Bookies,Brexit & the boogie-man

After the 2014 provincial election here in B.C., polls were pilloried due to their inability to pick the winner.  When it comes to Brexit, it was about the same for polls in Britain — the “remain” side was supposed to win.  

And as far as that vote went, pity the poor bookies — some were offering odds at 80 percent against the exit.  Is the world economy now on the precipice of collapse because of the results?  That was the message of some of those supporting the “remain” side.

The world’s stock markets have reacted as predicted.  Even stranger (to me, at least) was a pundit’s comment the day of the vote about how the economy follows the markets.  Huh?  I thought it was supposed to be the other way ’round.  So either we have entered Wonderland, or perhaps we have entered Wonderland.  There is no other explanation.

The reality of privilege, “the establishment” and class separation has existed since the beginning to time.  Yet since about the 1960s, here in Canada, in the U.S., and to the best of my knowledge in Europe, the ability of those with money being able to use those without as essential serfs has been finessed.  And I say that knowing that any of us living in those above-mentioned countries have won the lottery just by being here.

Yet look at the people many of us know.  They get up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, have a long commute to work, put in the heavy hours that, say, a construction or mining or forestry or cleaning job requires, and do the same the next day.  And the next.  And they are said to be glad of having that job.  After thirty years, they may be able to retire in relative comfort.  Or not.

And those who call the shots, those who have the money to lend the countries, provinces, states, and municipalities have less need to put in the hard 10 and 12 and 14-hour days.  

“Establishment” should not have to be a pejorative.  But Britain’s vote is said to be a vote against the “establishment”.  Is establishment support of immigration part of the reason?  Watching television coverage, I was surprised — and I realize I should not have been — at the number of young people (millennials?) in the “exit” camp.  Is their vote linked to reports that wages are dropping due to the availability of less expensive immigrant labour?

Is it possible those in “the establishment” who are in support of immigration are not necessarily doing so for altruistic reasons?  Is it also possible that Brits who are willing to put in the 10 and 12 and 14-hour days want remuneration to match their efforts?  I realize there is no definitive answer to my questions.  And even in the months-long debriefing to come, any real answer is unlikely to surface.

Could Britain’s “establishment” have done better?  We know that in the U.S., while banks and car companies were “saved”, many home owners were not.   

I started this comment referencing B.C., so I will close with our province as well.  Questionable decisions playing out here will ultimately affect our future as well.  An example: those who decided to construct the Port Mann as the “widest bridge in the world” are not the ones paying for this year’s estimated $70 million deficit in operating costs.  Instead, the folk who work the 10 and 12 and 14-hour days are on the hook for those costs — as they will be for the costs of the Massey Bridge.

Along with Britain, the U.S., Europe, and everywhere else where common sense is often ignored, Canada and B.C. must do better as well.  

To leave the reader on a more upbeat note however, my opinion is that Britain in particular — and the world in general — will survive this vote.   –  Regina Dalton

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