Home Page Opinion: The UK's departure from the EU
Today, Saturday February 1, 2020, the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union, the EU.
Having left it last night, at 11pm UK time (midnight on the continent) some look ahead with joy and optimism, some with disquiet and concern, and some with an outright fear based on a lack of knowledge. One example of that is the student who tweeted that she would no longer be able to travel to Europe.
Firstly, the EU is not Europe; there a a number of countries within the continent of Europe that are not members of the EU but neither they nor any EU member country, or the EU Commission, have suggested that no British person will be able to travel across the channel.
This lack of knowledge rather than anything else is the biggest concern; that some of those who shout the loudest shout only rumour and falsehood. Under a mistaken impression they may be but dare we say it, there are also those who will shout deliberate lies to try and bring down a UK that is not an EU member.
Such shouting is pointless, unnecessary and self-defeating. The Prime Minister must now do two things - first he and his government must tackle head-on the problems the UK has; the ever-rising, never-ending spiralling costs of merely having somewhere to live; Ensuring that the UK can defend itself against any threat; sorting out the welfare system so those who need benefits have not only enough money to live on but can also fund a search for work; the overseas aid bill; transport, both land and air, ensuring that it can grow and handle demand. There are so many more domestic needs that have been neglected thanks to the paralysis of the last four years.
The PM's second task is to pursue a workable, mutually beneficial arrangement with the EU so that we can travel to and from countries within it, without visas and unnecessary restrictions; that trade and business can flourish; that both the UK and the EU can prosper as close allies and partners.
Boris Johnson has something that his two predecessors did not - a comfortable majority in the House of Commons. For the first time in a decade, the UK has a government that can actually govern.
Prime Minister; get on with it please and don't let us, the people who gave you your job, down.