July 12, 2016 § 4 Comments
So, Britain has narrowly voted to leave the EU, and with a new Prime Minister in place the triggering of Brexit seems likely in the near future. The question now, regardless of how any of us voted, is how we move forward through the uncertain times ahead in a way that best protects our strengths and freedoms as individuals and as a country.
In particular, in our negotiations with Europe over a new deal, I think three freedoms are important to secure. Free trade, in the form of full single market access, is the lifeblood of Britain’s economy and economic strategy; it’s vital to so many people’s jobs and livelihoods, and to being able to afford strong public services, that I think it’s something we need to push our politicians very hard to maintain.
Hand in hand with that is the personal aspect; freedom of movement. Free movement – the ability to work and live and love and make homes from Ayrshire to Athens – has been a huge positive for so many people and their families over the last few decades, and the deeply unpleasant uncertainty many of those families have been thrown into about their future needs to be resolved in a way that protects their rights and the rights of future generations to enjoy the same freedoms we have done up to now. The evidence that cutting off free movement would have any economic or social benefit is minimal (Australia, with its points system, has more migrants per capita than the UK) and the human cost of cutting it off risks tearing up too many families and friendships for it to be something we should contemplate.
Finally, we have to look to the future, and that means innovation and freedom of research. The EU’s innovation and science programmes are the strongest in the world, and we must call upon our politicians to ensure we continue to be able to play our part in those transnational collaborations that have accelerated the UK into the position of being the strongest nation on the planet for science in the last few years.
That’s why today I’m launching a new parliamentary petition to encourage our politicians to secure these three freedoms in the post-Brexit world. Three freedoms – research, movement, and trade – that could help secure Britain’s future as a generous, outward-looking, prosperous country. Three freedoms we ought to be proud to have; three freedoms I hope we can maintain and pass on to our children.
Please sign the petition, share this, and keep it moving; whatever your stance was on June 23, whichever party you tend to support, I hope you can support this now and we can join together to build a genuinely internationalist Britain for the 21st century.
There’s also a video version rant if you’d like something more audiovisual to share: