While politicians, economists, representatives of business and industry, and know-it-all commentators argue and pontificate on the pros and cons of EU membership, Brexit, and hard or soft exit deals, do any of them consider and articulate what is in the best interest of people living in these two Brit-Irish Isles?
Are they interested at all in the common good? Or are they fixated in their ideologies, whether leftist, rightist, socialist, capitalist, unionist or nationalist?
People’s basic physical needs are food, clothing, shelter and warmth. Millions of people in these two supposedly wealthy countries are living in poverty. Even if in employment, they cannot afford adequate food, clothing, housing and fuel.
Fifty years ago the average (and even below average) earnings of one breadwinner could support a family. A man would be ashamed if his wife had to go out to work to supplement his earnings. Today, two average incomes are barely adequate.
Fifty years ago a new bungalow could be bought for one year’s good professional salary, say £2,400.
Today, inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index has risen by a factor of almost 18. The cost of a new bungalow should therefore be about £43,000.
The equivalent professional salary today, say £50,000, might pay for the actual building cost of a new bungalow but the selling price of land, whether inherited or deliberately land-banked, and the politically-contrived housing shortage have raised the purchase price of a house to several multiples of the building cost. The average cost of a house in the UK today is £300,000.
This is the legacy of governance by politicians of all shades and ideologies.
If it comes to pass, a catastrophic financial and economic exit from the EU may be the painful but necessary catalyst to creating a socio-economic system focused on the well-being of people, and the environment, natural and built, in which people live.
Dennis Golden, Strabane