UKREN blog

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Brexit. #WTF

As the Brexit circus plays out in Parliament, this is a personal post. And like those legal disclaimers below similar posts, these do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation (that bit is for the pro-Brexit Charity Commission). 

My eldest son has Finnish and British nationality, my daughter has Slovak and British nationality and my youngest son will next week have Latvian and British nationality (we will get him Latvian nationality as an insurance policy). So Europe is, as a geographical area, very important to me. Staked my position.

I am no fan of the European Commission as it stands. In my experience it is full of arrogant bean counters who have no concept of the issues they are only auditing. For those of you with project management experience, they only care about outputs (what they call ‘deliverables’, not the impact - the result - of spending. The European Commission is an organisation that has never had its accounts balanced. Ever. Well, said that.

But taking a wider perspective, the EU has brought in laws to protect race and ethnic minorities and faiths, has strengthened laws against hate crime, amongst many, many other things. I’m also a director of a local environmental organisation. In my humble opinion these policies and laws far out way the negatives. I believe the Charter of Fundamental Rights is the most contemporary human rights document in the world. But I also respect and agree with the views that Fortress Europe is a very difficult entity for any one outside to enter. Its handling of migration is a farce.

And then I watch every day the shenanigans in Parliament. Like may other people I wonder what planet these elected public servants are on. This is a remarkably bad case study of power and privilege at play. I do appreciate that the country was divided over the overly simplistic question of in or out of the EU. Then politicians bend this simple question to mean things that suit their ideology. I start shouting at my computer when I read that a politician said that the population voted for this particular course of action. No, they voted in or out. Both of the main political parties are, in my opinion, at fault of playing games for power. Do they support this or that? It changes every day.  In the background the EU says that a chaotic Brexit is likely.

Nearly every day I’m asked questions, often by my Roma friends, about what the political position means to them as migrants to the UK. I answer honestly, I believe, and give them the full range of possibilities that might happen. While talking I can sense their incomprehension. “What does this really mean to me?” is their question. I have to answer “I don’t know”.

I so hope that a significant proportion of our elected politicians eventually think about the long-term future of this country. I may not be around to witness that if the ‘hostile environment’ Home Office tell my wife to leave as personally I’m not going to allow these fundamentalists to break up my family, Will PREVENT look at these political extremists in the Home Office? I totally doubt it. And last point, I still think you are brilliant, employees of NHS, having been a patient of yours this week. Don’t ask - local GP practice, immediately to hospital, to appearing to be on the set of a hospital soap with monitors sounding off on the cardio monitor - I kid you not.

My mentor and friend, Don Flynn, always told me to end blogs on a positive note. Wise words.

For the moment I cannot. Honestly.

However, I truly hope that I can update this blog with a positive end before the end of March.


Alan Anstead, Coordinator, UK Race and Europe Network

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