Project fear continues !

There is a great deal of uncertainty being generated by people who should know better. The political situation in the UK is being unsettled by the irresponsible actions of several senior politicians.

Hilary Benn has provoked a leadership crisis in the Labour Party at the very moment the nation needs stability after the Referendum result. He has blatantly placed the Remain cause and his own position above party and country. He presents himself as Statesmanlike but is actually acting in the most despicably partisan fashion, just when the country needs reassurance.

Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland continues to campaign for Remain and for an Independent Scotland. She completely disregards the results of the September 2014 Referendum on Independence and last week’s Brexit Referendum. It is pure opportunism on her part to try to put Scottish independence back on the agenda.  The question in last week’s Referendum was “Should the UNITED KINGDOM remain or leave – NOT should Scotland remain or leave the EU. Scotland voted as a constituent member of the United Kingdom; this was not a vote on Scottish independence, nor on Scotland’s membership of the EU. And when the Scots voted in 2014 on the specific issue they knew full well that Brexit was a possibility for the UK.

She talks as if Scotland were a country occupied by the English with every right to ignore what is happening in our country – the United Kingdom. Scotland is legally, constitutionally and democratically a constituent nation within the United Kingdom. As a minister in a junior administration within the United Kingdom, Sturgeon has a responsibility to the United Kingdom but she chooses instead to play partisan politics with a very serious situation.

She deliberately ignores her wider responsibility and the actual constitutional arrangements.

The actions of these two politicians are symptomatic of the underlying problem: the preset mindset of the political class in their bubble versus the actual lives, interests and concerns of ordinary people.

I say this to explain the politics of the moment and the uncertainty it is generating.

I have explained in these pages what the position of expats actually  is. The reassurance I have sought to give is well founded, and I will continue to give that reassurance as one who analyses politics and endeavours to delineate the main contours and features of the political landscape.

There continue to be the most outrageous attempts to frighten people about the consequences of Brexit. Jean Claude Juncker is among the worst –  a Czech minister has even called for his resignation. Juncker continues to make the most appalling statements contrary to the facts. And the leader of the Spain’s largest party has repeated nonsense about a threat to pensions and healthcare for Brits in Spain.

Such assertions are playing politics with people’s fundamental welfare. They are despicable. What British expats need to realise is that such assertions are skewed and slanted takes on the overall picture; such comments disregard the legal, political and economic realities. Spain needs the economic plus British expats bring. End Of !

The EU maintains that it is an institution safeguarding the rights of Europeans. Why should they, then, take action against the rights of Europeans living in each others countries ? Assertions to the contrary – and they have been made – simply corroborate the concerns that many have about the EU oligarchy.

There are over 2 million EU citizens living in the UK. The UK will not attack their rights of residency, social security or health. Our governments do not act like that. And they cannot with so many British expats in the EU. Only today, Boris Johnson has stated that EU citizens in Britain need have no fears for their future. Being the man most likely to move into the Prime Ministerial hotseat, he knows full well the need to take a responsible line at this critical juncture.

Take the UK and France. There are twice as many French living in the UK as Brits living in France. The French government will do nothing to harm their interests, nor will the French government want to lose the economic benefits so many retired Brits bring to France. The French government has, for example, reiterated its commitment to the Le Touquet bi-lateral border Treaty which enables British border controls at Calais, and vice versa.  Talk from senior French and British politicians on that score during the Referendum campaign was pure politicking ..

The media in the UK and on the continent plays a key role in fuelling all this nonsense. Reports of Brits in EU countries feeling they have to take citizenship there to protect their interests, or EU citizens applying for British nationality is nonsense. Both the legal and the economic realities  determine the case. EU citizens cannot have their existing rights taken from them retrospectively at some future date. That means our rights continue, even after all the Brexit arrangements are finalised and in place. The only difference I can envisage as an expat living  in France is to have a carte de sejour again. Big Deal !

Do stop and remember that there is always a broader context which gives us the real picture.

Don’t allow the partisan comments of politicians with a propaganda agenda of their own to disquiet you.

If the situation deteriorates, it will be because those who do not want to accept the Referendum result are trying to unsettle things and create the climate they prophesied on campaign.

The £ has not fallen through the floor and there is no real reason for it to do so. Except in the perceptions of those who want to think we cannot live without the EU …

As one commentator put it today, markets and currencies fluctuate all the time. It is normal. Falls in the value of the £ and shares are merely readjustments. And when commentators talk about it, they need to put such “falls” [too often described in apocalyptic language] into their context over time.

A temporary upset was inevitable – especially as a Remain result was widely diffused in the media and polls [how do they manage to get it so wrong? Or do they ?].

But temporary is not permanent. And as the Chancellor said this morning [remember he is no longer on campaign but having to be responsible again] the British economy is fundamentally strong; all necessary measures are in place at the Bank of England; we are far better placed than in 2008 !

Frankly, Brexit is not remotely on a par with the world crisis of 2008, and don’t let any one try to persuade you that it is.

Ray Catlin