Brexit is bad enough. Negotiations are worse.

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is one of the most important decisions since the end of the Second World War. But leaving is not the dangerous part. Instead, it’s the negotiations.

The results are in, the vote is over and ‘Brexit’ is a reality. Britain has chosen to reject nearly a century of European progress to supplement its rather vain approach to politics. Our xenophobic, patriotic and thuggish personality has prevailed over one of good diplomacy, respect and solidarity. We have become a selfish and cruel nation and deserve little sympathy from our continental neighbours.

For the next few months, ministers will meet with European Commissioners, leaders and presidents to debate Article 50. These meetings will decide Britain’s future relationship with Europe and what kind of small, self-obsessed island we will be living in by the end of it. Johnson and Gove have spoken of these negotiations as a chance to show our patriotism and national pride. Our demands will be shot down and so they should be. If this is what independence feels like, it’s not all its hyped up to be.

Unfortunately, these negotiations are Tory-led and the Tory Party’s dangerous economic tendencies are likely to shine through. If so, we – as workers, business owners, investors and as a wider society – are doomed. Nothing can protect us from the hammer of Conservatism which will seek to beat out the NHS, nationalised industry, free education and science, industries which are only alive today due to the European Union.

The EU protects workers’ rights by providing guaranteed parental leave, holidays and workplace standards. These rights are outlined in the European Convention of Human Rights, a document written by British lawmakers in collaboration with other European politicians. Throughout the referendum campaign, Johnson, Gove and Farage have refused to outline how they will protect our workers’ rights if ‘Leave’ won.

This is no accident.

Both Gove and Johnson believe in a small-state society with low-regulation economy. Brexit negotiations are their chance to reshape these laws behind closed doors. For months, the two men have talked about ‘taking back control’. They never stated who they would give this power to. Now we know.

Like me, you may be reeling from Britain’s decision. You may also feel embarrassed to be British. You are right to feel that way. But mourning our loss does nothing. Our job is to keep an eye on these negotiations, to protest, comment and advise.

Power now lies with the British political elite. If you really want to ‘take back control’, then for Britain’s sake, it’s time we grabbed Johnson’s newfound power from his clutches. First, by refusing him the Tory leadership and second, by voting OUT the destructive, overly-patriotic and self-serving Conservative govenrment from office.

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