EU Citizens resident in the UK are not Bargining Chips

On June 25th, just a year and a day after the Referendum result, my wife, a Dutch Citizen who has lived in the UK for most of her adult life, will be part of the Great Britain team competing In the European Age Group Sprint Triathlon Championships being held in Dusseldorf.

Yannie is honoured to have been selected to represent the country that has been her home for nearly 30 years and is looking forward to taking part.  Given that she only took part in her first Triathlon 2 years ago, this is a fantastic achievement.

However, I remember the shock and tears that were shed on the morning of June 24th last year; the uncertainty it has caused both Yannie and myself to realise that currently there is no guarantee that she will be allowed to stay in the UK post Brexit.

No amount of saying we will be OK makes us feel safer.

Telling us (as our local, Labour Leave MP, has) that no one is suggesting that Yannie and other EU citizens who have lived in the UK for decades will be told to leave does not help.

Until it is confirmed by the UK Government that EU citizens who have made their lives here can stay with no need to apply for naturalisation (at a cost of over £1250 minimum) or applications for permanent residency (which involve long complicated forms and documentation up to 20 years old), my wife will not feel secure.

Mrs May needs to be open & tolerant and make a gesture that will mean the negotiations with the rest of the EU can start in a spirit of generosity and openness, announce that all EU citizens who are resident in the UK on the day Article 50 will automatically have the full rights to stay in the UK just as they have had before.

My wife, along with the many other EU citizens who live here, contribute here, raise families here, is not a bargaining chip and should not be treated as such.

May is leading us to economic suicide

10-theresa-may-gettyToday, Theresa May will announce that she has decided that the UK will commit economic suicide by not only leaving the EU (which is bad enough n it’s own right) but also say she will drag us out of the European Single Market and it’s Customs Union.

This will mean that all import of goods from the EU & our exports to it will not only be subject to tariffs & quotas but have to undergo customs inspections at EU borders (including when being transported in or out of the Irish Republic).

The consequences of this are that costs to industries that import raw materials from the EU will rise, our exports to the EU will become more expensive and therefore less competitive and the prices in shops on any goods brought in from the EU will go up.

Inevitably, this will lead to inflation in the UK at the same time as wages will be squeezed as companies try to mitigate cost rises elsewhere.

It also means that companies like Toyota, BAe, Bomdardier and many others who have multiple facilities across the EU will not be able to move parts in or out of the UK as easily as they can now with a knock-on effect on jobs here.

Sterling has already taken yet another dive in the Currency Markets because of leaks from May speech, adding to inflationary pressures here in the UK

What May is proposing is economic madness and only those who are ideologically blinkered over the EU will welcome it.  For most of us it will signal her intention to inflict a long, hard period of economic hardship on the British people.  We must stop her.

Where are we now with Brexit?

brexitIt is now 6 months since that fateful day in June when the unimaginable happened & this country vote, by a small majority[i], to leave the UK, something even many in the Brexit camp did not think would happen[ii].

Here are some of what has become clear since then:

  • These who lead the Leave Campaign had (and still have) no real idea of how a post-Brexit UK will be able to function as a Trading Nation outside the EU, forced to use the WTO standard Tariffs regime.
  • We can’t start to negotiate any Trade Deal with the EU (or anyone else) until after we have left the EU[iii]
  • Just voting to start the process of leaving the EU has had a devastating effect on some businesses and on many University Research groups who rely on ERC grants[iv].
  • Many who voted Leave in June did so to give Cameroon & his Tory Government a bloody nose not expecting the Leave campaign to win[v]
  • Tariff-free access to the Single Market & the EU Customs Union (vital for many UK industries) will not happen without accepting the Freedom of Movement of Labour
  • The EU-27 do not need us more than we need them.
  • Theresa May, David Davies, Liam Fox & Boris Johnson (the people in charge of negotiating the agreement with the EU over the UK leaving the organisation) are completely clueless in what need to be agreed, how to come up with a sensible (realistic) negotiating position and why keeping on good terms with those we need to negotiate with is vital in achieving anything like a good outcome.
  • Many of our brightest & most dynamic young people are looking to make their life elsewhere as they do not see a future for them or their children in an impoverished (economically & culturally) post-Brexit Britain.

So where do we go from here?  Do we plough on with the process of invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty regardless?  Do we simply ignore the reality of the situation and the effect on the UK economy that leaving the EU?  Or do we take the brave decision that, notwithstanding the Referendum result, we need stop this head long rush towards what will be economic suicide?

The New Year is always a good time to take stock of where we are and how to go forward, a time to look back at where we have been successful and where we have made mistakes during the last 12 months.

So now is a good time for our politicians to say that there is no realistic chance of a good deal on Brexit that will satisfy the needs of the British ecomomy and that we have to accept the Referendum was result was gained by a Leave campaign that was based on a false manifesto, one that simply cannot be made into reality.

So now we must either have a second Referendum or a General Election to reverse the June result, otherwise the future of this country does not look bright.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum,_2016#Result

[ii] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nigel-farage-blames-britains-youth-8270754

[iii] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-britain-fined-negotiate-trade-agreements-deals-before-leaving-european-union-commission-a7314816.html

[iv] https://fpoglobal.com/control/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Post-referendum-crisis-for-UK-researchers.pdf?ftcamp=crm/email//nbe/Brexit/product

[v] http://metro.co.uk/2016/10/16/number-of-people-who-regret-voting-leave-is-greater-than-brexit-victory-margin-6195403/

 

Letter from Bassetlaw – June 19th 2016

referendum ballot boxSo, we are just a few days away from what is possible the most momentous vote in our countries history.  As I write the opinion polls are moving from one side to another with many still to make up their mind.  Today, while out leafleting I heard from people who were voting both Remain & Leave and some who had yet to make up their mind.   This means that even at this stage there is all still to play for and no one can be complacent.

For those still trying to make up their minds, I have one suggestion.  Don’t trust what either side says.  As I said right at the beginning of the campaign, look for references, links to the sources to back up what people have said, that way you can know that the writer has researched their article and has something to back up what they are saying, not just making it up to fit their argument.

 

No one knows what will happen on June 23rd but I agree with what our MP said to me after the debate we took part in this week, that the worst possible result would be a narrow victory for either side would mean that there could be weeks of court cases as the losers contest the result on numerous grounds (I have seen enough illegal active from the Leave campaign both locally and nationally that could be used to try to overturn a narrow victory for Leave & I suspect the Leave campaign feel the same about the Remain side).

I hope that the result will be clear cut for Remain or Leave (obviously I would prefer Remain) so we can then go forward to deal with the outcome, make the decisions both nationally and personally based on certainty.

 

When out campaigning in the last few weeks, I have been verbally abuse, and more than once felt physically threatened, by of those who disagreed with my views.  This is unacceptable and a threat to our democracy.

Last week we saw an escalation in the violence with the first murder of a sitting MP for 25 years (see my own reaction in Jo Cox RIP).  Whatever your views on the UK remaining in the EU are, no one should be abused, feel threatened, assaulted, much less murdered, because of their sincerely held opinions.   All of us (and I include myself) must learn to respect others who disagree with us; we can challenge what they say, not their right to say it.

 

Finally, can I ask everyone to spare a thought for the election staff across the country who on Thursday will oversee the Referendum and then the count.  The polling stations open of 7:00 am on Thursday and the final results are not due to be announced until 7:00 am on Friday morning.  Many of the staff (and some of the campaigners too, though I less sympathy for them) involved will be up for the whole process.  I know that everywhere they will do their duty to the best of their ability in what could be very trying circumstances.

On Thursday, for our grandchildren, vote REMAIN

vote remainThe Referendum on Thursday is not on David Cameron & how he is performing as PM, it is not a vote on the Tory party’s record in power, it isn’t even a vote on Cameron renegotiation of our terms on membership.

It is a vote on the future of the UK.

Do we want a future where we are open and welcoming to others (and welcomed by them in return) or one where we live behind barriers, scared of our neighbours, afraid of those different to us?

I am not campaigning for Remain because of Cameron and his sordid little mean spirited “renegotiation”, but in spite of him.

I am not supporting Remain because I support the Tory Government but because being in the EU is our best protection from the worst a Tory government can do.

I am not voting Remain because the EU is perfect but because, in spite of its many faults, it is better to be working with our fellow members to make it better that to be on the outside carping about it and being dictated to by it.

Most of all, I am for Remain because I want a better future for my children & grandchildren, a future where they can live work study & trade freely in and with the other counties in Europe; a future where wars between European nations are studied in history, not a threat in the future; a future where the nations & people of Europe can lead the world in tackling the real problems that face the Earth – Climate Change, Poverty, International terrorism and regulation multi-nationals

Leaving the EU will cast a decades long shadow over this country and blight the future of the next generations.  We, those who are nearer the end of their lives that the start, do not have the right to inflict that of our descendants.

On Thursday, vote REMAIN for your children & grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

Letter from Bassetlaw – June 12th 2016

Leon Duveen 140920aMost weeks, I like to start these letters with a few words about what I have been doing or with another topical comment.  However, this week I want to go straight into the theme of the this letter, the risk of Brexit for ordinary people here in Bassetlaw

2½ years ago, during the last European Parliament Election campaign, I wrote this post to explain why I am pro EU – Why i am pro-EU.  While the stats may be a little out of date, the sentiments I expressed then still hold true today.  If anything, the campaigning & research I have done in the last 9 months has made me even more committed to keeping the UK in the EU.

In my opinion, leaving the EU would be an unmitigated disaster for this country, a disaster that would take decades for the county to recover from, a disaster that will blight the future of our children & grandchildren, a disaster made all the worse because it is so avoidable.

Last night I wrote a long post on Facebook (We face a crisis in our public services, but it isn’t caused by immigrants) about how those wanting us to leave the EU are desperately trying to blame the EU & immigrants for all the problems of the NHS & other public services rather than face up to the real causes, which are entirely home grown.  Of all people it was Boris Johnson who, in 2013, correctly diagnosed the problem when he said “If we left the EU, we would end this sterile debate, and we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by “Bwussels”, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and underinvestment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.”[i]  How right he was and how despicable has been his behaviour in the last few moths

If it didn’t have such potentially tragic consequences for everyone, the petty greed, the naked ambition & the disregard of any facts or opinions that show Brexit id not a good idea being displayed by those leading the Brexit campaign would be comic.

Can anyone really believe that Gove, Farage, Johnson and the rest of the Troy clique trying desperately to drag us out of the EU would give a penny of any money saved through Brexit to the NHS?   John Major had it right when he said “The NHS is about as safe with them as a pet hamster would be with a hungry python,”[ii]

Can anyone not be sickened by the sight of Labour politicians campaigning for Brexit in the knowledge that one of the first things a Tory Government lead by Johnson or Gove would do is to repeal all the EU Social Chapter legislation that protect workers & consumers in the UK, the so-called “Brussels Red-tape” they claim is holding back UK Industry?

Can anyone seriously believe that Brexit will “restore control!” to the British Public?  It was Rupert Murdoch when asked by he opposed the EU said “That’s easy, when I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.”[iii]  I am sure the other media owners, the Barclay Brothers (owners of the Telegraph), Richard Desmond (owner of the Express) and Viscount Rothermere (Owner of the Mail), have similar sentiments as to why the oppose the EU even if they don’t express them quite as flagrantly as Murdoch.

No, Brexit is being sold to the public on a misleading manifesto, an attempt to con the British public into surrendering our future so a few (like the hedge fund managers who are backing Brexit) can make massive profits out of it[iv] or so some can keep their control of or politicians.

Some people call the Remain campaign “Project Fear” because we have tried to tell people the truth about what Brexit would mean.  Well I will say openly that I am not just afraid of Brexit, I am petrified of it and what will happen if it becomes a reality.  For me there is only one way to vote on June 23rd.  For all its faults (and there are many), for all its perceived remoteness (although it isn’t as remote as many thing nowadays, you can follow much though the Internet), being in the EU is the only way we can protect our future, protect our children’s future, protect or public service, protect our hard won employment right, protect Britain from a bunch of Tory politician & media owners who want it as their toy, we have to vote Remain!

[i] http://wwwer.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10052646/Quitting-the-EU-wont-solve-our-problems-says-Boris-Johnson.html

[ii] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/05/john-major-nhs-risk-brexit-pythons-johnson-and-gove

[iii] http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/this-terrifying-rupert-murdoch-quote-is-possibly-the-best-reason-to-stay-in-the-eu-yet–WyMaFTE890x

[iv] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/06/why-are-hedge-funds-supporting-brexit

We must not let the future for our children get stolen

EU Young peopleThis was comment was in a response to a post I put on the “Bassetlaw for Europe” page:

“On June 23rd.its up to the older generation and all those people who realise what’s going on and what’s REALLY at stake here to give an overwhelming vote to leave.”

Here is my response to this comment

I am old enough to remember the 1960’s and the 1970’s before we joined the EU.   Let’s not look back through rose tinted glasses to a wonderful past that was never actually there.   Those years were not that great, badly run industries struggling to find export markets, economic crisis after economic crisis, ending with the Chancellor of the Exchequer having to run to the IMF to get a bail out shortly after we joined the EU.  To travel abroad, you could only take £50 each out in total including any foreign currency, even in those days it didn’t go very far.  No, life before the EU was not that fantastic.

You say it’s the older generation to vote to leave, well if that happens the baby boomer generation we belong to will have really screwed the younger generations.

We have our great pensions which young people can only dream about, we have the house we bought when they were cheap but are now too expensive for today’s young families to buy, many of us went on to get a free education at Universities & colleges and then Labour introduced tuition fee so to get a degree you will have to be saddled with big debts, and now you want to take their future away from them as well by dragging them out of the EU.

So I will be using your comment to help motivate the many young people who realise their future depends on being in the EU:

  • so that they study, work & live anywhere in Europe,
  • so that the UK can continue to enjoy the inward investment it gets as an English speaking gateway into the EU helping keep the our (and Europe’s) economy growing, providing jobs & wealth to people here (and making sure we can carry on affording good public services
  • so that they can help maintain the peace & security in Europe that the EU has helped secure,
  • so that, together the nations of Europe, can face and deal with the major threats to all of us, Climate Change, pollution and cross border crime.
  • so that they can work with other young people to improve our lives through cooperation in scientific research, controlling multi-national companies that are now bigger than many individual countries.

The future belongs to the young, we must not rob them of it.  So for my children and my grandchildren and for all those who have been excluded from voting, I’m IN, I have already voted REMAIN and will be working to make sure that we win the Referendum in two weeks’ time.

Please, young and old, left or right, join me in voting to protect the future for our children, vote REMAIN!

#RemainAndGain not #LeaveAndLose