What is needed now is clarity of vision and refusal to indulge in the kind of wishful thinking many Remainers indulged in for three years, Nyla Nox writes.

First published in January 2020.

Remainers have failed.

The consequence of our failure is Brexit. People will suffer. People may die.

EU citizens in the UK will be increasingly persecuted. Who knows how many will be deported eventually or be forced to self-deport, Windrush style. Democracy in the UK is in severe danger. I doubt it will survive Brexit.

However unfairly this election was won, the fact that it even happened is part of that failure. The fact that there was no Government of National Unity, and no second referendum about the realities of Brexit.

The terrible truth is that the vast majority of people with any kind of power in the UK did not fight Brexit. Not with the dedication and determination that would have been necessary to avert this disaster.

One of the reasons why I can see this so clearly was and is that I am an EU citizen in the UK. A citizen exercising her treaty rights. A citizen who now has to apply to have her rights reduced and be demoted to immigrant status, in exchange for temporary permission to stay in her own home. Humiliated and violated in my human rights by Brexit, an act that I had no vote in although it affects me more than most British people, it has sharpened my mind. I am much less susceptible to the kind of wishful thinking that I was subjected to until the very last moment from many of our British ‘friends’ who are quick to say that they are ‘different’ from those in power but very slow to defend us.

We were not even allowed to speak at any of the ‘People’s Vote’ demonstrations. Although we participated disproportionately in many protests, large and small, up and down the country, although we gave our all to help fight for the rights of our British friends, we were silenced and abandoned by them.

Over the last month, reflecting on our defeat, I have come to realise that this failure to defend EU citizens is symptomatic of the wider failure of the Remain movement. The moral case for Remain and the case for the deeper values of the EU project, creating peace in Europe and cooperation between deadly enemies who had been killing each other since records began (and quite probably before), was never made. Not on the levels of power, where it would have counted.

That moral case would have included defending the rights of EU citizens. Citizens, and citizens’ rights are at the core of the deeper values of peace and democracy. The fact that we were also abandoned by the EU institutions does not mean that the EU and its deeper values are not worth fighting for.

What I am trying to say is that one of the reasons we failed was because the Remain movement, such as it was, failed to make the moral case, and the case for peace, democracy and cooperation. Fighting for the rights of EU citizens could and would have made this case brilliantly. It would have demonstrated what EU stands for, and what Remain were fighting for. The Leavers knew this. That’s why they put vicious attacks against EU citizens at the core of their election propaganda, until the very last day before the election. It worked.

Our humiliating and dehumanising treatment has become accepted and therefore acceptable everywhere in the UK. The city of London is constantly congratulating itself on how supportive it is to EU citizens by providing administrative assistance to us to enter this dehumanising process. And there is not a shred of awareness that by doing so, the city of London enables and normalises a scandalous violation of human rights affecting almost 4 million people – almost 8 percent of the population of this country.

The Remain project failed, and it was doomed to fail the moment it did not defend EU citizens in the UK. That was the beginning. It could have been the beginning and the foundation of a great fight for all the right reasons, a brilliant illustration of the deep and positive values the EU itself should be fighting for.

Instead, Remain fell into step behind the Leavers. Remain, too, silenced and abandoned the very people who will now forever be the iconic story of Brexit and its horrors.

I failed.

I was defeated.

I was defeated from the moment I joined the fight, the day after the referendum, when I tried to use my limited access to media by writing a story about the dire future of the financial industry in post-Brexit UK. I was derided and ridiculed then. I was derided and ridiculed throughout the entire fight, both by Leavers and Remainers. Unfortunately, my predictions have already been proved right, down to the last detail.

Because if there is one thing we need now, it is clarity of vision, it is a refusal to indulge in the kind of wishful thinking that so many Remainers indulged in all throughout our fight, including the many mistakes that were made in the ill-fated election that precipitated this disaster.

Above all, what we need now is to face some very hard truths about ourselves.🔷

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[This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com on 9 January 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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