Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Andrea Leadsom falls at first hurdle

For a day or two she was looking good. Unlike front-runner Theresa May, Leadsom has adequate Eurosceptic credentials; adequate but not perfect, she saw the light late in life - the  EU problem has been obvious to many of us for decades. She converted in 2013. However she was a Leaver during the campaign, which is good enough.

But then, just as she was looking like a contender, she went and said all Europeans already living in the UK will be allowed to stay here. She gave away too much too fast and showed she cannot be trusted as a negotiator. It sounds all nice and cozy to give reassurance to immigrants already here...but, big but, what about British citizens living abroad? There are half a million Brits in Spain; a quarter of a million in Ireland, two hundred thousand in France, a hundred thousand in Germany, and another two hundred thousand dotted around the other EU countries. Did Leadsom secure their position before conceding the point? No, she did not.

Naturally, like every other aspect of our relationship with the EU there is a massive imbalance. We have about 1.2 million citizens in the EU and they have about 4 million citizens here, so the power is all with us, just like it is in the trade arena.

This blog is happy to keep many of the EU citizens already here; even to operate completely open border with many Western European countries (France, Germany, Spain, the low countries, etc) but not for free. This concession should come at a price. There are things we will want from the those counties, starting of course with security of tenure for our own citizens abroad.

Does Andrea Leadsom not see this as a vital point? If not, she is not qualified for the top job.

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