So here we are then, a year on and bunting lines the streets as the newly independent nation of Great Britain celebrates like one happy family; popping the corks on English champagne, proudly reflecting on the enormous strides it has taken towards economic world domination in the previous twelve months…
Or, here we are a year on and there’s still no coherent plan beyond ‘we want fewer foreigners’ and the referendum ‘wasn’t about immigration at all madam, that’s an entirely separate issue’.
Finally, the government makes an offer on the status of EU citizens and we are told that’s a ‘fair and serious’ one. I’ve had enough of these all-encompassing slogans which every minister then has to trot out. You are in government, every offer, policy, statement should be fair and bloody serious. That’s your job, by using these press friendly epithets you merely succeed in highlighting what you’re not. Remember strong and stable? How did that work out for you?
‘Prime Minister, have you made a policy decision on the state of EU nationals?’
‘Yes, we have and it’s punitive and frivolous, reflecting our mandate to be specious cretins.’
The EU made an offer about all EU citizens in the UK and all UK citizens in Europe. All their rights would remain as they are. No grey area, nuance or room for interpretation. No change in status. The UK government makes a counter offer which is less than that, involving registration – literally human stocktaking, as innocent as head counting on a school trip or as sinister as a dictatorship dividing communities along ethnic grounds – EU nationals, who already live and work in the UK, would have the ‘chance to build up their rights’. Never mind that many of those people have lived and worked, contributed, settled and raised families in the UK, they would now get an opportunity not to be classed as second class citizens. A ‘generous’ offer, May called it and one she hoped the EU would match.
Has she never haggled before? One side makes a generous offer, you counter with something less generous and hope they match it! This only goes to prove my long-held view that haggling is simply un-British. We’re no good at it, it’s somehow squalid and beneath us, it flusters us and we just say the first thing that comes into our heads.
EU: ‘We’ll give you £500.’
UK: ‘We want 400 and we expect you to match that!’
I know that’s stretching the point somewhat, but there really was an opportunity here to gain advantage and to spring a surprise, maybe even gain some goodwill. Instead the UK offer just leads to more uncertainty, an extension of the limbo that families in the UK have been through over the last year. Used as pawns by politicians devoid of empathy, humanity or leadership. It also reflects their disinterest in the rights of its own UK citizens who live abroad, and still have no idea what the future holds. I am one of those people. My government is curtailing my rights, and the rights of my children and claiming it as a sodding victory.
Even the Queen, like someone in a hostage situation sending out covert signals, wears an EU flag hat and Brexit buffoons still don’t recognise their increasingly isolated position. She’s a traitor! Cried some. Yep, those cosseted, hereditary, monarchical leftwing insurgents, coming over here…
The Chancellor and the Governor of the Bank of England finally admit that Brexit will make us poorer; a Leave voting fruit farmer, causing a massive irony crisis, goes on national media saying he’ll go bankrupt without cheap foreign labour and the government’s response, via the Orwellian-Hyacinth Bucket that is Andrea Leadsom, is that ‘broadcasters should be more patriotic’. No, their job is to question, your job is to govern.
It beggars belief that a year on, immigration is still driving Brexit. A grubby fact that’s still being denied by people who use the word sovereignty as a catch-all excuse for blundering suicide. If it’s not about immigration, why aren’t we just joining the single market and getting on with it? Why these dystopian threats about registering foreign nationals? Again, I repeat, Freedom of Movement is a tenet of the Single Market, and there are actually strict rules governing Freedom of Movement it’s just that the British government couldn’t be arsed to apply them. We had control, we didn’t use it. Now we’re taking back control we already had. You see what I mean about haggling?
If you wind down immigration to the extent that it’s being projected, you harm business and industry but more importantly, you harm society. Overseas applications to work in the NHS are down 96%. You know, those people who have done such a superb, underpaid job – especially in the last couple of weeks – they’re staying away and there aren’t the numbers to replace them. In contrast, applications by British people to gain German nationality are up 361%, in France, and I’m one of them, it’s up 254%. That’s a brain drain, not mine obviously but there will be others, and a future skills shortage. Good luck plugging those gaps in your meaningless financial predictions.
There’s a feeling that all this ‘foreign nationals’ stuff is just summer noise-making. The Brits, like drunks in a beer garden, are just getting stuff off their salmon-pink chests. After the German elections, people are whispering, Germany (via the EU naturally) will make a quiet offer on the Single Market with ‘brakes’ on Freedom of Movement and that the UK will slip, equally quietly, into the thing and both sides will claim a victory. Maybe, but the damage will have been done by then. You can’t erase the rhetoric and anxiety that’s been the norm now for too long.
Imagine if one day, the UK were to meet its spiteful, self-harming immigration targets? Like an angry, upset divorced husband refusing to take responsibility or acknowledge faults, the UK has withdrawn from the world and reality? What we have left is a gene pool so shallow that every new-born is a cross between a lagered up football lout and Iain Duncan Smith. All beer gut, pointy teeth and an evolved lip-snarl, like some kind of North European Orc… It’s a grotesque exaggeration obviously, but I always come back to the dog analogy here. Mongrels live longer, they are healthier, whereas pure breeds develop serious physical and mental issues, and have a much shorter life expectation. Well I’d much rather be a mongrel.
Thanks for reading this weekly blog. The book currently sits with various publishers who are making their mind up, though it’s difficult without an end point! Anyway, the more you share, RT, spread the word and so on, the more chance it has of being published, so please, share it as much as you can!
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