Europa United Editor Ken Sweeney is an angry man, because after a long and bitter battle, and despite being on its knees and there for the killing, the people of Britain are not applying the final blow to the utter lunacy of Brexit. So why is the British public not following the example of its European brothers and sisters by protesting relentlessly en mass until they achieve their goals? And what are their options should the British decide to vote with their feet and their voices?
Brexit is utter lunacy. And do not let anybody tell you otherwise, because if they believe it is a good thing, they are either lying or just completely deluded. And even if they come up with some kind of decent argument, the fact is that whatever the pros they list, the cons are going to be far, far worse. We can discuss those arguments over and over again but one thing is clear – Brexit is going to destroy Britain. And it will be destroyed in so many ways that in twenty years’ time, history will recall the vote to leave as the ultimate social and political folly.
Nobody really wants Brexit
As well as causing immeasurable destruction to Britain, Brexit will also impact on its neighbours and the wider world. And the world doesn’t want it. Who, apart from some cartoon character playing the President of the USA is calling for it? Justin Trudeau of Canada? No. Xi Jinping of China? Nope. Shinzō Abe of Japan? Don’t think so. Ram Nath Kovind of India? Not him, either.
You see, apart from a certain section of the population of Britain, nobody wants it. Let’s all be honest here – if the referendum was run again, it would be a landslide in favour of remaining. No amount of spin is going to convince me otherwise. A huge amount of those who voted leave hadn’t got a clue what they were voting for and yet, now they are probably more informed about the EU membership than prior to their decision. This means you can bet your bottom euro that they are rightly scared now, because it is hitting them where it hurts, far earlier than any of the large social and economic hardships that are being predicted. The people I am referring to who voted leave really don’t care if the European Medicines Agency move from London to another European city. The have no interest in the Dow Jones or the British stock exchange and market reaction to the recent negotiations. And I would go as far as saying that they most likely don’t care if the Irish question blows up into a full out return to conflict, or if Scotland leaves the UK. But what they do care about is their ability to go on holidays, buy cheap goods abroad or continue visits to that well known superstore with all those exotic fancy goods. They do care about their local club being able to buy that famous Spanish or French international player without any visa or immigration problems and they really care about being able to go to Hungary, Poland or Estonia for that budget dentist appointment. And as we have seen over the last few weeks, the ordinary British citizen is now experiencing what it will be like to travel abroad, even just to France or Belgium. Even the champion of Brexit, the utterly reprehensible British tabloid the Daily Mail, has started to show cracks in its armour. It recently published an article reporting on the enormous queues that British people are experiencing when trying to board planes to the continent. It does not matter why this is happening now, but it will be the norm for the future if freedom of movement is abolished in Britain, because that freedom goes both ways.
Thus, as I stated earlier, Brexit is a nightmare that has already started, and yet, despite the chaos that is ensuing, I believe that now is the best opportunity to kill it off. It is ready to go, but if you want it to die, you need to really show that you are a European and start acting like one.
So, Britain, forget your Facebook pages, your posting of Guardian articles, your candle vigils, your crowdfunding, your podcasts and your petitions. None of those will do anything. What you need to do is get out onto the street and stay there until this mess is deleted and defeated.
Protests with success
Look at your fellow Europeans in Poland and Romania. In February of this year, despite sub zero temperatures, the people of Romania came out in their hundreds of thousands and demonstrated outside the presidential palace in Bucharest after the Social Democratic Party of Romania, who had won the recent Parliamentary elections, tried to rush through a set of very worrying measures which would have allowed corrupt politicians, who stole from the public purse and used the powers of their office unlawfully, to walk away scot-free and with a clean criminal record. The demonstrations grew in hours and spread across the country, culminating with over three hundred thousand shouting and pressurising the Romanian government 24 hours a day until they got the law destroyed.
Only last month, when faced with the impending threat of the removal of the independent judicial system in Poland, yet again, people in their hundreds of thousands marched on their capital city, in this case, Warsaw and around the world, in defiance of the Polish government’s attempt to assert more control. The Polish resistance entrenched themselves outside the presidential palace and are now determined to ensure that if any threat to Polish democracy raises its ugly head, they will be out on the streets again. And it’s not the first time either. When the same government tried to enforce stricter abortion laws earlier this year, the women of Poland organised a strike known as ‘Black Monday‘ across the country, and brought Poland to a standstill in aid of their right to control their own bodies.
And mass protests are not just confined to Eastern Europe. Back in 2008, over 20,000 pensioners stood outside the Irish parliament (Dail) to protest against cuts in their pension. Dubbed the ‘Silver Revolution’, they were successful, as the government of the time relented and cancelled any planned pension reductions.
Even though the worst possible scenario had not even happened, the people of Germany mobilised into a grassroots movement known as Pulse of Europe, because they saw the threat of a right wing government in Germany. What started off as a few people on a Sunday afternoon celebrating Europe, has now grown into a million strong phenomenon which has spread across the continent with branches in nearly every major city. I have no doubt that we will see more situations like this where governments will be faced with an onslaught of people power, should they try to abuse their privilege to run a country in Europe on behalf of their citizens. They are using channels such as social media to get their message across quickly and efficiently.
Where is the spirit of protest in Britain?
But the question is, despite the fact that Brexit is equally important than any of the examples I mentioned, why oh why are the British people not out on their streets? What is it about Brexit that even though they can see the hurt it is going to bring them, they still insist on going through passive motions and not even consider the continental tactic. Is it laziness, apathy, or is it some kind of old fashioned ritual in which the tourist slogan “Keep calm and carry on” is actually a real tactic? Whatever their reasons, they are losing the opportunity to strike the dragon down while it is injured – and it is injured seriously. The negotiations have just stared, yet the British government has no clear tactic, and it is now showing. In-fighting with mixed messages coming out from official sources all point to a clear lack of a plan, while the Europeans are gearing up to laying down the law. UKIP is dead and Farage is resigned to a radio show. The recent election was a disaster, yet, instead of taking the opportunity to get rid of the Tories, the so-called 48 million voted Labour in their droves, rather than taking the chance and giving the LibDems, the only party who were actively campaigning against Brexit, an opportunity to lead the country out of the disaster of Brexit. What the blazes was all that about? How, in all seriousness, did Labour get such a huge vote? Don’t tell me it was disgruntled Tory voters, because I refuse to believe that the Labour proposals were that attractive. And, for crying out loud, Labour has a total Eurosceptic at the helm who is one red star short of an all out communist. Yet, despite this, after all the hoopla, Britain ended up with a hung draw and nobody with a clear mandate. And, to make matters worse, the SNP are blasted out of influence and the Ulster DUP enter government!
A total comedy of errors, but nobody is laughing.
So what is it going to be, “remainers”?
Are you going to allow a soft, hard or lukewarm Brexit to happen, and then spend the next twenty years bemoaning a lost opportunity? Or are you going to get up off your collective backsides and fight for what you believe in? Because that is what you have to do. No one-off crowdfunded march will work. You need to be mobilised on a massive scale, get out there and stay out there. Go to the gates of Westminster, Number 10, or even Buckingham Palace if you have to, and stay there. Where you go actually doesn’t really matter – it’s all about how many of you turn up. Forget about permission, permits, or public order, it’s far too important for that nonsense. Nobody can do anything when you are hundreds of thousands. Ignore your politicians – every single one of them have failed you – publicly. Forget about the media – they are all making a profit, regardless of the sides they claim to be on. They may be the protector of the remain spirit, but newspapers like the Guardian are simply loving the Brexit issue and will continue to benefit hugely in sales and subscriptions as long as Brexit lasts. They are not your friends, they are simply a tool that you need to exploit, so use them accordingly, but don’t expect them to do the job of defending your rights to freedoms that Brexit will take away.
Get mobilised – here is what you can do
Speak to public activists, such as veterans of the Poll Tax protest in the 1980s, unions, active minority groups and NGOs like KOD in Poland. All of these organisations and individuals have massive experience in staging long term protests. Mobilise across the country and get UK citizens in every state that will be affected by Brexit to protest outside the local British embassy. Look for allies, especially in neighbouring states, such as France, The Netherlands and, in particular, my country Ireland. No EU state will be affected more by Brexit than Ireland, so we are a perfect ally to put so much pressure on the British government that it has to start seeing sense. Don’t underestimate our ability to influence. We may be a small country, but we have a strong reputation for negotiation and stubbornness, which can be tools to enforce change. We have already set out our stand, and it is clear that we have no interest in Brexit being a success. Ireland is your friend – use it, for crying out loud! And if you must use social media, take it and direct it like a guided missile. Grab one of the larger anti- Brexit Facebook pages and close it off to the massive stream of posts that flood it. Direct it to be used for mass protest issues only – let it be a lighthouse for smaller groups and individuals to see, so they can have a base of operations or a starting post to get involved. Above all, control it and ensure that everything, including meetings, events and co-ordination of keeping people protesting, comes from that one source. Those larger groups already have a massive membership. Use the membership like a business opportunity and see the value in an already sold audience. It is what those members want and they will stay if there is activity coming from one portal. Set up a committee made up of people from all walks of life so that there is no one agenda being forcefully pushed. Above all, keep focused and stay on topic, always.
Tough love, Britain
So come on Britain, we all know this idea of leaving the European Union is utter suicide and why should we all bow to a minority of people on this continent who have made a monumental cock up that most of them already regret. They know they screwed up, but until the tide turns to a greater extent, they won’t admit it. It must be a clear and visible change and once it happens, they will fall in line. Forget about that fool Farage claiming that there will be war on the streets. That’s utter nonsense, and if any trouble starts, it will be a tiny minority of bigots and racists who will be silenced by a massive majority suddenly empowered by a moral purpose.
This is tough love Britain – we don’t hate you and a hell of a lot of us don’t want you to leave but we are frustrated by your lack of action. We are willing to help but you have to start by yourselves. It’s not too late – Brexit can absolutely be stopped but it needs to be stopped spectacularly and with the force of hundreds of thousands of people prepared to make an effort, guided by a small but efficient committee determined to keep up the action. It’s still summer, the nights are short and the days are long, so take advantage of that and, as the great Bob Marley said, “get up, stand up, stand up for your rights”, because nobody else will.