Taking back control of our borders. Unless you’re a city fat cat.
There are over three million EU citizens living and working in the UK who are concerned about their future right to remain in the UK. Many Brits currently living and working in the rest of the EU have the same concerns about their own future. Organisations like the TUC and the CBI, along with individuals from across the political spectrum, support the right to remain, but the May Government says either that these human beings will be bargained off against each other like traded meat, or maintains that nothing is decided unless everything is decided – hence the Prime Minister’s instruction to her Cabinet to stop giving a running commentary on the preparations for Brexit.
But none of this applies, it seems, to city fat cats.
At the same time as newspapers were reporting the ‘running commentary’ ban, they were also reporting that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told a Lords Committee that top bankers would still be able to benefit from the free movement that is to be denied everyone else. Citing Japanese businesses (who actually argued the case for skilled engineers and unskilled manufacturing workers rather than banks, but never mind), Philip Hammond said that bankers would be a special case.
Several have suggested that this is just the Animal Farm slogan (“all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”) put into practice. If so, it’s a cruel joke on the 144,000 heath and care workers from other EU states who are now being represented by the new Cavendish Coalition, and the hundreds of thousands of Brits abroad whose interests are being ignored by the government.
Even under a point-based migration system – dismissed by the Prime Minister last week – it’s not clear that these top bankers would be allowed to stay in the UK. Lord Adair Turner, remember, called their jobs “socially useless” (and later amended it to “economically useless” too!)
But in Mr Hammond’s shining City on the hill, money will clearly buy access, regardless of the anti-establishment mood that secured a Leave victory on 23 June.