Today has seen the UK give notice to the EU that we intend to leave their club. This doesn’t mean that anything at all has changed today, only that the long and complex process of leaving the EU can now begin. I’ve seen people wondering why people who voted leave aren’t making more of a song and dance about it, and whilst I can’t speak for anyone else I can say why I’m not.
- Many of the people I know have spent the last year or so accusing people that support the idea of Brexit of being racist, gullible, stupid, backward, ignorant and much more. I don’t really want to argue with those people
- A lot of people I know are quite upset about the decision to leave the EU and I’m polite enough to not want to add to their woes.
- This is merely the start of the process, as the saying goes “now begins the real work”, if we let our politicians implement the kind of Brexit that everyone is afraid of then there will be noting to celebrate. I’ll celebrate when we’ve actually left the EU, if we do so in a manner which strengthens and broadens our international relationships, is less protectionist, more outward looking and more democratic then we ever could be in the EU.
Today is merely the start of a process, where that process takes us depends on our politicians and civil servants. If you don’t like the direction they seem to be taking us now isn’t the time to sit back and say “they voted for it, they can fix it”. Now is the time to contact your MP and tell them what you want the UK to look like once we leave the EU. Do you want to keep favouring wealthy western nations over the rest of the world? Do you want to continue protectionist policies that disadvantage developing nations? Do you want to stick to the poorer standards of animal welfare that the EU require over the stronger standards the UK proposed? Do you want to give current EU citizens resident int he UK the right to stay, ask for it. All of this and so much more is still up for debate and you can sit and moan and be angry on social media or you can do something about it, the choice is yours. As so many people keep saying no one has agreed what we want from Brexit so why not actually tell your MP what you want? I did, and will be doing so again.
Today nothing changes, leaving the EU doesn’t mean a return to a former years, it doesn’t mean leaving Europe, it doesn’t mean the end to trade and co-operation, it doesn’t mean that the rest of Europe cease to be our friends, colleagues and partners, it doesn’t mean turning our back on the rest of the world, it doesn’t mean abandoning human rights or anything else. Though of course it could end up meaning all of those things if you let it, leaving the EU brings accountability back to Parliament, so it’s up to us to hold our elected representatives to account to deliver the sort of post EU country that we want. Once we leave the EU our politicians can no longer pas responsibility off to someone else, they will be the ones representing us on international standards committees and in trade negotiations and everywhere else where in the past they’ve delegated responsibility to the EU. This means that it’s up to us to hold them to account and to vote and campaign for the issues that matter to us. Or we could just say it’s other peoples problems, change our profiles pictures and complain on social media and let other people decide which direction our country goes in. No political party is in power for ever, no political party is even significant for ever if we decide they no longer represent us and actually do something about it.
So what today signals is that we all need to grow up and take responsibility for the actions of our representatives and for making sure they act on our behalf in the manner we desire. Alternatively wash your hands of the responsibility, say it’s up to the people you’ve called stupid and backward, say your ashamed of this country and then later you can wonder why it all turned out so badly.