May Meets Polish Counterpart
The issue of EU immigrants living in the UK and UK residents living in the EU has become something of an issue now it seems Theresa May will enact Article 50 in March 2017. Article 50 will begin the process of the UK disentangling itself from the EU and will culminate in the UK finally leaving the EU by 2019 it is thought.
When meeting Polish Prime Minister Beata Sydlo at 10 Downing Street yesterday Mrs May said firmly that the rights of EU citizens who are living here including the 900,000 Poles who have come to the UK to make it their home will be guaranteed when the UK finally leaves the EU if the rights of British people living in EU countries are also guaranteed.
Many EU citizens living here have obviously been worried about their status in the UK since the UK largely voted for Brexit. It seems now in making this announcement Mrs May has made it clear that their status here to remain is ok as long as British people living in EU countries like Spain, Italy, France and Germany is also ok.
All this talk about a hard Brexit and a soft Brexit no doubt confuses many British people whether they voted for Brexit or not. Some want to stay in the trade area of the EU once the UK has left the EU while others say we must come out of it altogether.
The future of the UK outside of the EU is frankly uncertain and again opinion is divided over this too with some saying the UK will thrive able to trade with the USA and the nations who were once part of the British Empire and are now in the Commonwealth or the British economy will take a hit and the poorest off will suffer the most.
Theresa May announced to the media and the Polish Prime Minister that the UK will be sending 150 troops to Poland to beef up defences there in case Mr Putin decides to have a wander across the Polish border.
Mrs May and Beata Szydlo also said after Brexit is done and dusted the UK and Poland would continue to have a close relationship.
Polish involvement in Britain
From the earliest recorded times of medieval history Polish involvement in Britain has always occurred. The British and Polish people are entwined together in history with British people as they are today going to Poland and living there as the immigration traffic has not always been one way with Poles coming to the UK.
One of the biggest influxes of Polish people coming to the UK was in the late 19th Century when Polish Jews fleeing pogroms came to Britain to find a better life and hopefully a more tolerant population.
One big Polish involvement with the UK was during the second word war when Poland's government fled into exile when Germany over ran their country from 1939 - 1945. Winston Churchill allowed the Polish government based in London to direct resistance missions against the German occupying forces. Also many Polish pilots fought alongside their RAF counterparts in the Battle of Britain no doubt hungry for a chance to hit back at the Germans. Many Polish regiments also fought alongside their British and American and other Allied counterparts in the conflict.
After the war Poland was occupied by the Soviets and became a Communist satellite of the Soviet Union but this did not last forever and Poland was free again. Free to join the EU and become a fully fledged European nation once more and then in 2004 many Poles were able to come to the UK and make a new life with mixed reactions from Native Brits and other immigrant communities already living in the UK.
With Brexit looming many of the UK's 900,000 Poles are right to feel concerned about their right to stay in the UK and whether Theresa May's words would help to make Poles feel any more safer about their status here with what she said yesterday while meeting the Polish Prime Minister. Poles and other immigrant communities whether from The Commonwealth or the European Union are also worried about the rise in hate crimes since Brexit blamed on some politicians like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.
It seems though with the UK sending troops to Poland to guard against Russian aggression the Poles and the British once more are shoulder to shoulder facing a common enemy as they did with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and that in the end must count for something.