Today on the blog, we welcome Juuso Järviniemi from the Young European Movement (YEM) in Edinburgh, in the first of what is intended as a series of blogs exploring personal aspects of policy-making in relation to Brexit.
The views expressed in this blog post belong to its author alone. This text does not reflect the position of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy or that of its partners.
Many have complained about how the European identity hiding inside (half) the British population arose too late last summer. If only the shock of June 24 had occurred before the referendum, not afterwards. Or if only we could foresee David Davis walking into the Brexit negotiating room without any notes with him. (To be fair, we had been warned.)
There is ample reason to be angry and frustrated. What matters now, however, is the fact that the shock-fuelled pro-European spirit exists today. In democratic politics it’s hardly ever too late, and Brexit is no exception. The public discussion on an “Exit from Brexit” illustrates that. The work of the pro-Europeans gets easier by the day, as the predictions of “Project Fear” come true. What we need to do is believe.
The clock is ticking mercilessly towards Brexit, and the revocation of Article 50 remains unlikely. Nonetheless, regardless of where we find ourselves on March 30, 2019, the battle for Britain’s future will not have ceased. It wasn’t too late on June 24, 2016, and neither will it be too late then. Right before the notorious Article 50, the Lisbon Treaty stipulates the procedure Britain could – and should – follow in 2019 if necessary. Namely, Article 49 is about a state applying to become a member of the EU. Nothing in the article prevents a country from rejoining after leaving.
The worst thing that could happen to the pro-European movement in Britain would be simply dying out as a result of giving up. The debate on Europe will be the grand debate in British politics for years and years to come. In that debate, pro-Europeans should never forget what their initial position was – that position was, “we should be a part of the EU”.
I trust pro-European Brits to keep that in mind. Britain won’t spend an entire generation out of the EU. The taste of chlorinated chicken and the smell of stenchy beaches will serve as reminders of what Britain has momentarily lost, for a generation young enough to have grown up with them won’t exist.
A month on from our event 'Living, Working, and Studying in the UK Beyond Brexit', organized in collaboration with YEM Edinburgh, we would like to give our attendees but also all British and European citizens interested in those issues the opportunity to contribute personal stories on Brexit, European and British identity, and the impact of politics on their everyday life. You can send your submissions to us, using the address firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a non-partisan organization, we welcome contributions from all parties and political affiliations, but we reserve the right to reject all submissions that will be deemed offensive, violent, or discriminatory. Please note that all texts published here will only represent their author's opinion, and not that of the CSPP or its partners.