I was born just a few months after this country joined the European Community, and in the 45 years since then Europe has proved itself as a protector of human rights, the planet’s most progressive global voice on climate change, and the most successful peace project in history. It has created a future in which young people are no longer sent to other European countries to kill one another, but can choose for themselves where they want to travel, learn, work and live.
With one year to go until the UK is set to leave its government is in the grip of delusional extremists, and its main opposition party is unable or unwilling to oppose the reckless and destructive course being taken.
The Government and the “Brexit ultras” are showing contempt for the economy, using a wafer-thin 52% result, won on the basis of lies, as a pretext for the most extreme and harmful option by taking the country out of the single market and the customs union.
They are showing contempt for people’s freedoms, tearing up our right to move freely while treating other EU citizens as second class people and expecting them to pay for the privilege.
They are showing contempt for our public services like the NHS, which far from getting a boost of £350m a week will suffer massive recruitment challenges after freedom of movement is lost.
They are showing contempt for devolution, with a power-grab against the devolved nations and an approach which betrays their delusional belief that the UK is a unitary state where all power is exercised from the corridors of Whitehall.
They are showing contempt for democracy, neutering not only the devolved institutions but Westminster as well. On trade for example, even MPs won’t have the scrutiny powers that the European Parliament currently has; the free market ideologues will be able to hand what should be democratically accountable power over to corporate interests.
In short, the people “taking back control” are not the people of the UK. They are disaster capitalists who will put their own selfish interests ahead of everything, politicians who put party before country, and entitled public schoolboys with the nerve to present themselves as challenging the elite.
I feel immense anger at what is being done. As more information becomes public about the way the referendum was stolen, that anger grows. But I am not willing to give in to despair. Those of us who know this is wrong must hold on to hope. It’s not too late to stop this. But even if this evil thing is done and a year from now we’re outside the EU, we’ll immediately begin the campaign to get back in.
We’re Europeans. Our country is a European country. Our future will be as part of Europe.