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What results can Britons hope for during the next two-years of Brexit negotiations?
In the aftermath of the UK General Election 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May has her work cut out for her.
With the whole country and indeed the world looking on, Brexit negotiations are set to begin next week. One note that inspires some early confidence is the mild but useful cabinet shuffle announced by PM May at the weekend.
PM Theresa May must gain control of borders and the numbers of people allowed into the UK
It’s become clear over many months that immigration levels are seen by many citizens as too high and that far too much ‘catering’ to the needs of refugees and economic immigrants has been allowed to occur.
Of course it makes sense to take care of people new to the country and few would begrudge decent treatment for people looking for a better life free from persecution in the case of refugees, and in the case of economic migrants, having the ability to earn a living and have a shot at a real life.
However, when the migrants seem to be doing better than the 13 million Britons who make up the bottom economic quintile group it’s a sign that adjustments are in order.
NOTE: The UK’s bottom economic quintile group report average incomes of £6146 (original income) £13,841 (final income) and £11,883 (disposable income)
Either because of young age/entry-level work or part-time work, or diminishing opportunities in their chosen career, or poor opportunities for higher education in their younger years (in the case of older members of this group) this quintile suffers from low-income, poorer health, poorer housing, and lower life satisfaction index scores. They also die younger, spend more time in hospitals, and as a quintile have more dealings with police and security agencies. Through no fault of their own (as offshoring of jobs isn’t their fault, nor is increased immigration where lower paying jobs are taken by cheaper labour immigrant workers) this group costs the UK economy billions of pounds sterling every year.
If there were jobs available for the people in the bottom quintile they would take them, and no longer find themselves in the bottom fifth with all the attendant costs to themselves, their families, and to UK society
But the simple fact is, in the UK there are many more people looking for work, than there are jobs available — and this is particularly true since the beginning of the influx of eastern European immigrants and refugees from other regions.
This means ‘hard’ borders with real border guards and guns. It means people must be turned away if they don’t meet all of the requirements to enter the country and it means that those non-UK-citizens presently in the country must register their status with the Home Office by January 1st of each year, with updated address, phone number, employment details, or if a student their university details, etc. and pay an annual fee of 100 pounds sterling to the Home Office.
It really isn’t much to ask when the positive is that they get to live in one of the best countries on the planet.
PM Theresa May must insure that all offshore areas presently under EU jurisdiction and formerly under the jurisdiction of Great Britain, must be returned to the UK
UK fishers, those in the undersea resource extraction field, and corporations that build wind turbine installations in the North Sea were under the authority of the EU while the UK was a member of the European Union, however, now that the UK is leaving the EU, maritime borders must revert to their previous status.
Not only will jurisdiction revert to the United Kingdom, but the responsibility to patrol and protect those waterways will once again fall to the Royal Navy and the RAF. The primary responsibility of every government on the planet is to protect its citizens, and that means spending significant time and resources to protect the land, sea, and air boundaries of the country. Real countries don’t ‘contract it out’ to other nations. If you want it done right, do it yourself.
I hope Theresa May won’t get shouted down by EU negotiators on this primary and important aspect of statehood.
Not only are the fishing zones rich, but so are the undersea resources, as are the wind and wave resources for corporations that spend billions to build offshore wind farms. In their entirety, UK marine zones represent almost uncountable riches, and the European Union can’t be happy about losing their claim on these abundant waters.
PM Theresa May must negotiate a reciprocal expat agreement that works for both UK and EU expats
At present, 1.3 million British citizens live in the EU, while 3.3 million EU citizens live in the United Kingdom.
But neither the European Union nor the United Kingdom has any particular obligation to host the others’ citizens after Brexit.
For example, EU citizens living in the UK have no special status and the UK isn’t obligated to allow them to continue to live or work in a post-Brexit Britain. The same is true for Britons presently living in the EU whether they are working on the continent, attending university there, or have retired in the European Union.
One would like to think a standardized agreement for reciprocal expat rights can be signed immediately between the two blocs.
But it’s a situation where the benefits to politicians are relatively small, as only tiny numbers of voters are involved out of Europe’s total population of 504 million.
In the (hypothetical) worst-case scenario, three times as many EU citizens would be required to return to the EU — while only 1.3 million Britons would be required to leave the European Union following Brexit.
Wouldn’t it be great if politicians could agree on a standardized bill of rights for all European expats?
When factoring-in the gross total number of all EU citizens living in non-EU countries in Europe, almost 5 million EU expats would benefit from such a solution — and 2 million Norwegian, Swiss, Greenlanders, and Britons would benefit just as much and for the same reasons.
A Pan-European Agreement would lower angst between the EU and the UK
Instead of the usual tug-of-war where the only eventuality is a ‘Win-Lose’ outcome, all European leaders should broaden their worldview and seek a pan-European ‘Win-Win’ agreement that works for all expats.
Goodwill and a ‘Win-Win’ attitude will be everything in regards to successful Brexit negotiations
Without those two ingredients, leaders on both sides will buy themselves years of misery and bad polls: But by employing those ingredients in generous measure, European leaders on both sides of the Brexit negotiations will prove their world-class credentials and abilities to 7.4 billion onlookers.
French voters heading to the polls on Sunday may notice that public opinion has been shifting in recent days towards Frexit. Even Emmanuel Macron the ‘establishment’ candidate hints that Frexit might be in the cards if the EU doesn’t reform.
Marine Le Pen continues to gain in the polls and with only days to go before the vote, one wonders what would happen if the vote were a month on? Probably a Le Pen victory if the present trend continues.
Alas, the vote will be held on May 7, not June 7, but it shows how voter preferences are changing as each day passes.
Still, a threat to leave the EU coming from an establishment candidate for the French presidency is shocking, as was the violence on the streets of Paris, a.k.a. the City of Love.
Could a new French president influence the Brexit process?
If Marine Le Pen is elected, the EU will face two nations with plans to leave the Union — Britain and France.
On the other hand, if Emmanuel Macron is elected (and if the EU won’t agree to the changes requested by Macron) it seems likely Frexit will occur anyway.
Back to the effects of the French election on the UK;
In the case where the United Kingdom (alone) leaves the EU, all of the hurt, anger and blame felt by the jilted party (the EU Parliament) will be focused on UK voters and their political leaders.
But in the case where both Britain and France decide to leave the EU, the Union may have no choice but to accept that the democratic deficit in Brussels is to blame — and all of the hurt, anger and blame will be directed at Brussels by the EU bloc leaders.
And if that occurs, some necessary changes might actually occur. Although two of their best horses (Britain and France) will have already left the stable.
As traumatic as it might be, that’s what it might take for the un-democrats in Brussels to change their ways.
My view is that Emmanuel Macron will win the French presidency in the May 7th election, that the EU will not offer the changes necessary for France to remain in the Union, and that Marine Le Pen will win the 2022 election and take France out of the European Union shortly thereafter.
‘The one constant in the cosmos is change’
Let’s hope EU leaders realize the profound truth of that truism and decide to make the changes necessary for France to stay in the European Union. Otherwise, even bigger changes are coming for continental Europe. Mon Dieu! Quoi de neuf?
Some very smart people a long time ago, decided to prevent another World War by working to unify European countries that share and haven’t always *shared well* the European continent.
To preclude another internecine war they created several brilliant Euro-centric political institutions such as the European Community, the European Economic Community, the European Union, the Eurozone, the European Court of Justice, and other political, economic, and judicial European institutions — and they enthusiastically embraced internationalism and multilateralism via institutions such as the United Nations and NATO.
It wasn’t all about preventing another war, of course. By 1972 it had become as much about improving the pan-European economy as it was about presenting a united bloc to the militarily powerful Soviet Union.
Britain’s decision to join the EC/EEC and later the EU was obviously part of that geopolitical master plan — and if you read the texts carefully enough with a little ‘reading between the lines’ — it becomes obvious to all but the most tone-deaf that senior British politicians of the era and their negotiators considered that Britain might not be married to the continent forever.
To put it forthrightly, Britain joined the European project to help Germany and other countries ‘gel together’ under a unifying organization to prevent another European war — and it’s possible to find internal texts proving that Britain planned for a possible exit from the EC and the EEC and (implied) from the EU, once the continent became permanently united under one political structure.
Therefore, only those too young to remember the history of the EC, the EEC, and the formation of the EU, don’t see that Brexit was always on once the continent had become irrevocably joined.
Not only did Great Britain pay more than it’s fair share in WWI and WWII, it also contributed more than asked during the Cold War, and it contributed more to the European project than any country with the notable exception of the United States.
Now is the time for Britain to leave the EU and make up for lost time. So said 17+ million British voters on June 23rd, 2016.
It is against this backdrop that a majority of Britons still want Brexit, a clean Brexit, and a fair Brexit.
And why shouldn’t they? The UK has paid more than it’s fair share towards the continent since 1914 and still contributes more than it receives from the EU. Britain, the cash cow.
Yet some in Britain can’t stop haranguing the government for having the audacity to try to deliver what the people voted for — Brexit.
Never since Prime Minister Winston Churchill called upon Britons to prevail no matter the hardship has a country needed the strong support of its citizens and all levels of government.
Brexit is going to be one of the biggest challenges the UK has seen in decades.
And instead of ‘All Hands on Deck’ with every person in the country coming together to strengthen the hand of the Prime Minister and her negotiating teams during what will undoubtedly be difficult negotiations complete with EU officials acting the part of the suddenly jilted lover, we have some British people doing everything in their power to derail Britain’s chances of getting a good deal!
It’s your future, people!
I know you lost the referendum, but for God’s sake don’t sabotage your country just because you don’t like the democratic result.
Of course, it’s the job of the loyal opposition parties to provide policy alternatives to the sitting government’s plans. Nobody can blame them for performing their noble calling which has roots going back hundreds of years.
But it seems that some are so upset they lost the democratic referendum that they actually want the government to fail, they want the Brexit that was approved by 17+ million voters to fail, and they want to demean anyone who supported Brexit.
Really, if you prefer the EU to the UK, why don’t you just move there and become a citizen? I’ll help you pack.
This is no time for un-democrats to undermine their own country’s democracy, and who believe in the superiority of an un-elected Brussels cabal that lives off the largesse of UK (and German!) taxpayers — both countries pay more per capita towards the EU than any other country.
All of whom conspired to convince the Prime Minister to call an election to prove to EU negotiators that Britain is united and moving forward with Brexit, and to quell the small number of UK-based naysayers in the Houses of Parliament and on the street — who get far too much airtime on slow news days.
With a fresh mandate from voters on June 8th Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating hand should be dramatically strengthened, thereby allowing her to obtain the best Brexit deal for the UK.
This Prime Minister has gotten stronger every month since being sworn into office, and calling an election to silence the outliers and to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations that will determine Britain’s destiny for decades, may turn out to be a stroke of genius.
Voting to tie one hand behind Theresa May’s back at this point in time only serves to weaken the United Kingdom. Surely no true Briton would consider such a thing.
READ: What Mandate for Theresa May? (Project Syndicate)