Post Brexit Citizenship

Post Brexit Citizenship

I attended the LME/New Europeans webinar on citizenship and Brexit yesterday, here is what I heard and learned.

There are political and economic demands, if we look at the political demands, they include

  • Citizenship rights for all residents, including the right to vote
  • The need for a fast and cheap route for citizenship, many residents have been here for decades
  • The UK currently permits dual citizenship, this should be retained and we need to argue that those European states that prohibit it should allow foreigners to have dual citizenship, this will benefit those in the UK and UK citizens in the EU
  • The current legal regime in the UK means that the hostile environmemnt will be extended to many EU citizens who are long term residents, it shows the injustice of the hostile environment; it must be repealed and both the health surcharge and NRPF must be abolished.
  • Access to Erasmus must be maintained.

Three insights were offered about the UK’s european diaspora, 80% of it are of working age, the stripping of their votes after 15 years absence is hurtful and demeaning. The likely loss of intra-European/Schengen freedom of movement is also a significant loss of rights.

How does Labour and its progressive allies work to defend the rights of its European diaspora.

British citizenship and naturalisation rules need to be exemplary and include voting rights for all residents and then we can argue for reciprocal citizenship rights. The post transition agreements need to ensure that British Citizens in the EU keep their rights to free movement. ( The proposed retaining of the British Isles Common Travel Area might be an effective precedent and enabler for this change.) Once the UK is behaving decently, then it might be possible to argue for fast track citizenship processes for British citizens resident in the EU. (Most European countries will need to consider their language qualification rules, as will the UK if it wants reciprocity.

One of the problems with the reforms immediately above is that it would seem to be Tory Party policy to retain our unfair and racist immigration rules, and thus changing them to make reciprocity worth offering will be politically very difficult.

Another reform in the EU which would make life easier for the UK diaspora would be movement towards a common social security policy. The irony being that this might be more likely now we’re out than if we’d stayed, although, still not easy. …

Labour’s new Red Lines

Labour’s new Red Lines

Here’s Labour’s new Brexit Red Lines on Brexit, which includes the text, and here is Paul Mason, Stephen Bush and Paul Cotterill.

Mason and Cotterill think it’s a move towards remain or a final say, and this is especially true if the Tories reject the offer. Mason feels that it puts the Tories in a difficult position but if they reject the offer, it puts Labour’s parliamentary Brexiters in very difficult position. Cotterill feels it’s the on ramp to a 2nd referendum and is especially excited by the requirement that the commitments to be made in the political declaration are to be backed by legislation. Bush considers it to be move towards soft brexit which maybe very attractive to the Labour sponsors of Common Market 2.0. He also says, that with the exception of free movement, it is specific and achievable and so, is on the Brexit off-ramp in a way that the six tests were not. He also notes that the new Red Lines are silent on free movement, which he argues is a better position than that previously held.

Is this good or bad?

I think I am with those who think it’s clever and resets the question in Parliament, which needed to be done. It interrupts May’s attempts to run down the clock and offer the Parliament or even the people a choice between her deal and no deal. It increases the odds of a final say between, May’s deal and Remain. In terms of an outcome, it’s nearly acceptable, although it now moves into the pointless end of the spectrum.

My one true fear is that it means Labour accepts the withdrawal agreement which will throws those Brit’s living in the EU under the bus, and the will permit the Tory government to implement another Windrush by placing EU citizens in the UK, having lived here for months or years under the same hostile environment applied to other alien immigrants and subject to uncertainty about their rights to remain. For me this might be a price too high!

There’s more below/overleaf …  …

A free citizen

From Arms and the Man, by George Bernard Shaw, Bluntschki’s second line,has stayed with me sicne school as the most powerful statement in favour of a Republic I’ve ever heard.

BLUNTSCHLI. I have. I have nine thousand six hundred pairs of sheets and blankets, with two thousand four hundred eider-down quilts. I have ten thousand knives and forks, and the same quantity of dessert spoons. I have six hundred servants. I have six palatial establishments, besides two livery stables, a tea garden and a private house. I have four medals for distinguished services; I have the rank of an officer and the standing of a gentleman; and I have three native languages. Show me any man in Bulgaria that can offer as much.

PETKOFF (with childish awe). Are you Emperor of Switzerland?

BLUNTSCHLI. My rank is the highest known in Switzerland: I’m a free citizen.

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Manifesto bingo, digital liberty and the internet

Manifesto bingo, digital liberty and the internet

I have had a look  at the manifestos and see what they have to say on the internet and Digital Liberty. I have been very influenced by the EDRi voting exchange and summarise the issues of Digital Liberty as e-citizenship, equality before the law, privacy and copyright reform, to which for this election we must add internet governance and industrial & innovation policy. I have created a table summarising the positions of the Tories, Labour, LibDems and Greens. Possibly I should have analysed the SNP manifesto since much of this is Westmister reserved powers. I was hoping to write something easy and quick to read. I don’t think I have succeeded. My super summary is in the figure immediately below, and here is the table I built to help me write this article. (I lost the excel file, so this will have to do!)  My main source was the ORG pages but I have been reading the Labour Manifesto also. I feel that the opposition parties have suffered from the surprise; they probably expected more time to develop their promises. All three opposition parties 2015 manifestos covered these issues in more depth.  …