I’ve repeatedly argued in this blog that trade with the EU is not the main issue: social rights are. I wrote before the referendum that
If the UK leaves, UK citizens will lose their rights as European citizens. Those rights include rights to representation within the EU, the right to move and live freely throughout the EU, reciprocal rights to public services, and consular and diplomatic protection from other EU countries when outside Europe. There is something deeply flawed about a process that claims to be democratic but implies that a majority decision would deprive a minority of their rights.
Last March, the House of Commons passed this motion:
this House supports the maintenance of European Union citizenship rights for Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish and English citizens, notes that the range of rights and protections afforded to individuals as European Union citizens are integral to a person’s European identity; further notes that many of those rights are closely linked to the UK’s membership of the Single Market; and calls on the UK Government to ensure that the UK’s membership of the Single Market and UK citizens’ right to European Union citizenship are retained in the event that the UK leaves the EU.
Yesterday, despite that, it emerged that if Britain leaves the EU without an agreement, reciprocal arrangements for health insurance will be withdrawn from UK citizens living in other European countries. None of the main protagonists in the Brexit debate is focusing on the things that really matter.