There are various ways of tackling the employment practices I witnessed: we could ban zero-hours contracts and 15-minute care visits, abolish draconian anti-trade union laws, and enforce existing legislation more effectively. I regularly encountered workers being paid less than the minimum wage. Increasing the social housing stock would mean fewer holes in the social safety net for those moving in and out of work, whereas stronger rights for agency workers would go some way to abolishing what is in effect a two-tier workforce.
But the indignity of modern low-paid work will not be fixed by a list of policy prescriptions. There’s a deeper problem: our attitudes towards low-paid work and the people who do it. What I saw is the product of a consumption-driven society with unrealistic expectations: of a consumer class bossing another class around. If we believe everyone has the right to live a decent life, with dignified work, something more fundamental needs to change.
There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:
1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?