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The logic of Brexit December 20, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Reading about the British joint parliamentary committee report that noted the following I couldn’t help but think that it underlined the logic of Brexit.

Mass deportations of the estimated 2.9 million EU nationals living in the UK would be impractical and they should not be used as a “bargaining chip” in Brexit negotiations, the government is being warned.
In a strongly-worded report published on Monday, parliament’s influential joint committee on human rights (JCHR) highlights the political uncertainty over the residential status of both EU citizens in the UK and the 1.2 million Britons believed to be living elsewhere within the European Union.


“The government must not use human rights as a bargaining chip,” Harriet Harman MP, the former deputy Labour leader and chair of JCHR, said: “The UK government could not deport the large numbers of EU nationals currently in the UK.

“In the unlikely and unwelcome event that the government sought to deport EU nationals there could be the potential for significant, expensive and lengthy litigation leading to considerable legal uncertainty for a prolonged period of time. These cases would have the potential to clog up and overwhelm the court system.”

But what else is Brexit about, indeed what is sovereignty about, if not the exercise of powers including those that allow for deportation. For probably the largest tranche of those pushing (and one has to suspect from latest research – including that published last week which positioned immigration concerns as driving the vote amongst the section of the white working class who voted Leave) Brexit that was the concern. It could hardly be more explicit given the nature of the campaign. That it is impractical and unfeasible is in a sense neither here nor there for fundamentally the power is the key thing. It is the iconic manifestation/justification/exemplar of that which Brexit is and that which membership of the EU isn’t.

Again, that it is unfeasible, that it makes little economic or social sense, is irrelevant. The exercise from the off was irrelevant, and arguably irrational. Attempting to disentangle socio-economic and cultural links that had been established forty years ago and developed since then was always going to be irrationally painful and counterproductive, though the level of pain was always ignored, or at best minimised, by those arguing for Brexit.

Of course one can argue that the EU itself excludes those from outside – it is true. Almost all states and supra-national entities exercise border controls and exclusionary policies. But arguing for perfection seems problematic in this context, progress doesn’t come all at once, and the end of controls within the EU for the most part is an historic development on this continent, and adding to those controls both within Europe and the EU and outside it does not logically appear to be an improvement. Particularly when the political dynamic is one driven by the right and the far right and one likely only to aid the right and the far right both in the EU and further afield and inexorably lead to an even greater proliferation of such barriers.

A further noxious possibility is that Brexit might see those who so far have refused to jettison the principle of freedom of movement within the EU do so for fear that the far right should use it to damage the EU itself. I’m not so concerned about the EU, but the principle of freedom of movement, even limited to the continental space of the EU as it is at the moment, is a good one and one that should be extended far and wide and anything that damages it is a problem.

And there’s the thought that while the deportation of many hundreds of thousands of EU citizens from the UK seems unfeasible and impractical, we now live in a time where the unfeasible and the impractical seem less of a concern than they once were. It would, in a world of Trump and Brexit, be a brave person who would argue that such processes are ‘never’ rather than ‘unlikely’. That too is a byproduct of these processes, making that which seemed impossible and absurd, not to mention brutal, somehow less so.


1. CL - December 20, 2016

Trump and Brexit: Brexit and Trump. Similarities certainly, but differences too. Brexit passed with a majority of the vote, but Farage, and what he represents has not taken over the government.
While in the U.S a right-wing demagogue with 46% of the vote has attained state power.
I doubt that the U.K with its regained sovereignty will deport people from other EU countries.

But in the U.S. Trump the demagogue;

“commands a vast nuclear arsenal that can destroy the planet many times over; the deadliest and most expensive military ever developed in human history; legal authorities that allow him to prosecute numerous secret wars at the same time, imprison people with no due process, and target people (including U.S. citizens) for assassination with no oversight; domestic law enforcement agencies that are constructed to appear and act as standing, para-militarized armies; a sprawling penal state that allows imprisonment far more easily than most Western countries; and a system of electronic surveillance purposely designed to be ubiquitous and limitless, including on U.S. soil.”

Patti Smith has spoken of ‘resilience against the dark’. We’re going to need it.


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