This ill-considered EU referendum has split the nation, colleagues, maybe friends, even families. Certainly I’ve watched dismayed as people I’ve known for years parroted horrific xenophobic rhetoric, simply because it came from a source that seemingly supported their cause “to Brexit”.
It has been a hateful, spiteful and deeply disturbing campaign. One that has clearly shown the guttersnipe level to which politics and the media have sunk in this country. I feel sure I’m not the only one looking forward to an end – any end – to it now.
Thankfully, tomorrow, we will be over the worst. I feel a close vote is inevitable, but am hoping that the pattern set in Scotland’s devolution vote will be repeated. That is, that we will see early belligerence giving way to wiser counsel and leading to our remaining in the EU.
If that’s the case then things need to change. It’s time for Britain to stop fannying-around at the back of the EU classroom, time to step-up and lead; we must play a major part in consolidating European unity, in proposing and forging a consensus on a new direction for the common good.
A big part of that has to be playing a humanitarian role not only in resolving the mass migration that Arab unrest has fomented but also – and equally pressing – the burden that government-imposed austerity measures are increasingly putting not only on nation-states such as Greece but, more pertinently, also on the working citizens of Europe.
For too long the European Union has bogged itself down in the minutiae of cucumber-girth and banana-bend; it’s time to reinvent it as a force in the World, a force that draws on the strengths of each member nation to protect, support and enrich its citizens – all of its citizens.