You will be aware that the UK will leave the EU on 31st January, when Molly and all her staff will lose their jobs. So this will be the final enews. Thanks to you all for sticking with us! After this enews your contact details will be removed permanently from our records.
As you can imagine, we have all been feeling pretty heart-broken since the general election (left, the UK’s seven Green MEPs). So let me start by thanking you for your support and also acknowledging the powerful solidarity I’ve enjoyed from European colleagues. And, in this last newsletter, I must also thank the wonderful staff who have supported my work in the Parliament for nearly six years.
In these dark days it may feel that nearly everything is lost, but that is certainly far from the case. Our battle to stay part of the world’s most powerful peace project has given birth to the strongest pro-European movement anywhere in the continent and that’s something we should all be proud of. It’s also meant that we have come to appreciate everything that the European Union does for us although I fear that the Joni Mitchell lyric ‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ is going to be the most resounding Brexit anthem.
As the Brexit lies unravel, we must all do our best to stop the government spreading misinformation and shifting blame to the EU. Although I won’t have the formal power or staff support I’ve enjoyed while an elected representative, I will do what I can as a citizen to hold the government to account, and I ask you to please do the same.
Perhaps above all, Brexit has taught us of the need to strengthen our democracy at home. If you can find the energy and time, please join me in the campaign for a fairer and more inclusive politics.
Without a proportional electoral system, I would not have been elected to the European Parliament. We urgently need electoral reform for UK elections. Labour must seize the opportunity offered by the leadership elections to embrace once and for all an electoral system that ensures all votes count. I wrote about this for Left Foot Forward.
We also need to build and strengthen institutions that work to keep us close to our European neighbours. I’ll be sharing more ideas about how to do this on Twitter as plans come together.
Lots of people have asked me what I personally will do next, and I have to say I really don’t know yet. I’m so disappointed that there isn’t a place for me as an elected politician but I’m sure I will find another way to make myself useful, or to make mischief, depending on your political perspective!
Active until the end…
Molly challenges government’s FlyBe rescue package
Molly has written to EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, to ask if the rescue package the government has planned for Exeter based airline FlyBe breaches EU state aid rules. She has been keen to focus attention on the implications of the rescue package on efforts to tackle climate change. She wrote for the Guardian on this and was interviewed by Channel 4 and BBC News as well as several local South West BBC radio stations.
“EU competition policy is designed to prevent support for one company that places other companies at a competitive disadvantage. The rescue package of support to FlyBe would appear to be a case in point.
“The government also appears to be using the FlyBe case opportunistically to reduce Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights. This is both dangerous and irresponsible at a time when we are increasingly witnessing the destructiveness of climate change.
“Transitioning to a green economy will mean energy-intensive companies will become uncompetitive and cease trading. Any government intervention should therefore be used to support, not impede, this transition.
“As a carrier that serves primarily the domestic market, FlyBe has no future in the transport revolution needed to address the climate emergency.”
European Green Deal gets green light
A Green Deal for Europe got the green light this week when a majority of MEPs backed it in the European parliament. Greens particularly welcomed support for their amendments demanding nuclear power should not support the green transition and that there must be an immediate end to investments in fossil fuels.
“The Green deal sets the EU on a course towards restructuring the economy with a focus on climate protection, enhancing biodiversity and greening investments.
“So while the EU strides forwards on investing in the sectors and jobs needed for the green transition, the UK, led by a Tory government stuck in the fossil era, will slip further and further behind our nearest neighbours. This is a tragedy for the environment, for tackling the climate emergency and for the UK economy.”
The rights of EU citizens post-Brexit
Molly has joined other Green MEPs in signing a letter to Stephen Barclay, the Secretary for Exiting the EU, calling on the government to respect the rights of EU citizens’ living in the UK who “are seeing their lives torn apart and plans they made on the basis of an existing legal situation being undermined in a way that causes them considerable distress.” Full letter here.
Meanwhile MEPs voted this week to express their concern over how the UK and EU27 governments will manage citizens’ rights after Brexit.
Is this the future? Rolling out the red carpet for authoritarian leaders
In a speech in the European parliament, Molly has warned about the cosy relationship emerging between the UK and Hungary, where president Viktor Orban has amended the constitution to give his government more power, exerted control over the judiciary and cracked down on the media and NGOs. She warns Brexit Britain could become a ‘fake democracy on the Hungarian model’.