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Brexit is just nationalism
13 Dec, 2017

Evening Standard publishes a letter from Michael Romberg

On 12 December 2017, the Evening Standard published a letter from London4Europe Committee member Michael Romberg under the title "Brexit is just nationalism, not a positive step forward"

Whatever the steps are towards an EU trade deal, don’t lose sight of what’s really wrong with Brexit.

Brexit is nationalism; it means viewing ourselves as so essentially different from our neighbours that we cannot stay in the same community organisations. It means viewing with suspicion people who would be our friends just because they have a different nationality or speak a different language.

Ministers, Brexit supporters and Jeremy Corbyn all claim that their version of Brexit should be about openness to the world, a welcome to migrants, a close and co-operative relationship with the EU. But you do not show openness by shying away from your nearest neighbours. You do not reduce barriers by creating them.

Nationalism is unavoidable with Brexit. Corbyn wishes to combine it with socialism while Theresa May might want to combine it with deregulation and turning back the clock of social progress. Either way, the forces of nationalism look set to win out. 


 

The letter as submitted was rather long and had included three further paragraphs which were not published:

The EU was founded to help maintain peace in Europe. The Irish border is such an issue because it is where two nationalisms collide. It is the sort of problem that the EU was designed to help people get over.

President Mitterand towards the end of his life called for ever closer union in the EU with the reminder that "Nationalisme, c'est la guerre" (nationalism is war). That - and all the internal repression that nationalism brings - is what we risk by leaving the EU. In comparison the economy is trivial.

Now that it is clear what is at stake we the people should have the Final Say. MPs should support the amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that provides for a referendum on the terms.