According to a recent poll, 60% of British citizens would like to keep or retrieve their European citizenship after Brexit, even at the cost of – say – £400 a year. (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/01/poll-european-eu-rights-brexit.) That will include me, if my dual Swedish citizenship doesn’t come through. I really do feel angry at the way I have been robbed of my European identity by the Brexiteers. Surely this should be a matter of individual choice?
I wonder what individual EU citizenship would involve? Obviously the right to move freely and work in the EU, without special permits or dispensation. Probably the duty of paying taxes abroad. The right to vote in foreign elections? At present, as an EU citizen living in Sweden, I vote in local and European elections, but not for the national parliament. Health care? I’m entitled to that now in Sweden, but this will stop, I guess, after Brexit kicks in. Military service, for younger people? The right to be defended and represented by European embassies in other parts of the world? And would we need to permit EU citizens to buy British citizenship on the same terms, to even things up?
Anyway: surely this way of sharing or splitting one’s national identity among several countries is a good thing, and an acknowledgment of how the world is moving just now. I’m sure there are many like me who feel British (or whatever), but not exclusively; who have other identities as well as their narrow passport or ‘blood’ one, which they feel is far too limiting for them. That’s partly due to ‘globalisation’, and the bad odour into which ‘nationalism’ has fallen in liberal quarters; as well as to the fact that ‘nationality’ can no longer adequately contain or define one’s identity on its own. Most countries of Europe, as well as the USA, are divided between at least two diametrically opposed versions of the local nationality, each of which claims the exclusive right to it: Republican-Democrat, or Trumpist-Sandersist; Conservative-Labour, or UKIP-Corbynista…, all claiming their superior ‘patriotism’ over the others. National identities are not fit for purpose any more. They don’t tell you anything.
So why not allow people formally to choose their own mix of identities, with the relevant passports provided? I hope to be British-Swedish soon, which will more accurately reflect who I feel I am in terms of nationality. (Of course, like everyone else, I have other identities too.) Given even greater choice, I’d probably want to add a couple of others too. Irish? Australian? But that’s a lot of 400 poundses. British-Swedish-EU will do for now.