Sympathy for Tim Martin is at a premium. The curiously coiffed arch-Brexiteer suddenly pleading for EU worker’s rights has been one of the less expected headlines of recent times.
Martin is the founder and chairman of Wetherspoons, a chain of over 870 pubs across the UK. Until lockdown, they employed over 40,000 people. Martin was a very vocal advocate for Brexit. He used the in-house marketing material of Wetherspoons to make the case. He made a Brexit tour of Britain calling in to talk to punters in his pubs. He spoke about the massive financial gains to come across any media outlet that would have him.
Now, he has appeared to make an astonishing reverse. Martin told the Daily Telegraph of recruitment problems post-lockdown and suggested an easing of restrictions to allow easier access to EU staff. The Wetherspoon’s share price dipped. So, Martin did a quick shuffle and said he’d been misrepresented.
Regardless, schadenfreude rang out.
Tim Martin calls for more EU migration to staff bars, after Brexit causes 90% downturn in irony and self-awareness.
— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) June 2, 2021
The curious thing is that on the surface a need for staff at present, as many people are coming out of lockdown and looking at furlough payments ending, is surely a good thing. For a year at The Big Issue we have been advocating the Ride Out Recession Alliance, a means of keeping people in work and in homes. We want to avoid a massive surge in homelessness, a surge that would throw tens of thousands of people and families into destitution, hammering them now and for a generation to come.