It is the 31st of January 2020 and I am sitting in a pub sipping my ‘non-alcoholic’ beer, it is dry January after all. It’s a German beer and this is irrelevant really. When I was seven and half years old, Great Britain joined the EU. Since then I have lived in France, in two different regions, attended a European School, went to University in Strasbourg France and count many friends in many different countries. We have a business that specialises in European freight and have watched and help companies grow with us. We have travelled all over Europe and enjoyed many holidays. Now, at the age of 54, it appears that all this may change, and I feel sad that my children won’t get these opportunities that I had growing up. It is a time to reflect on what has been probably an awkward club membership, with the Uk never really being fully committed to being part of a wider group. We are fiercely patriotic, independent and quite stubborn as a nation: and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It is what defines us and is one of our strengths.
Whilst our politicians decipher the finer points in our withdrawal agreement, it is time to wipe the slate clean, not bear grudges or animosity for our fellow citizens but try and understand how this has divided us and what is needed to repair the chasm that has appeared in our society and families.
Surely if the one lesson we can take from our membership is that united we stand and this we must now do as a nation. Maybe the new dawn will bring fresh ideas and create opportunities that had not arisen before; when you think outside the box, solutions can be found that otherwise would be lost if you were caught in the middle. Certainly, the EU has its issues and just perhaps this landmark decision is a pivotal moment that will restructure a new and better Europe, a Europe that our children will want to be part of again once more.
It is neither a moment of sadness or celebration in my opinion, it is a pause, a moment in history where we take a breath and understand the greater things around us: our planet is taking quite a battering at the moment and this should be our top priority. As citizens of the world, we need to look at a much bigger picture. We cannot withdraw into our shell and hope there will be a world left for us once we emerge. And this is the biggest challenge of all, in the continued thirst for commercialism and profit, we need to take a different approach and contribute on whatever scale we can.
This said tomorrow, dry January will come to an end and I have a nice bottle of fine Italian Prosecco to mark this occasion and this makes me extremely happy.