24 December, 2020

Brexit deal

The British passport is the only one I possess, but I'm not proud of it. It's unlikely that I would feel proud of the passports of other European countries either, but the EU offers something new; a bold historical experiment. So whatever one thinks about the Germans, the French, the Italians, et al, the European Union offers an additional element that makes the sum greater than its parts. It's a super-nation than has never been a colonial power, and not, so far, perpetrated many wrongs. The rights, in terms of labour laws, personal freedoms and the rest, outnumber the wrongs. So, with Britain's withdrawal from the EU, I feel as if I have lost the pride as well as the sense of privilege i had in being a citizen of the European Union. It wasn't my decision; I cannot vote, and the British are perfectly entitled to make whatever decision they want. But, in doing so, they have lost all remnant of my affiliation to the UK other than a travel document. Now, if I would ever move back to Europe, the only door open to me would be Ireland; and I might just prefer to live there than in the UK itself. Good luck to the Scots. I hope they succeed in becoming an independent nation. I think they will feel much more at home in the EU than in the UK.

Thoughts on Brexit

The UK has not been my home since childhood. I will probably never go back to live there. Yet my only passport is British, and I might wish to live one day in a European country.  Here's what I think about Brexit.

Any major change in the status of a country should require a referendum with a two-thirds majority. That would take care of situations where the majority is slim, as was the case in this one. Joining the EU should have required such a referendum; leaving it too.

The referendum on leaving the EU should have been built from the outset on the principle of holding a second referendum, once the conditions agreed between Parliament and the EU would be known.

Since joining the EU made every British citizen a citizen of the EU, any automatic abrogation of that citizenship should be illegal. Although the gaining of EU citizenship is dependent upon national citizenship in an EU member country, losing of such citizenship should be conditioned upon the acceptance by the individual. It is not for a country to take away citizenship, even of a dual citizen, without due cause (i.e. individuals themselves have done something that would be a cause of revoking citizenship) - otherwise, this only causes anguish to the individual. The case should be adjudicated by the European Court of Justice.

Whatever I think about Brexit, it seems to me that at this moment, Johnson's deal is the only one on the table. Parliament should decide on that deal and stop quibbling. Labour should support the deal on condition that there will be a second referendum; that's what they said they would do. They might still have illusions of passing their own deal, but that's not going to happen. Even if, as I suspect, a second referendum would come out in support of Brexit, the step is still necessary as a means to national healing.  All this literal demonization of the other side, whichever side, should stop.