Rights for all citizens will stay a live issue and a key battleground against the horrors to come.

First published in December 2019.

EU citizens in the UK, British Citizens in the EU, and (much less so) non-EU citizens had some great advocates in Remain, but they were outliers from the big “official” (it wasn’t) campaign that saw us all as a dirty little secret that they mustn’t mention in case xenophobes got upset.

For British Citizens in the EU, it was partly that focus groups and polling found people didn’t want to hear about the plight of people they thought were all rich, retired, and sunning themselves on the riviera. Part of it was that our leaders also bought that false stereotype.

For EU Citizens in the UK, the chorus of “it’ll be fine” was as deafening as the calls to defend their rights were silent. How awful to have foreigners making speeches in funny accents as if it was their country. What bad PR. The troublemakers should pipe down and be grateful.

And for non-EU citizens, who have been dealing with this shit for a decade or more, our new found concern for Freedom of Movement never translated into marking an unqualified pro-immigration case. Only for certain “good” types of immigration and immigrant.

Quite aside from the morality of this all, you don’t make a case for something by telling people that, yes, you agree, most immigration is bad, but your type of it is good. Unlike Brexit itself, rights for all citizens will stay a live issue and a key battleground against the horrors to come.

Stand up for the people and stand up for the rights.🔷

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 16 December 2019, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Dreamstime/Andrii Yalanskyi.)