My message to the UK ahead of the big Brexit moment at 11pm
PUBLISHED: 14:00 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:08 31 January 2020
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As MITCH BENN neither celebrates nor commiserates the big moment, he has a special message for Remainers, Brexiteers and our fellow Europeans.
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So how are you going to spend tonight?
I'll be working, I expect; such is the life of the jobbing comedian. This 'profession' is the graveyard of friendships and relationships; our job hours are everyone else's time off and vice versa. You never get to see anyone socially (mind you, I've always been so chronically inept in company that 25 years into my career, I'm starting to wonder if I didn't subconsciously choose this line of work specifically so I wouldn't ever have to see anyone socially).
In any event, I'm sure I'll find a way to distract myself from whatever hideous 'celebrations' the Brexiters are cooking up. And I don't care if this makes me bitter, or a sore loser (see my column of a few weeks ago for my thoughts on why being a sore loser can be a good thing), nor do I have any respect for the notion that such celebrations might serve to "bring the country together".
The Brexiters were never interested in "bringing the country together" even when it might still have served some purpose, and whooping it up over an event that they know at least half the country opposes (and which even they no longer pretend will benefit us in any way) serves only to extend a big middle finger to that half of the country. All of it, from the pathetic attempt to crowdfund repairs to Big Ben to Sajid Javid's crass commemorative 50 pence pieces is a calculated 'screw you' to at least 50% of the population.
(Oh and while I'm here; if we're still expected to believe that there are 17.4 million ardent supporters of Brexit in the country, how come they couldn't be found when the call went out to raise half a million pounds for the "Brexit Bongs", which would have required the princely contribution of three pence each?)
So I won't be celebrating or commiserating at 11pm on Friday, but it would be plain delusional not to at least acknowledge the event, so if you'll permit me, here are three messages:
To the Remainers...
You were right, and you're still right. Don't forget that. The general election result doesn't make Brexit a good idea any more than the 2016 vote did. We have a new task: to proclaim our values, of openness, honesty and 'tolerance' (although I've always hated that use of the word, suggesting that those who are different to you are a burden to be 'tolerated' rather than friends and equals to be embraced), and to hold these values - these European values - in stark contrast to the smallness, pettiness, inwardness and mendacity which currently blight our society.
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The Brexiters may be gloating themselves into a stupor at our current anguish and as such it'll be tempting to revel in their distress when the wheels come off their bandwagon, as they will in imminent due course. We must not do that. It will be our fellow citizens who suffer as a result of the Brexiters' lies, and we should look to help them get through the times ahead, even those who voted for it. But in the meantime...
To the Brexiters...
We'll be watching you. Not the Leave voters; not even the diehards who'd still - for whatever unfathomable reason - vote Leave today. I'm talking to the ringleaders, the cheerleaders, the self-serving lying politicians, the shifty money men, the lickspittle apologists in the media. We will be watching you. We will be reminding you of your false promises. We will quote your own words back at you. We will remember what you did, and what you said to bring us to this point. And when your scam, your grift, your vanity project starts to hurt the people we will hold you to account.
Enjoy your party on Friday night, lads. Fun's over as of Saturday. No more excuses. No more blaming everyone else. You wanted this, you made it happen and now you will own it. Every last stinking bit of it. You will own it.
To the Europeans - or, rather, to our fellow Europeans...
Don't give up on us. Most of us don't want this. At least half of us never wanted this. I'm sure it must be hard to credit, with your modern representative parliamentary systems, but in that last election, which gave Boris Johnson free rein to do whatever he wants, most of us voted against him. We are literally being torn away from you against our will...
Please don't judge us by our crooked politicians, our hateful newspapers or our racist shock-jocks and blogger-provocateurs. That's not us.
And should we find our way home again - and that long journey starts now - try to remember the good times and leave a door unlocked.
We'll be back.
Become a Supporter
Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter