“If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

Ironically the title is a quote from David Davis back in 2012.

Now David Davis’s Dept for Exiting the European Union is saying “There can be no attempts to remain inside the EU and no attempt to rejoin it.”

By David Davis’s own measure the DExEU is now trying to stifle democracy in the UK.

We have known for some time that legal opinion says that the decision to trigger Article 50 is revocable both under the UK constitution and the EU Treaties. We commissioned and published the opinion from “The Three Knights” back in February this year.

Does the government have equally credible and powerful opinion either supporting or contradicting “The Three Knights”?

Perhaps we will know shortly as Jessica Simor QC from Matrix Chambers has submitted a Freedom of Information request to Theresa May asking her to release the advice she has received. According to Sunday’s Guardian Jessica Simor has been told by “two good sources”:

“that the article 50 notification can be withdrawn by the UK at any time before 29 March 2019 resulting in the UK remaining in the EU on its current favourable terms.

“Such advice would also accord with the view of Lord Kerr, who was involved in drafting article 50, of Jean-Claude Piris, former director general of the EU council’s legal service, and of Martin Selmayr, a lawyer and head of cabinet to the European commission president.” She says “there is no time to waste” and adds: “It is important that this advice is made available to the British public and their representatives in parliament as soon as possible.”

As Labour MP David Lammy said, again in Sunday’s Guardian, “It is frankly quite absurd that the Department for Exiting the European Union is refusing to publish these studies while ministers go around talking about the repatriation of parliamentary sovereignty and taking back control.”

The People’s Challenge knows about this government’s penchant for secrecy. In the Divisional Court we had to force the disclosure of the “secret arguments” it was proposing to use to defend its intention to use the Royal Prerogative.

The government’s lack of openness and transparency about issues such as the revocability of the Article 50 notification, and the extent to which it seeks to reserve to itself “Henry VIII” powers to bypass Parliamentary Sovereignty, constitute a far bigger threat – a threat that the government seems intent on keeping out of sight below the surface of the so-called debate.

Brexit is only the tip of the iceberg we are being driven towards.

On 17th February last we said:

“On Monday the House of Lords will debate a Bill designed to surrender the Parliamentary sovereignty that was upheld by the Supreme Court only weeks ago. We hope this Opinion will help peers understand that the Bill does not have that effect, Parliament will still be able to deploy its constitutional handbrake at any time during the next two years, and the EU will be bound to respect that. This leaves open the option of withdrawing our Article 50 notice if there is no acceptable deal agreed and Parliament decides that a hard Brexit is not in the national interest. The Three Knights’ Opinion is now the most authoritative view available on Article 50, short of a judgment by the European Union’s own Court of Justice. It brings into sharp focus Parliament’s constitutional role in protecting the national interest and the rights of businesses and millions of citizens, whatever the Government might say and whatever promises it makes about being able to negotiate an agreement with 27 other countries during the next eighteen months.“

8 months on it seems that nothing has changed: the government will not disclose what advice it has about the constitutional position and seems intent on telling our Sovereign Parliament what is, or isn’t, allowed.

We must actively defend the Rule of Law, Parliamentary Sovereignty and People’s Fundamental Rights against those who would sweep them away in the pursuit of some dogmatic, self-serving principle.

The People’s Challenge is prepared to step up to this need, as we have done in the past, and with your continued support we will succeed.

Notes.

Link to the Guardian article – Theresa May under pressure over ‘secret advice’ on halting Brexit

The People’s Challenge Three Knights Opinion – The Three Knights Opinion

The Opinion’s authors are Sir David Edward KCMG PC QC, Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG PC QC, Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG QC (retired) and the QCs that acted for the People’s Challenge Group in Miller vs R, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC.

Sir David Edward QC practised at the Bar in Scotland prior to his appointment as the United Kingdom’s Judge at the European Court of First Instance from 1989-1992 and subsequently Judge of the European Court of Justice from 1992 until 2004. In 2004 he returned to become a part-time judge of the Court of Session in Scotland. He is a Privy Councillor, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford.

Sir Francis Jacobs QC served as the United Kingdom’s Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1988 to 2006, having previously combined an academic career as Professor of European Law at the University of London with practice at the Bar. He is the President of the Centre of European Law at King’s College London and a visiting professor at the College of Europe. He was appointed a Privy Councillor in December 2005 and continues to practice at the Bar.

Sir Jeremy Lever QC is one of the most senior and respected figures in EU and competition law. During his more than fifty years at the Bar he acted in many of the leading cases in the fields of European law, competition law, and regulatory public law, including on behalf of the UK Government, the European Commission and the European Parliament. He is a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Dean of All Souls College, Oxford and in 2003 was knighted for services to European Law.

Posted in 3rd People's Challenge, Article 50 negotiations, Brexit | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Other campaigns and challenges we face

Application for a Judicial Review by Sue Wilson and others.

It is excellent news that the judge reviewing Sue Wilson’s application has laid down some solid markers for a response from the government.

There is still a long way to go and even with expedited proceedings Sue Wilson’s team don’t anticipate a hearing on the facts of the case until October – a crunch month for many reasons.

Whoever wins/loses that hearing will probably appeal the decision to the Appeal/Supreme Court pushing a final decision into the New Year

A judicial review is about determining whether the required process has been followed. It will not change the political direction of travel.

An example is our challenge to the government on whether it was entitled to use archaic “Royal Prerogative” provisions. That was all about ensuring process was followed correctly.

Despite the success of that judicial review, which forced the government to obtain authorisation from the UK’s Parliament to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave the EU, it did not change the course of Brexit.

The need for the political will to change the course the UK is taking.

The reason that our win in the Supreme Court did not alter the course the UK is taking is that there was a. no political will to challenge the referendum decision and b. the major pro-EU political groupings were caught completely “flat-footed” by the Supreme Court decision.

In the end the government proposed and the UK’s Parliament passed a very short Act.

Brexit is a political decision even though it is underpinned by a number of legal processes.

Changing the course that the UK is taking requires that the UK’s Parliament makes a political decision.

A “People’s Vote” will require that the UK’s Parliament legislates for a third referendum and sets the terms and conditions, something that many forget when espousing that “the decision on the final Brexit deal must not rest with a few hundred politicians in Westminster”. It does no good to denigrate the very people who you are reliant on to deliver what you wish for.

Will one of the national campaign groups step up to the mark and be the first to put the “big egos” to one side and unravel the “confused messaging” to take the lead with a clear message and an inclusive stance on how to achieve What is Best for the UK?

Other challenges we face – Entryism in the Conservative party?

This article in yesterday’s Guardian highlights a significant threat that the pro-EU movement faces – Brexit: Tory MPs warn of entryism threat from Leave.EU supporters Leave.eu is asking its members to join local Conservative party associations so as to elect a “true” Brexiter as Tory leader in what they consider to be an inevitable leadership election.

Absent of a credible possibility of a pro-EU government formed from the opposition parties, and that probably wouldn’t happen until 2020 anyway, the prospect of a Tory leader who is not just prepared to accept a hard, no-deal Brexit but would positively work for one is a serious threat to the best interests of the UK.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

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.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

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

Posted in Brexit, Meaningful Vote, The Millions in the Margins, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged ,

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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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

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.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

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

Posted in Brexit, The Millions in the Margins | Tagged ,

The Millions in the Margins – Why we have to look after ourselves

Apart from the usual work of keeping up with the Brexit news (and watching Theresa May’s government apparently falling apart), the past couple of weeks have seen us occupied with reading and analysing the draft Millions in the Margins advice that our legal team has produced.

We are discussing with them various points of clarification and elaboration.

It’s 46 pages-worth of what we pay our legal eagles for, so light reading it is not: we are therefore working on how best to present this information to the various groups of people we need to get it to. Obviously, first and foremost are our supporters, then there are various other groups we co-operate with.

We are building a catalogue of personal situations that are representative of various groupings of UK citizens who in the main part are being ignored in the exit negotiations and will lose all their EU citizenship rights as well as some who will have those citizenship rights severely curtailed.

Some of these situations also show how UK citizens are being discriminated against compared to citizens from EU27 member states.

These situations are based around factual examples of people we have met or worked with since we started campaigning in late 2014.

We also need to address these issues with MPs, MEPs and members of the UK’s assemblies to help illustrate how the fundamental rights of millions of UK citizens are being ignored. Despite what the UK & EU negotiators are saying, the issue of addressing these rights has not been “taken care of”, and there is far from equal and parallel treatment of the various groups of people affected including EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens.

The analysis of the limited protections also shows how the EU have progressively retreated from their position of protecting the rights of EU27 and UK citizens who have made significant life choices on the basis of being EU citizens moving freely around the EU28 to the very much more limited position of protecting the right to reside and to a limited extent work cross-border.

There is no doubt that there are complex situations and issues involved, and many of them, but it’s a question of people’s rights, and deserves attention and analysis, not being dismissed as “question too difficult” as the UK’s and EU’s negotiators have seemingly done so far.

As we said in a previous post, only The People’s Challenge is doing this detailed work covering the impact of the withdrawal agreement on fundamental citizenship rights enjoyed by all UK citizens. As we have previously done we will distribute what we produce to all our supporters and to the many formal and informal groups we work with.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

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.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

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

Posted in Brexit | Tagged

Harry Shindler at the General Court of the EU

French Avocat Julien FOUCHET has set out in an article in La Connexion his thoughts on the case he has taken to the CJEU on behalf of Harry Shindler and 12 others.

According to La Connexion, “Despite Mr FOUCHET having lodged the case a year ago, today’s hearing still focused on preliminaries – having to prove to the judges that the case is worthy of a full hearing of all the arguments because it is founded on real harm done to his clients as a result of the referendum in which they could not take part.”

Getting past this permissions stage is crucial in being able to present the substantive arguments, see our previous blog post.

Avocat FOUCHET says that the judges in this permissions hearing may take until September or October of this year to return a decision on whether the case can proceed.

If that is the case then we have to recognise that by September/October political decisions will be done and dusted.

La Connexion reported Avocat FOUCHET as saying “The president of the court [lead judge] said they will consider three possibilities, that the case is admissible, it is not admissible, or that there will be another hearing that will consider the admissibility and the detailed arguments at the same time.”

There is no guaranteed win/win in any case. The arguments in this case are multi-faceted as we outlined in our blog piece based around the commentary of Aurélien ANTOINE, a Professor of Law at the Jean Monnet University, St Etienne.

First of all the case has to be accepted by the court and we have to wait another 2 or 3 months to find out whether that will happen. The main questions seem to be whether Harry Shindler and his 12 co-claimants are entitled to take the issue to the CJEU at this stage, at least in part because the EU Commission contends that there has not yet been a decision on whether any rights will be lost.

If the case is accepted the court then has to listen to and adjudicate on the substantive arguments.

What won’t happen is Harry Shindler or any of us UK expatriates being forced to return to the UK by EU27 countries, that is Project Fear at its very worst.

What may happen is that we lose fundamental citizenship rights, but that won’t just happen to UK expatriates, it will happen to millions of UK citizens, most of whom live in the UK.

There is a fight to be had, but it is not just about the rights of UK expatriates, it is about the rights of UK citizens.

There is a lot of material in the Millions in the Margins work we have commissioned. Alongside the “Three Knights Opinion” and the Gold Card booklet which we commissioned and published last year, it will be an essential part of understanding what is at risk for ordinary people – the rights and opportunities that are being sacrificed on an altar of political expediency and dogma.

This collective body of work also demonstrates conclusively why it must be the UK’s Parliament that has the final say on whether leaving or remaining in the EU is what is best for the UK and its people.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

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.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

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

Posted in Brexit

The Millions in the Margins – an update.

Earlier this week we received the draft of the legal advice “The Millions in the Margins” which we commissioned on your behalf from John Halford at Bindmans and Gerry Facenna and his colleagues at Monckton Chambers.

With the scope of the brief the advice is extensive, some 46 pages, and complex. Even though it is still a draft we are very pleased with it

The team have told us it is “very clear” our concerns about marginalisation of a great many UK nationals in the negotiations are “well founded” and that “many are simply left unprotected” adding that the advice we have commissioned:

“…will highlight absences in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement including:

  • categories of people whose rights have not been protected by the withdrawal agreement, even where they may have made past life choices in the expectation that they one day would have a right of residence in another state;
  • inconsistencies in the withdrawal agreement between the treatment of different types of relationship;
  • gaps in the protection of some children and disabled people; and,
  • certain special rights which currently guarantee family cohesion but are no longer being protected.

The advice will look at ways in which residence rights can be lost and the risks this presents as well as the restrictions which have been placed on continued rights, effectively locking people in to a single country.

We examine the extent to which the gaps in protection in the Withdrawal Agreement are inconsistent with a number of fundamental legal requirements including:

  • the duty on the EU to respect fundamental rights and certain international law obligations when entering into agreements with a State which is to become a non-Member State;
  • the duty to respect the principle of non-discrimination; and
  • the duty to respect the prohibition on retroactivity as well as the principles of legal certainty and legitimate expectations.

 We conclude that there are real grounds for concern that the Withdrawal Agreement fails to respect a number of these rights, duties and principles.”

This work is essential and unique: only The People’s Challenge is giving the Withdrawal Agreement, which in its final form may shape the fate of millions, the independent scrutiny it requires.

Given that there are inevitably questions and clarifications, as well as making sure we address issues brought into plain sight by the British Chamber of Commerce, the Professional and Business Services Council and the Business Minister (Greg Clark) in the past few days, it will be a few days yet before we have the final version.

We are working with our legal team to clarify and hone the advice in the light of the fast developing circumstances. Even yesterday there was yet another, far from perfect (David Davis says “impossible”), proposition leaked out from No. 10.

Rest assured, though, we will be bringing this information to you, as soon as we can.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

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.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

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

 

 

Posted in Brexit

Business Secretary nearly admits that Brexit hurts people as Foreign & Health Secretaries give business the bird

On Thursday last, the Business Secretary Greg Clark came perilously close to admitting that Brexit and Theresa May’s “red lines” will hurt “ordinary people”, UK citizens who live in the UK.

He was speaking at an International Business Festival in Liverpool and explaining how important the services sector was, not only in its own right but as part of the manufacturing sector.

When people think about the services sector they usually think about the City of London – insurance, investments and banking.

But that is only part of the story. The service sector embraces accountants, lawyers, publicists and marketing professionals, safety and service engineers, IT professionals, people who advise on supply-chain management and Just-In-Time manufacturing processes…

Many of these people need to have their professional qualifications recognised in the countries they work in, to satisfy national regulations or to satisfy the quality assurance procedures of the companies they work for.

All of them need to have freedom of movement, freedom of operation to be able to travel to where they need to work.

According to Greg Clark, the EU is by far and away the largest consumer of UK services, £90 billion in 2016, giving us a surplus of £14 billion. The next 8 largest services export markets do not add up to the size of the EU market.

More than a third of the value of the UK’s manufacturing exports is actually services, the in-service support and maintenance following on from the initial sale.

Why highlight all this in the context of our Millions in the Margins campaign?

The people we are talking about are resident in the UK, and even if they are currently classified as cross-border workers (and many will not be), only have limited protection under the current exit terms.

Of course if the people are EU27 citizens with the right to reside in the UK they will not only have their qualifications recognised under the terms of the exit agreement their freedom of movement in the EU27 countries is also guaranteed.

Another example of how the tick-box approach to negotiations is prejudicing the EU citizenship rights of UK citizens.

With Theresa May’s “red lines”, there is little prospect of them being protected under any future trade deal between the UK and the EU.

Some of these people are employees of large companies, some are owner/operators of Small/Medium sized Enterprises, and others are self-employed or sole traders.

All of them are at best in the margins of the current draft exit agreement, some of them are actually off the page and have not even been considered by the UK or the EU in their negotiations.

This is yet another example of the over-simplification of the situations of real people, who are likely to suffer real harm if the UK and the EU persist in not recognising them and the problems they will face.

If we want what is Best for the UK we need to know how people will be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

This is not speculation, nor is it “Project Fear”, in fact what we are describing is the outcome under what is probably the most favourable of available Brexit outcomes.

With Theresa May’s “Red Lines” and her tendency to follow the dictates of those who favour a Hard Brexit the reality could well be a lot worse.

Mind you at least Greg Clark is still arguing on behalf of business as opposed to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt who seem to be giving them the proverbial finger.

Whether you want a “Soft Brexit” or “No Brexit” we need this information about how ordinary people are being ignored, their rights diluted and devalued and how our children’s futures are being thrown under a big red bus covered in lies.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

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.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

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

 

Posted in Brexit

Numbers under the Brexit bus

The current version of the Brexit deal is the talk of the town, but sadly it’s much ado about nothing.

There’s very little in the current Brexit deal, much of what is there is controversial in one way and/or another and what remains to be talked about (whether people want to talk about it is another matter) is fraught with difficulty.

People are being thrown under the bus, not the trade bus but the Brexit bus.

And it’s not just UK citizens in the EU. It’s any UK citizen who’s made significant life choices based on being an EU citizen, it’s any UK citizen whose future life choices will be limited by Brexit, it’s anybody who’s got family and/or friends who fall into those groups… and more.

The issue about the numbers involved has come up again and now we have a crucial piece of feedback: the majority of the UK citizens registered in the EU are said to be working.

It’s common knowledge to people who live in France and Spain (which between them host the majority of UK expats) that there are large numbers of UK citizens living there who are older, retired, semi-retired, early retired, etc. So it seems to be getting ever more obvious that the official figures are off (for those who still doubted that they were).

However, there are significant geographical variations. In and around places like Paris (big city and capital city) and Toulouse (aerospace), there will almost certainly be a majority of younger, working people drawn by employment and undaunted by higher living costs.

In rural France (which is most of it, by the way), you will find that many UK citizens are over-50s drawn by the weather, the lifestyle, the cheaper cost of living… and (hopefully) undaunted by the distance to the nearest Starbucks.

I have drawn my examples from France because I know the country. The same may be, indeed probably is, true of Spain and perhaps other EU 27 countries.

The point is that you can’t assume a one-size-fits-all solution will do the job, something David Davis needs to wake up to when he assumes that the vast majority of UK citizens living in EU27 countries, i.e. those who have exercised their EU citizenship rights, are retired, only interested in pensions being paid and not interested in freedom of movement.

The point is that we need to work with facts, otherwise we cannot realistically assess what the impact of Brexit will be, and how many people will feel it directly. Generalisations based on unproven figures are easier to come up with, but they aren’t helpful, and worse, they may be extremely misleading.

Citizenship rights apart, many people are already feeling the foreshocks of Brexit as prices rise, crops stay unpicked in the fields and EU 27 nationals prepare to return home or decide not to come to the UK in the first place. The beleaguered NHS, touted (sorry, but that’s the word) as the primary beneficiary of Brexit, is already among its first victims, and the UK is still a member of the EU.

It’s late in the day to still be asking for real information. There is an argument to be made that significant work should have been done on this before the referendum. But it wasn’t. As Dr Phil says, “It is what it is and the only time is now”.

But would you get on a train or a plane, or even a bus, to go somewhere unknown, carrying a ticket that has no price on it? It’s time to press for real information, substantiated facts, unbiased reasoning. Only on this basis can an informed decision be made about what is best for the UK and all its citizens.

The People’s Challenge will shortly, hopefully next week, have the results of the first tranche of work on the Millions in the Margins commissioned from our legal team.

Undoubtedly it will take a little while for us to digest what they say and how best to put it out. They are legal eagles, that’s what we pay for, and so, perhaps somewhat inevitably what they provide us with will to some extent be couched in terms of legal precedents and references. We will get it to you as soon as we can.

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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.

Posted in Brexit