Why? Because in our ‘deeply divided’ post-Brexit Britain all the foreign workers will have been sent home. Combine harvesters will be left where they stand, in the middle of vast, empty fields. Tractors will fall silent. Britain’s fields will become ghostly places.
And if they do? What then? Whatever will we do without our army of EU migrant workers?
Here’s just one solution:
Instead of ensuring that 50% of 18-20 year olds end up on the ubiquitous ‘Media’ course at the university of broken promises where they can accumulate a hefty £30,000 debt that will haunt them throughout their working lives, and from which they will emerge clutching their ‘meeja’ degree along with hundreds of thousands of others, how about they go out and get real jobs, the type where they have to get their little hands dirty?
Genius eh? Young people doing physically demanding jobs. Pretty radical I think you’ll agree.
Oh I know, working in a field or a factory is not quite as much fun as messing around in the ‘media’ building with its state-of-the-art equipment, nor is it quite as much fun as larking around the university Dance & Drama department, but nor is having £30,000 worth of debt hanging around your neck - especially when you realise that thanks to academic inflation your degree is hardly worth the paper it’s written on.
The simple fact of the matter is that the UK university sector has become a business, a very big business; yesterday’s students are today’s customers. Universities are now compelled to ‘sell’ themselves, to ‘compete’ against rival institutions, and above all, to consider the bottom line.
So what has this got to do with turnips I hear you say?
Very simply, the bright-eyed and bushy tailed students currently being lured to study such exotic courses as ‘Football Administration’ ‘Motor Sport Management’ ‘Contemporary Dance’ ‘David Beckham studies’ and ‘Television Production’ (not forgetting the ubiquitous ‘Media Studies’) are precisely the same students who thirty years ago would have been out there in the fields and factories of the UK.
Nothing wrong with upward mobility – far from it. Speaking as someone who started off with nothing and climbed the university hierarchy himself, I can vouch for that.
A simple glance however at the post-university fate of a majority of these students tells its own tale: debt and unemployment. Put very simply there is a massive over supply of university graduates competing for a finite number of graduate jobs. Supply and demand. It really is that simple.
So, back to the fields and farms of Lincolnshire.
Those in the pro-Remain camp are predicting very bad things should Theresa May finally deliver Brexit. It’s not only carrots and turnips. What about cabbage? Moreover, what about strawberries?
I’ll wager that the vast majority of those predicting this root vegetable catastrophe have never had the pleasure of actually working on one of these farms that produce our tasty turnips. If Polly Toynbee or Nick Clegg had spent some time on one of these farms (heaven forbid!) they might not be beating the drum for migrant labour quite as hard as they do.
Allow me to explain why: Mockbeggar Farm.
When my wife and I arrived at said farm it all seemed rather idyllic; picking strawberries in the glorious English countryside, devouring a thick-wedged ploughman’s lunchtime sandwich washed down with a sparkling glass of cider under the warm, May sunshine. Ah, pastoral, timeless….
But Enid Blyton this definitely was not.
By 5.30 in the morning as daylight broke an army of workers were shuffling towards the fields, eyes heavy with sleep. Apocalyptic, it could have been the opening scene from Zombie Dawn of the Dead as, automatons one and all, we made our way over to a field three times the size of a football pitch along which ran hundreds of strawberry trenches.
Still yawning, we set to work, our bodies refusing to thaw in the cold morning dew. Until the sun rose we shivered, some of us violently so.
Actually doing the job was simplicity itself, at least in theory: picking strawberries from the plants. Piece of cake.
In reality it was anything but. In order to pick with any kind of efficiency compelled the picker to remain in a permanently crouched position removing the necessity to stand up as one moved from one plant to the next. After a few minutes moving in this manner, crab-like along the trench, my back, arms and legs were crying out for respite.
Much to our supervisor’s annoyance, I stood up. I couldn’t help it. I scanned the field.
In the main workers were young – below 30. More used to the unnatural crouching position than others, the older hands were already making swift progress up their trenches leaving newbies like my wife and I well behind.
Poland, India, Pakistan, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia… a United Nations of strawberry pickers working in harmony in an English country field. Utopia! Well, not quite...
Back-breaking. No other word for it. When my wife and I had, in a moment of madness, decided to have a go at picking strawberries we could never have imagined just how physically demanding this job would be.
It was quite a shock also to receive our daily pay - £25 for almost eight hours work – about £3 an hour. What about the minimum wage? What about it? My wife and I were flabbergasted, but we were alone.
The other workers accepted their wages (cash in hand of course) without even a murmur of protest. When I queried my pay, the supervisor mumbled
something about ‘piece-work,’ and was I aware that the majority of my (foreign) colleagues considered £25 a good wage?
There’s nothing better than a complaint workforce.
But worse was to follow – much worse.
As the farm was situated in an isolated part of the Kent countryside, the majority of workers lived on site in a fleet of static caravans, which were shared by four, five and even six workers. When I say this accommodation was basic, I mean basic; no toilet, sink, shower or wash facilities. The ‘guest’ workers were effectively living in dormitories, dingy dorms at that.
Toilet and shower facilities were located in a ‘block’ which itself was situated a hundred yards from the caravans. Remarkable how human hygiene can become so… base in such a short time. With no designated cleaners the state of the toilet and showers can readily be guessed at, as can the smell.
Next door was a kitchen shared between the site’s 100 or so resident workers. It was not a pretty place. Let’s just say squalid does not even start to describe conditions inside that place; discarded pots, pans and plates floating in a greasy brown froth.
My wife and I stayed a couple of days at the farm – we could bear it no longer, the dirt, the squalor and above all the misery resulting from exploitation on an industrial scale.
While my wife and I could up sticks and leave this nightmarish episode behind, the other EU workers had no such luxury. They were stuck there, condemned to wade through the filthy shower block, condemned to cook a meal in the hectic, filthy kitchen and, at the end of each back-breaking day, attempt to find some sort of privacy and relaxation amid this chaos.
It’s not only Britain’s agriculture industry spawning a whole new underclass, where foreign workers are dehumanised in this way. Go to our inner cities and the scenario is just as depressing where EU workers find themselves exploited in the leisure, retail and food/beverage sectors.
But hey, they’re only foreigners, right?
Interestingly Remain voters - a high proportion of whom are made up of those awfully nice Left-wing Labour types - do not seem to have the slightest concern as to how hundreds of thousands of migrants actually live; don't seem to give a fig about such trifling matters as sub-standard housing, over-crowding and the actual quality of life of migrants let alone worry about darker issues such as coercion, bullying and various forms of enslavement.
Just as long as you get your cheap fruit n' veg, right Remainers?
So, the next time you hear a pro-Remain fanatic mouthing off about how wonderful that EU migrants fill our fields and pick our vegetables just ask yourself this question:
Would you work for £25 day and live in squalor to boot?
Of course you wouldn’t. And they know it too, the politicians, the bureaucrats and the farmers. Easier to label British people as ‘work-shy’ or ‘lazy.’ Easier to sell them dreams of media and artistic fame for a tidy £30k.
If that's not something to be proud of then I don't know what is: infantilising a generation of Brits while simultaneously ripping off Johnny Foreigner.
That’s why they like to ship in people from poor, eastern European countries, because at the end of the day it's much easier to bang the migrant labour drum while ignoring the filth, the squalor and the exploitation that enables it.
I mean what's more important Remainers, cheap turnips and carrots or human beings?