Whilst we cannot (and should not) expect someone like Jacob Rees-Mogg whose heart is warmed by the very existence of foodbanks to care about mass deportation of EU citizens in case of a No Deal, should we despair at the news that the Northern Ireland Secretary knew nothing about... Northern Ireland?

Jacob Rees-Mogg and the EU migrants.

So, let me get this straight: Jacob Rees-Mogg🗳️, apparently so appealing that he is a plausible candidate for Prime Minister, wrote in a letter to Andrew Adonis️️🗳️ that “I do not believe there should be any special terms for EU migrants.”

And the MP for North-East Somerset also wrote, “Once we have left the EU there will be no legal basis to treat them differently from migrants from non-EU countries”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg's letter to Andrew Adonis. / Twitter @Jacob_Rees_Mogg

Now, what would concretely happen if this were actual UK policy (e.g., in the absence of a deal with the European Union)?

It would be an absolute chaos. Millions of people would not qualify to stay, either because they earn less than £35,000 a year or because their British spouse earns less than £18,600 a year. Those people would then concretely be asked to leave Britain. If they did not they would be detained or deported.

The remaining EU citizens, who make over £35,000 a year (I would personally be in that situation) or have spouses who are rich enough, could stay, but it would require formal applications for a spousal visa or a Tier-2 visa, or perhaps a Tier-4 visa for current students from the European Union.

This would generate chaos and huge amounts of red-tapes for their employers. Since UK immigration rules are so complex it would also require detailed documentation and applications, and immigration lawyers to help applicants deal with all this.

Imagine the concrete situation of hundreds of thousands of people being detained or deported, and leaving the country, leaving employers in the lurch. Imagine, furthermore, hundreds of thousands of visas or ILR applications, requiring lawyers, etc. Imagine the state of the country.

Click here!!

So many British employers (farming, hospitality, academia, NHS, retail…) depend on EU citizen workers. Just imagine the chaos having to regularise those employees, and of course losing vast numbers of them because they cannot stay. Has Jacob Rees-Mogg thought all of this through?

No, he has not. It will all be ‘a piece of cake’ for him, apparently. That and getting goods from God knows where without any checks because once we leave the single market, ‘it will all be peachy and breezy’.

Truly, the level of ignorance of MPs is staggering.

Karen Bradley and Northern Ireland.

This reminds me of Karen Bradley🗳️, who was given the position of Northern Ireland Secretary because she was a ‘safe pair of hands’, yet does not understand how Northern Ireland politics works. Her excuse? The photos of over 20 years ago from that place were a bit scary.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley. / The House Magazine

I am not a British citizen. I can’t even vote here. Still, I have looked up how Northern Ireland politics worked when I came to live here because I felt it was my duty to know something about the country I am living in.

When the DUP propped up the Tories, after their misjudged 2017 snap election, I looked up articles and info about them too. And I read the entire Good Friday Agreement when all that stuff on the Irish border came up. Really, it is not rocket science. Start with Wikipedia!

How can British elected representatives be so blatantly, so shockingly ignorant about UK politics, the basics of trade and immigration law? Why do we tolerate this level of ignorance? I despair.🔷

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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)

(Cover: Flickr/Shakespearesmonkey - Jacob Rees-Mogg at a gala dinner of The Thorney Island Society - 26 September 2016.)