Brexit Britain: P&O sackings are just the start of UK's journey to become 'Singapore-on-Thames' – Kenny MacAskill MP

The sacking of hardworking and long-serving crew by P&O and their replacement by low-wage and non-unionised labour’s just the start of the journey. For Brexit Britain has reached its first port as it heads for Singapore-on-Thames and there are worst places ahead, so batten down the hatches for stormy waters are coming.

It’s the direction of travel on which the country has been set by the media oligarchs and a motley crew of hedge fund managers and other malcontents who lied and colluded to deliver Brexit. Now we’re seeing where they’re taking us and it’s not sunny uplands but a nasty brutal place.

It wasn’t just what was done but how it was done that was despicable. This was pre-planned as the Tory Government were told, albeit only the day before, but it’s the sort of actions they knew would happen or at very least must have been foreseeable in the new glorious free market empire they sought. It was Rupert Murdoch and Eddie Shah rolled into one – and then some.

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If that’s how P&O treat their staff on ships, how will their principal owner DP World treat those on shore at the Freeport they’re seeking. Freeports which have been trumpeted as a blessing of Brexit, yet P&O staff in Ireland and other European Union ports have been spared the cruelty imposed in Britain.

This is just the thin edge of the wedge as the super-rich seek to create a new low-regulation economy that will be, in reality, a low-pay and low-social-protection society. That’s other than for them, as they’ll make money hand over fist but through other people’s misery.

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P&O Ferries executive sacks staff in video message - watch

And there’s more to come as others will claim they need to follow suit to remain competitive, and all as our society races to the bottom and the welfare state and rights we once cherished and blessed are left far in the distance.

And it won’t stop with the abandonment of those long-held principles and social provisions, as another consequence of Brexit is what we’ll inherit from new trade deals.

P&O Ferries sacked 800 staff and replaced them with low-paid agency workers (Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

So far fears have been focussed on chlorinated chicken from the United States or being swamped by cheap Australian lamb. They’re unpalatable for most of us and the threat to our farmers is severe.

But there’s even worse that could be hidden in below the top-line deals. For pesticides remain a huge threat. Both the USA and Australia have significantly lower standards than the EU ones we still currently operate by.

But looming large on pesticides is India where Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is desperately seeking a deal. They already use pesticides which are entirely unacceptable here and the threat isn’t just in food but in fertilisers.

Tales abound of developing nations rejecting Indian foodstuffs as unacceptable for human consumption. Both farmers and consumers are threatened by what might come, but so is our natural environment where further devastation could be unleashed with a diminution of our standards. What happens to the bees and butterflies then?

Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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