London, 1 March 2019 – Forced resignations of Conservative MP Alberto Costa unveil much more than the usual reckless Tory politics we witness everyday, but also the invisible and hidden one.
Alberto Costa bravely and rightly stated EU and UK citizens’ rights should never be used as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations. This is what actually happened over the last two years as denounced by the Three Millions campaign group while May’s government was seeking leverage in the negotiations by putting under threat EU residents basic rights.
But over time May’s led Tory élite along with Home Office officers, understood that threatening European residents brings votes and political consensus: not only that of the hard Tory Brexiteers, but the wider society’s one; we are talking about a hidden divisive policy by which Commonwealth citizens have been led to support government’s delivery of Brexit with the promise of easier visas and extension of hostile environment to EU citizens who are going to be treated as third country immigrants. This is something that has to do also with the strategic refuse of taking no deal off the table, a scenario leading millions Europeans and British residents abroad suddenly with no rights.
That’s goes beyond party politics, it is actually a small Tory leadership élite enacting hostile and divisive policies against the wider society, smashing down those who are no use to political consensus (EU citizens have no right to vote at general elections therefore no leverage on MPs), and giving the last minute promise of a better life the Commonwealth countries origin/British ones.
This last slice of British society is widely represented in the UK Parliament. It would be enough to listen to the speeches during the Pakistan/India crisis on 27th February, pressing on Foreign Office ministers to mediate in the crisis for the sake of the relatives of their constituents living in those Commonwealth countries, to understand the priority of MPs representing millions from former colonies living in the UK from generations: and the priority is not the EU. Over the last two years many Conservative MPs representing constituencies with Indians and Pakistani communities, constantly promoted a Brexit process prioritising bilateral relations with third countries promoting the ‘benefits’ of exiting on WTO rules.
What all this has to do with Costa? It definitely has, because his amendment brings down the curtains of Tory elite/Home Office hidden domestic strategy, now using EU citizens as bargaining chips no longer only with the EU, but also, and mainly, in the Tory ‘negotiations’ with voters for political support. That’s why Alberto Costa has been pushed into resignations, that’s why the lies from the Home Office, that’s why the final U-turn of Conservatives suddenly championing democracy and being emotional towards friends EU citizens: a fantastic show off of solidarity which moved us all, especially when we heard for the first time ever Jacob Rees Mogg saying and doing something sensible; it has been the moment of truth, and therefore a point of non return where no place should be given to fake and divisive politics in the name of power and votes.
To say it in a Donald Tusk’s style motto: we wonder if there is a special place in heaven for those like Alberto Costa. Or, to be a bit more down to earth, we wonder if there is a better party for Alberto Costa…