Last Friday was an awful day. Disappointment and devastation sums it up pretty well. This is not a complaint about the result, nor a whinge at the electorate, nor is it a finger-pointing session. The deconstruction and analysis of the campaign and the result can wait until we’ve dealt with the immediate fallout. Emotions are high and hope is low. We have to work with the hand we’ve been dealt.
The Wales Young Greens did campaign for a remain vote, but to stay in a Europe that can and will be reformed. This doesn’t go away – the fight is still on to democratize and make Europe greener. We will be, upon leaving the European Union in around two years time, surrounded by the EU possibly from all sides, and with a land border (or two, depending on what happens in Scotland), it’s in our interest to push for democratic reforms in the EU, even if we won’t directly benefit from them. We must and we will stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with our friends across the Channel and the Irish Sea to bring about what we were campaigning for – a people’s Europe.
This vote to leave has sent shock waves across the world both politically and economically. We are likely to face rising food and fuel prices, and times will be hard for the foreseeable future. Those who are taking us out will try and shift the pain on the poor and the young to cushion themselves. This can not and will not happen. We will fight tooth and nail to make sure that the many benefits that Wales receives as members of the EU will be replaced or enhanced, and that the leave campaign’s promises of further investment in public services will be met.
We will fight to make sure that environmental legislation is not rolled back. These laws and protections were hard fought for thanks to the cooperation of our friends and colleagues in the EU institutions, in order to help protect the environment from governments that were hell-bent on causing untold damage for short term profit – and to get countries that were not doing much to protect the environment and our natural resources to do their part. We must not, and will not become “the dirty man of Europe” once again. Those days are behind us.
There is also now a real possibility that the UK could break apart – with the Scottish First Minister now calling for a second independence referendum, Spain now pushing for joint rule in Gibraltar, and leading republican politicians demanding a vote for the unification of Ireland – and could lead to years, maybe even a decade of constitutional uncertainty. Tough times are ahead.
However, it has been amazing how people have been able to put their differences aside to campaign in this referendum – at an Assembly or Westminster election you wouldn’t see Green, Lib Dem, Plaid Cymru and Labour members at the same table, campaigning for a common goal (even if we had our differences about implementation).
We say it is time to work together, to put aside our differences and to unite to weather this storm, and even though the result is not what we wanted, we can campaign for a country to be proud of, that respects, understands and engages all of its citizens; and that protects its environment and its natural resources.
To quote Kodos from the Simpsons – “We must go forward, not backward; upward, not downward and ever twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!”
Yr eiddoch yn gywir,
Le saluda atentamente,
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Mise le meas,
Med venlig hilsen,
Met vriendelijke groet,
Tuus ex animo,
Mat frëndleche Gréiss,
Gwyrddion Ifanc Cymru – Wales Young Greens