The Honda car factory in Swindon is making 800 workers redundant. This would be bad enough in an average or buoyant economy but in the present prolonged recession it is a calamity for the whole town. Inevitably other businesses will be hit by the knock-on effect and 800 families will suffer.
The management of Honda is blunt in putting the blame on the slump in the euro-zone. The factory depends on demand for Honda cars from buyers in France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Portugal, but throughout those Euro-zone countries a policy of strict austerity is being imposed. Cuts in spending, cuts in pay, cuts in pensions, higher taxes, all with one aim, to save the single currency. It is a chilly economic wind coming from the euro-zone that is hitting Swindon. So much for the promises about the EU bringing us prosperity. The Swindon management does not expect to see any recovery in the euro-zone for the next three years.
"Honda does not expect growth in the European market for another three to four years, Honda Europe's executive vice president Ken Keir has said."
And what about after that? Can he give a firm prediction that things will look up even in the long term? He is too wise and cautious to do that.
There is a lot of misery in the Euro-zone. Mass unemployment and higher tax bills leave people cold and homeless, and queues for food banks are getting longer. Health services are in breakdown and many public buildings even schools, cannot afford to keep their heating on. No wonder there are marches, protests, even riots. (None of this is made up by the Daily Mail.)
Meanwhile life is great for the fat cats of the EU bureaucracy. A top administrator, or "haute fonctionnaire", in charge of a team of clerks can earn £100,000 per year and even their pensions are £6,000 per month. Guaranteed, inflation-proofed. All paid by you and me.
A rather strange commentator on BBC recently claimed that if we leave the EU, Spain would eject 400,000 British people who are living there. If they did, the Spanish would just be cutting their own throats. Spain is desperate for the business that these ex-pats, almost all of them well-heeled retired people, give them. By retiring to Spain and buying properties there they put money into the Spanish economy and create jobs. They spend their pensions and savings in Spanish shops and hire Spanish golfing instructors. Some of them have had their ownership rights retracted, and if they come back here to the UK, they will be spending their pensions in our shops instead. It's an ill wind.