In spite of some top-level trolling by Led by Donkeys and the beautiful irony of some Brexit super-fans failing to burn an EU flag because of EU fire regulations, ‘Brexit Day’ did not give us a lot to celebrate.
Many of us fear that the racist posters springing up in Norwich, threatening the safety of all those who can’t speak the “the the Queens English”, are just the start of a much darker trend.
As Green MEP Molly Scott Cato said in her heart-breaking farewell speech, now is not the time to campaign to re-join the EU. But that day will come.
Embracing the European project with open arms
And when it does, we will no longer be the apathetic moany uncle of the European Union, complaining about non-existent bans on bent bananas. We will no longer be begrudgingly dragged along for the ride with one foot in the door and one foot out, we will be embracing the European project with open arms.
And for that, we have Brexit to thank. Because it has given us one of the strongest pro-EU movements in the continent. We have a youth who is educated about its benefits, goals and achievements. A youth that has seen through our populist placating government. A youth that is overwhelmingly pro EU.
If you love the European movement for peace and solidarity, if you voted to remain, if you campaigned for a second referendum, then have a drink tonight to David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage too. For in all their ignorant politicking and populism, they may have just granted us a gift. A gift of a passionate, proud and informed youth, who realise the importance of what we have lost.
Until the day that we realise that we’re no longer an empire, we have a few things to remember. Firstly, that if Brexit turns out to be disastrous, Brexiteers will do everything in their power to blame its failings on the people who argued against it. Secondly, that this popularism has empowered the nastiest parts of our society. Though we are a step further away from our brothers and sisters on the continent, there are plenty still in UK who will feel threatened. Now is the time to show solidarity.
That solidarity can come in many forms, starting with a simple smile on the street. And, eventually, thanks to Brexit, we may have a European future worth smiling about.
In the meantime, to our European friends – please heed our veterans’ message on the white cliffs of Dover, ‘this is our star, look after it for us’.