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.
Leaving the EU came at a huge cost to the UK economically, culturally and in terms of our standing in the world, but that’s not the end of our losses. The EU continues to progress without us, offering its twenty-seven member states and their 445 million citizens new opportunities for a better, safer, fairer, more sustainable future.
And that’s just in the first few months since we left the EU – imagine what we will have missed out on in a year, five years, ten.
Rather than being in a club with twenty-seven others, the UK is now alone and isolated, excluded from the benefits of club membership, and without the scale or resources to replicate those benefits.
The EU continues to focus on its citizens while the UK government is transfixed by ‘sovereignty’, by centralising power and control in the English executive, bypassing the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland executives, ignoring parliament and sniping at the judiciary. Rather than empowering individuals, our incompetent and dishonest government is concentrating power more and more in itself and its government ministers, consulting parliament less and less, and playing fast and loose with the truth in order to achieve its own ends.
On leaving the EU, we turned our backs on forty seven years of hard-won citizen’s rights, most of which the UK helped shape. But we have also sacrificed the chance to enjoy all future benefits, rights and freedoms that will be afforded to the 445 million EU citizens, but not us. This ‘opportunity cost’ of Brexit may well turn out to exceed the immediate and direct costs of Brexit, perhaps by orders of magnitude over time. When it wishes to justify the Brexit disaster, the government must admit the direct losses due to Brexit, but it must also either give us the same benefits that EU citizens now enjoy, or explain why we can’t have them. Then let the electorate decide if that is acceptable.