This post was first published by My London on 12/04/2019.
‘It’s the kids that are going to suffer’ – Croydon gives its verdict on Brexit
Local Democracy Reporter Tara O’Connor hit the streets to ask your opinions.
The one thing that seems to unite most Leavers and Remainers in the Brexit debate is that they are pretty fed up with the whole thing dragging on and on.
That’s exactly what BBC Local Democracy Reporter Tara O’Connor found when she took to the streets of Croydon town centre this week to find out what shop owners and shoppers had to say on the subject.
With fresh developments (or at least news of a frustrating lack of developments) every day and the goalposts constantly changing, most people we spoke to met the word Brexit with a laugh or a sigh.
Leaver David Curry, 65, from South Norwood, is now not sure whether we will actually leave the EU at all.
“No matter what is going on with it I just don’t understand and I think that’s the same for 90% of the people in this country,” he said.
“I’m not sure that we will leave now, it’s an awful mess – how much is it costing for (Theresa) May to go back and forth to Brussels every day.”
Mum Dee Bhatt was shopping with her two children and lives in the north of the borough.
“I definitely think we should have another vote, I voted to stay in and I would vote the same again,” said the 35-year-old.
“MPs have made a right mess of it.”
She added that she didn’t think any of the three Croydon MPs had done enough to help sort out the “huge mess” that is Brexit.
‘I think it will drag on forever’
But 79-year-old Eileen Dickens, from Old Coulsdon, said that she has been against being part of the EU since Britain joined in the 70s.
“I voted leave but I am cynical about it all now.
“I don’t think we will leave, I think it will drag on forever,” she said.
Aoife Robertson was working for a charity in Croydon on the high street.
The 20-year-old was born in England but grew up in Ireland and says that if there was a second referendum she would vote to leave – she was not in the country for the first vote.
“I do believe in Brexit, it is good for this country,” she explained.
“I think it will pull through, especially when we’ve got people like Nigel Farage. He is really standing up for what he believes in, he made the Brexit Party and he is still speaking in European Parliament.
“It is a mess at the moment, I feel like people are so sick of hearing about it, they’re like ‘let’s just leave’.”
‘It’s the kids that are going to suffer most’
Although he is older, Gordon Peacock thinks it will matter less to his generation and said that young people will suffer the most with the outcome of Brexit, whatever that may be.
Mr Peacock, who is in his late 70s, has been coming to the town centre for many years in the holidays running a fairground ride for children.
He said: “It is the kids that are going to suffer not the older generation who voted more for Brexit.
“I think it will be harder for businesses, like getting stuff from Europe and other countries outside of Europe.
“We [Britain] are only small fry but as part of the EU we’re not small fry,
“I think there should be a second referendum but with three options, a hard Brexit, Theresa May’s terms and remain.”
‘It can’t get any worse’
Ronnie Lita runs Prime Linens on North End and says that a drop in the pound after the vote means he has had to spend more on the materials which he imports from Turkey.
But the 30-year-old added: “Brexit should have happened already, it’s taking too long and people don’t know where they stand.
“It has already affected us, because when the pound fell the prices were affected.
“I think it can only get better, it can’t get any worse.”
‘Our prices are shooting up’
But Ahmed Dawar who runs a shop in the Whitgift Centre called Catwalk says he has not seen any negatives since the vote.
As his products come from China he says he has not seen any difference in the prices.
“Parliament is always a game, I don’t really trust them,” added the 31-year-old.
Upstairs in the Whitgift Centre we meet the Delicatas who run the Image framing shop. Both voted to remain.
Denise, 62, said: “I am fed up with it. Our prices are shooting up because the mountings come in from Italy.
“I’ve got no idea what is going to happen at this stage, I voted remain but the more it goes on the more inclined I am to vote out next time.
“They gave the vote to the public which I don’t think they should’ve done because why put it to the general public when they don’t have a clue what they’re voting for.”
While Del, 70, added: “If they got rid of politicians and put business people in charge we would have never got in the state we’re in.”
The clothing shop Urban Junction buys its clothes from America, Italy and Pakistan.
Afif Hussain who looks after the shop for his cousin said the prices to get stock had gone up since the Brexit vote.
The 49-year-old said: “Everything has gone up in price but I think maybe after we leave the EU it will get better.”
What has Croydon Council got to say?
Earlier this month the leader of Croydon Council Tony Newman welcomed a cross-party pledge that the borough “remains open” to everyone regardless of what happens with Brexit.
In response to uncertainty around when and how we will leave the EU Labour and Conservative councillors unanimously backed a motion at a full council meeting on April 1.
The motion agreed to support all EU citizens in Croydon and protect local jobs.
Councillor Newman said: “In these uncertain times caused by Brexit it is more crucial than ever that we stand united as a community, and I am proud that Croydon is open to everyone who lives and works in the borough, wherever you are from.
“Whatever individual councillors’ views on Brexit, this unanimous, cross-party motion sends a strong message that every EU citizen who has made Croydon their home is welcome and valued.”
So it seems there are a wide range of views in Croydon about Brexit, reflecting the huge differences of opinion that have split the UK.
But one consensus can be found and that is people think it’s a complete mess, has been badly handled and has gone on far too long.
Exactly when the government will react to this message is anybody’s guess, but let’s hope it’s soon.