On Monday night rumours were swirling on social media that Nissan’s car manufacturing plant in Sunderland, which employees 7,000 people, was to close. The source of the stories was apparently an anonymous manager at the Japanese carmaker who apparently told Germany’s leading autotrade journal, Automobilwoche, that: “Nissan plans to close its Sunderland plant… A decision has been made and it’s not favourable to the UK.”
Twitter went into overdrive, with some observers reporting with glee that Sunderland – where people overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU – was getting its just deserts. For many Remainers, the supposed remarks of an anonymous German source was seen as proof they had been right all along, not only about Brexit but also about dire irresponsibility of Johnson’s arch-Brexit government. For an unpleasant and vocal minority, the news of so many job losses was an occasion to celebrate and petty point scoring, a comeuppance for Sunderland voters’ who were so dim as to vote to leave the European Union. It was a moment of unseemly schadenfreude.