Friday, 20 October 2017

Overlooking the simple solution

In an attempt to move things along in the Brexit talks, the UK Government has been hinting that it is ready to make new ‘concessions’ in relation to the rights of EU citizens.  The problem the government face is that, all these so-called ‘concessions’ still involve taking rights away from EU citizens legally resident in the UK.  And anything which reduces their rights is still going to be a hard sell to the EU27.  What would move things along, of course, would be a simple and clear guarantee that all rights which exist in respect of EU citizens living in the UK on exit day will be fully protected.

It’s simple and straightforward, and would undoubtedly satisfy the EU 27 on that aspect of negotiations.  So why can’t they do it?  One simple reason – because EU citizens currently enjoy more rights in some areas than UK citizens, and we can’t have that can we?  Now I’m a simple soul, and prone to an over-mathematical perspective on issues, but it strikes me that if you have two groups of people with unequal rights, taking rights away from one group isn’t the only way of achieving equality.  To put it another way, all that the government has to do is to give UK citizens the same rights as EU citizens currently enjoy, and one third of the problems with the current stage of negotiations would disappear overnight.

It tells us a great deal about those who govern us, and their attitude towards the rights of individuals and families, that they would sooner let the whole process collapse than do that.  And it’s not only in relation to Brexit that people and their families come pretty near the bottom of their list of priorities.

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