“Britain has not left Europe; it has just stepped into another room”

Tonight I’ll be spending time in my favourite local pub with democracy heads our broken-hearted Europhile landlord who has bought in a load of mainland European cheeses to share with the bar.

So, before that moment, here are some of the best links for the day that’s in it from both sides of that divide…

– Tim Garton Ash, in The Guardian, counsels us Remainers to get over it and try to make the best of what comes next..

In every sector, we ex-remainers are entitled to say “if you really want to bring the country together, show us you mean it”. If you care about the jobs of workers in the car industry, for example, you must keep close regulatory alignment with the European single market. For those of us who work in universities, the litmus tests will include continued access to European research funding, visas not just for academic superstars but also for lower-paid, younger staff, and low fees for EU students. And we must retain full British participation in the Erasmus scheme, which in recent years has accounted for half the British students studying abroad, as well as bringing more than 30,000 European students a year to this country. It’s not for nothing people say the future of Europe rests with “the Erasmus generation”.

– In The Times today, my old mate Iain Martin notes…

There has been enough hysteria already on both sides of the bitter divide since the referendum. Those of us who are pleased that Britain is leaving the integrationist EU, because we regard it as incompatible with the self-government that is the norm elsewhere in the world, must acknowledge that large numbers of our fellow citizens are disappointed and bored by the topic. If Britain is to be rebalanced and improved it cannot be done with 52 percent crowing and the rest stewing.

Most Brexiteers, bar the excitable minority wing who will display banners in London tonight, seem to be taking that more reflective view. As the financier, Crispin Odey put it, the sensible time to celebrate, if at all, is after we see what kind of deal Boris Johnson negotiates with the EU.

And this from another friend, Musa Okwonga…

My family and I don’t discuss the referendum result very much. Several of them, dissatisfied with the state of things in the country, voted to leave the EU. A few months later, one of them told me with sadness that many of her Polish friends had gone back to mainland Europe. They had done so not because of the uncertainty over their jobs that Brexit had created, but because they felt unwelcome. I gently told my relative that I was very worried Brexit was not the answer to the questions she was asking of modern Britain.

I told her gently because although I voted to remain, I am not, as a wealthy Brexiter barked in my direction recently, a remainer. It is not a tribal identity that I have taken up in response to the xenophobic rants of Nigel Farage – who, I am desperately assured, does not represent our country, but whose sentiments were alive and well in the mouths of those work colleagues. It is a political position I took because I think it is a glorious and beautiful right to get up and move to a place where you might find greater happiness or safety. I took it because my suspicion, later confirmed by data, was that the leave vote was far too tainted by a hostility towards people of colour.

Louis de Be writing in the Irish Times…

People are talking about a “new relationship” between the UK and Europe. If you think that a relationship is all about trade agreements and extradition treaties, then clearly something “new” must be come up with. But the EU is not Europe. Let’s not be confused. Our relationship will be as it always has been, more than 2,000 years old, an oscillation between the polarities of love and hate, respect and disrespect, admiration and contempt, co-operation and churlishness, fascination and disregard, depending upon what providence throws in our path.

No family is constituted and determined by written agreement. The Germans and the French, the Portuguese and the Spanish, the Scottish and Irish, we’re a family whether we’re in the EU or not. Rearranging the fences between our houses does nothing to alter the fact that we are, and always have been, in the same village.

More soberly in The Atlantic Magazine, Tom McTeague writes

Brexit raises questions far greater than the debates over the rights and wrongs of the referendum decision and Johnson’s subsequent prosecution of it. Brexit is a real-life proxy for some of the most fundamental questions facing all nation-states today: How to remain prosperous and sovereign in a globalized economy; how to maintain the corrective power of national democracy within supranational institutions; and ultimately, how ordinary citizens can retain control over their lives and livelihoods in a world in which more and more areas of life are deemed beyond national political control, whether in regard to trade and tariffs (should Britain embrace free trade, protectionism, or a mix of both?), or immigration and national citizenship (who and how many people should be allowed into a country and when should they receive the same rights as the citizens already there?).

Gaby Hinsliff on the emotional roller coaster ride of being a remainer and what comes next…

Remainers are often not that comfortable talking about our identities as Europeans, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have them or feel them intensely at times like this. And when I think about what it means to me to be European, as well as profoundly English, I inevitably end up not with the EU flag or the day-to-day business of the Brussels institutions (touching as it was of Ursula von der Leyen to quote George Eliot on love as we were leaving), but a gut sense acquired in childhood that foreign isn’t frightening, and lives opened up to the world will be more exciting than ones shut away from it.

People who backed remain made and lost their case on more practical, hard-boiled economic arguments, steering clear of this muddier emotional territory. But as Britain reaches tonight’s point of no return from Brexit, it’s the deeper gut feelings that are bubbling up. The battle to stay in the EU was finally lost in December, but the debate about how we can stay European – how to keep the door open, preserve the social and cultural ties that bind, prevent Britain becoming a crabby and shrivelled country alienated from its own continent – needs blowing wide open.

Martin Wolf nods stoically towards the need to embrace the new reality facing the UK, and the EU…

The UK is also likely to find it hard to exercise much independent influence upon a world entering an era of great power rivalry. Next to the US, China or the future EU, it is an economic minnow, albeit a large one. In such a world, reliance on multilateral institutions is likely to prove futile. Again and again, Britain will face choices over which side to choose in struggles, perhaps over technology or standards, that are occurring far over its head. All this will be very uncomfortable. Not least, the UK will frequently find itself a supplicant in relations with powers greater than itself. It will have to be nimble and humble. That may work. But the control it is allegedly taking will be illusory.

And finally, although I am far more inclined towards Wolf’s pessimism, last word to this bushy tailed pro-Brexit view in this week’s Spectator editorial on immigration…

The PM has made a good start by dropping David Cameron’s failed net migration target. That, too, showed the inadequacy of centralised planning. Whatever the details, there should be a clear message from Britain: that while we will be able to control migration from within the EU, we will be more liberal towards skilled and entrepreneurial people from all around the world. And that Brexit means doing globalisation better — in a way that carries greater public consent.

Finally, tonight our heartsore local Landlord will be taking down the union flag he has loyally flown for years pledging to fly any EU flag until his country comes around to seeing sense… He’s not holding his breath.

And playing you out is our Brexit playlist from that fateful day four years ago this June…

Brexit sailing apart – bon voyage” by “Brexit sailing apart – bon voyage” is licensed under “Brexit sailing apart – bon voyage