Morning Call: pick of the comment

The ten must-read pieces from this morning's papers

1. The only certainty about this plot: it will damage Labour (Independent)

Steve Richards argues that Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt have shown "colossal misjudgement" and have made Labour's task suddenly much harder than it already was.

2. A last opportunity (Times)

But a Times leader says that Labour MPs must finally have the courage to act and remove Gordon Brown -- or the electorate will do it for them.

3. Mandelson will save Brown until he can be properly sacrificed (Daily Telegraph)

Benedict Brogan argues that Peter Mandelson is saving Brown now in order to ensure that, come election day, both he his henchmen are destroyed. Mandelson's aim is to ensure the survival of New Labour centrism.

4. These protests should shame the west into a change of policy on Iran (Guardian)

Timothy Garton Ash calls on Europe to use its economic leverage in Iran to aid dissidents.

5. Google's open battle with Apple (Financial Times)

John Gapper says that Google's insistence on not doing "evil" obscures a simple fact: it fights for its own interests as hard as Apple does.

6. It's not the economy -- and voters aren't stupid (Times)

Anatole Kaletsky argues that voters are instinctively opposed to high state borrowing and will punish Labour for the deficit.

7. With US support, a brighter future beckons for the Kurds (Independent)

Gareth Stansfield says that the Kurds can make progress while their alignment with American interests lasts.

8. This warning shot against Gordon Brown matters, despite its probable failure (Times)

Peter Riddell says that history shows divided parties are always unpopular with the electorate.

9. A breakdown in our values (Guardian)

Klaus Schwab argues that extortionate bonuses are symbolic of business's eroded sense of duty.

10. Nagging your husband is not a crime (Daily Telegraph)

Ceri Radford says that a French bill banning "psychological violence" between couples will do little for those who really need help.

 

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Nobody's bargaining chips: How EU citizens are fighting back against Theresa May

Immigration could spike after Brexit, the Home Affairs select committee warned. 

In early July, EU citizens living in Scotland received some post from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The letters stated: “The immediate status of EU nationals living in Scotland has not changed and you retain all the same rights to live and to work here. I believe those rights for the longer term should be guaranteed immediately.”

The letters were appreciated. One Polish woman living on a remote Scottish island posted on social media: “Scottish Government got me all emotional yesterday.”

In reality, though, Sturgeon does not have the power to let EU citizens stay. That rests with the UK Government. The new prime minister, Theresa May, stood out during the Tory leadership contest for her refusal to guarantee the rights of EU citizens. Instead, she told Robert Peston: “As part of the [Brexit] negotiation we will need to look at this question of people who are here in the UK from the EU.”

As Home secretary in an EU member state, May took a hard line on immigration.  As PM in Brexit Britain, she has more powers than ever. 

In theory, this kind of posturing could work. A steely May can use the spectre of mass deportations to force a hostile Spain and France to guarantee the rights of British expat retirees. Perhaps she can also batter in the now-locked door to the single market. 

But the attempt to use EU citizens as bargaining chips may backfire. The Home Affairs select committee warned that continued policy vagueness could lead to a surge in immigration – the last thing May wants. EU citizens, after all, are aware of how British immigration policy works and understand that it's easier to turn someone back at the border than deport them when they've set up roots.

The report noted: “Past experience has shown that previous attempts to tighten immigration rules have led to a spike in immigration prior to the rules coming into force.”

It recommended that if the Government wants to avoid a surge in applications, it must choose an effective cut-off date for the old rules, whether that is 23 June, the date Article 50 is triggered, or the date the UK finally leaves the EU.

Meanwhile, EU citizens, many of whom have spent decades in the UK, are pursuing tactics of their own. UK immigration forms are busy with chatter of UK-based EU citizens urging one another to "get your DCPR" - document certifying permanent residence - and other paperwork to protect their status. More than 1,000 have joined a Facebook group to discuss the impact of the referendum, with hot topics including dual nationality and petitions for a faster naturalisation process. British citizens with foreign spouses are trying to make the most of the "Surinder Singh" loophole, which allows foreign spouses to bypass usual immigration procedures if their British partner is based in another EU country. 

Jakub, a classical musician originally from Poland, is already thinking of how he can stay in the UK, where there are job opportunities for musicians. 

But he worries that although he has spent half a decade in the UK, a brief spell two years ago back in Poland may jeopardise his situation.“I feel a new fear,” he said. “I am not sure what will happen next.”