Brexit Begins to Falter

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by Mark Angelides

The war for Brexit has lost its first major battle, and it wasn’t against the Brussels Eurocrats, it’s against the unelected House of Lords. The Brexit Bill that will allow the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 (the mechanism by which the UK can legally extricate itself from the EU), has lost a vote on Amendment 9B. This amendment is on the rights of EU citizens presently living in the UK and their right to remain after Brexit. It was one of the UK’s key bargaining chips and now it looks like it will never have a chance to be used.
There is of course the argument that we should not be using people’s rights to live in a country as a bargaining chip, but the fact remains that the EU will be doing this themselves to the British nationals living in EU countries. If they are doing it and the UK is not, there is clearly an imbalance in positions.
Here’s a bit of background on the House of Lords. It is a second chamber of government that is filled with a mix of people who are either Hereditary Peers (those who are Lords by inheritance or birth), or people that are appointed by the government. All previous governments, up to and including this one, have been Pro-EU, and as such have only appointed people to the Lords who are also Pro-EU. And what’s worse, is that a proportion of the people in the Lords actually receive an EU pension. Can you guess what one of the conditions of receiving a pension from the EU is? That’s right; you are not permitted to vote against the EU or to cast it in a negative light.
The appointed EU puppets have decided to purposely harm Britain’s negotiating prospects with the EU. Until Britain had joined the EU, citizens from other countries had no automatic rights of residence. Surely as the UK leaves the EU, these rights of residence should be right in the middle of the negotiating table? Why should the UK be discriminating against people from outside the EU? The EU contract will soon be gone, so why should the UK continue to play by club rules after it has left?

With the best of intentions, Brexit has been described as a “divorce”, but this is the wrong analogy. It is, and always has been, a membership. And as with any other membership, once your dues are paid in full, you’re free to either continue your membership, or simply leave.
A House of Lords committee has declared that “although Britain does not need to legally continue payments to the EU after leaving, it should continue paying anyway”. This is with regards to EU President Juncker’s request for a payoff of 50-60 Billion Pounds. They think Britain should give up its best negotiating chips, they think Britain should keep paying the EU. Are they representing the British public in any way at all?
I am reminded of Mario Puzo’s “The Sicilian”, in which kidnap victims are reffered to as “guests”, and the ransom that must be paid is presented as their “food and lodging bill”. Are the British people to be treated the same way? Held to ransom by a corrupt Mafioso? Or will the House of Lords look to protect the people they “represent”? And if not, perhaps it’s time the UK replaced the Lords with an elected Senate?

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