My visit to Parliament Square on Brexit day shows there’s work still to be done

Pro-Brexit supporters in Parliament Square as the UK leaves the European Union. Photograph: Jonathan

Pro-Brexit supporters in Parliament Square as the UK leaves the European Union. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA. - Credit: PA

A Remainer explains what happened when he visited Parliament Square as Brexiteers celebrated on January 31st.

I couldn't resist going to the pro-Brexit celebrations in Parliament Square.

At the St Stephens Tavern I was engaged by Steve and his two mates from Sunderland. I find it difficult to understand how they will benefit from Brexit. They were drinking cans of beer (not from the pub) and certainly inebriated, but their dedication was admirable. They'd travelled from the north east just for the party and would be in no fit state to remember anything past 4pm.

I walked over the green and saw many similar groups. The atmosphere was aggressive rather than forward-looking and optimistic.

I saw the banners reading "No peerage for Bercow" and "Hang the Traitors" and realised that I needed to make a sharp exit. In contrast to my heavy heart on the morning of January 31, I realised my reason for being had not finished… there is work to be done.


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Tony Howarth, London SW3

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And so the hour passed. Awaiting, perhaps, the furious thunder and crack of fireworks not seen since the millennium, I wanted none of it and decided on a double Spanish brandy to chase my French lager.

But I heard nothing, saw nothing. Two fireworks went off but it might have been some far-away drug dealers. Who knows?

Maybe they went hysterical in Sunderland and Lincoln and Boston and drank Wetherspoons dry. But here in Leeds, you could have been living on a farm - and this is a fair-sized city! Nothing to report. The parrot is dead. Perhaps.

Franklin Ryan

I was greeted on the morning of Brexit Day by a display of Union Jack flags carefully arranged vertically around a pole proudly positioned outside my elderly neighbour's house. We have a very good, mutually respectful neighbourly relationship and I would never jeopardise that.

He has made his negative views on Europe very clear. But this is my flag too. I am proudly British, although my pride is a little bruised right now.

Since when did those supporting Brexit claim the Union Jack as theirs? It is gradually becoming a negative symbol of associations very much like the flag of St George.

It leaves me with a strong resolve to gently, respectfully and rightly ensure that our Union Jack is brought back into the fold of everyone who considered themselves British and for many, many, many people, European too.

Diana Rae, Wiltshire

Before this nightmare began in 2016 I had always kept up with politics, but I could never say that I was ever actively involved. For example, I had never been on a political march or demonstration; I naturally knew who my MP was but I had never written to him, likewise I had never written to the newspapers bar a handful of pithy aphorisms to just one paper. I cannot recall ever signing a petition. I was not on social media. I had never contributed to what you could refer to as a cause. Finally my house was totally bereft of any political ephemera including flags, be they political or national.

Since the referendum all of the above have now been embraced on a nearly all-consuming basis. I cannot even guess at how many hours have gone in to the fight to stop Brexit. If I were to decide that this is the end then, without doubt, I would require a new challenge to fill up my time and concentrate my mind; but, as this is only the end of the beginning I shall resume, after a few days off, the campaign to rejoin the EU.

I am fully confident that shortly we shall hear judicious advice from various quarters - including The New European - as to the next course of action.

Pas de capitulation.

Robert Boston, Kingshill

- The fight may have changed but the cause remains. Buy The New European every Thursday to read the full mailbag of letters. To have your say email letters@theneweuropean and join our readers' group for more debate.

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