In view of the Withdrawal Arrangement Bill being debated tomorrow (7th Jan) in Parliament, I have written to my M.P. Sheryll Murray
In view of the Withdrawal Arrangement Bill being debated tomorrow (7th Jan) in Parliament, I have written to my M.P. Sheryll Murray
My attempt at calling for sense on (yet another) day of days.
As well as the Withdrawal Arrangement Bill being debated this today, a terrible new law could go through today in the House of Commons.
These regulations, if passed, could prevent EU27 citizens who are self employed in the UK being treated on the same terms as UK citizens. What does this mean exactly and what would stop more discrimination coming on line in the future? This is very murky.
I have literally been kept awake half the night thinking about this. It is an incredibly dark moment amongst many in the events that have happened in recent weeks. There is no democratic mandate for this discrimination. There is no humane reason for it and there is no economic reason for it either.
This is taking us one step closer to fascism and despite feeling overwhelmed and despairing, I still wrote to Sheryll Murray MP this morning. One reason is that even if I can not stop it, I can resist it. If we give up contacting our MPs, we are colluding with those that want us to give up on democracy. Even if we lose to these dark forces (it is dark to remove the rights of people for no good reason other than discrimination), the loss will be temporary and when the light returns again to this country, there will be enquiries. When those archives and the extent of the corruption is revealed, I want my voice to be in the archives that are on the right side of history.
I am sorry I can not offer much more hope than this. Every letter I have sent Sheryll Murray has been responded to with a sound bite of the party line. I do not expect this one to be any different so do not dismiss me as being naive. I have to try anyway.
I found an article on Twitter which listed medications that could be at risk in the event of a No Deal. My mum’s medications are on that list. The Dept for Health tweeted saying that the list was not from an official source.
Are they therefore saying that they can guarantee those medicines that are on that list?
I also came across an article where people in the pharmaceutical industry involved with planning for No Deal had questions about transportation unanswered. Have those questions been answered yet?
I have put those questions with links to the articles in a letter to my MP, Sheryll Murray
I have also written to Channel 4 news and the Guardian to investigate the validity of that list and to see if the logistics questions have been answered.
Information to suggest there is something to be very worried about keeps being leaked out. We need specific answers not bland reassurances.
Dear Sheryll Murray
As you know, I and many others have sent you well researched and referenced letters since the referendum raising our concerns and asking you to consider your position on Brexit.
Your responses have been along the lines that it would be anti-democratic to stop Brexit.
We have responded in turn with our evidence for why the referendum was not democratic and the way that Brexit has been played out so far is very far from democratic.
Some of these letters and your responses can be found on my blog: https://foreuropeopenletters.com/
Today an unelected Prime Minister is requesting prorogation of Parliament by the Queen in order to push through a No Deal Brexit.
No Deal was never talked about in the referendum by either of the Leave campaigns (other than to say that it would never happen, as well as we would easily get a great deal). This is well documented. There is no mandate for No Deal.
We are clearly watching a coup unfold before our very eyes and if you support this, you are part of it. Did ‘take back control’ actually mean ‘pretend to give control to the people but take it away from them and their elected MPs and give it entirely to an executive, the leader of which was unelected by the general population’?
This is no longer just about leaving or staying in the EU. This is about the fundamentals of our democratic structure in this country. A country that people used to look up to as an example of good governance and democratic principles.
Whatever your position on Brexit, Parliament should be part of this process.
Closing parliament is an act of Tyranny. Please do what you can to stop this today.
Update 6th December: There has been a dark response by Raab and Leadsom to the events of the 4th. We are literally watching our own government trying to thwart the processes of democracy in this country. Ian Dunt (once again) explains here.
I am writing this on the 5th December 2018. Yesterday was a turning point and (I am not saying this lightly) a truly historic day. The day was so profound that I can not do it justice with my limited knowledge and writing skills but I have found some reporting gems which are too good not to share. I felt like I was reading and listening to archives of the future going through them.
First of all, going back a step to the draft Withdrawal Arrangement (W.A.) and what is going to happen next week. The W.A. is going to be debated in Parliament next week and either passed or rejected. Professor Michael Dougan gives a summary and analysis of the arrangement in this video and it is well worth a listen.
Yesterday Theresa May’s government was found to be in contempt of Parliament.
This is the first time in British History that this has happened. Theresa May’s government did not want to share the Attorney General’s full legal analysis of the W.A. prior to the vote next week. Keir Starmer wrote the motion stating that the Government, by not sharing the full legal analysis with Parliament, was in contempt of parliament and this motion was voted through 311 to 293.
As if that was not enough, Dominic Grieve’s motion against the government was also voted through. This is the one that will hopefully be a bit of a sleeping pill for many of us. (I am not alone in being incredibly worried about a No Deal and the fact that the hard Brexiters are promoting a No Deal as being better than a bad deal. This is not true. People’s lives will be at risk in the event of a No Deal but people could be persuaded to vote for it if they do not bother to read beyond the head lines and rhetoric).
What was Dominic Grieve’s motion? He said that if the W.A. is voted down, then Parliament should have a genuinely meaningful vote on the future of Brexit….the government has been saying it is either the W.A. or No Deal using the No Deal as a threat (to make M.P.s vote for the unpopular W.A.) Dominic Grieve (and the supporting M.P.s) have stopped this manipulation. If the W.A. gets voted down, Parliament will be able to have genuine input into the future outcome and there would be no majority for a No Deal. (This is also supported by the fact that this week we are more secure in the knowledge that Article 50 could be unilaterally rescinded and the EU would support an extension for a people’s Vote).
Do you see what I mean about he sleeping pill?
(Please note that Hilary Benn had a similar motion to Dominic Grieve which is explained better than I can in the links below).
On a local level, Cornwall County Council voted in favour of supporting a People’s Vote. We were gifted with some great tweets yesterday from Cornwall for Europe. Another bit of good news and well done to all the local campaigners.
1) If you only read one link, I recommend this one by Ian Dunt:
2) Background on the technicals of the votes yesterday again by ian Dunt:
3) Fabulous speeches in Parliament by Margaret Beckett, Anna Soubrey, Hilary Benn (from 20:46:15)
4) Good explanation of what happened yesterday in the Independent:
5) Ian Dunt’s spectacular thread as the debates unravelled – you really get a sense of the drama as it unfolded mixed in with a bit of necessary alcohol as the day wore on!
6) If you need reminding about the reality of a No deal, then Jason Hunter is your man. (Here’s the link to episode 1 but I also recommend episodes 4 & 7)….and Sarah Adkins is your woman who spoke live on Radio Cornwall yesterday.
7) Chris Grey’s blogspot is an easily digestible analysis of what could happen (written last Friday before yesterday’s vote)
Reminder: I am a non-expert who still believes in experts. The groups with acronyms that I am worried about, Mr Gove, are the ones that have come out of 55 Tufton Street and have their influence all over the hard-Brexit agenda. This is a seriously simple summary written for my own sanity. I am sharing it in case any one else could benefit.
This week Theresa May released the draft Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the EU and the UK.
It’s not that difficult to read actually but long. I have got as far as Articles 17 and 18 because after listening to my friend and fellow Cornwall for Europe campaigner speak this week, I felt motivated to find out what has been drafted for 5 million people who rarely get a mention in the press. I wrote about it yesterday.
No one likes the agreement. The Hard Brexiters don’t like it mainly because we will be in the Customs Union or effectively in the Customs Union and that means we will have little wriggle room to form our own bilateral trade agreements with the Rest of the World.
In the event that during transition, the UK and EU do not agree a free trade agreement where a border in the island of Ireland is not needed, then a bacskstop will be triggered. The UK will not be able to unilaterally end the backstop and this is not acceptable to the Brexiters.
The Remainers don’t like it because it is not as good as being in the EU primarily because even though some of the barriers to trade have come down, we lose all our say and influence (obviously, because we have decided to leave the club). No trade agreement can ever be as good as what we have now. Everyone loses their Freedom of Movement which Theresa May is heralding as a success and something to be celebrated.
The red lines that were drawn up by Theresa May’s government (leaving the Customs Union and Single Market and ending freedom of Movement) have hit against the reality of needing an open border within the island of Ireland. This agreement solves that problem. The Uber (my phrase for the people who want a hard Brexit) Brexiters (e.g. Liam Fox, Dominic Raab, the ERG members of the Conservative party, the Leave campaigners such as Farage) have never accepted that issue as a reality and have never been able to solve the problem. They are now blaming the EU for being intransigent and blaming Theresa May.
Theresa May spent Wednesday briefing her cabinet ministers individually and said they all agreed. The draft Withdrawal Agreement was then released to the public. The next day, Dominic Raab who presumably was a key person in negotiating the agreement, resigned because he did not agree with it. A few more ministers then resigned.
Dominc Raab has been replaced by Stephen Barclay. This is his voting record posted on Twitter yesterday.
As I write this 21 MPs have written letters of No Confidence. They need 48 to trigger a leadership contest. This rebellion is being orchestrated by the ERG. This is the part that worries me. However much I dislike the premiership of Theresa May, if one of the Ubers takes over, we will be in an even more dangerous situation. By ‘we’, I mean 66 million people who live in the UK minus the 1% who will benefit from the chaos unleashed by a No Deal Brexit.
Reminder: This Withdrawal Arrangement sets out the terms of the next two years so there is a smooth transition between being in the EU and being a 3rd country. While we are in the Transition stage, we can negotiate a trade agreement with the EU.
The simplest trade agreements take about 5 years to ratify and we will be in unchartered territory. No other country has ever extricated itself from a trade block of this scale. Our membership of the EU provides us with trade deals with about 70 other countries so all these will need to be re-negotiated as well. So when Brexiters say we are all fed up and want it over with, what they actually mean is that they want us over the line on March 29th over with. The reality of transition and beyond will be years of negotiations and uncertainty.
Another alarm bell sounded in me this week. David Davis posted on Twitter that he (along with Shanker Singham from the IEA) went to the USA to discuss trade with Trump Administration officials. There are lots of things wrong with this:
I am not the only one raising alarm bells over this.
The IEA and other think tanks that have their hands and influence all over Brexit. It is worrying because they would not worry about a No Deal Brexit i.e. they would not care if we left without the transition deal and cause huge hardship to 66 million people minus the 1%.
If David Davis with his IEA buddies are blatantly and openly breaking protocols, undermining the Prime Minister (and possibly breaking the law) then we are a pirate state and that is going to cause all sorts of problems with building secure trading relationships with states that want to operate within the rule of law and within protocols of respect.
If the ERG manage to cause a leadership contest, then that will be another way they can waste time to get us over the line of the 29th March and leave without a deal in place.
This is why we are in really dangerous times. The spin that is being put out there is that a No Deal is better than this one. A No Deal would be catastrophic to everyone apart from the mega rich. Yet ordinary people are now being persuaded that No Deal would be preferable to this deal or remaining in the EU.
There are always compromises within trade deals, more within comprehensive trade agreements and more again with seamless trade that we have within the EU. The EU has democratic safeguards. What democratic safeguards would be in place with a comprehensive free trade agreement (if we could ever get one) with Trump’s USA?
The manipulation has been prolonged and intense. The people taking back control are people who want to hand power to big business with no regulation free from the legal and democratic scrutiny of the EU. They have persuaded millions of people that the economic fall out of this will be worth it because of a notion about freedom. Meanwhile our freedom of movement has been taken away and that is a cause of celebration.
However, as the reality hits, people are waking up to the manipulation and are changing their minds. Hence the resistance to the People’s Vote by the Brexiters. If they thought they could win the People’s Vote they would support it. The fact there is so much opposition to it, is a good sign.
As Brexiters and Remainers within parliament can not back the W.A. then it is unlikely it will get through parliament so the only way out of the impasse is to hand it back to the people with a People’s Vote now we know what a withdrawal arrangement would look like.
Some brilliant commentators have written / campaigned this week. Please find links here:
Articles 15 and 17 are about citizens rights during the transition period and beyond. They sound quite good on the surface: If someone has been living here for 5 years they can gain residency in the UK. When I read these articles this afternoon, my thoughts went to the burden of having to prove residency and the stories I have heard so far in this regard. Many legitimate people have been denied citizenship or had a terrible time proving continuity of residency.
We have all heard people’s stories as part of the Windrush scandal, the Hostile Environment protocols and the experiences of the EU-27 citizens since the referendum in 2016. If I was an EU -27 citizen reading these articles today, my mind would not be at rest because I would not want my rights to be entirely in the hands of the authors of Windrush, the Hostile Environment or Brexit. Would you trust the UK government looking back at recent history? Would you be worried taking a look at the voting record of the new Brexit Secretary?
I asked my friend, Emmanuelle Brook what she thinks of Article 17. Emmanuelle has direct experience of these issues as an EU-27 citizen living here (and I hate that phrase by the way. She is as much British as French because she has lived and worked here for years, married a Brit and is bringing up her family up here ). This is what she said:
So this is potentially going to be a continuation of the purgatory for millions of people and their families.
Think about the wider picture too: Who is going to want to come here and be subjected to all this hassle? It is not going to be bright young things who have a lot to offer – They will have much better options open to them within the EU-27. This newspaper article is a personal testimony and also touches on how this will affect the UK more broadly.
I am in bed, having my morning cuppa and read that the Government are commissioning a special flotilla of boats to ensure that vital supplies reach us in the event of a No Deal…….