#MarchforEurope – some thoughts
#Whingers #Whiners #TantrumThrowers
This is how the Marchers for Europe were described by the ‘critics’ quoted on the BBC website yesterday. I don’t mind that especially. It’s an inaccurate characterisation, of course, but most of everything to with Brexiting was inaccurate too, so no point expecting a leopard to change its spots.
Yesterday I saw no whinging, or tantrums. I saw (for the most part) an apolitical, peaceful diverse group of individuals coming together with good humour. I saw people stepping away from their devices, to stand together in technicoloured 3D reality and simply say
‘We Love EU’
Loving a union of diverse peoples is not to say we are uncritical of some of the political aspects of the union – who could not look on in abhorrent horror at the treatment of refugees and migrants around the Mediterranean over the last year? Who could not flinch at the treatment that the Greeks have experienced as the Germans turned the screws on austerity? Who could not wonder at the gravy train that people like Nigel Farage have lined their pockets with over the years, even as he uncoupled the carriages?
No, a desire for the values of unity is most certainly not a rubber stamp on anything that those who are appointed to govern decide to do.
Yesterday was an opportunity to express the values of unity in a positive way. Yesterday was a chance to be with people who were not prepared to overlook the incipient xenophobia (if not racism) of the Leave campaign. Yesterday was a place to go and be accepted – it was a time to demonstrate that we have more in common than what divides us.
I have two quotes I reach for, often:
We cannot step into the same river twice – Heraclitus
Every wall is a door – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I did not march for a new referendum (Heraclitus). I did not march to turn the clock back. I marched because I expect those people who are elected to represent the people in our democracy (because, despite the referendum we do not live in a direct democracy) to listen to the views of those who elected them going forward (Emerson).
That many of our elected representatives are too busy saving their own skins, or promoting their own careers is a disgraceful consequence of the referendum. This will pass. When the feasability of untangling the UK from hundreds and hundreds of EU laws made over decades (up to 20% of the civil service’s workload for up to 4 years at a cost of billions according to some reckonings) kicks in, so will a reality check – across all sides of the house.
The next general election will feature, I predict, an even angrier electorate than that which delivered the ‘unpredictable’ Brexit result. This anger will be predicated on everything that made the electorate angry enough to believe Farage/Johson/Gove’s pack of lies plus more austerity, a depressed economy, just as many immigrants as ever before, and a recalcitrant EU governing body.
The UK will find itself to be a collector’s live butterfly, twisting on a pin of its own making. The countries that make up our Disunited Kingdom strung over barbed wire fences like dead, short-sighted moles as a warning to others busy digging their own holes across Europe.
I will regret this. I imagine so will those I marched with yesterday. In our minds we tried to save the Brexiteers from themselves, but it is too late.
Like it or no, post-referendum, we are finally all (Scots, Northern Irish, Welsh, Gibraltarians, English) in it together, now.