Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Green lines for Brexit that we must have

'Don't mourn-organise!'-Joe Hill, Utah trade union leader.

It is happening-Theresa May formally triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the process by which Britain will officially cease to be a member of the European Union by 29 March 2019.  The negotiations therefore begin today. There is no point lamenting it; we must instead fight back to get the best deal out of Brexit.

I have said it before and I will say it again-everyone in the UK, no matter whom they are or where they live-must be given a voice in these negotiations. Brexit is not an excuse to turn Britain into a tax haven of any kind, especially when public opinion polls throughout the last two years have always been in favour of corporations, especially larger corporations and multinationals, being required to pay more tax and pay their fair share of tax. Nor is it an excuse for massive deregulation via the 'Great Repeal Bill' (see here for details: ) which if necessary must be subject to scrutiny and approval by Parliament at all times. It is neither reasonable nor justified to delegate any of these powers to the executive via so-called Henry VIII clauses.

These are the three fundamentally important things we must demand most during the completion of the Brexit negotiations:

1. Environmental protections. We are all dependent on our planet for our survival and our needs, simply based on the fact we are human beings. Damage to the environment also damages human health ultimately, air and water pollution being key examples.  Incidentally, leaving the EU can allow us to create stronger environmental initiatives than EU member states, as shown by Norway and Switzerland's plans last year.

2. Human rights protections. Universal human rights are essential in a modern society, and are not connected to any particular institution. We must maintain our membership of, and respect for, the European Convention on Human Rights; the only European nation not to be a member of it is Belarus. Not only do they allow us to maintain multiculturalism and respect for all people, but they also allow us to work together to solve common problems.

3. Workers' rights protections. Everyone deserves to be able to have enough to make a living and also make sure they are not overworked all the time and can live healthy lives.  . We must ultimately transition away from the current '9-to-5' model of work which is increasingly unsuitable in a world where more and more work can be completed online and where flexibility is increasingly required. Workers' rights, like holiday pay, sick pay, and pensions, must therefore be protected in this regard.

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