is, many locals feel like the town is no longer theirs.

The problem with Boston, Anton says, is not that people from the EU have come to live here, but that there is no infrastructure to support them. The local hospital is overstretched; traffic is a permanent blight; at one primary school, translators had to be employed after it emerged many of the children couldn’t speak English. “Brexit is failing,” he admits. “If immigration is to work, you have to integrate. But we’re not demanding this from people.”

Back in 1900, a local journalist predicted that, within a century, Boston will “be served by elephantine emporia”, while “aeroplanes will wheel and pirouette around the pinnacles” of St Botolph’s. The church still dominates the marketplace, but there are few elephantine emporia. Instead, Boston has West Street — known variously as “Polak Street”, “Little Poland” and “East Street” — with its scattering of Eastern European shops, bakeries and job centres. And rather than pirouetting planes, you are more likely to see the speeding minibuses which transport workers to the nearby factories or farms each morning. To those Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian immigrants yet to arrive, this is the Bostonian Dream.

But for many of the migrants who have settled, as well as those locals who have always lived here, that dream has soured. “There was nothing wrong when they first came, but look at the marketplace now.” Stan Turner, who is 85 and has lived in Boston all his life, nods towards a group of young Bulgarian men smoking in one corner. “They are intimidating. I always used to walk around but now I’m too scared.” Many locals I speak to say the same, and each has a story to hand: about gang-on-gang vendettas, about a friend being stabbed for not having a lighter, about Eastern European off-licences illicitly staying open beyond closing time. “We now tell those staying with us, particularly old people and women on their own, not to go out at night,” one hotel manager tells me.

Locals avoid the marketplace at night. It is empty when, at around 8pm, men arrive five-to-a-car and wait. They don’t prowl. They park up in the middle of the square in pairs, trading words and more with those in the vehicle next door. The atmosphere is charged; headlights are kept on. They don’t hide. The point, I suspect, is to be seen. They sit there, presiding over an unnerving restlessness that feels like it could tip into violence at any time.

It was shortly after 6pm on a balmy July evening that Lina Savicke’s daughter was stabbed and killed on Fountain Lane. “My two daughters were playing outside my shop here, when I heard my youngest scream ‘Mama!’, and then
” Lina pauses to wipe her eyes. “And then it happened.” There were people milling about. Dusk was yet to descend. Lilia was just nine.

There are rumours within the Lithuanian community that it was an organised hit, paid for by a disgruntled family member back home. “But at the moment, we don’t have a clue,” Lina tells me. I ask if she thinks it could happen again. “Yes
 It’s dangerous here, especially at night. There is hardly any CCTV or police presence. It means you can do anything you like. This is what happens when a town falls apart…”

If Brexit was about taking back control, in Boston, the opposite seems to have happened. Since 2016, the year the town was named the “Murder Capital of Britain”, Boston’s crime rate has increased by 25% — yet last week, Lincolnshire Police, the lowest funded force in the UK, announced it was cutting PCSO numbers by almost half. Today, it is not uncommon for people to install CCTV cameras on their houses, even in the town’s more deprived areas, such as Fenside. The owner of one house there, flying the Union Jack, has reinforced his garden wall (“they kept ramming their cars into it”) and installed seven cameras. “I just want to keep my daughter safe,” he tells me.

Further up the road, I meet Nichola Williams. “I voted for Brexit,” she tells me. “It has nothing to do with immigrants who have jobs — I’ve worked with some fantastic foreigners here.” But, she continues, “you can go into town now and see others sitting around. We’ve had more murders and often it’s between themselves.”

This is borne out in Boston’s crime reports, though, as Nichola can attest, locals are hardly left unscathed by the anarchic cloud of insecurity and instability that the violence produces. “I lost one of my sons five years ago,” Nichola tells me. “He was only 32. He was the youngest and the cleverest and…” She tails off. I later learn he had mental health issues, lost his job working on the land, and started to drink heavily and take drugs. He was found by paramedics on a nearby riverbank in the middle of the day; a post-mortem report stated he had laid down and frozen to death after taking heroin and cocaine. “Then again,” Nichola adds, “I met someone from around here. You can’t say I made a mistake, but in many ways I did.” Is she blaming her son’s death on her decision to raise him in Boston? “Well
 Yes and no.”

Unlike Lilia’s stabbing, the death of Nichola’s son received only a passing mention in the local press, but perhaps it is a more fitting symbol of Boston’s malaise. His actions keenly speak to the hopelessness and desperation that have taken hold in Boston in the past two decades. Ask anyone what they think of the town, and the standard response is “terrible”, “awful”, or “shit”. Ask why they think that is, and their answer feels fearful: a fear that their community is being dismantled, that the future looks bleak, and that all the institutions they once identified with — from the town’s defunct harbour to West Street in its prime — have been lost.

To some extent, Boston’s atomisation began well before the EU referendum. Perhaps it was sparked in 1970, when its direct rail service to London was canned, or, eight years later, when the medieval town was carved up by a dual carriageway. Or perhaps it started in May 2004, when the UK opened its labour market to Europe. Whatever caused it, by 2016, Boston’s decline was plain to see: in its extraordinary crime rates, especially when it comes to violent crime, and its sagging infrastructure.

Brexit was supposed to fix this. Forget taking back control of Britain; voters here would have settled for taking back control of Boston. Instead, immigration and crime continued to rise — and their town slipped from their grip.

This is where politics should step in, but, as Nichola tells me, “they’re all useless”. And to an extent, former Mayor Anton Dani agrees: “All politicians assume that people will forget things quickly. But the people here will not forget.” The legacy of this perceived betrayal is written in UnHerd’s poll results: in the fact that the root cause of Boston’s Brexit vote (its concern about immigration) remains strong, but voters’ belief in a political solution (Brexit itself) has plummeted. Politics was tried and failed.

“After Brexit vote, immigrants feel a town turn against them,” read one headline in The New York Times shortly after the referendum. Today, it is the locals who feel their town has turned against them — and many have given up on trying to win it back. That is the tragedy of Boston as Brexitland. It was supposed to be a Land of Hope and Glory, but the party only lasted one night.


Jacob Furedi is Deputy Editor of UnHerd.

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Following on from yesterday’s offerings, Unherd are really going to town (in this case, literally) over a poll. I’d simply raise the question: would Boston be any better off without Brexit?

It was being part of the EU that started the immigrant trail to places like Boston; that and the reluctance of the indigenous population to work on the fertile land picking crops. Hanging all these woes on Brexit is intellectually incoherent.

Much needs to be done to turn places like Boston around, and simply railing at the outcome of a referendum is an easy way of avoiding grasping the political nettles which have been allowed to grow for decades. I therefore see all this journalism (Newsnight last night, included) as an attempt at deflection from the failings of our political classes, both at home and prior to Brexit, abroad. At least following Brexit, the finger can be pointed more precisely.

I also detect another trend, however. It’s my opinion that since the launch of Unherd, a perception may have arisen that it may have swung in a Right-leaning direction. If that’s the case, it would simply be because views are being given space which aren’t usually by MSM. If i’m right (as it were), i see these articles as an attempt by the editorial staff at Unherd to try to redress this perception, perhaps for very good commercial reasons. Having a readership and respondents skewed one way or the other isn’t good for business. To be fair, i can live with that; in fact, welcome it. All views should be aired, that’s the point isn’t it? Only then, can they be challenged.

But it brings me back to an earlier point about intellectual coherence. In order to succeed, articles might be better focusing not on “Brexit isn’t working” as if it were meant to be some magic bullet, but “Why aren’t our political class making the most of Brexit”. Get to it, please.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

None of this drivel has the first thing to do with Brexit.

Unherd is rapidly becoming the BBC.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Honestly, some days Unherd feels like it’s trying to be some kind of knock off Guardian. One thing Brexit showed loud and clear was the utter contempt that the affluent Guardian journos and their readers have for the majority of people in this country, and to be frank, we do not need yet another site for these kinds of journos to inflict their dross on others.

I have yet to see anyone providing an examination of the actual methodology that was used for this poll, how they sampled the populace, how they phrased the questions they posed, etc, and all of those things are vital to understanding the level of error margin on the results, and whether the poll is actually of any use whatsoever.

I have a feeling that the methodology leaves a lot to be desired.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

“Feelings” lol

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

“I have a feeling” aka, I am of the opinion that, “feels” aka appears to be. I know that we live in an era where words are constantly robbed of nuance, especially those abused by politics, but understanding of such nuance is still possible.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

You may well have a “feeling”, we all do now in this touchy-feelly world, but would it be possible for you to supply anything more substancial than your “feelings” on this particular issue? Facts, for example…

J Q
J Q
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Facts? I haven’t read, heard or seen one since, say, 1968.

J Q
J Q
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Facts? I haven’t read, heard or seen one since, say, 1968.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

You may well have a “feeling”, we all do now in this touchy-feelly world, but would it be possible for you to supply anything more substancial than your “feelings” on this particular issue? Facts, for example…

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

“I have a feeling” aka, I am of the opinion that, “feels” aka appears to be. I know that we live in an era where words are constantly robbed of nuance, especially those abused by politics, but understanding of such nuance is still possible.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

“Feelings” lol

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

I see. I can tell your a man that cares about his country. You idiot. These towns are the symptom of the decline coming your way. You don’t try and fix it here, where the first signs of serious decline appear. You will struggle to stop it. The biggest problem is that the BBC and msm HAVE been ignoring all these problems. So have our politicians. Did you read about the local school being rammed? The pub shut down? How do we make these places better for our children, if you ignore the problems, what will be left to them then? It has everything to do with brexit. These towns took the numbers, stretched the services, stretched the housing availability. These places needed the immigration bringing down. It hasn’t happened.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Which is very much the point that i was making, except you’ve drawn the wrong conclusion. It’s our politicians who’ve failed to bring immigration down post-Brexit, not the effects of Brexit itself.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you’re both saying the same thing. Brexit is a symptom of deep seated social and economic trends.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you’re both saying the same thing. Brexit is a symptom of deep seated social and economic trends.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

These towns suffered the decline for the last 30 years. They are dissatisfied with Brexit because it’s not sorting out the problems fast enough.
It seems ludicrous that this would make them want to backwards.
And it is a mistake to blame it on immigration. Immigrants become your neighbours, and as they settle in they share a common interest in the neighbourhood.
The problem in the fens was migrant workers — people who come and do the job, living in a bunkhouse, and take the savings home.
This has nothing to do with race, or asylum seekers. It has everything to do with an EU levelling up system that ‘takes’ from the provinces to make a wealthier EU that makes London richer.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

They are dissatisfied with Brexit (7 will be even more as time passes) because Brexit was a promise that occlude never be delivered. One of the core claims of Brexit was that ‘we could control immigration’ Grown ups who pointed out that the issues around immigration were complex & that most immigrants were from outside the EU & therefore Brexit wouldn’t make any difference , were labelled ‘remoaners’ Well now we know they were right.

Matt C
Matt C
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

I don’t think you’re entirely right – the same politicians, most of who were very against Brexit, are still sitting. Maybe they figure they do nothing, things get worse, they can subtly blame Brexit and the voices to reverse it will do their job for them. It might be an explanation for the lack of willingness (and/or impotence) to do anything about our borders.
It’s our job to elect people who can see a way through this (and those people do exist), but sadly I think most people are suitably disengaged and will tick whichever box aligns with their chosen rosette colour. Meaning we get more of the same people, with the same outcomes.

Matt C
Matt C
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

I don’t think you’re entirely right – the same politicians, most of who were very against Brexit, are still sitting. Maybe they figure they do nothing, things get worse, they can subtly blame Brexit and the voices to reverse it will do their job for them. It might be an explanation for the lack of willingness (and/or impotence) to do anything about our borders.
It’s our job to elect people who can see a way through this (and those people do exist), but sadly I think most people are suitably disengaged and will tick whichever box aligns with their chosen rosette colour. Meaning we get more of the same people, with the same outcomes.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

They are dissatisfied with Brexit (7 will be even more as time passes) because Brexit was a promise that occlude never be delivered. One of the core claims of Brexit was that ‘we could control immigration’ Grown ups who pointed out that the issues around immigration were complex & that most immigrants were from outside the EU & therefore Brexit wouldn’t make any difference , were labelled ‘remoaners’ Well now we know they were right.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Which is very much the point that i was making, except you’ve drawn the wrong conclusion. It’s our politicians who’ve failed to bring immigration down post-Brexit, not the effects of Brexit itself.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

These towns suffered the decline for the last 30 years. They are dissatisfied with Brexit because it’s not sorting out the problems fast enough.
It seems ludicrous that this would make them want to backwards.
And it is a mistake to blame it on immigration. Immigrants become your neighbours, and as they settle in they share a common interest in the neighbourhood.
The problem in the fens was migrant workers — people who come and do the job, living in a bunkhouse, and take the savings home.
This has nothing to do with race, or asylum seekers. It has everything to do with an EU levelling up system that ‘takes’ from the provinces to make a wealthier EU that makes London richer.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Have you tried InfoWars? I think that might be what you’re looking for.
You will find lots of like-minded people there, and no-one will say anything that doesn’t fit exactly into your world-view.

Helen Murray
Helen Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Lots of right wing people here who don’t want to hear anything that could be considered left wing. Unherd has expressed right wing and left wing views,and so it should.

Helen Murray
Helen Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Lots of right wing people here who don’t want to hear anything that could be considered left wing. Unherd has expressed right wing and left wing views,and so it should.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Honestly, some days Unherd feels like it’s trying to be some kind of knock off Guardian. One thing Brexit showed loud and clear was the utter contempt that the affluent Guardian journos and their readers have for the majority of people in this country, and to be frank, we do not need yet another site for these kinds of journos to inflict their dross on others.

I have yet to see anyone providing an examination of the actual methodology that was used for this poll, how they sampled the populace, how they phrased the questions they posed, etc, and all of those things are vital to understanding the level of error margin on the results, and whether the poll is actually of any use whatsoever.

I have a feeling that the methodology leaves a lot to be desired.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

I see. I can tell your a man that cares about his country. You idiot. These towns are the symptom of the decline coming your way. You don’t try and fix it here, where the first signs of serious decline appear. You will struggle to stop it. The biggest problem is that the BBC and msm HAVE been ignoring all these problems. So have our politicians. Did you read about the local school being rammed? The pub shut down? How do we make these places better for our children, if you ignore the problems, what will be left to them then? It has everything to do with brexit. These towns took the numbers, stretched the services, stretched the housing availability. These places needed the immigration bringing down. It hasn’t happened.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Have you tried InfoWars? I think that might be what you’re looking for.
You will find lots of like-minded people there, and no-one will say anything that doesn’t fit exactly into your world-view.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Good points. But our entire political class was and is pro EU and Remainer. Large parts of the Tory Party – its Chancellor included – are also Remainer. You could barely fill the Cabinet Office with passionate Brexiteers from the Cabinet AND Parliament. The vast army of civil service & technocracy (enraged at the loss of 100k Euro pensions) has sat on its hands and effectively sabotaged any of the token and limp effort by the Covid-bust Executive to drive Brex forward. Brexit was led by the provinces and people outside Westminster, demanding an end to the multiple socio economic injustices – uncontrolled mass migration, the destruction of unplanned public services, the rigged SE Property Boom that enriched ‘our political class’ and more – that have blighted Boston and trashed our country. Brexit has no leaders and no army in the political sphere. The civil service & BBC are busy and successfully ‘bullying’ them out – Johnson, Priti tick tick Raab & Suella next. Who else is there??? The counter revolution by the pro EU State has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. And look who may enter Number 10 next! The man who actually led the battle to overturn democracy. Lets campaign a second ballot if he wins. Losers consent is for wimps. I weep for places like Boston. All betrayed.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Brexit did have a champion and it was Boris Johnson. That’s why they made so much effort to bring him down.

Jonathan Castro
Jonathan Castro
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Johnson was never really interested in Brexit. Hence the NI Protocol exists, when it shouldn’t. For Johnson, Brexit was just a box to tick – nothing more.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

The NI protocol was perhaps necessary to break the impasse. Yes, it’s a dog’s breakfast and needs to be radically changed to bring NI into line with the rest of our UK, but as a means of getting the deal done it was something Boris calculated would do the trick – and it worked. Of course, history has moved on since then.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Spot on Steve. The Johnson haters on here can’t see the perspective that he made it happen albeit incompletely, and that’s why the establishment kicked him out on anything they could pin on him before he could consolidate the gain into complete departure.

It was the biggest mistake of the Tories and those on the right allowing Johnson to be kicked out.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Spot on Steve. The Johnson haters on here can’t see the perspective that he made it happen albeit incompletely, and that’s why the establishment kicked him out on anything they could pin on him before he could consolidate the gain into complete departure.

It was the biggest mistake of the Tories and those on the right allowing Johnson to be kicked out.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago

Johnson pioneered Euroscepticism when he was a journalist, long before he went into politics.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

The NI protocol was perhaps necessary to break the impasse. Yes, it’s a dog’s breakfast and needs to be radically changed to bring NI into line with the rest of our UK, but as a means of getting the deal done it was something Boris calculated would do the trick – and it worked. Of course, history has moved on since then.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago

Johnson pioneered Euroscepticism when he was a journalist, long before he went into politics.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Cameron specifically said “anyone but Boris” when the leadership contest began after his resignation.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Boris specifically said “anyone but Sunak” when the leadership contest began after his resignation.
The difference was that the floor of the party did not want Sunak either. So much for democracy…

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Boris specifically said “anyone but Sunak” when the leadership contest began after his resignation.
The difference was that the floor of the party did not want Sunak either. So much for democracy…

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

I half agree Mr B. He was targetted yes. But Johnson failed Brexit in 2020-22. He was panicked by the hostile and hysterical media & NHS First Lobby into lockdown. Ok – a dreadful time. But several months in it was perfectly obvious that the total suffocation of economic activity was a gift for the deranged Remainiacs desperate to strangle Brexit at birth (Covid arrived Day 2). Instead of showing both courage and alertness to the grave danger, Boris danced jiggs seeing his popularity soar when he acted all Churchillian and talked of War. Then he doomed us further by embracing the insane MMT magic money tree experiment, so locking future hyper inflation into our system. It was not even he who finally broke the Imperial Big Lie Orthodoxy & stopped Year 3 of lockdown. Did he not notive how eagerly far left unions embraced lockdown?? Johnson killed Brexit at birth by bending the knee to a hostile pro Lockdown State. Game over Day 3.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

So for less important reasons, you support him being kicked out. If he’d stayed he was the only U.K. politician prepared to take on Europe – but you lack the perspective to see that consolidating the Brexit gain was, by far, the single most important target to achieve. With your opposition to Johnson, you allied yourself to those opposing Brexit, which is rather ironic.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

This is not true. I never supported the trumped up BBC media coup against Johnson. A leaving do in the tested HQ of the State described as a disco party? It was appalling, symptomatic of the arbitrary law that held sway from 2020 My point is that Johnson destroyed himself, the Tory Party and Brexit – ALL – by falling so readily for the Hard Lockdowners cynical and insane suffocation of economic life for 2 years. It consumed him and our economy. Brexit became a forgotten after thought gathering dust in the To Do tray while Imperial demanded we be imprisoned in our homes. We will never know what he might have done if the Wuhan Lab leak had not happened. His catastrophic surrender to the Lockers will be line 1 on his sad epitaph.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

A good rejoinder!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

A good rejoinder!

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

This is not true. I never supported the trumped up BBC media coup against Johnson. A leaving do in the tested HQ of the State described as a disco party? It was appalling, symptomatic of the arbitrary law that held sway from 2020 My point is that Johnson destroyed himself, the Tory Party and Brexit – ALL – by falling so readily for the Hard Lockdowners cynical and insane suffocation of economic life for 2 years. It consumed him and our economy. Brexit became a forgotten after thought gathering dust in the To Do tray while Imperial demanded we be imprisoned in our homes. We will never know what he might have done if the Wuhan Lab leak had not happened. His catastrophic surrender to the Lockers will be line 1 on his sad epitaph.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I believe he was prepared to go with the herd on lockdown, and everything else, as long as the UK did leave the EU.
Covid was the perfect excuse to keep kicking the can on Brexit. Instead Johnson budged on everything except Brexit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mr Bellisarius
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

So for less important reasons, you support him being kicked out. If he’d stayed he was the only U.K. politician prepared to take on Europe – but you lack the perspective to see that consolidating the Brexit gain was, by far, the single most important target to achieve. With your opposition to Johnson, you allied yourself to those opposing Brexit, which is rather ironic.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I believe he was prepared to go with the herd on lockdown, and everything else, as long as the UK did leave the EU.
Covid was the perfect excuse to keep kicking the can on Brexit. Instead Johnson budged on everything except Brexit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mr Bellisarius
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Johnson couldn’t give a toss about Brexit- are you really so easily fooled? You honestly think he cares about anything but his own advantage?
When it came to the campaign, he hummed and hahed, he wrote his little ‘pro’ and ‘against’ list, and decided, at the end of the day, it was going to happen, and then, and only then he joined the Leave camp. As an ideologically empty narcissist- would gain the most from supporting the inevitable.
If he was “brought down”, it was by his own lying, corrupt, narcissistic and uttrerly vacuous personality- not by some evil conspiracy. Luckily for him -and all of his kind- there are always plenty of suckers who uncritically worship a “personality” .

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Cummings article on the post. Im not sure on the boris thing, one of the links has been disabled, but there’s a little.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Ah, we appear to have reached the daily moment at which the stopped clock tells the right time.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Cummings article on the post. Im not sure on the boris thing, one of the links has been disabled, but there’s a little.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Ah, we appear to have reached the daily moment at which the stopped clock tells the right time.

Jonathan Castro
Jonathan Castro
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Johnson was never really interested in Brexit. Hence the NI Protocol exists, when it shouldn’t. For Johnson, Brexit was just a box to tick – nothing more.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Cameron specifically said “anyone but Boris” when the leadership contest began after his resignation.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

I half agree Mr B. He was targetted yes. But Johnson failed Brexit in 2020-22. He was panicked by the hostile and hysterical media & NHS First Lobby into lockdown. Ok – a dreadful time. But several months in it was perfectly obvious that the total suffocation of economic activity was a gift for the deranged Remainiacs desperate to strangle Brexit at birth (Covid arrived Day 2). Instead of showing both courage and alertness to the grave danger, Boris danced jiggs seeing his popularity soar when he acted all Churchillian and talked of War. Then he doomed us further by embracing the insane MMT magic money tree experiment, so locking future hyper inflation into our system. It was not even he who finally broke the Imperial Big Lie Orthodoxy & stopped Year 3 of lockdown. Did he not notive how eagerly far left unions embraced lockdown?? Johnson killed Brexit at birth by bending the knee to a hostile pro Lockdown State. Game over Day 3.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Johnson couldn’t give a toss about Brexit- are you really so easily fooled? You honestly think he cares about anything but his own advantage?
When it came to the campaign, he hummed and hahed, he wrote his little ‘pro’ and ‘against’ list, and decided, at the end of the day, it was going to happen, and then, and only then he joined the Leave camp. As an ideologically empty narcissist- would gain the most from supporting the inevitable.
If he was “brought down”, it was by his own lying, corrupt, narcissistic and uttrerly vacuous personality- not by some evil conspiracy. Luckily for him -and all of his kind- there are always plenty of suckers who uncritically worship a “personality” .

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Brexit did have a champion and it was Boris Johnson. That’s why they made so much effort to bring him down.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you have missed the point a bit. The people living in some of these places are DESPERATE for change. Brexit was a massive deal for them, they would at least have expected it to lower the number of immigrants arriving. That hasn’t happened. That’s the point. I agree to be honest, if more are arriving still, after three years, it has failed them. These towns are on their knees. Good article unherd. These are the places that need real help.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

100%. I thought this article was very good in revealing more of the daily horrors still experienced in mass migratory target towns. We already know why and how Brexit has been de-railed by the indifferent faraway London ‘elite’.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Jolly good Mr marvell something we can agree on. If we care about these towns it means caring about the people in them too. So you understand me the way I see it is we can’t start bashing the underclass and huge sectors of our immigrant population, that isn’t going to help, blaming them for the problems. Also in these towns people have to live along side each other, dividing communities further is only a bad thing. The country was catastrophically mismanaged it seems. So let’s pin it on the governments that have repeatedly neglected these places.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The problem is that nobody actually cares about such towns, the issues within them are the symptom of this chronic lack of care, and there’s no incentive for anyone to do anything besides use them for vacuous virtue signalling exercises before being once again ignored for a more fashionable cause.

This article offers a few handpicked stories from a single town focussing on the very issues that anyone not living in an off grid hobbit hole for a decade could have told you are the priorities of Brexit land. It’s not offering anything new to think about, it’s merely rehashing the same talking points that many remainers have been dismissing as ignorant and racist since the referendum. It might not be directly sneering at people in neighbourhoods like mine, but as it has no new insights to offer, it’s just another dull article on the subject du jour that journos decide they have to cover.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Well said!

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The problem is that nobody actually cares about such towns, the issues within them are the symptom of this chronic lack of care, and there’s no incentive for anyone to do anything besides use them for vacuous virtue signalling exercises before being once again ignored for a more fashionable cause.

This article offers a few handpicked stories from a single town focussing on the very issues that anyone not living in an off grid hobbit hole for a decade could have told you are the priorities of Brexit land. It’s not offering anything new to think about, it’s merely rehashing the same talking points that many remainers have been dismissing as ignorant and racist since the referendum. It might not be directly sneering at people in neighbourhoods like mine, but as it has no new insights to offer, it’s just another dull article on the subject du jour that journos decide they have to cover.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Well said!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’m at an utter loss as to understand how a brexit supporting tory party with an 80 SEAT MAJORITY and the hardcore support of four national newspapers is somehow thwarted by a shadowy London elite! How are they influencing actual policy? For goodness sake you won (sort of); this is your Brexit. Own it.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago

I am sure Brexit voters happily own being out of the tawdry EU Empire, no matter the fact we are still in neutral! I sure do! I watched their callous indifference as Greece burnt, their gleeful guzzling of Russian gas and nuzzling up to Putin and Xi (but not Ukraine). Did you see them try to steal our vaccines, suppress innovation with oppressive Prussian bureaucratism, promote clean German diesel and generally act like a thuggish protectionist cartel, especially to the Third World? Happily free! Covid and the lockdown insanity is obviously the main factor which has stopped forward progress. Our law is still EU law. The lack of energy within the battered hapless Tories is another factor. That much is clear. But you ask – how could the (very unshadowy) permanent Remainer British State, technocracy and civil service possibly find ways to frustrate Brexit and the power of a Parliamentary majority in Britain?? Really??? Are you reading a Ladybird book on our democracy?? Have you not observed the revolutionary changes in governance since 1997, all made to diminish the power of national Parliaments within EU States??

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
1 year ago

There’s nothing shadowy about the Public Service and the myriad of quangos and NGOs. Every leader needs the support of a staff and trustworthy staffers and they were all Remainers.
How do they influence policy? They send the emails, they write the letters, they attend the conferences on the Ministers behalf, they draft the answers to the PMQs. This is a large country with a long-established executive. It can’t be personally run like a country vicarage. That’s why Boris was so important.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago

I am sure Brexit voters happily own being out of the tawdry EU Empire, no matter the fact we are still in neutral! I sure do! I watched their callous indifference as Greece burnt, their gleeful guzzling of Russian gas and nuzzling up to Putin and Xi (but not Ukraine). Did you see them try to steal our vaccines, suppress innovation with oppressive Prussian bureaucratism, promote clean German diesel and generally act like a thuggish protectionist cartel, especially to the Third World? Happily free! Covid and the lockdown insanity is obviously the main factor which has stopped forward progress. Our law is still EU law. The lack of energy within the battered hapless Tories is another factor. That much is clear. But you ask – how could the (very unshadowy) permanent Remainer British State, technocracy and civil service possibly find ways to frustrate Brexit and the power of a Parliamentary majority in Britain?? Really??? Are you reading a Ladybird book on our democracy?? Have you not observed the revolutionary changes in governance since 1997, all made to diminish the power of national Parliaments within EU States??

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
1 year ago

There’s nothing shadowy about the Public Service and the myriad of quangos and NGOs. Every leader needs the support of a staff and trustworthy staffers and they were all Remainers.
How do they influence policy? They send the emails, they write the letters, they attend the conferences on the Ministers behalf, they draft the answers to the PMQs. This is a large country with a long-established executive. It can’t be personally run like a country vicarage. That’s why Boris was so important.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Jolly good Mr marvell something we can agree on. If we care about these towns it means caring about the people in them too. So you understand me the way I see it is we can’t start bashing the underclass and huge sectors of our immigrant population, that isn’t going to help, blaming them for the problems. Also in these towns people have to live along side each other, dividing communities further is only a bad thing. The country was catastrophically mismanaged it seems. So let’s pin it on the governments that have repeatedly neglected these places.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I’m at an utter loss as to understand how a brexit supporting tory party with an 80 SEAT MAJORITY and the hardcore support of four national newspapers is somehow thwarted by a shadowy London elite! How are they influencing actual policy? For goodness sake you won (sort of); this is your Brexit. Own it.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Read my earlier reply. We don’t telling about these towns being on their knees, we’re living in them, thanks. It’s NOT down to Brexit.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The immigration in Boston is the problem. Brexit was a vote to cut immigration. There are still new immigrants arriving there every day the article says. So brexit has failed them. The people there, immigration was the main issue. It is still the main issue. For whatever reason, brexit hasn’t delivered for them. It’s no good beating about the bush. I’m afraid whatever version of brexit this is, just isn’t working for these places. I’m not a rejoin the EU fan, I think we are still better off out of it, but the article is correct to say that at the moment, brexit hasn’t had the impact up there that was promised. The author wasn’t ‘hanging the woes’ on the brexit debate itself. Sounds like once again our immigration laws and quotas still aren’t working. Brexit doesn’t seem to have made a difference. No one is blaming the brexit debate for these issues, just saying that as a tool to fix them, the current version of brexit in Boston at the moment, it’s not working.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The immigration in Boston is the problem. Brexit was a vote to cut immigration. There are still new immigrants arriving there every day the article says. So brexit has failed them. The people there, immigration was the main issue. It is still the main issue. For whatever reason, brexit hasn’t delivered for them. It’s no good beating about the bush. I’m afraid whatever version of brexit this is, just isn’t working for these places. I’m not a rejoin the EU fan, I think we are still better off out of it, but the article is correct to say that at the moment, brexit hasn’t had the impact up there that was promised. The author wasn’t ‘hanging the woes’ on the brexit debate itself. Sounds like once again our immigration laws and quotas still aren’t working. Brexit doesn’t seem to have made a difference. No one is blaming the brexit debate for these issues, just saying that as a tool to fix them, the current version of brexit in Boston at the moment, it’s not working.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

100%. I thought this article was very good in revealing more of the daily horrors still experienced in mass migratory target towns. We already know why and how Brexit has been de-railed by the indifferent faraway London ‘elite’.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Read my earlier reply. We don’t telling about these towns being on their knees, we’re living in them, thanks. It’s NOT down to Brexit.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It’s as if the editors at Unherd haven’t realised that most of us who are actually here reading and commenting day after day are utterly bored with this remainer narrative, and no amount of polls or verbose explanatory articles is going to make us suddenly have an appetite for them flogging this dead horse some more.

Remain is a subject that only ever highlights the affluence and hypocrisy of those who cling to it, it’s a narrative that says the average person is too stupid for their opinions to count, that they need the patronising hand of the affluent elites to tell them what to think and make decisions for them. Time to put it to one side, and deal with the world as it is and stop daydreaming about some fantasy version of the EU that never existed.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

OK, you’re a secular saint and a man of the people, we get that, kudos to you.
But do you have any practical suggestions please?

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Whilst I’d love to be a man of the people, I lack the reproductive equipment to be a man of anything.

As for practical suggestions, are there any practical suggestions that can overcome the monstrous clusterf*ck that is the bureaucracy and political systems of this country?

Of course it would be nice if there were some succinct, easy and obvious suggestions to post up here, but it is pretty much impossible to try to account for the many different ideological agendas in play, the incestuous relations between corporations and governments, and the Global economic dumpster fire in the time it takes to drink a coffee. Thus, it’s not really a reasonable demand to make.

Of course, if you want to spend several months going back and forth, we can probably come up with a few practical suggestions in that time frame, presumably if we haven’t all been nuked, frozen to death, or died from climate change in the meantime.

I am sure however that those in this comment section would be very pleased to hear any practical suggestions you have to offer, rather than watch you repeat the same question after every comment without providing any examples for us mere mortals to try to imitate.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Janny Lee
Janny Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Uncalled for and snide.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

We could become a democracy. Then blaming the government is like blaming yourself and we would have to come up with ideas. If we became a democracy all of the UK would decide if Scotland, N Ireland and Wales would separate off.
I know where that wouldn’t be popular.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Whilst I’d love to be a man of the people, I lack the reproductive equipment to be a man of anything.

As for practical suggestions, are there any practical suggestions that can overcome the monstrous clusterf*ck that is the bureaucracy and political systems of this country?

Of course it would be nice if there were some succinct, easy and obvious suggestions to post up here, but it is pretty much impossible to try to account for the many different ideological agendas in play, the incestuous relations between corporations and governments, and the Global economic dumpster fire in the time it takes to drink a coffee. Thus, it’s not really a reasonable demand to make.

Of course, if you want to spend several months going back and forth, we can probably come up with a few practical suggestions in that time frame, presumably if we haven’t all been nuked, frozen to death, or died from climate change in the meantime.

I am sure however that those in this comment section would be very pleased to hear any practical suggestions you have to offer, rather than watch you repeat the same question after every comment without providing any examples for us mere mortals to try to imitate.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Janny Lee
Janny Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Uncalled for and snide.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

We could become a democracy. Then blaming the government is like blaming yourself and we would have to come up with ideas. If we became a democracy all of the UK would decide if Scotland, N Ireland and Wales would separate off.
I know where that wouldn’t be popular.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

OK, you’re a secular saint and a man of the people, we get that, kudos to you.
But do you have any practical suggestions please?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“In order to succeed, articles might be better focusing not on “Brexit isn’t working” as if it were meant to be some magic bullet…”
On the one hand, we had/have people talking about Brexit as if it were going to be all milk and honey on day 1 without anything having to change or anyone having to seriously pull their finger out…but on the other, you have another bunch of people who think that going back to the single market (which is the more likely option rather than re-entry into the EU) is going to sort everything out, pronto. Both of these groups are delusional and don’t seem to be able to see further than the end of their own noses.
Going back into the single market might solve certain issues (import/export restrictions)…but other problems are global or continental in nature and have very little to do with being in/out of the EU. Case in point: the lack of skilled labour. Being outside the EU might make getting staff from the EU a bit more tricky…but what if the problem is that there just aren’t enough of these people in the EU anyway? Then the extra bureaucracy isn’t the issue. Since both Germany and Austria have been wringing their hands about this issue for years now – that should tell you that EU membership ISN’T the core issue here. Maybe your education system is outdated and not producing people with the skills you need. Maybe taxes are so punitive that the brightest sparks go somewhere more attractive. In Austria, the Kafkaesque bureaucracy and sheer rudeness of staff at the immigration authorities probably do their bit to scare good people off. It could be any number of things – but you need to start taking a good hard look at the wider scheme of things rather than focus on a single, divisive issue.
It may be because we are so used to having things so easy and comfortable in the West; it might also be to do with the rise of social media playing havoc with our attention spans and ability to think in a sustained way…but everybody seems to be hankering after quick solutions and silver bullets. And there aren’t any. Only tough calls that require painful trade-offs and serious graft over a number of years – if not decades.
Brexit might be a kind of blessing in disguise for Britain as there is now nowhere else to look and no-one else to blame for your problems. In that regard, the discussion should move away from Brexit and start looking at the bigger, long term picture. It looks quite grim from over here, but there is a reason why people say “best foot forward”. Sitting in the gutter crying about Brexit solves precisely none of your problems.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

For the sake of completeness, I will just add to that already considerable rant that German/Austrian media are all over the “the majority now regrets Brexit” thing, revelling in every little problem Britain has…while conveniently failing to add that a lot of those problems ail them too. It’s a pretty toxic mix of schadenfreude, whataboutery and denial which is not going to do anyone any good. Britain isn’t unique in many of its issues…simply ahead of the curve.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Quite. We are able to see the problems clearly and we now have more freedom to do something about them – and to do it quickly. There are many advantages to being smaller and the ability to move faster is one of them. The more time the Germans, Austrians and others spend talking about our “problems”, the less they spend on facing up to their own. I’m fairly confident we’ll make more progress and faster than them.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Britain has made mistakes but I dislike this attitude of disdain towards it for experiencing difficulties per se. No change occurs without some kind of turbulence/pain happening, and change is what will bring Britain into the future. Entities/countries that avoid turbulence and change at all costs will simply get ground under the wheels of history…or end up having much messier revolutions.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Britain has made mistakes but I dislike this attitude of disdain towards it for experiencing difficulties per se. No change occurs without some kind of turbulence/pain happening, and change is what will bring Britain into the future. Entities/countries that avoid turbulence and change at all costs will simply get ground under the wheels of history…or end up having much messier revolutions.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Quite. We are able to see the problems clearly and we now have more freedom to do something about them – and to do it quickly. There are many advantages to being smaller and the ability to move faster is one of them. The more time the Germans, Austrians and others spend talking about our “problems”, the less they spend on facing up to their own. I’m fairly confident we’ll make more progress and faster than them.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Going back into the single market might solve certain issues”
Given that the UK has a comprehensive trade deal I would suggest that re-joining the single market would solve very few problems, other than sending fresh sausages to NI.
But it would create many more, as the UK would be subject to many EU laws — over which it would have no control — and it would have to scrap many promising initiatives such as TPP membership and freeports.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

For the benefits of Brexit to become fully realised, it needs our politicians to do some heavy lifting, which so far they seem incapable of doing. That was my point – that it’s never been “land of milk and honey” territory and it was recognised pre-Brexit there may well be a dip in the UK economy before things started to change. Then came Covid, and the rest. I see you’ve reached the right conclusion though.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

In even the best circumstances, all that Brexit was ever realistically capable of doing was stripping out one layer of corrupt, inept and micro-managing bureaucracy, but that was always going to have a consequence of putting more pressure on all of the other layers of corrupt, inept and micro-managing bureaucracy that exist within our borders as well as provide further opportunities for their corporate friends to take the Michael out of us.

I don’t believe that the vast majority really did think that ticking the Brexit box was going to be a one step ticket to the land of milk and honey even if it is politically convenient to remainers to paint it that way. Brexit was always going to be a very small step on a long road of painful political reform that pretty much everyone in politics and business would dig their heels in and resist, because to enable it would be a threat to the power they’ve accumulated.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

In even the best circumstances, all that Brexit was ever realistically capable of doing was stripping out one layer of corrupt, inept and micro-managing bureaucracy, but that was always going to have a consequence of putting more pressure on all of the other layers of corrupt, inept and micro-managing bureaucracy that exist within our borders as well as provide further opportunities for their corporate friends to take the Michael out of us.

I don’t believe that the vast majority really did think that ticking the Brexit box was going to be a one step ticket to the land of milk and honey even if it is politically convenient to remainers to paint it that way. Brexit was always going to be a very small step on a long road of painful political reform that pretty much everyone in politics and business would dig their heels in and resist, because to enable it would be a threat to the power they’ve accumulated.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Yes, very good points

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

For the sake of completeness, I will just add to that already considerable rant that German/Austrian media are all over the “the majority now regrets Brexit” thing, revelling in every little problem Britain has…while conveniently failing to add that a lot of those problems ail them too. It’s a pretty toxic mix of schadenfreude, whataboutery and denial which is not going to do anyone any good. Britain isn’t unique in many of its issues…simply ahead of the curve.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Going back into the single market might solve certain issues”
Given that the UK has a comprehensive trade deal I would suggest that re-joining the single market would solve very few problems, other than sending fresh sausages to NI.
But it would create many more, as the UK would be subject to many EU laws — over which it would have no control — and it would have to scrap many promising initiatives such as TPP membership and freeports.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

For the benefits of Brexit to become fully realised, it needs our politicians to do some heavy lifting, which so far they seem incapable of doing. That was my point – that it’s never been “land of milk and honey” territory and it was recognised pre-Brexit there may well be a dip in the UK economy before things started to change. Then came Covid, and the rest. I see you’ve reached the right conclusion though.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Yes, very good points

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Boston, and the surrounding area, was destroyed by EU policy.
It has not recovered, but that does not make people want to go back to the EU…it makes people want a government that is going to exploit the chance to change.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Precisely.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Precisely.

Barry Trevers
Barry Trevers
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Absolutely agree with you. UNHERD has become the Guardian. Polling outside of the MSM & ‘Westminster bubble’ suggest there is no buyers regret concerning Brexit. What is apparent is that the Westminster ‘Blob’ have no intention of fulfilling Brexit. For me, as Mick Hume exposed in his excellent book ‘REVOLTING’, is that the Government(s) are in utter contempt of their subjects & have bitten that EU bug where they are actively demolishing democracy!!! Still now we see them in the spotlight for what they are.. Worthless self serving scumbags!!!!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As usual, not a single practical suggestion, other than vague exhortations to “get to it”.
To what?
Can you list your practical suggestions please – you surely by now have had long enough to come up with something – anything. 
Brexit is all mouth and no trousers, lol. 

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Banging on about a non-politician (i’m an artist) coming up with solutions to complex issues is no argument whatsoever, but i dare say you’ll trundle it out again when there’s nothing else left to say.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Suggestions:
Leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human rights.
Guest worker status for specified foreign nationals much like Germany’s Gastarbeiter scheme.
Scrap those EU laws and directives that are not within our interests.
Adopt WTO trading status.
Take back control of our fishing grounds although I understand that the licences are mainly in foreign hands.
If you want to join me down the pub I’m sure we could sort out this little problem in an evening :]

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Banging on about a non-politician (i’m an artist) coming up with solutions to complex issues is no argument whatsoever, but i dare say you’ll trundle it out again when there’s nothing else left to say.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Suggestions:
Leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human rights.
Guest worker status for specified foreign nationals much like Germany’s Gastarbeiter scheme.
Scrap those EU laws and directives that are not within our interests.
Adopt WTO trading status.
Take back control of our fishing grounds although I understand that the licences are mainly in foreign hands.
If you want to join me down the pub I’m sure we could sort out this little problem in an evening :]

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Surely the problem of Brexit (and the reason that politicians stubbornly refuse to “make the most of Brexit”) is that Brexit itself was a scapegoat – a gigantic feat of misdirection.
Brexit was two different things – to Conservative politicians and their hangers on, it was, primarily, an opportunity to derugulate – to diverge from European standards and thereby (they hoped) turbocharge the profitability of business. This prospectus excites wealthy Tory donors but doesn’t resonate much beyond that (their troublesome regulations are your food standards and Brexiters don’t want those cut any more than Remainers).
What made Brexit a popular cause was that it was presented as a way to right all of the political wrongs of the past 50 years. Under-investment in the regions? Brexit will fix that.Over reliance on imigrant labour? Brexit will fix that. Under-funding of the NHS? Brexit will fix that. Democratic deficit… you get the picture. But, in fact, none of these problems were fundamentally caused by the EU and, therefore, leaving the EU doesn’t fix them.
Even in the case of immigration, we could have imposed the transitional restrictions on immigration that almost all the other rich economies of Europe adopted. But we didn’t because the UK government wanted to continue its low wage/flexible labour force model.
Boston’s problems weren’t created in Brussels, they originate in Westminster.
The grotesque irony is that the country desperately needed a massive change of direction but, through the referendum, responsibility for making the changes required – decentralisation, infrastructure investment, a shift to a higher wage and better diversified economy etc – has been handed to the exact same bunch of freemarket wingnuts who created the problems that Brexit was intended to fix.

Terry Davies
Terry Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Thanks for this, George. One of the more reasonable and reasoned btl comments.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Good points well made.
We are addicted to a low wage economy, we lack so many skills necessary for our future prosperity.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Great comment.

Terry Davies
Terry Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Thanks for this, George. One of the more reasonable and reasoned btl comments.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Good points well made.
We are addicted to a low wage economy, we lack so many skills necessary for our future prosperity.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Great comment.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Hanging all these woes on Brexit is intellectually incoherent.
The article does mention a number of possible causes, not just Brexit. And there lies the rub. Was Brexit sold as a panacea for real and perceived problems? Now the reality is in clear view.
I do not live in Britain, nor am I a ‘Remainer’. Just thought I’d say that!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’d tend to agree with that. Our political classes now have nowhere to hide, but the opportunities to make real changes which Brexit presented still exist, which they hitherto wouldn’t do.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’d tend to agree with that. Our political classes now have nowhere to hide, but the opportunities to make real changes which Brexit presented still exist, which they hitherto wouldn’t do.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Far too much of our national political debate is directed by rather dubious polling carried out by people and organisations with too much skin in the game. Plus, if course, there are the endless statistics produced by economists and supranational bodies like the execrable IMF …

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

‘that and the reluctance of the indigenous population to work on the fertile land picking crops. Hanging all these woes on Brexit is intellectually incoherent.’
I suppose if the locals lived in a caravan like the incomers they would be less reluctant to work?
I remember the Blair government reassuring us that only 13,000 Eastern European would settle in the UK,I’m not sure if it’s 5 million plus but whatever the number belonging to the EU has driven down wages for many people.
I voted Brexit but admit it’s a work in progress, we were members for 40 years, it will take decades to reap the benefits assuming our political class makes it work.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

” the failings of our political classes” – Exactly. The people voted for local governance so they left the EU only to get incompetent local politicians. But this seems a worldwide issue no matter where you are. Perhaps we are victims of popularity contests pitting lesser evils as candidates. Where have people of principle gone? Are they afraid of cancellation? Seems those not of the elite group, like a Trump, are quickly weeded out. It’s amazing such a crude person got elected but yet he did try to change the system and the elite will have none of that. But he did withstand the constant attacks and they aren’t quite finished yet. We need more to say “this is wrong” and proceed to remedy the issue, or at least try, as they too will be attacked endlessly.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thanks for this Steve. After todays Unherd articles judging Brexit as a failure after a mere 3 years, and after global disruptions of Covid and Ukraine, I feel my devotion to Unherd is waning – I like to see alternate views, but the repeated shallow theme in 3 articles that Brexit has failed with no countering view, suggests to me that Unherd, as you suggest, is changing tack.

Time to decamp to Spiked unless I see alternate views published this week.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

None of this drivel has the first thing to do with Brexit.

Unherd is rapidly becoming the BBC.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Good points. But our entire political class was and is pro EU and Remainer. Large parts of the Tory Party – its Chancellor included – are also Remainer. You could barely fill the Cabinet Office with passionate Brexiteers from the Cabinet AND Parliament. The vast army of civil service & technocracy (enraged at the loss of 100k Euro pensions) has sat on its hands and effectively sabotaged any of the token and limp effort by the Covid-bust Executive to drive Brex forward. Brexit was led by the provinces and people outside Westminster, demanding an end to the multiple socio economic injustices – uncontrolled mass migration, the destruction of unplanned public services, the rigged SE Property Boom that enriched ‘our political class’ and more – that have blighted Boston and trashed our country. Brexit has no leaders and no army in the political sphere. The civil service & BBC are busy and successfully ‘bullying’ them out – Johnson, Priti tick tick Raab & Suella next. Who else is there??? The counter revolution by the pro EU State has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. And look who may enter Number 10 next! The man who actually led the battle to overturn democracy. Lets campaign a second ballot if he wins. Losers consent is for wimps. I weep for places like Boston. All betrayed.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you have missed the point a bit. The people living in some of these places are DESPERATE for change. Brexit was a massive deal for them, they would at least have expected it to lower the number of immigrants arriving. That hasn’t happened. That’s the point. I agree to be honest, if more are arriving still, after three years, it has failed them. These towns are on their knees. Good article unherd. These are the places that need real help.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It’s as if the editors at Unherd haven’t realised that most of us who are actually here reading and commenting day after day are utterly bored with this remainer narrative, and no amount of polls or verbose explanatory articles is going to make us suddenly have an appetite for them flogging this dead horse some more.

Remain is a subject that only ever highlights the affluence and hypocrisy of those who cling to it, it’s a narrative that says the average person is too stupid for their opinions to count, that they need the patronising hand of the affluent elites to tell them what to think and make decisions for them. Time to put it to one side, and deal with the world as it is and stop daydreaming about some fantasy version of the EU that never existed.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“In order to succeed, articles might be better focusing not on “Brexit isn’t working” as if it were meant to be some magic bullet…”
On the one hand, we had/have people talking about Brexit as if it were going to be all milk and honey on day 1 without anything having to change or anyone having to seriously pull their finger out…but on the other, you have another bunch of people who think that going back to the single market (which is the more likely option rather than re-entry into the EU) is going to sort everything out, pronto. Both of these groups are delusional and don’t seem to be able to see further than the end of their own noses.
Going back into the single market might solve certain issues (import/export restrictions)…but other problems are global or continental in nature and have very little to do with being in/out of the EU. Case in point: the lack of skilled labour. Being outside the EU might make getting staff from the EU a bit more tricky…but what if the problem is that there just aren’t enough of these people in the EU anyway? Then the extra bureaucracy isn’t the issue. Since both Germany and Austria have been wringing their hands about this issue for years now – that should tell you that EU membership ISN’T the core issue here. Maybe your education system is outdated and not producing people with the skills you need. Maybe taxes are so punitive that the brightest sparks go somewhere more attractive. In Austria, the Kafkaesque bureaucracy and sheer rudeness of staff at the immigration authorities probably do their bit to scare good people off. It could be any number of things – but you need to start taking a good hard look at the wider scheme of things rather than focus on a single, divisive issue.
It may be because we are so used to having things so easy and comfortable in the West; it might also be to do with the rise of social media playing havoc with our attention spans and ability to think in a sustained way…but everybody seems to be hankering after quick solutions and silver bullets. And there aren’t any. Only tough calls that require painful trade-offs and serious graft over a number of years – if not decades.
Brexit might be a kind of blessing in disguise for Britain as there is now nowhere else to look and no-one else to blame for your problems. In that regard, the discussion should move away from Brexit and start looking at the bigger, long term picture. It looks quite grim from over here, but there is a reason why people say “best foot forward”. Sitting in the gutter crying about Brexit solves precisely none of your problems.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Boston, and the surrounding area, was destroyed by EU policy.
It has not recovered, but that does not make people want to go back to the EU…it makes people want a government that is going to exploit the chance to change.

Barry Trevers
Barry Trevers
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Absolutely agree with you. UNHERD has become the Guardian. Polling outside of the MSM & ‘Westminster bubble’ suggest there is no buyers regret concerning Brexit. What is apparent is that the Westminster ‘Blob’ have no intention of fulfilling Brexit. For me, as Mick Hume exposed in his excellent book ‘REVOLTING’, is that the Government(s) are in utter contempt of their subjects & have bitten that EU bug where they are actively demolishing democracy!!! Still now we see them in the spotlight for what they are.. Worthless self serving scumbags!!!!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As usual, not a single practical suggestion, other than vague exhortations to “get to it”.
To what?
Can you list your practical suggestions please – you surely by now have had long enough to come up with something – anything. 
Brexit is all mouth and no trousers, lol. 

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Surely the problem of Brexit (and the reason that politicians stubbornly refuse to “make the most of Brexit”) is that Brexit itself was a scapegoat – a gigantic feat of misdirection.
Brexit was two different things – to Conservative politicians and their hangers on, it was, primarily, an opportunity to derugulate – to diverge from European standards and thereby (they hoped) turbocharge the profitability of business. This prospectus excites wealthy Tory donors but doesn’t resonate much beyond that (their troublesome regulations are your food standards and Brexiters don’t want those cut any more than Remainers).
What made Brexit a popular cause was that it was presented as a way to right all of the political wrongs of the past 50 years. Under-investment in the regions? Brexit will fix that.Over reliance on imigrant labour? Brexit will fix that. Under-funding of the NHS? Brexit will fix that. Democratic deficit… you get the picture. But, in fact, none of these problems were fundamentally caused by the EU and, therefore, leaving the EU doesn’t fix them.
Even in the case of immigration, we could have imposed the transitional restrictions on immigration that almost all the other rich economies of Europe adopted. But we didn’t because the UK government wanted to continue its low wage/flexible labour force model.
Boston’s problems weren’t created in Brussels, they originate in Westminster.
The grotesque irony is that the country desperately needed a massive change of direction but, through the referendum, responsibility for making the changes required – decentralisation, infrastructure investment, a shift to a higher wage and better diversified economy etc – has been handed to the exact same bunch of freemarket wingnuts who created the problems that Brexit was intended to fix.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Hanging all these woes on Brexit is intellectually incoherent.
The article does mention a number of possible causes, not just Brexit. And there lies the rub. Was Brexit sold as a panacea for real and perceived problems? Now the reality is in clear view.
I do not live in Britain, nor am I a ‘Remainer’. Just thought I’d say that!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Far too much of our national political debate is directed by rather dubious polling carried out by people and organisations with too much skin in the game. Plus, if course, there are the endless statistics produced by economists and supranational bodies like the execrable IMF …

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

‘that and the reluctance of the indigenous population to work on the fertile land picking crops. Hanging all these woes on Brexit is intellectually incoherent.’
I suppose if the locals lived in a caravan like the incomers they would be less reluctant to work?
I remember the Blair government reassuring us that only 13,000 Eastern European would settle in the UK,I’m not sure if it’s 5 million plus but whatever the number belonging to the EU has driven down wages for many people.
I voted Brexit but admit it’s a work in progress, we were members for 40 years, it will take decades to reap the benefits assuming our political class makes it work.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

” the failings of our political classes” – Exactly. The people voted for local governance so they left the EU only to get incompetent local politicians. But this seems a worldwide issue no matter where you are. Perhaps we are victims of popularity contests pitting lesser evils as candidates. Where have people of principle gone? Are they afraid of cancellation? Seems those not of the elite group, like a Trump, are quickly weeded out. It’s amazing such a crude person got elected but yet he did try to change the system and the elite will have none of that. But he did withstand the constant attacks and they aren’t quite finished yet. We need more to say “this is wrong” and proceed to remedy the issue, or at least try, as they too will be attacked endlessly.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thanks for this Steve. After todays Unherd articles judging Brexit as a failure after a mere 3 years, and after global disruptions of Covid and Ukraine, I feel my devotion to Unherd is waning – I like to see alternate views, but the repeated shallow theme in 3 articles that Brexit has failed with no countering view, suggests to me that Unherd, as you suggest, is changing tack.

Time to decamp to Spiked unless I see alternate views published this week.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Following on from yesterday’s offerings, Unherd are really going to town (in this case, literally) over a poll. I’d simply raise the question: would Boston be any better off without Brexit?

It was being part of the EU that started the immigrant trail to places like Boston; that and the reluctance of the indigenous population to work on the fertile land picking crops. Hanging all these woes on Brexit is intellectually incoherent.

Much needs to be done to turn places like Boston around, and simply railing at the outcome of a referendum is an easy way of avoiding grasping the political nettles which have been allowed to grow for decades. I therefore see all this journalism (Newsnight last night, included) as an attempt at deflection from the failings of our political classes, both at home and prior to Brexit, abroad. At least following Brexit, the finger can be pointed more precisely.

I also detect another trend, however. It’s my opinion that since the launch of Unherd, a perception may have arisen that it may have swung in a Right-leaning direction. If that’s the case, it would simply be because views are being given space which aren’t usually by MSM. If i’m right (as it were), i see these articles as an attempt by the editorial staff at Unherd to try to redress this perception, perhaps for very good commercial reasons. Having a readership and respondents skewed one way or the other isn’t good for business. To be fair, i can live with that; in fact, welcome it. All views should be aired, that’s the point isn’t it? Only then, can they be challenged.

But it brings me back to an earlier point about intellectual coherence. In order to succeed, articles might be better focusing not on “Brexit isn’t working” as if it were meant to be some magic bullet, but “Why aren’t our political class making the most of Brexit”. Get to it, please.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

”That is the tragedy of Boston as Brexitland. It was supposed to be a Land of Hope and Glory, but the party only lasted one night.”

OMG…. well do something then – Defund the Police, Teach CRT, open a gender therapy clinic, build Windmills, come on – lots of things to do to sort this out. Reduce Carbon – that will help a lot, put EV charging points in for motorists, have the farmers set aside 10% of their land for wildlife, Plant Trees – come on, there are a thousand things to do to fix this.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Our politicians are morons, our “journalists” are morons, and many more besides.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Any practical suggestions John, or is spewing generalised insults your main contribution?

The distinguishing characteristic of Brexiter thinking is how long it is on sanctimonious inverted snobbery rhetoric and how short it is on practical policies.  

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Politicians, Journalists and most Senior Civil servants live in a small chic area of North London.
They have their own self-sustaining ideologies —everybody they meet over a glass of wine agrees with them — and the rest of the country are simply ill-informed and need re-educating.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Any practical suggestions John, or is spewing generalised insults your main contribution?

The distinguishing characteristic of Brexiter thinking is how long it is on sanctimonious inverted snobbery rhetoric and how short it is on practical policies.  

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Politicians, Journalists and most Senior Civil servants live in a small chic area of North London.
They have their own self-sustaining ideologies —everybody they meet over a glass of wine agrees with them — and the rest of the country are simply ill-informed and need re-educating.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Our politicians are morons, our “journalists” are morons, and many more besides.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

”That is the tragedy of Boston as Brexitland. It was supposed to be a Land of Hope and Glory, but the party only lasted one night.”

OMG…. well do something then – Defund the Police, Teach CRT, open a gender therapy clinic, build Windmills, come on – lots of things to do to sort this out. Reduce Carbon – that will help a lot, put EV charging points in for motorists, have the farmers set aside 10% of their land for wildlife, Plant Trees – come on, there are a thousand things to do to fix this.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

It’s been three years of plague and a year of war in Europe. Way to early to be judging the merits of Brexit.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

None of the problems in Boston are down to Brexit though are they? Current high levels of immigration, a lack of jobs and non existent police are down to the Tories, they haven’t been caused by Britain leaving the EU

Jimmy Snooks
Jimmy Snooks
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No surprise there. Most of the so-called Conservative Party are, and always will be, Remainers.

It was Edward Heath who took us into the bloody thing in the first place.

The EU is a dearly-held foible for British elites, who like to feel they have more in common (probably true) with their continental equivalents than with their fellow British, whom they look down upon.

The EU provides elites with an opportunity to excercise the same kind of contempt for Britain among the educated British left-liberals that George Orwell described in Road to Wigan Pier. Except that in this case, the disdain is (sometimes, not always) disguised under a mantle of faux-progressive platitudes, if not downright lies and misrepresentations, about how lovely and ‘good’ the EU is.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

Plus, of course, with the EU creating the laws and instructing the civil service on their implementation, our politicians didn’t have to actually govern, and the civil service didn’t have to work out how to make it happen.

Politicians got to buzz about going to meetings, serving on committees and quangos, feeling important but without any real responsibility for outcomes. The civil service just followed instructions.

Brexit has revealed how ineffectual and lacking in understanding, abilities or talents our political classes really are.

One of the reasons I voted for Brexit was for this to become this plain, and I suspect, why so many politicians were against it.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

The senior Civil Service have NEVER just followed instructions. They have always tried to impose their wtll on politicians who, not being experts in the field, have usually accepted the advice put before them as gospel without challenging it! They hated Mrs T because she actually told them what SHEwanted to happen.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

A very important observation. Remember Gove describing how they all sat in Whitehall waiting passively on Mondays for the EU boxes to arrive from Brussels??. 60% of that paperwork cooled up by the Commission went directly into our laws! 40 years as an EU province utterly neutered our governing class. Lets hope independence rekindles the lost art of intitiative and independent thinking.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

The senior Civil Service have NEVER just followed instructions. They have always tried to impose their wtll on politicians who, not being experts in the field, have usually accepted the advice put before them as gospel without challenging it! They hated Mrs T because she actually told them what SHEwanted to happen.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

A very important observation. Remember Gove describing how they all sat in Whitehall waiting passively on Mondays for the EU boxes to arrive from Brussels??. 60% of that paperwork cooled up by the Commission went directly into our laws! 40 years as an EU province utterly neutered our governing class. Lets hope independence rekindles the lost art of intitiative and independent thinking.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

Not a single practical suggestion in your moralistic rant.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

So what ? He wasn’t replying to you.
I don’t find anything “moralistic” in what he wrote. Not that that matters.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You can wait all day for a practical suggestion. People have become polarised. Remainers hope (not believe) that something as big as the EU must be safe and secure. Ask them if they want to commit as far as having the euro as currency.
The Brexiteers feel that Europe is useless and that the UK is better in some way. Then they go on to blame everybody in our government for not being better. A total dearth of ideas.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

So what ? He wasn’t replying to you.
I don’t find anything “moralistic” in what he wrote. Not that that matters.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You can wait all day for a practical suggestion. People have become polarised. Remainers hope (not believe) that something as big as the EU must be safe and secure. Ask them if they want to commit as far as having the euro as currency.
The Brexiteers feel that Europe is useless and that the UK is better in some way. Then they go on to blame everybody in our government for not being better. A total dearth of ideas.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

Plus, of course, with the EU creating the laws and instructing the civil service on their implementation, our politicians didn’t have to actually govern, and the civil service didn’t have to work out how to make it happen.

Politicians got to buzz about going to meetings, serving on committees and quangos, feeling important but without any real responsibility for outcomes. The civil service just followed instructions.

Brexit has revealed how ineffectual and lacking in understanding, abilities or talents our political classes really are.

One of the reasons I voted for Brexit was for this to become this plain, and I suspect, why so many politicians were against it.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

Not a single practical suggestion in your moralistic rant.

Jimmy Snooks
Jimmy Snooks
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No surprise there. Most of the so-called Conservative Party are, and always will be, Remainers.

It was Edward Heath who took us into the bloody thing in the first place.

The EU is a dearly-held foible for British elites, who like to feel they have more in common (probably true) with their continental equivalents than with their fellow British, whom they look down upon.

The EU provides elites with an opportunity to excercise the same kind of contempt for Britain among the educated British left-liberals that George Orwell described in Road to Wigan Pier. Except that in this case, the disdain is (sometimes, not always) disguised under a mantle of faux-progressive platitudes, if not downright lies and misrepresentations, about how lovely and ‘good’ the EU is.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

You could make a reasonable argument that our politicians have been so dilatory in adopting the consequences of Brexit (e.g. David Cameron immediately gave up, Theresa May started well but became corrupted by the machinery of State) that ‘proper Brexit’ hasn’t started yet.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

TPP membership and freeports, two of the things that were not possible under the EU, were initiated immediately.
But they will take time for fruition.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

TPP membership and freeports, two of the things that were not possible under the EU, were initiated immediately.
But they will take time for fruition.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

In 2021 and 2022, the first two years of Brexit, economic growth in the UK was greater than in any developed country.
But that growth is clearly not even.
It’s not a Brexit question, the real issue is that the politicians can no longer use the EU as an excuse.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

None of the problems in Boston are down to Brexit though are they? Current high levels of immigration, a lack of jobs and non existent police are down to the Tories, they haven’t been caused by Britain leaving the EU

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

You could make a reasonable argument that our politicians have been so dilatory in adopting the consequences of Brexit (e.g. David Cameron immediately gave up, Theresa May started well but became corrupted by the machinery of State) that ‘proper Brexit’ hasn’t started yet.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

In 2021 and 2022, the first two years of Brexit, economic growth in the UK was greater than in any developed country.
But that growth is clearly not even.
It’s not a Brexit question, the real issue is that the politicians can no longer use the EU as an excuse.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

It’s been three years of plague and a year of war in Europe. Way to early to be judging the merits of Brexit.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Brexit could never, on its own, be the solution to these problems. It’s just a first step towards the revolutionary de-centralisation and democratisation that’s needed.

The bigger struggle to loosen the grip on our lives of the incompetent and greedy Oxbridge elite is yet to come.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Now that they can’t blame the EU, our politicians have no excuse not to deliver. Just need a new party that challenges the other two, might take a bit more pain to get to that though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Walsh
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Don’t like Oxbridge people? Just wait until Starmer’s dinnerlady brigade really show you what incompetence is.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Funny how everyone goes on about racism, misogyny etc when what really holds this country back is snobbery like yours and the stranglehold that a parasitic middle class has on the economy.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

There are a lot of Oxbridge people (well, I’ve only noticed Oxford ones) in Starmer’s crew. Usually not very good ones.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Starmer is one of them, don’t forget.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Starmer is one of them, don’t forget.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Funny how everyone goes on about racism, misogyny etc when what really holds this country back is snobbery like yours and the stranglehold that a parasitic middle class has on the economy.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

There are a lot of Oxbridge people (well, I’ve only noticed Oxford ones) in Starmer’s crew. Usually not very good ones.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Now that they can’t blame the EU, our politicians have no excuse not to deliver. Just need a new party that challenges the other two, might take a bit more pain to get to that though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Walsh
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Don’t like Oxbridge people? Just wait until Starmer’s dinnerlady brigade really show you what incompetence is.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Brexit could never, on its own, be the solution to these problems. It’s just a first step towards the revolutionary de-centralisation and democratisation that’s needed.

The bigger struggle to loosen the grip on our lives of the incompetent and greedy Oxbridge elite is yet to come.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

For places like Boston where there is clearly work available, and thus clearly profits being made locally, how come the profits don’t seem to stay in the town. Someone is doing good business, but unlike in other times where good business created benefactors who invested in the local community for culture and sport, places like Boston don’t seem to get the benefit of their success. Where’s that money going? An economically active town should be on the way up, not living on the margins.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

There isn’t work there though, at least not work that pays enough to live on. The wages are just about ok for Eastern Europeans who’ll live in cramped conditions for a couple of years, sending money home to set themselves up financially before moving back, but they’re not enough to support a family.

Pip G
Pip G
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Money being sent home primarily to build property and support wider family.

Jonny Stud
Jonny Stud
1 year ago
Reply to  Pip G

I’ve often wondered how much money leaves the UK economy entirely in this manner, it’s a common theme for immigrants from every corner of the world to send money home after all

Jonny Stud
Jonny Stud
1 year ago
Reply to  Pip G

I’ve often wondered how much money leaves the UK economy entirely in this manner, it’s a common theme for immigrants from every corner of the world to send money home after all

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I wasn’t referring to the workers. Someone is paying the people to work. They wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t making money – good business if the labour’s cheap. Where are those benefactors?

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

If it’s like Norfolk, Holland. Dutch farming corporates own the farms.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

If it’s like Norfolk, Holland. Dutch farming corporates own the farms.

Pip G
Pip G
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Money being sent home primarily to build property and support wider family.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I wasn’t referring to the workers. Someone is paying the people to work. They wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t making money – good business if the labour’s cheap. Where are those benefactors?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

There isn’t work there though, at least not work that pays enough to live on. The wages are just about ok for Eastern Europeans who’ll live in cramped conditions for a couple of years, sending money home to set themselves up financially before moving back, but they’re not enough to support a family.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

For places like Boston where there is clearly work available, and thus clearly profits being made locally, how come the profits don’t seem to stay in the town. Someone is doing good business, but unlike in other times where good business created benefactors who invested in the local community for culture and sport, places like Boston don’t seem to get the benefit of their success. Where’s that money going? An economically active town should be on the way up, not living on the margins.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

I voted to remain not because I was in favour of the direction of travel in the EU but because I had no faith that the political class in the UK would actually be able and willing to take advantage of any freedoms they might gain. The whole process of reducing immigration has proceeded at a glacial pace because important sectors want immigration and there is no appetite to make hard work attractive and rewarding for the native population. The state employed class continues to expand.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Yep. Symptomatic of the contradictions within right wing thinking and Brexit advocates. They didn’t all want the same thing, but didn’t want to share that because their electoral constituency would have abreacted. Red wall vs Smaller state always going to unravel at some point.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

But Jeremy, immigration has NOT proceeded at a glacial pace. within the last 12 months alone its speeded jup dramatically, from approx 250k net – to last year twice that.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Yep. Symptomatic of the contradictions within right wing thinking and Brexit advocates. They didn’t all want the same thing, but didn’t want to share that because their electoral constituency would have abreacted. Red wall vs Smaller state always going to unravel at some point.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

But Jeremy, immigration has NOT proceeded at a glacial pace. within the last 12 months alone its speeded jup dramatically, from approx 250k net – to last year twice that.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

I voted to remain not because I was in favour of the direction of travel in the EU but because I had no faith that the political class in the UK would actually be able and willing to take advantage of any freedoms they might gain. The whole process of reducing immigration has proceeded at a glacial pace because important sectors want immigration and there is no appetite to make hard work attractive and rewarding for the native population. The state employed class continues to expand.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

“‘The problem with Boston,’ Anton says, is not that people from the EU have come to live here, but that there is no infrastructure to support them.”
This is like saying the problem in a plane crash wasn’t that the plane fell out of the sky, but that nobody built an airport under it.
This isn’t about Brexit; it’s about continued unrestrained immigration. We cannot solve international poverty by evacuating the Third World to the West.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

“‘The problem with Boston,’ Anton says, is not that people from the EU have come to live here, but that there is no infrastructure to support them.”
This is like saying the problem in a plane crash wasn’t that the plane fell out of the sky, but that nobody built an airport under it.
This isn’t about Brexit; it’s about continued unrestrained immigration. We cannot solve international poverty by evacuating the Third World to the West.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

“Today, it is the locals who feel their town has turned against them — and many have given up on trying to win it back”
Well, they tried their political solution. Expect an extremist resurgence in places like this when the democratic, ballot box path fails in such a visible manner. Then the New York Times might a truly have something to whine about.

Anthony L
Anthony L
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

The people in these towns are old or vulnerable. The young and ambitious who have the energy to turn to extremism are all gone. Only those who have no choice but to stay have remained.

Anthony L
Anthony L
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

The people in these towns are old or vulnerable. The young and ambitious who have the energy to turn to extremism are all gone. Only those who have no choice but to stay have remained.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

“Today, it is the locals who feel their town has turned against them — and many have given up on trying to win it back”
Well, they tried their political solution. Expect an extremist resurgence in places like this when the democratic, ballot box path fails in such a visible manner. Then the New York Times might a truly have something to whine about.

Ben P
Ben P
1 year ago

How is rising crime Brexit’s fault? The point here surely is that people feel let down because the promises made on behalf of Brexit (lower immigration, lower rates of crime), have not been kept.
If this is a Remainer article I’m struggling to see how any of this would be improved by re-joining the EU.
Another tedious article by another journalist who lives and works in London.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben P

I don’t think you need to be an immediate ‘Rejoiner’ to think Brexit has not delivered and quite probably made things worse for a place like Boston. We won’t be rejoining anytime soon, so we have to make the best of the situation.
But the first step to crawling out of a hole is recognition alot of Brexit promises were misleading.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben P

correct!

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben P

I don’t think you need to be an immediate ‘Rejoiner’ to think Brexit has not delivered and quite probably made things worse for a place like Boston. We won’t be rejoining anytime soon, so we have to make the best of the situation.
But the first step to crawling out of a hole is recognition alot of Brexit promises were misleading.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben P

correct!

Ben P
Ben P
1 year ago

How is rising crime Brexit’s fault? The point here surely is that people feel let down because the promises made on behalf of Brexit (lower immigration, lower rates of crime), have not been kept.
If this is a Remainer article I’m struggling to see how any of this would be improved by re-joining the EU.
Another tedious article by another journalist who lives and works in London.

Peter James
Peter James
1 year ago

Brexit or not, immigration or not; isn’t it the job of the police to maintain order and safety in places like this?

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter James

Who are they?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter James

I don’t think police numbers are even back to where they were before Theresa May thought it would be funny to cut them by 30,000. And that’s against the backdrop of a larger population.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter James

Who are they?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter James

I don’t think police numbers are even back to where they were before Theresa May thought it would be funny to cut them by 30,000. And that’s against the backdrop of a larger population.

Peter James
Peter James
1 year ago