Dear Keir Starmer
This week you declared that Labour would not reinstate the free movement of people if and when they went back to the negotiating table with the EU. Labour would rejoin the customs union, which would bring about the free movement of goods across borders.
This means a tin of soup would have more rights to mobility in Europe than a person.
The effect of Johnson’s Brexit deal
Thousands upon thousands of British people resident in the UK and EEA have seen the catchment area of their livelihoods either greatly reduced, in my case 80%+, or wiped out owing to the huge restrictions placed upon us by Johnson’s Brexit deal, which is to quote The Earl of Clancarty, Nick Trench, who campaigns for creatives, “á no deal for services”. The Lord’s inquiry into services in the UK-EU deal details many reports from individuals and businesses on the subject.
Let’s take one sector as an example. Outbound tourism suffers 25,000 job losses. True losses amongst smaller businesses and freelancers are not yet quantified. Even sectors where some scope exists in the deal for services up to 12 months on site in some but not all EEA countries, are hard hit.
One of the reasons for this is Johnson’s deal disallows work sourced via agencies and projects which would, due to tax requirements in a country, have to be carried out on payroll (cf the UK IR35).
Loss of revenue to us in turn brings about a decrease in revenues for the treasury, which exists to empower public services like the NHS, and bolster those in great need via benefits. ie the people and causes closest to every labour heart.
Quite frankly, if the job losses occurred in a factory, mine or steel works, you and the rest of Labour would be up in arms. We are seemingly unimportant and can be once again run over by another bus with a different coat of paint and slightly modified slogan. Our prospects look bleak whoever is in office, right or left. We would probably use our heads and engage with tactical voting to rid the country of a Tory majority but some may find it very hard to lend our votes to Labour if it continues to ignore our plight.
Heed this warning. A liberal democrat, green or SNP candidate may score more votes there.
The problems of Brexit
The news tells us that farmers have thrown out crops; insufficient staff arrived on our shores to harvest these in time. What a waste: food which would have helped not only the farmers themselves but the public thrown out. A senseless waste for the environment.
Huge queues at airports, flight cancellations and general travel industry chaos ensued because the Brexit deal did not permit employment of relevant staff. The NHS has been hit by staff shortages brought about by Brexit, a triple whammy of problems on top of the covid pandemic, and funding cuts.
Clearly, the mobility frameworks in the current Brexit deal have a number of failure points. You, sir, are a lawyer/barrister, someone with the right education to digest complex treaties. There is an answer to all our problems. Legal frameworks are your friend. Use them.
Article 7 of the European Citizens’ Directive
Campaigner and law graduate, Femi Olowule, corrected Nigel Farage on LBC in 2016. Farage, who himself as MEP should have been well aware of legal treaties, spread mistruths about uncontrolled immigration stemming from our EU membership (single market).
This would have been news to many listeners. We cannot expect everyone to be familiar with details of possibly complex treaties and rules.
Time to set the record straight in simple language.
Freedom of movement is not free. It never was and never will be, even if Britain did chose to rejoin the single market.
Under article 7, if a fellow European (single market member) wishes to move to another single market member country, that person must provide evidence of:
- – a job or financial means to survive without benefits
- – comprehensive health insurance cover
in order to stay more than three months.
Of course, Farage lied. Migrants from Europe could not strain the NHS. Of course, his Brexit deal and losses of staff and revenue from treasury decreases did strain the NHS.
The UK right then and there in 2015 could have controlled immigration by applying this rule. Theresa May never used it.
I wrote to my MP to ask why [it was never used] and received a response via him from senior officials which was full of the usual platitudes and “will of the people” waffle. There were no practical answers.
As evidenced by the Brexit TCA, in which many European countries chose to apply work permits to services professionals, each member retains sovereignty.
Please Sir Keir ask that question in parliament on our behalf if you dare. I fear not.
We all need to ask ourselves why on earth politicians like Farage, who should have known these treaties exist, still went on to misrepresent the terms of single market membership? Or the many people who hold public office now…
Hiding the truth is almost as bad as peddling falsehoods.
Other reasons for government disinterest
There’s another reason for the government’s disinterest in article 7 and any other legal frameworks which would help us calm public worries about immigration from Europe.
A tie with Europe, especially EU membership, brings about a downside for those who are very well off, like Rishi Sunak, whose wife is richer than the Queen and still attempted to avoid UK taxation via her non-domiciled tax residency status, until this became known to the public.
The EU tax avoidance directive would make those individuals ‘poorer’ if you can ever describe millionaires like Jacob Rees Mogg as poor. Reports show Mogg would have contributed an extra two million in tax per year to revenues had Britain been an EU member.
Dyson, Hannan and the other super rich leavers were banging the same drum.
Our government and public figures consist of bankers and asset managers who are backed by disaster capitalists trading on sterling and the demise of British business.
Saving face with Red Wall voters
Article 7 or a similar term is your way out of this fine Tory mess and will easily allow you to save face with the Red Wall voters who may dislike the thought of migrants sponging. In return they would get a job market at their fingertips in 32 other countries and Switzerland. Those travel and tourism jobs as couriers and stewardesses would be fully accessible to many young people once again.
You can dress article 7 up to the Red Wall as Labour policy and bring millions upon millions of revenue from the services industry back into the treasury. The thousands of people who are not only experiencing the cost of living crisis but who have lost masses or all of their market would thank you for it.
Either way, whether we have a Tory or Labour government in the future, we’ve been run over by a bus.
Becoming the hero
The country needs leadership and pragmatism to solve the terrible cost of living crisis, engendered partly by the hard Brexit dreams of the Bullington Club star, Boris Johnson, to gain the keys to Number 10.
As a politician, you must share that dream to enter Number 10.
Is your stance on the renegotiation of the Brexit deal there to please Red Wall voters who supported Brexit and the end of freedom of movement? Loony remainers suspect this may be the case.
However, it does not have to be this way. Many Labour activists, including Another Europe is Possible have said this all along: Red Wall voters need to be told the truth.
The time for truth is now
To educate voters will take time and effort.
If politicians are in this business because they truly care and want to bring about change for the better, then they should engage right now in an active reversal of the Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and entire Leave campaign group’s fictitious propaganda.
Please do not take the UK on a new ride on a road to nowhere in a newly painted version of that red Boris Bus.
The country does not need another Benny Hill government and you, Sir Keir Starmer, have the opportunity to end the comic chaos with truth.