Letter from Brexitland I: The Bong of Destiny!

So, here we are, almost on the eve of BrexitDay

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European Union Brexit Europeans

How will it feel after the last 3 years?

What should we say to our fellow Europeans?

My Fellow Europeans.

In a few short days the United Kingdom will cast itself away from the bonds of Europe, believing that its greatness deserves a global audience; a new pax britannica.

I could spend time regurgitating the last 3 years, but boredom has set in across Europe; in the meantime, the country of england has become intoxicated by Harry and Meghan and the Masked Singer. 

Gone is any notion that due diligence should be carried out on the UK electoral process, not just for the referendum but also the recent general election. Forget that Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales have rejected the Withdrawal Agreement and the actual bong of destiny will not ring on January 31st 2020.

Thats right, the bongs of Big Ben are gone and even the bonger-in-chief could not work his magic to make the bong of Big Ben, bong.

The reality that awaits the UK on the morning after the night before probably combines some thick heads with an even greater sense of ‘what have we done’?

For in the ashes of a puritanical brexit, there exists the reality of things to come.

The ink is barely dry on the general election results and already the first sense of betrayal is in the air. The regions that elected the Prime Minister have learnt in recent days that budgets will apparently be cut to their regions, thereby failing to inject much needed cash to resolve their problems.

HS2, the great unifying rail project, is now in jeopardy with costs set to soar above £100bn matched against a cancellation fee of £12bn; will the north be unified, will it be linked to the prosperous south?

A regional airline, key to linking the more remote parts of the UK, struggling financially to survive these past 12 months, appears to have received a bail-out from government, part of which is alleged to be a £100m “holiday” from paying the tax collected from passengers. Meanwhile, other airlines are calling for equal treatment and prepared to take the government to task.

The BBC, already under criticism this past 3 years now appears to be on the verge of a radical makeover. Fears are palpable about the designs of the Prime Minister and the unelected-one who sits at his side. Swingeing cuts are already taking place on critical-investigative-based programming in favour of apparently creating a Fox-type channel.

Under the guise of trying to demonstrate a new-found independence, the government is trying to show that it can flex its muscles, seen through the desire to use Huawei 5G technology with an American President keen to emphasise his own bargaining muscle by threatening to impose tariffs on british made cars.

Amongst all of this now rests the uncertainty of the next 12 months and beyond. Despite having won the glory that is now brexit, our so-called pragmatic politicians have now enshrined into law, a limit to the negotiations of 2020, leading to the potential of a no deal brexit; the very thing that has been central to the last 3 years of argument.

All of this reminded me of an encounter at the UK’s Foreign Office in 2015. I was attending a function to celebrate another year of UK Consular services which was attended by many members of the Travel Industry. As I was leaving and collecting my coat, two bloated white men were collecting their costs of FCO staff. As they were doing so, both were loudly proclaiming their joy that they would be freed from the shackles of the EU if the Referendum was won; their anti-EU views continued ad nausea much to the embarrassment of the FCO staff. Without hesitation, I found myself countering their views by asking them what future were they seeking for the country; to become the 51st state or to simply drift off into the Atlantic? Since the referendum, I have often thought about those two men and wondered if they truely understood the implications of their excitement or indeed their own history?

For me, being European began on the day I was born. I am a child of two nations; a young-man who grew up in two-worlds; a man who has embraced an European identity.

My journey is shared by many britons, who through this great schism, have discovered how their own roots are entwined within our European continent; this is their past, present and future.

Britons are discovering their personal history, but also the history of the country they thought was their home.

For this is the deficit that exists at the heart of english society; it is history-ignorant. 

History in schools has traditionally been confined to the Tudors or the First World War. It never covers its role in Irish, Indian or other british colonial historical facts. English people are blissfully unaware of their own history, so how can they be expected to find a new role in the world when there are so many scores to settle?

One striking aspect of this historical deficit is that english people do not understand the history of Europe since 1945. English people have no concept or understanding of the French, Belgian, Dutch or German people and the horrors they endured on their land through two World Wars. 

They cannot understand how this collective Phoenix rose from the ashes of Europe to create structures, policies and a progressive society that is the envy of the world. 

They cannot understand because they have never been taught and it appears they lack the motivation to learn.

The referendum and now the brexit-to-come, has unleashed an unpleasant english nationalist intolerance that is openly embraced with accusations of those who challenge such behaviour, as being either too politically correct or snowflakes.

These are all harsh words and observations, but they offer an insight into the psyche of the english soul in the days ahead.

As the United Kingdom seeks some form of post-referendum unity, that unity is thwarted by a press that only thrives by sowing the seeds of disunity - the english us vs them argument. 

The road ahead is now peppered with a strongly resurgent Scottish desire for independence, an Irish nation, both north and south of the border, beginning to embrace the idea of a United Ireland and a rise in Wales for the idea of Independence.

The purists of england will not be able to control the forces they have unleashed, not that I think they want to control such forces; these are the forces of sovereignty and an idea that is Europe.

This is ultimately a journey toward an independent england and the glory of the cross of St George; that is the St George of Greek descent, a soldier in the Roman Empire and venerated by Christians and Muslims alike in the Middle East; a true englishman!

I certainly don’t expect the 1st of February 2020 to rain havoc upon the United Kingdom; the seduction and realities of brexit will take much longer. As this constitutional chaos takes shape, we should think about that metaphorical bong of destiny; it signals not a departure, but the beginning of a return.

(This Podcast/Script is for the CreatingRipples Podcast™ - Letter from Brexitland I: The Bong of Destiny! You can listen to Frank's Podcast here)