A customs union is no better than a hard Brexit, and it’s a delusion that peace will break out if MPs are lured into the trap
“Believe in Britain”, say leavers’ posters outside parliament. What sort of belief, as things fall apart? While Brexit voting consumed Westminster last Friday, another austerity tragedy slipped by unnoticed. In Hastings the doors shut for the last time on a day centre that was life support, comfort and company for 60 old people. I met Rose, Mary and Sal, who had sat together for years, and were now to be separated. Some of those ejected from the Isabel Blackman Centre will stay home alone. Some will soon go to expensive residential care, in the absence of the centre’s daily respite for their partners. Expect many to be in A&E more often, along with others of the 1.8 million older people denied care. Some 54,000 older people died waiting for a care package last year, according to Age UK. In East Sussex seven local care centres have shut. The council is near bankrupt, due to cuts. As the Isabel Blackman Centre shut, the new minister for loneliness, Tracey Crouch, was not there to say goodbye to Rose, Mary and Sal.
I left to catch the train back for the next episode of the Westminster psycho-drama, to see the MPs consumed by the furies, ambitions and panics of another Brexit vote. These things are linked. “Believe in Britain”? The real patriotic cause is to save us all from Brexit, from the damage any variety of Brexit will do, as the grip of austerity inevitably tightens following departure. Closing day centres wasn’t on the side of that notorious leave bus, of course.