Freedom of movement in the EU is about freedom. It is personal. It is where you can live, where you can work, who you can meet, who you can fall in love with and who you can stay with.
It is this freedom that Theresa May and the UK government are trying to curtail at this very moment at the talks in Brussels. These negotiations will decide how Brexit will affect EU citizens living in the UK.
Donald Tusk spelled it out by saying it was obvious that May aimed to reduce the rights of EU citizens in the UK
My wife is Swedish. I met her in London, and at the time I was living in a flat with an Italian, a Frenchman and a Spaniard. This was after graduating from university when I lived in a flat with a Frenchman, a Greek and a German. It is the Europeans that have opened up my horizons and made me see how interesting life can be.
It is these same people who are now being made to feel isolated and unwanted by the actions of the UK government. This is not the UK that I grew up in. What the UK government is proposing now in Brussels is thinly-veiled xenophobia to appease their right wing UK supporters. It is petty, small-minded and harmful. A suggestion from Theresa May could actually make it impossible for me to return to the UK with my wife. What is the motivation behind such a rule?
Not only that, but there are proposals that EU citizens must be fingerprinted and apply for special ID cards, symbolically marking them as second-class citizens.
It feels like the UK government is sending a message to EU citizens, both within and without the UK: that they're simply not welcome.
But a lack of Europeans won't do anything to change the increasing inequality in the UK. There will still be those Etonian toffs running the boo-hiss pantomime parliament in that Victorian country known as 'Great' Britain.
But I think this is a turning point. I think this is a step too far. When a government's idea of sovereignty is to start telling people where they can live and who they're allowed to live with, people start getting seriously pissed off. The game is getting old now. The same rhetoric that garnered right-wing support is about to change the course of millions of peoples lives and alter the faces seen on British streets for years to come.
There is opposition. I only hope it is strong enough to resist these ludicrous demands and lessen the fallout of this messy separation. Or even better, avoid it altogether!