Steve Bullock @GuitarMoog Immigrant, Musician, Sound Engineer, SNP, ex-negotiator for UK in EU. Brother of @JuliaKayPotts. Supporter of @FinalSayForAll. On Holiday. Back soon. Mar. 08, 2018 3 min read

Quick take on FoM for UK Citizens in the EU (I am one BTW).

It was, in my view, a gambit by EU27. It was never meant to still be an issue. 1/

In a negotiation, you need gambits. They are positions you take which are not of any serious importance to youm and that you know and accept you will roll back from during the negotiation. 2/

You use them as something you can give up for a concession from your opposite number that you do care about. 3/

In this case, there was, I think, a serious misjudgement from EU27. This misjudgement was that UKGov would care enough about its own citizens in the UK to be willing to give some ground on the position of EU citizens in the UK. 4/

So far however, it has not shown that it does care about UK citizens in the EU. Or, at least, it has not cared enough to risk headlines that it is arguing for that most toxic of things, Freedom of Movement. 5/

Freedom of movement scares Brexiters. It smacks of interested, curious, outward-looking people. People for whom the new and the different are a joy to discover. 6/

These people are of no use to those who understand that the only way that they can sell their harmful, inward-looking Brexit is to cultivate a fear of the different and a suspicion of curiosity and interest in the new. 7/

And so, Freedom of Movement must be demonised, shown to be not a right to be enjoyed by all of us, but a threat. Something to be feared. The awful other. 8/

Therefore, to fight for something called Freedom of Movement for its own citizens, even those abroad, now landlocked into, in some cases, small countries (Luxembourg has a total population of 580k, a bit less than Bristol, a bit more than Liverpool) is unthinkable. 9/

To argue for it is to admit that it is desirable. A positive benefit. A right to be defended. Pushing for it is to admit that Brexit is denying something valuable and positive to all UK citizens. 10/

And, added to that, it would require some concession(s) to EU27 on the rights of their citizens in the UK. 11/

So the gambit could never be used, as it was never fought for by UKGov. It therefore remains in the EU27 position by, I think, mistake. A position that UKGov is happy to let stand. 12/

I am upset at the EU27. It should have never been part of their position. But, I understand why it was, and I understand that it is unfair to expect them to care more about UK citizens then UK Citizens' own government.13/

I'd ask EU27 though to remember that many UK Citizens in the EU did not get a vote, either in the referendum, or in the election that brought us this government. 14/

And to remember that it is likely that only a fraction of UK Citizens in the EU27 that could vote voted for either Brexit or this government. 15/

We know UKGov cares little for us, but very very many of us care a great deal for the EU and the members states we live in. 16/

EU27 will get nothing from UKGov in return for playing the gambit of allowing us FoM. They will however get as much as we can possibly give in return from us. Take the high ground in this. Please play the gambit, if that is what it was. We never wanted any of this. 17/17


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