Interdependence v independence. What a difference a syllable makes. This week a majority of my countrymen and women have closed their eyes to the glaring inevitability of one and embraced the illusion of the other.
So whether we like it or not we are all now former Europeans. The bright, albeit ambitious, vision of a slowly but steadily uniting continent, addressing its challenges through a constructive discourse, has darkened for the foreseeable future.
So be it. But surrendering to despair cannot be an option. The reactionary tide which has brought us here is unlikely to ebb at any time soon. The Johnsonite/Farageite victory will catalyse right wing movements throughout Europe. In France Le Front National has sent congratulations as have Greece’s Golden Dawn and Italy’s Northern League. And it would be impolite not to include Donald Trump in the list of Brexit back slappers.
In caves from The Pennines to the Pyrenees the dragons of nationalism are awake and if left unchallenged are poised do a lot more damage than just triggering a fall in share prices.
But progressive politics is not out for the count. We still enjoy the political opportunities of a great liberal democracy embedded in an increasingly interconnected world. Sooner rather than later the gloating smiles on the faces of those prominent Brexiteers will be wiped off by the anger of bewildered leave voters realising that the lost control they were promised would be returned to them wasn’t theirs in the first place. Yes, the power will definitely have moved but not closer to the patrons of Thanet’s fish restaurants or the formerly council owned housing estates of Dudley. The wildest political promise in living memory will rapidly implode into the void of its own emptiness and we must all be ready to pick up the pieces with a fully fashioned, positive alternative.
Not since the middle of the last century did such a cunning gang of power grabbers (for a good old fashioned power grab is what we are witnessing) hoodwink a vulnerable electorate so effectively. We must stifle the disappointment we feel in our our Brexit embracing friends and neighbours and dedicate ourselves to progressive and convincing damage control. If, no surely when, todays isolationist fantasy goes tits up let’s make sure we’ve done the groundwork for the progressive rebuild which will be all the more urgent after this weeks act of delaying sabotage.
We must see the future as belonging to our children, their children and, most importantly, the children of those whose poorly aimed electoral sideswipe at the establishment has painted a huge Union Jack coloured question mark above all our tomorrows.