John Harris

Journalist & Author

Leavers complain, but they’ve shared the benefits of cheap EU labour | John Harris

Our consumerist way of life depends on a flow of workers who’ll do the jobs we won’t. If they go, Brexiters will feel the pain too

The idea that Peterborough feels like the future may seem unlikely. But it’s true: this bustling city with a population of 190,000 really does feel as if it’s on the social and economic cutting edge.

Brand new housing developments extend into the distance, as does rush-hour traffic. On its southern edgelands is Kingston Park, a surreal clump of vast warehouses and distribution sheds that includes an unbelievably large Amazon “fulfilment centre”, and one empty newly built structure, seemingly waiting for another multinational to fill it. Throughout the day, walkways and roads nearby are smattered with people in hi-vis jackets, living the zero-hours life, and trying to make the best of it.

Try coming up with a model of consumerism that avoids huge seasonal fluctuations

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