“A few years ago, P&O ferries with names like Spirit of Britain and Pride of Kent were under the UK flag with mostly UK-based crew on an average salary of £36,000 a year. Now they are under the flags of Bermuda, Bahamas and Cyprus and are set to be crewed by agency staff paid an average of £5.50 an hour, well below the UK minimum wage. When presented with these facts in parliament last week, transport minister Grant Shapps seemed at first to somewhat miss the point. “I will be calling on P&O to change the name of the ships,” he assured MPs. For the government’s critics, the real point was that P&O’s decision to sack almost 800 staff had given the lie to the narrative that Britain was “taking back control” after Brexit to create a “high wage economy” where workers were not undercut by low-paid migrants. In truth, what happened with P&O doesn’t tell us much about the pros and cons of leaving the EU. But it does demonstrate that Brexit was no substitute for what is really required to improve the lot of Britain’s workers: the closure of legal loopholes and the adequate enforcement of employment laws already on the books.”