The clear winner of the award for the most stupid tweet of the year is Lord Digby Jones. Here it is, in full:
‘So the EU are going to charge Brits €7 to travel to Member States after Brexit. Just a thought…….did any of them want to charge my Great-uncle Thomas in 1917 or my wife’s Dad or uncle in 1944?’
Actually, it’s not just stupid. It’s crass, insensitive, reprehensible. And it’s a complete misunderstanding, deliberate or otherwise, of what has happened. For those of you who don’t read very quickly, I’ll type this very slowly. In 2016, the UK voted by a narrow majority on the basis of a simple remain/leave question to leave the European Union. On the basis of that result, politicians in both main parties have decided that free movement between the UK and the EU should end, even though this was not on the ballot paper. It is one of Theresa May’s red lines. She wants the UK to be a ‘third country’. What the EU is doing represents exactly what we have asked for.
Full disclosure: I support freedom of movement within the EU. I welcome European workers who staff our hospitals, care homes and all manner of jobs in the private and public sectors. It is an economic fact that migration from EU countries has benefited our country. But May’s Conservatives and Corbyn’s Labour both support pulling up the drawbridge. And it’s a two-way street.
The EU could easily have said that UK citizens would require visas for each individual trip to Europe. After all, it is we who have demanded the end of free movement. We have told Europe we wish to take control of our borders (we already do, by the way, but let’s not let a fact get in the way of the lies of Brexit). That means European citizens cannot as of right come to live, love, work, study and retire in the UK. The free movement we have enjoyed for decades is begin given away. Things could never be the same again.
The Boris Johnson ‘have our cake and eat it’ argument was always a lie, the idea that we could leave the EU but retain all the benefits of membership. The visa charge is, in effect, what we have asked for.
If EU citizens lose all those rights and freedoms, so do we, or rather our children who will lose the most. it will be my generation that took away their right to live, love, work, study and retire anywhere in the EU.
The EU came about as a result of the Second World War. Indeed, Winston Churchill was an early enthusiast of the EU dream. I suspect he would turn in his grave as Britain turns its back on the unity and stability the EU has helped provide since the war.
I repeat: the UK is leaving the EU and not the other way around. We have asked to be a third country. We have told the EU to end our freedom of movement. This, apparently, is what we want. How hard can it be to understand?
PS. The USA charges us $14 to visit them. That’s because we are a ‘third country’.