The approaching meltdown

The recent temperatures have been added to by the increasing fractiousness of the EU/UK negotiations which have in large part been caused by the ever increasing “it’s all the EU’s fault” rhetoric coming from pro-Brexit politicians and UK government ministers.

Indeed it seems that some UK politicians and government minister revel in trying to increase the discord in the negotiations in order to justify their position that the UK is right to leave the EU in the face of inflexible EU rules and policies – rules and policies that the UK has played a major role in drawing up.

Let us not forget that the Single Market was devised and driven by the UK in order to provide friction-free trade across the EU.

The upshot of all this defensive rhetoric from the UK is that a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely.

The impact of this will be that the number of UK citizens who are represented by the “Millions in the Margins” will increase substantially as there will be no protection for UK citizens who have made life choices by exercising their fundamental EU citizenship rights.

Jane Golding, chair of British in Europe, an alliance of some of the groups of UK expatriates living in EU 27 countries, wrote yesterday in the Guardian about how Brexit will ruin the lives of British nationals living in EU27 countries.

However, the ruination of British nationals’ lives extends far beyond the lives of British nationals living in EU27 countries.

The initial advice provided by our legal team on the “Millions in the Margins” highlights the fact that the effect on British expatriates in EU27 countries is only the tip of the iceberg.

The flawed draft withdrawal agreement only provides partial protections for British nationals resident, working or studying in EU27 countries, it does not provide equivalent rights or protections for the rights that British nationals currently enjoy.

It provides NO protection at all for the millions of other British nationals who have made life choices based on their fundamental EU citizenship rights.

The draft agreement also discriminates between groups of individuals based on their nationality and/or residence – people in equivalent situations are not afforded equivalent rights and protections.

Without a doubt British nationals who have exercised fundamental EU citizenship rights come out of this very badly compared to EU27 citizens resident in the UK. The blame for this has to be shared by both the UK government and the EU Commission.

The EU commission has gone back on its stated aims to protect all EU citizens to an incredible degree, even refusing to allow British nationals in EU27 countries continued freedom of movement.

Here at the People’s Challenge we now have two directions to travel in terms of work to be done:

first, we need to develop the initial advice as an accessible briefing document to get out to politicians and people in general as we head towards the big decisions this autumn;

second, we have to develop this initial advice in order to cater for the extended and catastrophic effects of all British nationals being left in the margins of a non-agreement.

We hope that one of the national organisations will step up and pull together a common strategy, particularly given the evident shift in public opinion. – a shift that is significant but still far from decisive.

As always we will be sharing the information and advice we develop with other groups in the hope and expectation that this will help generate co-operation and will prove the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

We are slightly over half way to our £35,000 stretch target which represents what we need to raise to complete this work – once again we ask you to help raise further funds so that we can continue this work.

As an aside, you may know that another legal challenge is being mounted in the UK courts challenging the constitutionality of Parliament authorising the Article 50 notification.

This is the fifth one, the other four were not even given permission to proceed. Even if this latest one is given permission to proceed it won’t, of itself, stop Brexit.

As we have highlighted in previous posts it is arguable that under the UK’s constitution, Parliament cannot make a decision on leaving the EU until it has a clear understanding of what the alternative to EU membership is.

The deception of the Leave campaign with regard to its spending during the referendum needs to be brought out into the open and those responsible should be held to account. But that is a separate issue and is no silver bullet for stopping Brexit.


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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

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