UK citizens now know what they will lose at 23.00. on 31 December. Not just frictionless trade with the EU but their personal rights as individual ‘EU citizens’ to have a say in the EU’s future, to enjoy continent-wide social and health services and to travel, live, study, and work across the EU without having to seek the permission of the state. Those rights and freedoms have been surrendered. It is the largest single loss of individual rights in modern, if not all, UK history. The Brits now live in a more authoritarian world. The hope of many must be that British citizens will gradually recover some of those freedoms as the UK and EU develop their new ‘special relationship’. If they do, it will be thanks to the EU acting like grown-ups. Rather than kicking the UK out of the European family, they have provided a ‘safe space’ with a generous Deal that, rather than humiliating the recalcitrant children, provides them with a way back into that family.
Published by Peter G Harris
Peter G Harris is a barrister and was a senior civil servant responsible for advising ministers in the UK on policy and legislation for reforming the civil law and civil justice system. He is now based at Exeter College in the University of Oxford where he teaches and continues to think about the law as an instrument of public policy. View all posts by Peter G Harris