The Brexit inflicted damage upon the United Kingdom’s liberal undercoat has left it with a deep cut to its heart. And the arterial dark red blood is spilling for the whole world to see.
The government has declared that UK citizenship must be applied and paid for. EU nationals who have made the UK their home must now apply and pay, in order to stay, with eviction the punishment for non-compliance.
EU nationals must pay £65, or children under 16 £32.50, for the privilege to apply for “settled status”. The word “apply” holds the implicit threat of first judgement and second rejection. According to the UK government, EU nationals are not human beings with autonomous thoughts and feelings, but rather are things to be “processed” and arbitrated on. This policy illuminates the bile held at the heart of Brexit xenophobia, which can be summarised as: “are you really British enough for ‘us’ to accept you as British”.
This government policy, above all the other unsavoury legislation that has been cooked-up after the referendum, feels as though it solidifies the far-right’s nationalistic view on Britain more than any other. Government has legislated for their barmy views of society, and what they believe Britain was and should be again, into British law.
To be crystal clear, the government is threatening, with the force of law and indeed deportation, the freedom of individuals to call Britain their home. Some of these children, who will rely on their parents to apply on their behalf, may not have ever known another country and would be a stranger to all other shores. This is nothing more than a “pay for your freedoms” scheme.
EU nationals will also own property and capital within Britain. If these people abstain from application, would the state chuck them out by the collar and hold their property? This would be a direct slight to Britain’s held liberal and enlightenment values, that hold people should be free to have property and use it as they wish.
Britain appears to be becoming schizophrenic; hearing imaginary voices talking of past empire, hallucinating images of Britain as a global free trading power house, and, perhaps worst-of-all, is losing her sense of liberal foundation – creating an alternate identity, with its defining feature being nationalism and xenophobia.