It would be easy to despair today. When the clock strikes midnight here in Brussels on 31 January, the United Kingdom will be torn asunder from the European Union, British MEPs, like myself, and other UK staff working within European parliament will cease to represent our country here and, for the very first time, a member state will secede from this historic project of peace. Forty-seven years of partnership, of working with a common purpose of progress towards a joint goal of prosperity, will all seemingly come to an abrupt end.
Except that it won’t.
The fate of MEPs like me has been sealed by this deadline, but the script of what is to come is yet to be written. The fight for a better world doesn’t end with a referendum, a general election or ratification of the withdrawal agreement in the European parliament. Now more than ever, we must stick together and hold this government to account.
The shadow cast over us by Brexit and its decaying, decrepit purveyors – however dark and despicable – can be lifted. The limitless potential of eternal hope wielded by our young activists and generations to come promises a future – not of division but togetherness; not of hatred but solidarity; not of ecological breakdown but environmental repair and climate stability; not of selfish isolation but internationalist, common prosperity.
Eight months ago, I stood for election as a member of the European parliament on a platform of helping to create a fairer, thriving Europe at the forefront of human progress – and though Brexit may be a setback in this quest, it is far from over. The path towards equality and climate justice is arduous, but our collective passage to this end is assured by the dreams of our young that have fostered a new consensus and a flourishing political will to deliver transformative change.
Rampant inequality is entrenching poverty in our respective nations and that will not cease overnight. Emboldened bigotry is pitting our minorities and working people against one another, and that will not cease overnight. The impending climate catastrophe is posing an existential threat to civilisation itself, and that will not cease overnight. Though Brexit will not aid us in solving any of these critical crises, the UK can’t afford to lay low and recuperate. We must now redirect our energy towards ensuring blank-check Boris Johnson and his mob are not handed a free-pass to rewrite the rules of our country.
From 1 February, the EU and the UK must embark on new and separate paths. But our final destination must remain one and the same: a world of equality, justice and environmental responsibility. We may no longer be enacting laws and debating policy from beneath the same roof, but there is no overcoming humanity’s greatest obstacles without each other. There is no success for one without success for the other.
I’m grateful for my time in Brussels; I’ve learnt a lot, and I’ve given all I had to give. I send my colleagues there the very best wishes for what the future may hold, the people of Yorkshire my unqualified gratitude for their trust, and the European people the sincerest of love from the deepest depths of my heart.
Indeed, who can say for sure what really comes next? Minus the baseball cap and with a few more grey hairs, other Brits and I may be back in Brussels one day on the brighter side of a future of universality, salvation and security for all humanity.
Magid Magid is Green Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber
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