The sad show of Brexit

boris johnson 19.jpg

Mr Boris JOHNSON, UK Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth. Copyright: European Union

This article was written for The European Sting by one of our readers, Mr. Tommaso Merlo. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not necessarily The European Sting’s position on the issue.


Seen from the Continent, the Brexit show is really depressing. A show that with the entry of Boris Johnson is reaching an unprecedented pathos. England appears to be torn apart by a profound internal struggle.

As if the hatred poured out for years against Brussels was bouncing back to London. Seen from across the Channel, the political and legal tangle in Westminster seems like a twisted soap opera, while the citizens marching in the streets appear increasingly lost and frustrated.

They are in the midst of an infinite ford and are paying the price of certain political mirages. England looks split on its future. As if the country doesn’t know what it wants. For decades, England has swayed between the two sides of the Atlantic and towards Brussels has always had a diffident and often arrogant attitude.

Since the dawn of the European project, the United Kingdom has gone ahead with “special agreements” and with “one step forward and one step back”. As if Europe were an untidy club frequented by those continental bumpkins. Complexes of superiority that certain unscrupulous political climbers have been able to ride to the point of winning the dramatic referendum of 2016. Superiority complexes that exist only in the minds of those who believe them.

Seen from the outside, seen from the Continent, the Brexit show is another film. Like it or not, England is a country like everyone else. In some regards better, in others worse, in others who cares. That’s not the point. Europe is a newly opened construction site. The European Republic is still to be built.

Being against something that does not yet exist makes no sense. Instead, it makes a lot of sense to offer its own contribution so that the European project also reflects its own peculiarities. England is a unique country, but all members of the Union are. And everyone is equally proud of their uniqueness.

The European project does not want to take anything away from its members, it wants to give, it wants to add. The continental political union is an epochal step forward and this is demonstrated by the European history of which England has always been a part. Centuries of wars and tragedies before realizing that together we are all freer, richer and safer.

Unity and sharing are synonymous with evolution and progress. But humanity has spent an infinite amount of time to understand it, and even today many people miss the point. Brexit is one of those hysterical reactions that people sometimes have for fear of change, for fear of embracing the future. Fear is the key word of Brexit.

The fearful are those who would like to stop history by enclosing themselves within borders that are above all mental. The braves are those who accept the challenges of modernity and look ahead with confidence.

The weak close themselves in the house. The strong come out and get busy. Seen from the continent side, the Brexit spectacle appears as a gigantic paradox. Brexit is the most obvious demonstration that England is and will always be part of Europe. This is because today England is victim of the same identical sovranist wind that blows across the continent.

The same identical neo-nationalist wind that speculates on the fears triggered by globalization and modernity, a gray wind ridden by rough men who hardly digest parliamentary delays and who sell old isolationist and authoritarian recipes as if they were winning novelties.

A threatening and shortsighted wind that blows across Europe at the same time, as has often happened in our history. A wind that the peoples of Europe can and must stop once again, fighting all together.

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