Please join us in Chesham/Amersham this weekend to support The Rejoin EU Party from 10 am each day and tbc Batley and Spen. The economic reasons to rejoin the EU are now so widely published, given the disasters that have unfolded for so many industries since Brexit day (the fishing industry, the farming industry, the finance industry, the entertainment industry, the list goes on!) that I do feel that for many of us on the Rejoin EU side of the argument it’s become low hanging fruit.
But let’s remind ourselves there are so many more reasons to be part of the European Union than the economic ones.
The EU has been the biggest and most successful peace project in history, taking a continent that has an almost non-stop history of war for two-and-a-half millenia and forging an unprecedented peace. Some will argue that this is a product of a higher level of civilisation we have now reached, and it would be simply unthinkable to go back to our warlike roots. But when you consider the speed with which Britain despatched its warships to a protest by small fishing boats recently, you have to wonder.
People of my generation (mid 50s) were also able to take advantage of educational, cultural and lifestyle choices within the EU unrivalled by any other generation in history. The Erasmus scheme (which the current government spitefully chose to jettison, even though we could have continued whilst being outside the EU) opened the door for hundreds of thousands of UK young people to travel the continent. Many of whom chose to go on and base their lives within the city of their choice only to have it cruelly ripped away from them with Brexit.
As for the UK itself, it now finds itself in an existential crisis with the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland more uncertain than at any point in recent history.
And then there’s the science projects, the global environmental activism, the protection of food standards, the safeguards on dignity of lifestyle for those of us in the LGBTIQA+ community. All gone in a heartbeat, with total power over all our lives now in the hands of a hard right government with no obvious moral values (and I certainly don’t need to remind anyone where that can lead to).
So, to a question I often find myself turning to these days : “where is the opposition to this”?
When I was persuaded that establishing the Rejoin EU party as a registered political party as well as a pressure group was appropriate, I thought we’d spend more time supporting other opposition parties and their candidates then standing ourselves. We are pledged to provide a rejoin EU voice in any by election where one doesn’t otherwise exist.
In Scotland, that means very little work on our part. With the Scottish Greens and the SNP unashamedly arguing for our return to the top table, all our party has to do is be as supportive as possible.
Sadly, we don’t have the same options in English by elections. The Labour Party are calling on us to “embrace Brexit”, the Liberal Democrats have a leader who’s stated they are “not a rejoin party” and shows no sign of retracting this statement, whilst the Lib Dem conference supports only a “long term aim” of rejoining the EU (i.e. WON’T be giving voters that choice in the next general election) and the Green Party limit their discussions to rejoining the customs union.
Whilst many firm pro-EU advocates within these parties are trying hard to get stronger commitments, the collective narrative that “Brexit is done” becomes harder and harder to shift. Which is why we are lucky to have two amazing candidates in Brendan Donnelly for Chesham & Amersham and Andrew Smith for Batley & Spen in the upcoming by elections.
And even if, as Private Eye have phrased it so eloquently in the past, we end up as the only folks “sitting on the fruit cake stall” whilst the political mainstream ignore the issue so be it. I regularly ask myself, am I just crazy being the only one who can’t see the benefits of Brexit? Perhaps it’s part of the arrogance that comes with being a middle aged white dude, but in this instance, to quote Lily Allen, : “it’s not me, it’s you”.
Leader of Rejoin EU Party