This has been a chaotic, febrile week which has managed to unite everyone opposed to the self-serving draft treaty which Theresa May has agreed with the EU.
Not even her former chief negotiator, Dominic Raab, is prepared to back it. In resigning he joins a long and not very distinguished line of Leavers walking away from the realities of the existential crisis the UK faces – one entirely of their own making and one they are not prepared to take any responsibility for.
Not only did Dominic Raab not understand the importance of frictionless mass movement of goods via our Channel ports to the UK’s economy, he apparently did not even understand the content and importance of the agreement the UK and the EU signed up to in December 2017.
In the meanwhile EU politicians hold out the hope that the UK will reverse the decision to leave the EU and resume its place as a key member and policy-maker of the European Union.
There is much uninformed talk about forcing a General Election – has anybody read the Fixed-Term Parliament Act and taken into account the Tory party’s instincts for self-preservation (check what Nicky Morgan, a supposed anti-Brexit Tory, has said)?
A debate in Westminster Hall of an e-petition, campaigning for a judicial review of whether there should be a public inquiry into the Leave campaign or challenging whether the franchise for the advisory referendum was adequate will not change the direction the UK takes in the next few months.
On the other hand other challenges, such as the one led by Andy Wightman MSP, Joanna Cherry MP and others on whether the Article 50 notification is unilaterally revocable, receive scant attention.
This is a blunt and perhaps unpalatable assessment of what is happening at the moment.
The UK and the EU have perpetrated a stunning deception, one worthy of the most practised of dodgy traders or deceivers – EU citizens’ rights, including those of UK citizens, are not being protected.
As John Halford at Bindmans said when we opened our Millions in the Margins campaign, the UK and the EU “have almost pulled off the most ambitious branding exercise ever undertaken in Europe: presenting arrangements that will ultimately strip millions of their existing fundamental rights as generous rights-granting measures for the minority that will benefit in future.”
Both the UK and the EU have discriminated in their treatment of EU citizens, see page 303 of the draft withdrawal treaty.
For these reasons, the agreement is open to challenge for breaches of UK, EU and international law. As has been the case since we joined in the challenge to the government over the Article 50 notification, we will support challenges on this basis wherever we can make a difference.
Dominic Raab may not have understood the importance of the frictionless movement of goods, but the UK is already running out of warehouse space for storing food. Every day, similar “can’t happen” things are happening.
Do not forget that there are two dates on which the many consequences of a No-Deal Brexit could hit the UK, 29th March 2019 AND the end of the transitional period on 31st December 2020.
The transitional arrangement which may or may not have been agreed is only putting off the evil day, it is just kicking the can down the road, an inherent characteristic of Brexit fatalists!
As things stand, the UK is heading for a No-Deal exit, a Blind Brexit where we walk into the darkness, the abyss, without knowing what we face.
It is IMPORTANT that we stop the serious democracy failures we are living with from repeating themselves.
It is URGENT that we persuade our parliamentarians (in both the UK and the EU) to reject the demagogic, authoritarian attack on the social framework built over the past 45 years.
This MUST happen before the projected exit date of 29th March 2019. Facing up to these issues after that date will probably leave us unable to change the path that Theresa May and her Brexit fatalists are forcing us down – a path leading to departure from the EU at any cost.
If we do not deal with the URGENT we may not have a chance to deal with the IMPORTANT.
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There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.
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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.