Saturday 17 December 2016

Theresa May doesn't deserve any mates in Europe

I'm sure most of us have seen the short clip of Theresa May looking like Betty No Mates at the EU Summit that has gone viral.

An alarmingly common reaction from British people has been to actually express sympathy with her. Some people even brought up their own feelings of isolation at school and the like in expressions of solidarity with her.

The problem with these outpourings of sympathy is that they're totally underserved. Theresa May doesn't deserve sympathy at all. Her behaviour towards our European neighbours and their citizens has been utterly atrocious.

Theresa May has time and again made it clear that she intends to use the continued presence of EU nationals in the UK as a bargaining chip in her Brexit negotiations. Time and time again she's refused to commit the Tory government to guarantee that EU nationals who have settled in Britain will not be subjected to mass deportations.

Compare Theresa May's attitude that these people's lives are just gambling chips for her to play poker with with, to the attitudes to of our European neighbours towards British migrants living in their countries.

The EU's chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has been trying to secure the rights of British citizens all over Europe with a bold plan to offer continued European citizenship to any Brit who wants it.

Germans has also been very forthcoming with with proposals to offer fast-track citizenship to 
Brits working in Germany in order to offer security to their valued British migrant population.

Take Spain as another example. The likelihood of Spain taking steps to expel their huge British migrant population is vanishingly small. British tourists may have quite a reputation for drunkenly trashing Spain's tourist resorts in the summer, but the British migrant population in Spain represents a significant and welcome net contribution to the Spanish economy.

Rather than acting in the same manner as Theresa May and treating British migrants in their countries as disposable pawns in their cynical power games, our European neighbours are keen to demonstrate that British workers are welcome in their countries.

In the case of hard Brexit does anyone seriously think that cities like Dublin, Paris and Frankfurt will try to turn back the tide of skilled British financial sector workers looking to follow the jobs as they flood away from London towards the countries that remain in the single market?

Does anyone really imagine that our European neighbours would seek to slam the door on skilled British workers who will inevitably end up with the temptation to follow the flow of high-tech manufacturing jobs over to Europe if the Hard Brexit mob succeed in isolating the UK from the single market and the customs union?

The idea that Theresa May deserves sympathy because she was momentarily cold-shouldered by a few European politicians is mind-bogglingly absurd. The actual surprising thing about the situation is that levels of hostility towards Theresa May and her Tory Brexit charlatans aren't very much higher (both from our European neighbours and from within the UK).

Theresa May doesn't deserve any mates in Europe, and she certainly doesn't deserve any sympathy whatever for isolating herself by treating the lives of the estimated 3.6 million EU migrants in the UK as disposable pawns in her reprehensible power games.

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