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.
Theresa May is leading us towards a Brexit that will mean we are exchanging the shared sovereignty of the EU, where we are equal partners in shaping the future of our continent, for being a protectorate of the USA, so dependant that we are will to destroy our institutions like the NHS for a few crumbs from the great table.
Outside the Single Market (a British initiative under Thatcher) & the Customs Union, we will be at the mercy of a rampant nationalist America under a President (at least until 2021) who is open about only signing Trade Deals that are skewered in the USA’s direction.
Already May has indicated her willingness to allow US Companies to take over parts of the NHS, what else will she allow in her desperate attempt to get a fig leaf of a Trade Deal?
Meat from animals grown using growth hormones, Chicken washed in chlorine, GM crops are all currently banned for the UK under EU rules but are common in the US. It is likely that any Trade Deal with the US will mean having to accept them into the UK.
Given that our Trade Balance with the USA is currently in our favour, I can’t see Trump wanting to let to many more UK goods or services in to the USA without the USA getting even better access to UK markets, which will mean weakening our regulations that currently exclude many American products,
When I, along with many others, warn that this was the likely outcome of Brexit, it was labelled “Project Fear” by the Leave campaign and we were told it would never happen. Now it is becoming all too real if Brexit becomes a reality and yes, it is frightening.
What can we do now? The Government’s mean little Bill to give May the authority to invoke Article 50 without any further need for Parliamentary scrutiny is up for debate next week. Jeremy Corbyn has waved the White Flag and said he will demand all Labour MPs vote for it but all is not yet lost.
You can write to your MP to ask him to vote against this Bill unless there are safeguards added to give at least Parliament (better still the British People) a chance to give its assent to any agreement with the EU on Brexit. There is an excellent app to help you do this.
Regardless of how their Constituency vote and regardless of how they are told to vote by their party, Members [of Parliament] have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents. Brexit is rightly being dubbed Wrexit as it will be an economic and probably a social disaster for the UK so MPs must vote against it regardless of a “black and white vote on a rainbow of issues” last June.
Today, 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.