As the UK prepares to leave the EU, Professor Simon Usherwood fears that all this has not been thought through enough.


First published in January 2020.


If I’m being honest, I haven’t got a lot more to say on the matter of the moment of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

You can read some thoughts on the PSA’s blog, The Conversation, the Times Higher Education site and listen to a half-hour of mutterings on A Diet of Brussels. And Farming Today, oddly.

And there’s more on my Twitter feed, including a thread on why nothing has changed, and a graphic on what is changing [sic].

The short version? Tomorrow matters, because it definitively moves things on.

For many on my social media feeds that is a moment of great sadness, a sadness that I share mostly because I fear that all this has not been thought through enough.

The cakeism and the “…but we’re the fifth-largest economy in the world”-ism and the Bulldog Spirit, and all the other arguments advanced during the past years: all of these now have to meet the reality of life after the EU.

To be very clear, such views are not universal and there are plenty who do take a more measured view. And to be equally clear, the starry-eyed views of some Remainers are just as unrealistic.

But the seductions of bright tomorrows and sun-lit uplands are powerful.

Just as a marriage is not about the wedding, so Brexit will not be about the day of leaving. Both require constant attention, engagement and work: sometimes that’s easy, sometimes it’s not. But it’s always there.

“Just as a marriage is not about the wedding, so Brexit will not be about the day of leaving.”

So as we move on, we have to keep reminding ourselves that we still have the power to shape our lives and our futures. And in the case of Brexit, that is especially the case.

For all of us, now is precisely the time to start looking forward and working to form what is to come.

And if you don’t, then someone else will do it for you.

The joy of democracy is exactly that opportunity to have a voice and a vote, to trade in ideas and to work for a common good, collectively defined.

So turn your disillusion into action, into participation, and maybe we can start to make the most of our situation, together.🔷



Share this article now:





[This piece was originally published on the blog of the Department of Politics at the University of Surrey and re-published in PMP Magazine on 30 January 2020, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Dreamstime/Andrea Simon.)