Well, it finally happened!
New era for divided Britain as it leaves EU
London (AFP) – Britain on Friday ended almost half a century of European Union membership, making a historic exit after years of bitter arguments to chart its own uncertain path in the world.
There were celebrations and tears across the country as the EU’s often reluctant member became the first to leave an organisation set up to forge unity among nations after the horrors of World War II.
Thousands of people waving Union Jack flags packed London’s Parliament Square to mark the moment of Brexit at 11 pm (2300 GMT) — midnight in Brussels.
“We did it!” declared Nigel Farage, the former member of the European Parliament who has campaigned for Brexit for years, before the crowd began singing the national anthem.
But Britons remain as divided as they were nearly four years ago, when 52 percent voted to leave and 48 percent voted to remain in the EU.
“Rise and shine… It’s a glorious new Britain” said the Brexit-supporting Daily Express. The i, in contrast, headlined: “What next?”
In Scotland, where a majority voted to stay in 2016, Brexit has revived calls for independence and there were protests Friday outside parliament.
And in a sign of potential constitutional trouble ahead First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Scotland will return to the heart of Europe as an independent country — #LeaveALightOnForScotland.”
In Northern Ireland, where there are fears Brexit could destabilise a hard-won peace after decades of conflict over British rule, a billboard read: “This island rejects Brexit.”
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney tweeted: “Goodbye & good luck.”
– ‘Glad it’s over’ –
Johnson, who remains a polarising figure accused of glossing over the complexity of leaving the EU, has avoided any big official celebrations that might exacerbate divisions.
“What happens now marks the point of no return. Once we have left, we are never, ever going back,” Farage told the crowd of cheering supporters.
At a “Big Brexit Bash” in Morley, northern England, Raymond Stott described the four years since the referendum as “a right cock-up”.
“I am just glad it’s all over. We will look after ourselves. We don’t need Europe,” said the 66-year-old.
But for many pro-Europeans, Friday marks a day they hoped would never come.
“Today is a day of mourning,” said Katrina Graham, 31, an Irish women’s rights activist who lives in Brussels, at a protest in central London.
If I had to choose between staying in the EU and leaving it only to have the UK itself fall apart, I’d choose to remain in the EU.
Only an idiot (or an English hypernationalist, which might be one and the same) can expect the Scots to take this insult to them lying down. The problem with nationalism is that it can apply to Scots as much as to the English.
Since both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, their defection from the UK will most likely cause the Union Jack to be retired, due to it representing a combination of the Scottish, English and Irish flags.
It will likely be replaced by something like a combination of the original English and Welsh flags.
A smaller version of the Welsh flag might appear in the upper left of the new UK flag (Wales is not even represented at all in the present Union Jack).
As for the United States, my contempt for the concept of “states’ rights”, which started the American Civil War, has only intensified, to the point that I no longer want to see states represented in the U S flag. Instead, I want only the Union to be shown as one brilliant sun. Like this:
Because a united, peaceful people, in either North America or Europe, is preferable to conflict resulting in chaos, death, destruction and tyranny over minorities.