Why Saturday’s protest needs to be a display of unity for all our sakes
This is a march for unity – the unity of our European part of the world, the unity of the United Kingdom with all its friends and neighbours in the European Union, the unity of the United Kingdom itself within the European Union.
Unity is a great good: it is strength, partnership, co-operation, mutuality, friendship and amity. Unity is progress, advancement and the making of a shared future. Its opposite is division and difference, the things that too easily make for distance and discord.
So we march for unity!
Theresa May is going to trigger Article 50 on March 29. Make no mistake: the act of triggering is an irrelevance. The fight against Brexit will continue, and will continue to grow and strengthen. The right-wing coup to take the UK out of the EU has long since begun the corrosive damage to the UK economy and the once-admired tolerance and inclusion of our society; there will be wasted years as a result of this folly; but we who want the UK to be a full part of our European family of nations will never let the Brexiteers win. In the short term or the long term we will be in the EU.
So we march for the EU!
May is going to trigger Article 50 on March 29 – just because she said she would. Not because she knows how to Brexit, or what it would involve, or how much damage it would do, or how long it would take – indeed not even why she is doing it other than that the right wing of her party and UKIP want to do it because they want a low-tax deregulated offshore economy.
In such an economy there are no resources for an NHS, a good state education system, a welfare net, and protections for the environment. The Brexiteers do not want to pay taxes for these things, because they do not need them. They do not need the NHS because they have private health insurance, they do not need a good state education system because they send their children to private schools, they will never need welfare because they are too rich, and they do not care about clean air and beaches and rivers, because they take their holidays in the Maldives.
So we march to save our NHS, education system, welfare safety net, environment!
May is touring the country in advance of triggering Article 50 to try to persuade the people who do not want Brexit to accept it. Everywhere she goes, demonstrate against her. Tell her we will never accept it.
Everywhere she goes, ask her this: ‘Before the EU referendum you campaigned to stay in the EU and gave good reasons for doing so. Were you being dishonest then? Or are you being dishonest now?’ Did she change her mind 180 degrees, did she completely reverse her view, just so that she could be Prime Minister? Is Number 10 worth being a liar and turncoat, a traitor to a cause, a betrayer of your country? Contemptible.
So we march to oppose the Brexiteers’ lies and dishonesty!
One could ask the same question of Johnson, another turncoat and maker of false promises. Every living former Prime Minister of our country is emphatically in favour of continued EU membership.
Are May and Johnson and the failed and sacked former ministers now so obviously all at sea, Fox and Davis, better informed, cleverer and more experienced than all our living former Prime Ministers combined? It would seem that they think so.
So we march for truth and common sense, for facts, clear thinking, experience and good judgment as what governs our country!
The march Saturday is a march towards the future – the future of the UK in the EU. It is a march to stop Brexit. There is no Hard Brexit and Soft Brexit and this Brexit and that Brexit – there is just Brexit, a wrecking Brexit, an extremely bad idea, and one that we would never have been called upon to fight if there had not been a constitutionally improper referendum and a politically illegitimate hijacking of the process by the political far right. We are living under a coup and must resist.
So we march to resist the coup, to reclaim our country, to fight for unity, to keep the UK in the EU, to build a future for ourselves that is British and European and premised on tolerance, inclusion, and unity. We march for unity!
And we will keep marching, in our hearts and with our feet, for the UK’s future in the EU.
AC Grayling, Master, New College of the Humanities