Section: Brexit

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The Lost Opportunities List

Cliff Mitchell

Since 1 January 2021 the European Union has not stood still. It continues to offer new opportunities, funding and benefits to its citizens and businesses that we, in the UK, are now excluded from.

Adapting to life as a business in a third country: Aztec Oils

Simon Ferrigno

The post-Brexit transition period continues to hurt businesses across our region, with many losing orders and/or moving operations elsewhere to reduce the friction, costing our region future jobs and growth. In this new interview, we talk to Mark Lord of Aztec Oils, a specialist lubricant oil company based in Bolsover, Derbyshire, founded in 1995. It […]

Changes to EU citizens’ rights should concern us all

Mark Vaughan

For decades, EU citizens had the right under EU free movement law to live their lives in the UK but now must ask for permission to continue to do so by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. From today, they only have 90 days left until the application deadline of 30 June, after which many […]

Where are you on rejoin?

Cliff Mitchell
Where are you on rejoin? Cliff Mitchell For many of us, it is axiomatic that leaving the EU was a huge mistake that will damage our country and diminish our rights as citizens. Our future, we believe, must be as part of the EU so we can work together to address the very real and massive issues we face nationally and internationally. The UK has the potential to be a real force for good in the world but not if we continue down a path of right-wing populism and English exceptionalism. Some argue that now is not the time to campaign to rejoin the EU: it’s too soon, people have had enough of Brexit, we’ll be branded as sore ‘Remoaners’, we have to be patient, it’s going to be a long process to persuade public opinion of the case for rejoining. Others argue that if we believe our future lies with the EU, we should say so now, loudly and clearly, giving like-minded people a rallying voice and hope for a better tomorrow. Experience of street campaigning over recent years does suggest one thing: being crystal clear about your own position leads to a much more constructive debate with those who disagree. Your arguments are easily undermined if your position is unclear or ambiguous. Arguing for a People’s Vote for example was unconvincing and easily dismissed if you were unwilling to be clear about your own position on remain versus leave. It’s also hard to be passionate about an ambiguous position. The Leave campaign was successful based on stirring people’s emotions rather than presenting data and rational argument and there is still plenty of passion generated by Brexit just waiting to be channelled. Can that passion be sustained over a long, steady campaign for gradual, closer alignment with the EU? Will it burn itself out in a short rejoin now campaign that may not be successful? If we believe in the UK as a constructive partner in the biggest peace project in history, in working together with diverse people to make the world a better place, that the UK belongs at the heart of the EU, but we don’t say so, are we being dishonest and even unprincipled, leaving like-minded people feeling isolated? We are not politicians, probably don’t want to be, and shouldn’t try to be. We don’t have to adjust our position based on double guessing how our political opponents will respond to our next ten steps – leave that to the politicians, that’s their job. What we can do is be a voice for the huge number of ordinary people who are, like us, devastated at what has become of our country. Hope and a vision for a better future are in short supply right now. Why are we not providing that? Do we not understand how powerful that could be? We have a populist government committed to nothing except their own control of power, whatever that takes. But they are unbelievably incompetent and politics has never been so unpredictable. Brexit is an unfolding disaster, not the success Johnson and co. predicted or claimed, and populism around the world is not on the rise as Brexiteers expected – thank you Joe Biden, in particular. The Johnson government has, as a result, been wrong-footed and weakened. Right-wing populists, by definition, listen and pander to popular opinion. If popular opinion is that we would be better in the EU, then populist politicians like Johnson will listen. Our challenge is to channel public opinion to a shared rejoin position and we can’t do that if we remain silent or our stance is ambiguous or nuanced. Perhaps we are also trying to be too smart. For most of us it’s not our job to be politicians and we are not equipped with the Machiavellian skills required of that role. Remember the simplistic, emotional messages used so successfully to win the Leave campaign? Our message as individuals does not have to be the same as the messages from the main political parties, or even the main pro-EU campaign groups. But we should be clear and uncomplicated Ideally, we should all align behind a common, grassroots message. Most can agree that life will be better for all of us, for our country, and indeed the world if we rejoin the EU and take back our place as a force for good – and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so. So whether you think we should campaign to rejoin now, or take a more cautious, step-by-step approach of gradually moving closer to the EU, make your position clear and principled – that way you are much more likely to persuade others of the way forward. /ENDS

For many of us, it is axiomatic that leaving the EU was a huge mistake that will damage our country and diminish our rights as citizens. Our future, we believe, must be as part of the EU so we can work together to address the very real and massive issues we face nationally and internationally. […]

Here’s to an Independent Scotland

John King

A fearsome battle is brewing over the future of Britain. On one side the UK Government, the majority of the press, and the entire British establishment, tacitly backed by the royals. On the other side, Nicola Sturgeon and her fellow Scotttish warriors. Their cause is just, their passion strong, and I wish them well.  If […]

A Sense of Identity: National Identity and the coming Census

Cate Earnshaw Dudley

Every decade a census is taken in England and Wales. This snapshot of all people and households gives information to help plan resource allocation, and will help future historians understand us. This year, there is a lot of chatter on social media asking the question ‘Do you feel European?’ with speculation whether we should, or […]

JD Sports: “Brexit is considerably worse than expected.”

Anna Girolami

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill did not mince his words when he spoke to Radio 4’s World at One on Tuesday. The company is reeling from the effects of increased costs and administration. Cowgill believes that none of this was adequately explained to businesses prior to our departure seven weeks ago.

Post-Brexit trade: a barren soil for seeds

Simon Ferrigno

Seeds of Italy is the UK importer of seeds from Franchi, the oldest family-run seed company in the world. They preserve old varieties renowned for taste; the company also deals with fine Italian foods and cosmetics. As for many other companies, the end of the Brexit transition period is causing no end of problems and […]

An undiplomatic row

John Bland

The World Trade Organisation, The United Nations, The Holy See, Russia, China, Syria, Central African Republic, Timor-Leste. What do they have in common? They are just some of the 143 countries and multilateral organisations throughout the World that have granted EU ambassadors the same privileges and immunities equivalent to those of diplomatic missions under the […]

Europeans should take stock

John Bland

The uncertainty caused by Brexit and the transition period is over. We now have certainty. Britain’s ties with the European Union (EU) have been considerably weakened.

Two tiers in a reformed EU

Carol Weaver

What seems like many years ago, in the year 2016, I wrote about how we might make the most of leaving the European Union (EU). At that time (late June), it did not occur to me that the referendum had been illegal, and we could campaign for it to be rerun.   So, it seemed […]

Remaining optimistic in Rutland despite a sticky wicket for farming!

Andrew Brown

Cricketing image?
I am a farmer and a keen cricketer (though not a high standard player by anyone’s account). I love playing the game and find all its nuances and foibles fascinating but right now, there are certain cricketing analogies I’d like to draw with the situation this country finds itself in.

The Excluded – 3 million UK taxpayers

EM Bylines Team

These are often entrepreneurial individuals who take risks to create and establish new businesses or individuals who have no option but to work in a freelance capacity, such as performers and many others associated with our vital arts sector.

The East Midlands still says NO to no deal

EM Bylines Team

A new poll shows 2 out of 3 voters want a good deal with the European Union (EU). They do not want a no deal or what Boris Johnson calls an ‘Australian style arrangement’. The whole country says #no2nodeal.

UK trade tariffs and the future…

Dr Rachel English

Since the 23 June 2016, when the UK voted to come out of the EU, UK businesses have been uncertain on how the UK government is going to organise its trade policy with the EU and with non-EU countries.