Boris on Brexit

We are now seeing the impact of Brexit – it is time for an apology from all the people who dismissed us as ‘Remoaners’

We watch as businesses and lives are being ruined by Brexit – and yet not a single apology from those who championed the cause

Femi Oluwole@Femi_Sorry
Tuesday 02 March 2021 13:53

We are starting to see British businesses crumble as a result of Brexit. Now I want an apology from Piers Morgan, from Nick Ferrari, from Julia Hartley-Brewer, from Andrew Pierce and from every journalist and politician who called people “Remoaners” for questioning Brexit over the past four years.

For it was they who made a joke out of the suffering people are now experiencing. Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps even shared a giggle when asked about the deal in December.

I don’t want them to apologise to me. Brexit was never going to hurt me. During the four years I campaigned to stop it, I was never speaking for myself. I was speaking for people who did not have a platform like mine. The fisheries workers who drove their lorries to Westminster because Brexit red tape was crippling their exports; the small businesses which simply cannot afford the extra bureaucracy and tariffs; the people in Northern Ireland seeing scarily familiar tensions bubble to the surface.

These people did not have hundreds of thousands of social media followers. They didn’t have radio stations, TV panel shows, or columns in national newspapers. Their views could only be amplified through other people’s voices.

And how did Brexiteer journalists and politicians respond to those voices? They called us “Remoaners”, “Remainiacs” and “sore losers”. They spent four years using their platforms to ridicule and degrade us as we desperately advocated against the suffering that ordinary people are starting to experience right now. When Morgan and Hartley-Brewer were making fun of me, they were really making fun of them.

I’m talking about Tim Heard, who had been catching shellfish for 50 years but whose income has completely stopped since January. On Saturday, I used my voice on his behalf when speaking to former Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips on Talk Radio. I relayed Heard’s words: “There are people here that have turned to drink because of the strength of this.” Not only did the presenter try to make a joke about it, but Phillips was grinning from ear to ear. So even with the damage now ruining people’s lives, the politicians who told us Brexit would save the fishing industry still think it’s all a game.

The Road Haulage Association noted a 68 per cent drop in exports to the EU since January, and it’s mainly small businesses struggling with the extra costs. So I’d love it if Piers Morgan would apologise to Danny Hodgson for telling me “all Remoaners are demented” in 2019. Danny founded Rivet & Hide, a men’s retailer, and his sales have almost halved since January.

Or maybe Julia Hartley-Brewer could apologise to Emily Blendell (Bluebella, lingerie company) or Richard Staite (Shiner, sporting goods). Hartley-Brewer called Labour MEP Tulip Siddiq an “insane Remoaner” for delaying her C-section to attend a Brexit vote. Siddiq did so to make sure Richard and Emily wouldn’t have to move part of their business across the Channel.

But I doubt we’ll hear any apology from Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, or David Davis, all of whom promised Brexit wouldn’t create any barriers to EU trade and accused those suggesting otherwise of promoting “Project Fear”.

As for Northern Ireland, former Labour MP Kate Hoey accused Labour peer Peter Hain of “scaremongering” for suggesting Brexit would threaten peace. Since January, she has been warning about sectarian violence as a result of Brexit. It would be nice if she could apologise to the people of Northern Ireland.

These politicians and journalists watched millions scream in panic for four years, terrified about the damage we’re only now starting to see. But they went out of their way to insult them on a daily basis.

These big Brexiteers will never show regret, but is a little compassion too much to ask for? They know the majority voted for parties committed to avoiding this in 2019 and they can see businesses and lives being ruined. But I haven’t heard a single sorry – so I’m demanding one now.

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