George Monbiot’s Conversion to Anti-Capitalism is Welcome – But Why is he Against Ecosocialism?

George Monbiot’s piece in The Guardian, titled ‘Dare to declare capitalism dead – before it takes us all down with it’ last week, on the back of his interview on comedian Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, is another step on his journal away from green liberalism.

Monbiot writes:

‘For most of my adult life I’ve railed against “corporate capitalism”, “consumer capitalism” and “crony capitalism”. It took me a long time to see that the problem is not the adjective but the noun.’

Absolutely right, there should be no nuancing of different types of capitalism, in the end it is all the same, a system that favours those with capital, over those who have to sell their labour to survive. It leads inevitably to inequality, which you can see all around you if you care to look.

The starting point for Monbiot’s journey can be found in his 2003 book, ‘The Age of Consent.’ The marketing blurb for the book contains this quote:

“Our task is not to overthrow globalisation, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity’s first global democratic revolution.”

This sounds quite radical but the book goes onto suggest a sort of neo-Keynesian approach, and rather condescendingly dismisses socialism generally in a page and a half, in his book. He makes no mention of ecosocialism at all, although to be fair this theory of political economy but fairly new in 2003. Someone as intelligent Monbiot though, will have noticed ecosocialism, so I was perplexed by this omission.

Leaping forward to 2017, Monbiot wrote in another column for The Guardian, where he mentions a commons based ownership of production and stewardship of the land, and participatory democracy.

The commons is an extremely important concept in ecosocialism, and extends beyond the physical land based commons of old (and some that still exist), into areas like peer to peer data sharing and things like the Firefox web browser. Monbiot does say that commons are a ‘non-capitalist system’ but omits terming this as ecosocialism, which it is. Or to be exact, it is only a prefiguration of ecosocialism, and thus sadly open to abuse whilst the capitalist system survives.

Monbiot again attacks socialism in his latest column thus:

‘Soviet communism had more in common with capitalism than the advocates of either system would care to admit. Both systems are (or were) obsessed with generating economic growth. Both are willing to inflict astonishing levels of harm in pursuit of this and other ends.’

All true, but whereas he was in the past prepared to allow for nuancing of capitalism, his new outlook does not allow for any nuancing of socialism. Ecosocialists use the same criticism of twentieth century socialism as Monbiot, but crucially have an alternative theory, which avoids the mistakes of the USSR and its satellites. It is a plan to save the planet and liberate the people from the drudgery of capitalism.

Monbiot admits he does not know what should replace capitalism, but thrashes around a bit looking for an answer:

‘Part of it is provided by the ecological civilisation proposed by Jeremy Lent, one of the greatest thinkers of our age. Other elements come from Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics and the environmental thinking of Naomi Klein, Amitav Ghosh, Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, Raj Patel and Bill McKibben.’ All liberal types really.

Of these only Klein and Raworth come close to advocating ecosocialism, but there is the suspicion that these writers, much as I like them, want to avoid replacing capitalism, and are looking for some sort of reformed system, rather than throwing it away and starting again from scratch.

Where is the mention of such great ecosocialist writers Joel Kovel, Michel Lowy, Daniel Tanuro, James O’Connor or Murray Bookchin? Truly radical thinkers who put the likes of Monbiot’s muddled thinking in its place.

So, yes Monbiot’s new change of emphasis is to be welcomed, as he now unequivocally says that the capitalist system is the root cause of our ecological ills, and much else that is undesirable about the system too. It must be replaced, but replaced by a thought out system like ecosocialism. It is the only chance we have and time is running out.  

Knife Crimes Surge in the UK: Why police raise it as a “National Emergency

In a span of fewer than two weeks, 3 teenagers were stabbed in Birmingham, prompting West Midlands Police to raise knife crimes to a national emergency.

Crimes that involve knife attacks have been steadily increasing in the country.

This alarming statistic adds more heat to the 12 fatal cases of stabbing in London just in 2019 alone. The country is under pressure to address the root cause of this problem, and the police are encouraging parents and families to address violence among youths.

The Office for National Statistics even shows that, in spite of the UK’s booming economy, crime rates have steadily risen, with robberies at knife point increasing by 17 percent.

The youth are the primary targets of these crimes, and most knife-related attacks are on those aged between 10 and 19. Officials have said that this is due to the accessibility of knives everywhere, and that something should be done to address the problem.

The number of crimes related to stabbing or knife injuries has been steadily growing since early 2017, and more and more families are being devastated across the country. It’s almost impossible to go a week without hearing of another incident on the news, and panic is starting to spread throughout the UK.

Police officers are urging retailers of knives to practice discernment, especially when selling to minors. The problem is now commonly being referred to as an “epidemic”, and officials are desperate to find a way to resolve this.

The police force is now seeking the assistance of families, to assist in remedying this pressing national concern. By being able to spot acts or signs of violence at home, they believe that the crime rate can eventually be lowered.

Recent reports indicate that there is a high correlation between drugs and social media with the increase in knife incidents in the country.

In addition, according to local police, these incidents could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the previous budget cuts.

The YMCA has even backed this up by saying that the budget allocation for youth services have been cut drastically by around £750m since 2010-11 across England and Wales, with the West Midlands and North West taking the hardest hit.

Concerned citizens are raising the question of the youth’s access to support groups and recreational activities. They say that without a safe place for young ones to meet, they turn to shady places. Teenagers or young adults will turn to meet in “takeaways” and this is where violence brews.

Youth advocates add that “postcode wars”, drug dealing, the influence of social media, and brewing gang wars have effectively made the situation worse.

The EU Referendum: Corruption on a Machiavellian scale

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are”

Niccolo Machiavelli – ‘The Prince’

Famine, flood, fire, disease, conquer, and other tribulations are found to be among the fortunes that weaken or destroy a nation. Yet, none of these is as great a threat to maintaining an enduring state as corruption.

Albeit, a less often used concept; corruption appears in many different forms, but always as a foil to virtue and aid to fortune. Certainly, there is a form of unparalleled similarity between the “illegal practices” of the Vote Leave campaign and the Machiavellian thought.

It is fitting to think of the most recent revelations from the Electoral Commission’s investigation into campaigning as characterising Brexit as a force that ignited man’s propensity to vice or perversion.

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times”

Niccolo Machiavelli – ‘Republic’

“If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we’re going to march back and tell them they can’t”. This was the rallying cry of Nigel Farage as he signalled the beginning of the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’ in which Leave voters marched close to 300 miles to protest against the government’s failure to deliver Brexit. Yet, in what is undoubtedly a far greater ‘betrayal’ Farage announced that he would not actually be participating in the march.

The sense of false hope evoked by this shock announcement is a fitting metaphor for the lies and deceit that accompanied the referendum campaign: false promises, deception and the ironic dereliction of democracy in an exercise that was supposed to enhance it- allegedly.

But it is not just Farage- the self-appointed phoney ‘representative of the people’ that is at fault. Our own government are complicit in the erosion of UK democracy as we know it. Indeed, underlying the principal issue of the referendum today is not about who ‘won’. Rather, it is the disturbing reality of having to question whether or not a lawful, free and fair vote still remains one of the constitutional requirements of the UK; and whether the end really does justify the means.

The UK’s constitutional requirements include well-established principles which value and seek to preserve the integrity of democracy, including the voting process, as well as lawful decision-making. The right to vote is a fundamental constitutional right. The integrity of the democratic process is one of the common law’s fundamental values which underlie the UK’s constitutional requirements in this case. The principle of legality is a relevant constitutional requirement, in this case, protecting democratic values recognised by the common law and applying principles of constitutionality.

But, facts recently revealed since the Prime Minister exercised her power under Section 1 of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave show that the 2016 referendum was significantly vitiated by unlawful misconduct. Of particular concern, the Electoral Commission recently found (to the criminal standard of proof) that offences were committed in breach of the legal framework established by Parliament for the referendum.

Vote Leave, the official designated campaign, was found on a standard of beyond reasonable doubt to have committed serious offences, including joint working between the lead campaigner, Vote Leave and another campaign group BeLeave. BeLeave was found to have spent £675,315.18 with Aggregate IQ under a common plan with Vote Leave. This spending should have been declared by Vote Leave. It means Vote Leave exceeded its legal spending limit of £7 million by £449,079, around 6%.

Leave.EU, a registered participant, failed to include at least £77,380 in its spending return, thereby exceeding its spending limit by more than 10%, being fees paid to the company Better for the Country Limited as its campaign organiser.

There is no reasonable doubt then, in logic or reason, that the illegality perpetrated by various ‘Leave’ campaigns disproportionately influenced the outcome of the referendum. In what was heralded by the then Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, as an opportunity to allow the ‘people to have their say on European Union members, the referendum was tainted by significant breaches, amounting to corrupt and illegal practices in electoral law

With the burden of proof having been sufficiently met, one has to ask: why does the prime minister insist on ‘respecting the result of the referendum’. How can the electorate, who are entitled to vote in a free and fair democratic exercise, be expected to respect an outcome that undermines the rule of law?

The term ‘Machiavellian’ is in common usage today, and is usually applied pejoratively in reference politicians. Such reluctance to give attention to the veracity of said illegalities is troubling. That a prime minister, who is now aware that the referendum result was procured by criminal conduct, still proceeds confidently on the basis that 51% of those who voted and 34% of the electorate were in favour of the UK leaving the EU is objectionable. Indeed, Theresa May has placed herself firmly into a Machiavellian dimension: how Brexit was achieved has been overlooked because the focus has been shifted to what has been achieved, namely, that ‘will of the people’ has prevailed- something she urges should be ‘respected’.

Even though Machiavelli acknowledged that appearances are arguably more important than actions, because “everyone sees what you appear to be,” “few experience what you really are,” in the end “the common people are always impressed by appearances and results”. May’s wilful neglect of evidence of illegality in the Referendum will matter more than any posturing before or after it.

By reason of this conduct, and if we are to hold out any hope of salvaging democracy, it must be recognised that it is wrong for the Prime Minister to treat as binding the result of a referendum which, had it been binding, would be void, the result of which may have been affected thereby. Furthermore, to do so is not lawful or in accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements. Parliament should not be taken to have disapplied principles of legality and constitutionality in conferring the said power on the Prime Minister.

We might consider, then, how often the losers of war are found to be morally questionable, while the victors are seen as above reproach- the notion that history is written by the victors. Ultimately, Brexit leads us to examine the extent to which we are prepared to overlook the dubious machinations of our politicians if the outcome works in our favour.

Bring out your time machines – We’re talking about coal mining.

Cumbria County Council’s ‘Climate Catastrophe’.

In an age when we’re so aware of the threat that climate change poses to our very existence, we continue to make self-defeating decisions regarding our future. Take, for example, Cumbria’s county council unanimously approving the construction of a new deep coal mine. Blinking twice, I realised this wasn’t a dream; this wasn’t a headline from notable satirists such as the Onion. Indeed, I hadn’t hopped through a time vortex to the mid-2050s on my way home. This proposal is an all too real headline, in an era when we are supposed to be reducing our emissions.

The county council, headed by the chair of the meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor Geoffrey Cook, concluded that a short term boost to jobs in the area held greater importance than the adverse effects that this may have on the climate. That’s right, a short-term gain that, ultimately, the long-term loss our planet faces.

But sure. No big deal. It’s not as if the literal fate of our planet hangs in the balance. Why not open more coal mines. Hack down every tree in Cumbria to sell for timber while you’re at it! As long as it doesn’t affect those in power, why bother trying to kerb the processes which are harming the environment?

Why have they approved the plan and what should they have done?

On a serious note, this is an extremely disappointing development. As a Cumbrian myself, I’m disenchanted but not surprised to see the council approve this.

While there is no doubt that Copeland and the surrounding area are in dire need of extra jobs, there are surely more environmentally friendly methods than coal mining? While it is, arguably, positive that the coal generated in the mines won’t be going to burn in factories – rather fund the UK’s dying embers of the steel industry – there is no denying that the council could have considered a more progressive, greener alternative. Indeed, it was calculated by Living Witness that the mine would generate 1.24Mt Co2e, an unholy amount of pollution.

A wind farm, for example, could generate green energy for the surrounding area whilst also generating employment for the local economy. Seeing as how badly Cumbria has been recently plagued by natural disasters (namely floods) you’d think the council would have seen sense and voted against a mine that will undoubtedly exacerbate the issue. But asking a politician to actually put the interests of the people and the environment on which they depend seems a tall order.

What can be done to prevent other such proposals going ahead?

The infuriating blindness of politicians has fuelled the Youth Strikes for Climate and explains why they are gaining momentum. Our world leaders are acting like children, while our world’s children are acting like leaders.

The next “strike” falls in the Easter holidays, so more a protest than a strike, but an important message none the less. Indeed, the actions of Extinction Rebellion reaffirm the urgency required by our leaders to address the climate crisis.

Climate change won’t just, as defence minister Gavin Williamson once remarked about Russia “shut up and go away”, it is a very real threat, and we most definitely have the great minds and the technology to fight back, but, most of all, we just need the right people in power to help us achieve this.

US Speaker of the House warns “no chance” of US-UK trade deal if Brexit damages Good Friday Agreement.

Democrat politician and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has warned the UK that there will be no beneficial trade relationship formed with the United States should the final Brexit deal, or possible lack of a deal, harm Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement.

The widely influential politician spoke at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s “In-Conversation” series, where the University invites powerful contenders in world politics to speak to a public audience.

Representative Pelosi, who spoke to Professor Peter Trubowitz, stated that the tenuous peace agreements made in Northern Ireland can not be “bargained away” during conversations with the European Union, mentioning concerns over the possible creation of a customs “back-stop” in Northern Ireland, should a hard-border not be formed between the Republic of Ireland.

The Good Friday Agreement was a political policy formed in the 1990s, which saw an end to several decades of intense fighting and unrest in the Northern Irish and Irish border between dissidents, and UK Government forces, culminating in a number of terrorist attacks committed by the Irish Republican Army, a long with several atrocities committed by UK troops and Government-allied paramilitary groups.

Tensions in the region have recently heated up once again as a direct result of Brexit, as it is thought a new iteration of Republican armed groups have begun threatening UK infrastructure and citizens with acts of terror.

The current Speaker of the House also remarked that regardless of whether Northern Ireland’s peace was jeopardised by the Brexit process, successfully putting a trade deal through Congress is still “no given anyway”, but the Good Friday Agreement was something the United States wouldn’t want to be “something that can be bargained away in some other agreement” as the creation of the agreement as a “model to the world”.

The Speaker also stated how Brexit has become such an integral issue to world politics, it overshadows most other economic transatlantic talks between other countries and the United States. Pelosi mentioned her discontent with any political trip to the UK simply involving “Brexit, Brexit, Brexit, Brexit”.

Farage, Mogg and Johnson: The Phoney Defenders of the Working Class

“If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we’re going to march back and tell them they can’t”. These were the invigorating words of Nigel Farage, delivered to the participants of the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’ in which 50 emboldened Leave voters marched 280 miles through wind and rain to protest against our politician’s failure to deliver Brexit. However, in what could be perceived as a much greater betrayal, Farage went on to reveal that he would not actually be joining the march himself; much to the amusement of many on social media.

The image of those 50 protesters labouring on without any recognised leader was a fitting metaphor for one of the greatest lies at the heart of the Brexit process: the belief that Farage, Johnson and Mogg are natural defenders of the working-class.

In supporting a No Deal departure from the EU, they claim to have the best interests of the working class at heart, promising greater sovereignty and economic prosperity; appealing to the patriotic undertones of the British people “going it alone” and delivering the Brexit the people had apparently voted for in the first place.

However, they no doubt have ulterior motives in supporting a No Deal Brexit. For those on the right – ardent supporters of big business and global capitalism – a No Deal Brexit creates the opportunity to convert the UK into a low tax haven in what Paul Butters calls a “bargain basement for business”. It is for this reason they are licking their lips at the possibility of a No Deal; with the prospect of lower corporation tax and less government regulation.

No politician who supports crashing out of the EU can seriously consider themselves a protector of the lower classes when so much evidence has shown a No Deal Brexit will hit the poorest in society hardest. While the likes of Johnson and Farage will evidently be cushioned from increased prices and shortages, the same cannot be said for the millions they claim to be representing. 

Just a quick glance at the voting record of these charlatans tells us all we need to know about their relationship with the working-class. Boris Johnson, an ardent support of grammar schools of which he and many other right-wing politicians were privileged enough to attend, has voted for the bedroom tax, to cut universal credit benefits for people in paid work and has constantly voted to reduce corporation tax for his business chums. As supporters of austerity politics; these politicians have inflicted years of damage on working class communities and fuelled ugly, hate-filled populism.

Having continually voted for policies detrimental to the poorest in society, the fact that Johnson and co. believe they have the moral authority to claim to represent the “ordinary” citizen is absurd. They are very much a part of the establishment they claim to detest:  the image of an embarrassed Farage admitting he did not know how much his private jet to France cost sticks in the mind.

These charlatans know no shame. They will side with the working class so long as it suits their elitist agenda. Brexit has granted them a golden opportunity to appeal to voters who their economic policies would have otherwise alienated. They’ve seen a chance and they’ve taken it. However, it is only a matter of time before there is yet another “betrayal of the people”; as their plot begins to unravel and the gap between the rich and the poor grows ever wider.

These are just some of the ways a no-deal Brexit could affect you

The fate of UK citizens is currently hanging by a thread, as MPs fail to agree upon one singular exit deal. At the reluctance of some EU states, the UK has been granted several Brexit extensions. But even so, there is no clear resolution upon the horizon

On Thursday 21st March, there was a crucial vote that allowed Britain to request a fruther Brexit delay in order to negotiate a fresh deal. The UK was granted the extension of article 50 by the EU to formulate a new deal, but currently, the UK has no tangible plan for going forward.

There has now been a further extension until 31st October with the caveat that if the government can agree upon a deal, then the UK can leave the European Union much sooner. But this has done little to quell the nation’s sense uncertainty as various options continue to be exhausted in parliamentary debates.

The prime minister’s deal has consistently failed to muster enough support to be ratified by the Commons, however, May remains confident in her attempts to push forward. The remaining options are major renegotiation, another referendum and, of course, the potential of a no deal Brexit.

Despite the uncertainity, one thing remains clear: a hard-Brexit could have tremendous implications for the UK, from trade to employment- many citizens could be affected by this decision. As a member of the public, it can often feel as though you have no voice or say in matters as they unfold. But educating yourself on the possible outcomes can help you to be more prepared and more aware of how this could affect you. Below are just some of the ways a no-deal Brexit could affect you.

You May Need to Renew Your Passport Early

At present, the UK can enter ‘Schengen area’ countries with a valid passport that has 1 day remaining before expiration. However, in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, this will no longer be applicable. Instead, if you have 6 months or less remaining on your passport, you may be prohibited from entering another country.

EU Citizens Will Have Fewer Rights To Remain in the UK

Currently, there are more than 3 million EU citizens living in the UK. Despite Brexit, EU citizens can apply to remain in the UK by registering for “settled status” with the government.

However, in the case of a no-deal Brexit, immigration laws will become much stricter, as this will only be applied before 29th March. Ultimately, UK Immigration Law will now be based on a skill-based level and free-movement between the UK and the EU will be halted.

Supermarkets Could Run Out of Food

UK supermarkets are currently stockpiling food in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This is because of the growing concern that trading deals could be severed between the EU and the UK if no deal is agreed upon.

In December, it was revealed that there could be a disruption in the supply chain in the event of a hard Brexit. Because of this, local supermarkets and fast-food chains such as KFC could be disrupted for up to a month, some reports suggest.

Lorries Could Take Over the Motorways

It’s been warned that in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the motorways (such as the M20) could be backed up with lorries leaving from the Port of Dover. Operation Brock was initiated during the lead up to Christmas, to simulate deliveries in the event of a no deal Brexit. The delays would be caused by delays at the border.

The Dover Harbour Board chief has warned that there could be lorries stretching for over 17 miles, should May fail to secure a deal before the UK leaves the EU. This would also mean that one side of the motorway would be solely for lorries.

Perfumes and Everyday Medicines Will Cost More

At present, ingredients in everyday medicine can be traded within the EU without needing a license. In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK will need to acquire a license, which will result in added expense to the consumer.

Without an exit deal, firms who want to trade these popular chemicals with the EU will have to register with the Home Office, which will come with the added expense of £109-£3,655. In addition to this, firms will also need an import and export license which will cost £24. Experts believe that this added cost will be reflected in an increased retail price.

Cheap Coach Holidays Could Face Cancellation

UK coach drivers could be restricted from entering the EU, which could put a stop to cheap coach holidays. At present, the EU is part of an “Interbus Agreement”, which allows coach drivers to frequently enter the various countries in the EU with holiday makers.

The UK government is currently planning to rejoin this agreement as a third party user, in order to reduce any delays or cancellations that this could cause.

Local Hospitals Could Run Out of Medicine

It’s been revealed that NHS chiefs fear local hospitals could run out of medicine in the event of a no Deal Brexit. If ports are gridlocked, patients could be deprived of life-saving drugs and medical equipment. However, the Cabinet minister has stated that officials are currently working to reduce this.

Civil Unrest Could Take Over

In an unlikely scenario, social unrest could erupt and take over the streets after Britain has left the EU. The government has hired crisis professionals in the event that this becomes a reality.

You Could Notice More Troops in the Streets

It’s been revealed that over 3,000 troops are being held at readiness in case there is a disastrous no-deal Brexit. This will be a combination of reserves and full time employed army people.

In the event of a hard Brexit, the UK will be classed as being high risk, so the government has put measures in place to minimise any damage or social unrest that occurs during this instance.

Your Job Could be at Risk

Many international businesses that have UK offices have announced that they are planning to move from the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Instead, many jobs will either be outsourced to non-UK citizens. For example, Airbus, which employs 14,000 people in the UK has threatened to move elsewhere.

It’s feared that investors will be hesitant to invest in the UK, meaning that future generations will also be affected.

Your Divorce Could Be Halted

In the event of a hard Brexit, the UK will cease to be part of the EU family courts, which means that midway through divorce or child custody cases involving another EU country, could be left in limbo.

Smokers Will Have to Pay More and Cigarette Packets Will Become More Graphic

Currently, the images that are used in the cigarette packages are copyright owned by the Europeans Commission. So in the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK will be replaced with the Australian version of packets, which are notoriously more gruesome in their nature.

You Could Lose Your Consumer Rights

Currently, all of your consumer rights are protected under EU law, which will be revoked in the event of a hard Brexit. The UK court is not recognised as an arbiter for consumer rights, so Brits could be potentially stripped of their current consumer rights too. Therefore, if a product is faulty or dangerous from outside the UK, it will be much harder to take any legal action or to make a complaint.

You Could Be Stranded On Your Package Holiday

Flights to the UK could be grounded and holiday makers could be left without any legal representation or protection if the firm they booked with goes bankrupt. Under current UK law, Brits currently have insolvency protection, however this will cease to be the case if no deal is agreed upon.

Your Data Roaming Charges Will Spike

Almost 2 years ago, major UK mobile providers slashes data roaming charges, meaning that Brits could use their phone without any additional charges inside the EU.

Mobile companies, including EE, O2 and Vodafone have expressed that they have made no plans to increase data roaming charges after Brexit.  

Blackouts Could Be Experienced

The UK could experience blackouts, especially in Northern Ireland. No Deal Brexit could scupper the ‘All-Island’ electricity, which is shared between Northern Ireland and the Republic. This could mean that there is no legal basis. In this event, Ireland must rely on fall-back arrangements for electricity.

Hiring A Car in the EU Will Be Much Harder

At present, renting a car in the EU is a simple process, however, this could become more complicated. Instead of being able to use your UK driving license, you would instead have to get an International Driving Permit. Experts predict that these sales will increase into the millions should this policy be enforced.

Using Popular Sites Abroad Such As Netflix and Spotify Could Be Stopped

While travelling to EU states, UK citizens may be banned from using Spotify and Netflix. This is because the “portability regulation” will be stripped from Britons who are travelling to EU states. This means that these content providers will not be required to offer cross-border access to their services.

Airport Security Will Become Much Tighter

UK citizens may have to undergo two security screenings, being checked in the UK and then again in the EU state before getting on a connecting flight. Currently, the UK aviation security system is recognised by the EU as a credible source, however the EU could refuse to recognise the UK as a credible security source after Brexit.

Your Holiday Flight Could Be Grounded

There is a possibility that airlines and travel companies go bust in the event of a hard Brext, which means that thousands of Brits could be left stranded on holiday, or in the UK.

The government has also admitted that the UK would have to win permission from every individual country in the EU to be allowed to fly there from the UK. However, the UK drums up a large proportion of tourism in popular countries such as Spain, Greece and Italy, so it’s unlikely that this will be the case.

House Prices Could Fall

If the stock market crashes, then the value of properties could plummet in the UK. This means that anybody who is looking to sell their house could be faced with massive financial losses. House prices have already plummeted since the referendum in 2016 and property experts are urging first-time buyers to hold off on securing a fixed rate mortgage, as prices are likely to drop.

Your EHIC May No Longer Be Valid

After Brexit, UK citizens will no longer be allowed to renew their EHIC card and if the UK leaves without a deal, then the existing cards will no longer be valid. The UK currently has 27 million EHIC cards issued, which cover pre-existing medical conditions as well as emergency care within the EU.

The government has instructed that in the event of a hard Brexit, UK holiday makers should purchase holiday insurance just as you would in ant non-EU country. Currently, the UK government is not known to have made many agreements in terms of healthcare at present.

Your Travel Insurance May Not Cover You

The general consensus is that prices for European travel insurance will eventually rise. Several insurance companies have claimed that they could not guarantee cover for disruption caused if we crash out of the bloc.

UK citizens are being advised to check with their individual insurance companies when travelling abroad after Brexit. UK nationals could also face additional questioning at passport checkpoints, which could cause huge delays in the meantime.

There is still a huge amount of uncertainty as to what is going to happen after Britain leaves the EU. However, it’s important as a UK citizen, to prepare for any scenario that may arise.

About the Author

Alice Porter is an avid writer who works closely with the Immigration Solicitors in order to help prepare everyone for the outcomes of Brexit.

May urges MPs to ‘reflect’ as she insists UK can exit EU by next month

Amid the anger from Tory MPs over the extension of article 50, Theresa May has used her statement to the House of Commons to encourage MPs to use the upcoming Easter recess to “reflect on the decisions that will have to be made swiftly on our return”.

The prime minister emphasised the importance of cross-party talks that have been taking place between ministers in the government and the Labour Party and remarked that she hoped that an agreement could be brokered within the next few days.

Her statement comes after returning from the EU27 summit in Brussels in which European leaders attempted to agree to an extension of article 50 until the end of October.

Mrs May used her statement to apportion blame to Tory Brexiteers’ failure to vote for her deal for the decision to ask for a further delay to article 50. Indeed, she suggested that if MPs could pass another withdrawal deal before 22 May, Britain could avoid participating in European elections and then leave the EU at the end of that month.

“However challenging it may be politically, I profoundly believe that in this unique situation where the house is deadlocked, it is incumbent on both frontbenches to seek to work together to deliver what the British people voted for. And I think that the British people expect their politicians to do just that when the national interest demands it.”

Theresa May

Nonetheless, members of the European Research Group lashed out against May’s further delay, with Conservative MP Bill Cash quoting May’s statement as an “abject surrender” and inquired whether she would resign.

In response to the prime minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn blamed the failure to “seek consensus” for the inability of any proposed Brexit deal to command a majority in Parliament.

May acknowledged that she had not wanted to ask for a second extension and cited the public’s increasing disenchantment with the impasse currently engulfing Parliament as a reason to reach an agreement by the end of the month

“…let us use the opportunity of the recess to reflect on the decisions that will have to be made swiftly on our return after Easter. And let us then resolve to find a way through this impasse.”

Theresa May

Analysis by Oliver Murphy – Editor

Yesterday’s statement from the prime minister has opened a Pandora’s Box in terms of the political ramifications of another Brexit delay. Today, as a seemingly spent Mrs May took to the despatch box, you’d be forgiven for believing that this was yet another desperate attempt from the PM to try and salvage her dwindling authority.

But for the time being Theresa May has succeeded in at least quelling the once unwavering sense of dread at the potential of a no deal Brexit. Yet, the question ultimately remains: what now?

Labour is willing to continue negotiations with the PM to try and seek compromise, but two factors threaten this prospect: the prime minister’s lack of authority and whether Labour feels it is within their interests to ‘make a deal with the devil.’

Today’s six-month extension to article 50 complicates matters further. With the urgency to avoid a no-deal scenario gone, those on the Labour benches who had thought of voting for May’s deal out of desperation are less likely to do so. As if this wasn’t enough, supporters of a second referendum will be feeling a renewed vigour to push Labour towards backing any legislation to allow a fresh poll during the period of extension.

Yet, perhaps the most pressing task facing the prime minister is facing off the majority of MPs within her own party who wish to see her gone. Indeed, even the most moderate Tories believe that May’s authority has reached its end. But even those within the cabinet concede that there is nothing that can be technically done to remove the PM before December when the party can try again to bring a no-confidence vote.

The sense of delirium within the Conservative party is overwhelming. With no apparent cliff edges on the horizon, many Tory MPs will relish the prospect of an Easter recess. But recent months suggests that a parliamentary break does not always result in cool heads. Indeed, this was the flawed calculation that Mrs May made when she cancelled the first Brexit vote before the Christmas recess, only to find that MPs were even more determined to vote her deal down.

Amid the uncertainty that continues to engulf Parliament, one prospect remains clear: Labour could capitalise on the general dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party in the upcoming local – and maybe even the EU elections.

Above all else, for the prime minister, this latest Brexit extension marks the beginning of the biggest fight for her political career.

With European Elections likely to go ahead, which UK party will benefit?

With the European Parliament elections on 23 May looking likely to include the UK, as this email message from a top Tory official appears to confirm, which of the UK’s political parties will do well? Britain may still not take part of course, if we crash out of the European Union (EU) on Friday, or some miracle takes place in the palace of Westminster, and MPs approve some sort of exit from the bloc, but to all intents and purposes it looks like we will be taking part.

European Parliament elections in the UK are not taken very seriously by the voters at the best of times, turn out is usually in the low 30s per cent wise, but almost three years after the British public voted to leave the EU, there may be even less interest in voting this time. MEPs might not even take their seats, if the UK does leave quickly, or be in place for just a few months with a slightly longer stay. On the other hand, will angry leave voters want to stick it to the big parties, and turn out in numbers?

Smaller parties have always done quite well in these elections, with UKIP doing very well indeed the last time these elections were held. UKIP gained 26.6% of the vote in 2014, topping the poll and returning 24 MEPs. Might they do similarly well or even better this year? They could well do so, but there is another difference this time in the form of Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party saying they will stand. Both parties could do well, but they would then also split the anti-EU vote, and so in terms of MEPs not win so many.

And what of remain voters? Will they bother to turn out, or will they be more determined to vote to make some kind of statement about not wanting to leave the EU? It is very hard to say at this time, but we have had some pointers recently with opinion polls showing support for Labour and the Conservatives falling. We also had the recent Newport West by-election where support for Labour and Conservative was down, by 12.7% and 8% respectively (on a 37% turn out). UKIP came third with 8.6% of the vote, up by 6.1%, so this is surely where Conservative leave voters headed, and perhaps Labour ones too.

The remain vote, of those who didn’t stick with Labour, seems to been split between the Greens (up 2.8%), Plaid Cymru (up 2.5%), Lib Dems (up 2.4%) and the new pro-EU party Renew, who stood in the constituency for the first time, gaining 3.7% of the vote. Taken together these unambiguously remain parties got 17.2% of the vote.

Throw into the mix, the newly formed Change UK party, of The Independent Group MPs who defected from Labour and Conservatives, and have been showing at 8% to 9% in some opinion polls, so there will be a lot of choice for remainers. Then in Scotland, the Scottish National Party will almost certainly do well, in a country that voted 62% to remain in the EU.

This is, of course, something of weakness as the remain vote will also likely split, with all these options for making a pro-EU statement. But with these elections being on a proportional system, all of these parties could well win seats to the European Parliament, even if they able unable to take them up, or only warm the seats for a few months.Then again, might we not leave the EU, and they serve a full term?

With the exception of the 2017 general election where Labour and Conservatives scooped up over 80% of the vote, the vote share of the big two parties has been falling for years. In general elections the big two parties are more likely to do better, given the First Past The Post electoral system, but the upcoming Euro elections are pretty much as free a hit as it is possible to have.

If we do leave the EU shortly, then it is arguable that these elections, and the result, are meaningless anyway, but political parties look to use elections of all types, to build momentum for future elections. This could be a useful opportunity for the smaller parties, or one or two of them at least, to start to build that momentum. We live in interesting electoral times, although it might not seem like that to most people now.