Human Bargaining Chips

Theresa May was on LBC this week, in attempt to do some damage control after her disastrous conference speech. Iain Dale asked her three times if she would guarantee the rights of EU citizens living here in Britain. The Prime Minister continued to dodge the question.

After being asked three times, the PM still cannot guarantee that 3.2m EU citizens living the UK can stay if there’s no deal #MayOnLBC

It has been over half a year since Article 50 was triggered and there is still no concrete guarantees on the lives of millions of EU citizens living here or the millions of Britons living in Europe. After months of negotiations, you would think this matter would be resolved. Humans are not bargaining chips.

I wrote for the Lib Dem Voice earlier this year addressing this issue.

Poker is a game that is not won by playing the hand but by playing the people.

On March 29th, Theresa May will trigger Article 50 that will start the lengthy process of negotiating a deal with the EU. She might feel confident with the size of Britain’s economy, outstanding financial service sector and vast number of international companies behind her. When compared to the might of the Single Market, it might not be enough.

Liam Fox revealed the Prime Minister’s intentions when he said, to give EU nationals the right to stay “before we get into the negotiation would be to hand over one of our main cards in that negotiation.” May is short stacked at the table. She knows her position is poor and will bluff as best she can to get the best deal for Britain.

The key role of a government is to protect its people. Yet since the Brexit vote, hate crimes shot up by 41%.  We have seen no large-scale action to douse the flames of prejudice. Nor any action to reassure those who have been looking after our sick, paying their taxes and contributing to our society, that they have any future in a post-Brexit Britain.

The repercussions have begun. There has been a 92% fall in EU nationals registering as nurses including a 68% increase in EU national resignations. The NHS is already on its knees and these statistics forecast even further hardships. There is no sign of where the £350 million a week the leave campaign promised us will come from and with the lack of funding, how can they train up enough replacement nurses to keep with demand?

EU nationals make up a large part of our workforce but look past the superficial notions of benefits they bring to our economy. You are left with human beings. Thrown around the negotiating table as if they were commodities on a trading floor.

They are our neighbours, colleagues, friends, fathers, mothers, wives and husbands. They might not have been born here but their lives have been made here. Since June 23rd 2016, they have become Theresa May’s poker hand.

The government is on tilt. It is best they fold this hand. There are more ethical ways of guaranteeing a prosperous future for Britain.

The original article can be found on Lib Dem Voice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s