The polls have shown a marked increase in support for leaving the European Union. The tone of the debate about Europe has been disturbingly negative. Beyond that, it has become increasingly bitter and unpleasant. The arguments in favour of staying have focused on the potential horrors that would visit Britain if we left; the arguments in favour of leaving in particular have plumbed new depths for untruthfulness and xenophobia. It seems likely that voting on the European referendum will be determined by people’s emotional reaction, and there is a strong possibility that this will result in secession.
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. If the vote is to leave, expect this one to come to court.
3 thoughts on “They’re voting to take my rights away. And yours.”
The marked increase in confidence in the UK displayed by support for abandonment of a failed experiment is probably more disturbing to the political elite than most of the rest of us. Project Fear kicked in early in the campaign and its failure caused Cameron and Osborne to ratchet it up several notches with threats too incredible for the least sophisticated voter to believe. The panic among the establishment is part of what is driving us out of Europe and can one blame those of us outside the Westminster bubble for our scepticism? After all, what is good for Westminster is most likely not good for the rest of us.
Unless Westminster changes the laws which govern our rights they will remain as they are within the UK. Only when we travel within Europe will they change. Consular assistance will still be available since we have representation negotiated by Westminster and provided by countries which may well be outside the EU. When the German Embassy (our representation in Burkina Faso) in Ouagadougou was uncontactable during a crisis I found the Canadians most accommodating – the ambassador’s wife even offered to call her husband from the cricket pitch to help.
We use travel insurance in the best part of two hundred countries and could do so in Europe, indeed many still do given the uncertainty of service in many EU countries. Other social service benefits only matter to residents in that country and while Romanians and Bulgarians may be tempted by our system the opposite is hardly likely to be he case.
There is certainly something deeply flawed about a system which is based on the decided will of the majority. The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence proved that. Scotland did not bother with the law courts, however, she relied on the that deeply flawed system to almost clear the board at the following Westminster elections.
What will happen after June 24th is for anyone to guess but given that our government found it acceptable to dignify their guesses as pronouncements of future fact I will take a leaf out of their book. Call me Dave will have more time to visit his local and job done Farage will disappear into the wilderness. The election expenses scandal will eat away at the Tory party with large opposition majorities in sufficient seats to end Tory rule at Westminster. Corbyn will take over with SNP support and the cynical non-intervention of other parties which expect him to fail. The House of Lords will go almost as quickly as the bedroom tax and a hostile Westminster government will ensure growth in SNP support. I will see my life’s ambition realised when the party to end all street parties celebrates the latest independent nation in Europe.
There will be a recession but mainly in Europe, Merkel will lose her election and Greece will follow Britain, leading the stampede which will end the EU. Trimp will start to build his wall and introduce isolationist immigration policies. Friendless, he will agree a trade deal with the UK in record time. The commonwealth will work quickly to become the world’s latest free trade area but without free movement of people.
The world is moving toward a more free society but I’m not hopeful of seeing it in the decades I have left. Step one, however, must be the removal of the privileged elite which has been in control for so long and the dismantling of bureaucracies which ensure they remain in power.
I think we must have a different understanding of what a ‘failed experiment’ looks like. Only a short time before they joined the European Union, most of its members were either at war with other members, military dictatorships or effectively occupied by foreign powers. More than forty years of subsequent prosperity and peace is more than enough to define the EU as one of the most successful examples of political and economic cooperation between nations in world history.
The way to deal with ‘privileged elites’ is to make them more accountable, not to dismantle all the mechanisms which might control them.
May I add that after the vote to leave the EU, a few EU MP’s expressed their despair at its neoliberal ideology and how it favours the richest of society at the expense of the poorest. I voted to stay but after watching them on TV realised they just proved my fears. Now we are out the public should concentrate on removing this government and electing Corbyn I feel.