Opinion: ‘Protectionism’ on a national Brexit level or on streets of Crouch End will not end well

Crouch End campaigner Sue Hessel is worried about the impact Brexit will have on medicines.

Crouch End campaigner Sue Hessel is worried about the impact Brexit will have on medicines. - Credit: Archant

How do you make an Eton Mess? It may sound like a bad joke, but the toxic ingredients of Brexit, created by Cameron, peppered by Rees-Mogg and baked by fellow Etonian schoolboy Boris, are still only being revealed to us.

That it has already cost the British economy £66billion just makes me cry. How many hospitals, day centres and services for the vulnerable could we have bought with that? And that's before we leave.

It's not just the anticipated food poverty, but the danger to our medicine supply that makes even the rhetoric of a No Deal an extraordinary risk. Eating corned beef and tinned tomatoes for a few months isn't going to kill us - but lack of medicine can.

According to The Lancet, (October 5, 2019) about three quarters of medicines administered in the UK enter from the EU. Many with mental health conditions depend on long-term medication.

My worry is for my brain damaged sister. It has taken skill and years of "trial and error" to find the right psychiatric drugs to keep her safe and well. A prescription change due to a supply block could be catastrophic, both for vulnerable people, whose behaviours could become out of control, and those who care for them. We are being exhorted to "prepare for Brexit" but will only know which medicines are at risk when it is too late.

And so from an Eton Mess to a Crouch End Mess: for the last fortnight Haringey's "Liveability" project has erected massive concrete road blocks to traffic in two central streets, Middle Lane and Weston Park (Ham&High Broadway, October 10, 2019). But having claimed it would reduce pollution, it created the exact opposite!

Crouch End became cut off from Muswell Hill as Park Road, the only remaining route, quickly became gridlocked. Buses and emergency vehicles were stuck; cars sat with idling engines (far more polluting than moving ones). By the third day some cars were taking longer journeys - seeking new routes and roaring down previously quiet residential roads, often with schools on them like Haslemere Road, it was really dangerous.

Most Read

Liveability is driven by a forceful able-bodied cyclist lobby, with an agenda to block off more main roads in Crouch End. But whilst they can whizz through, they do not understand the needs of those who cannot walk far and need a lift, or other housebound people.

I went to their workshops as a carer representative, we suggested they spent their £6m public grant on better bus routes, for instance to Highgate and the Royal Free Hospital, but were told it was not an option.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, those living outside Crouch End were also furious: "This trial is causing gridlock around Hornsey High Street, Tottenham Lane and elsewhere", fumed a Hornsey resident on Harringay Online. "So the residents in their million-plus houses in and around Crouch End can have a better environment. What about those who live in the surrounding areas?"

It reminded me of the early CPZ days. For the benefit of those residents who enjoyed a residents' only parking zone, the rest of us had to suffer double the parking. Schemes can sound fine until everyone else experiences the consequences.

There is always a knock-on effect for our neighbours when we impose protectionism. Just like Brexit, really.