Crossing from France to Spain - exercising my EU citizen's right, which Brexit removes
Brexit - they take away our rights, and call it freedom.
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This is the Euskotren service, which has just left Hendaye station in France, crossing the River Bidasoa which is the border with Spain.
Currently, a British passport gives all 65 million UK citizens the right to travel freely within all 28 countries of the EU. Plus the right to live and work in any of those countries.
This is a right, guaranteed by EU law.
If Britain leaves the EU, it is quite possible British citizens will lose that right. Perhaps some kind of agreement will eventually be reached. But perhaps not. What was once a right will become a subject for negotiation.
Nor would the weakening of our rights end there. Annual leave, maternity pay, limits on working hours, rights to compensation (eg airline delay): all these and many more are areas where British citizens currently enjoy rights which are guaranteed to them as EU citizens.
Yes a British government could introduce equivalent measures. But it could also choose not to, Or it could introduce them, and then overturn them.
There are a hundred reasons why Brexit, if it happens, would be a calamity for the UK, as well as deeply damaging for Europe.
One of them is that Brexit is an outright attack on the rights which UK citizens currently enjoy.
Why wasn't this point hammered home in the lead-up to the referendum by the feeble and confused Remain campaign?
"Vote Leave and lose your rights" - why didn't we hear slogans like this?
The Roman writer Tacitus had scathing words for his own armies, famously saying: "They create a wasteland, and call it peace".
One can say something similar of Brexit: they take away our rights, and call it freedom.
As for the deranged fixation in the Brexit press over the colour of the UK passport, here are the facts:
- it was the UK government, NOT the EU, which changed the colour from blue to red in the 1980s
- the EU does NOT require passports to be red; Croatia, an EU member, has blue ones, for example.
Symbol over substance. Rhetoric, bluster and false nostalgia rather than people's actual rights.
The obsession with the colour of the passport captures, in a nutshell, the destructive lunacy of Brexit.