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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Brexit looms

The continuing outpouring of doomladen pronouncements from the walk on cast of yesterday's politicians suggests just a whiff of panic amid those urging Britain remains beholden to Brussels godfathers - aka the European Commission. Unable to capture any real enthusiasm for the European Union per se - the 'Remain' side in this Referendum are left only with enormous buckets of cold water to throw over this country's belief in itself and its people.

A chorus line of old familiar faces - Blair, Brown, Major, Heseltine, Mandelson and so on have been hastily drafted on stage to buttress a now tired mantra of the Prime Minister and Chancellor that we are all doomed if Britain leaves the EU : cast out into the wilderness by our European neighbours and placed beyond the pale. All the makings of a great television drama series are in place. One can almost imagine producers and scriptwriters having to tear themselves away from the Westminster soap opera sifting through the current BHS debacle to plausibly plot a series on how and why the British said no to the 'establishment' with a simple 'x' marks the end of adherence to the Junckers of this world.

However the Plebiscite (sorry - Referendum) over whether we want to remain ruled over by a cabal of politicians from Berlin to Paris and their courtiers in locales such as Frankfurt, Strasbourg and Brussels - is too close to call as we edge towards the 23rd June. Just like the Scottish Referendum we can expect all manner of manipulation and string pulling from Whitehall and Downing Street by backroom puppeteers who avoid the tv studios and press (and daylight). Only today the President of the European Council of Ministers, a Mr Tusk from Poland, proclaimed that Britain's withdrawal from the EU would lead not only to the collapse of this august organisation, but the fall of civilisation as we know it..... It doesn't get more epic than this - oh and house prices may well fall. Fiction has nothing on this saga.

What encourages my personal view on this weighty matter, and it is only my view here; is that there is a clear uplift in the tone and character of the lead voices appealing to our instinctive (and better) judgement - to say no thank you EU. Much like the European footballing circus being played out over the next next two weeks - we will all be heartily glad to be rid of seeing George Osborne clad in a hi viz outfit pretending to lay bricks or doing something else useful with his hands. No longer will we have to put up with the sight and sounds of a British Prime Minister telling us we are incapable of managing our own affairs as a sovereign nation. Not since Neville Chamberlain arrived back from Munich with a patently threadbare promise have we had to endure a litany of platitudes aimed at stroking the national pysche with false hopes. In the background the boys in blue are sifting through the entrails of Parliamentary elections in South Thanet and a host of other constituencies seemingly the subject of overspend and overkill by a Conservative Party intent on getting their man elected (and damn the Electoral Commission). No doubt due diligence on the part of several police forces and the CPS will run and run (possibly into the log grass after June 24th) - but the smell will remain of potential fraudulent practises extending to many Tory 'wins' in selected marginal constituencies.

This has wended a long way from transport but I remain hopeful that a Brexit decision by the British voter - will lead to the resurgence of engineering and manufacturing strengths in this country, freed from the uneven playing field of EU control. Perhaps then tram design and development could re-emerge in Preston and Derby with entrepreneural UK companies; and more importantly their employees benefitting from the taxpayer subsidised spend on brand new trams. Instead of German and Spanish hauliers lugging multi million pound trams to Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Croydon (and Blackpool) from across the Continent of Europe; we could see far shorter routes taken by British logistic firms delivering UK built trams - finally.

British engineering in action ! Not quite fit for duty on modern tramlines - but a nod to talent and skills in Blackpool Beamish and Blackburn.

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