Passport to Remain – how would the UK process residency rights for 3 million EU27 nationals?

[see important Update at bottom]

Settling the position of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU is at the top of the agenda for the Brexit talks that have just started. Good.

Let’s assume, as everyone seems to be saying, that a generous settlement is reached which allows all of them to stay where they are now if they want to.

If that does happen then the UK would need to come up with a process to grant them the right to remain and documents – preferably simple – that would show they had such a right.

It needs to do it quickly – assuming this part of the negotiations is settled by say October that will give the UK about 18 months to process this. Remember, as soon as we withdraw from the EU in April 2019 three million EU27 residents of the UK would legally have no right to be here.

So how could it be done? Continue reading

Grenfell Tower

Municipal Dreams

For almost four decades, we have been taught to see public spending as a bad thing; ruthless economising as a virtue.  We have come to know the price of everything and the value of nothing…and have ended with the funeral pyre of Grenfell Tower. 

Three days after the night of Wednesday 14 June, I still haven’t written anything about Grenfell Tower.  I’ve been trying to process the tragedy emotionally and intellectually. Even the pronoun jars.  This is – or should be – all about the pain and anger felt by the victims of the tower block fire. Those feelings are shared by many but have been appropriated by a few to fit their existing worldviews, to serve pre-existing agenda. In the meantime, it seems every journalist has become an expert, every pundit has their opinion.

Grenfell nowI do know a bit about social housing but I’m certainly not an expert on…

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Why did Grenfell Happen? It’s probably simple, and complicated.

[Now with very important comment about the privatised Building Research Establishment – see below]

There are two answers to the above question – one simple and one much more complex. We don’t know the full answers to either yet, but we know more or less what the questions and areas of uncertainty are. Continue reading

Grenfell – we need an ‘Air Accident’ type investigation, now

The utterly appalling sight of our fellow citizens being burnt alive, trapped in a tall building, naturally fills all of us with deep sorrow, and for many anger.

How could this happen? Could it happen again?

There are two sort of questions that need examining. The first, and by far the most urgent, is how did this happen in the technical, proximate cause, sense? How could a tower block that’s stood for 4-5 decades suddenly turn into such towering disaster?

Immediate ‘Air Accident Investigation Branch’ type investigation? Continue reading

The Paradox of the Fixed Term Parliament Act: Protecting Government and Rebellion

The Fixed Term Parliament Act (FTPA) was the love child of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition government.

It was designed primarily to ensure that a minority-coalition Government could – would – survive for a whole Parliament.

That was the primary aim and indeed that is what the FTPA achieves. It makes it very difficult to defeat an incumbent Government, even a minority one and especially a coalition (what a surprise). Continue reading

The asymmetry of potential Tory rebellions over Brexit (spoiler: hard Brexiteers look away now)

First a quick reminder of the balance of power in the House of Commons:

The Tories have 316 voting MPs, the ‘rest’ have 313 (323 with DUP).

If the DUP

Abstain = 3 vote Tory majority.
Vote with the Tories = 13 vote majority
Vote Against = 7 vote minority

(For full explanation see my previous blog here) Continue reading