With Remembrance Day coming up this weekend I have been reflecting on the many brave soldiers who fought (and continue to fight) for our nation. It is a humbling and sobering exercise to think of so many men and women who were enduring untold atrocities in order to protect the peace and prosperity of our land. As we commemorate those who gave their lives during the two World Wars, perhaps we could reflect on what we have done with our freedom and how we have honoured those who paid the ultimate price.
With Brexit, I think there are real opportunities to be had in terms of reflecting, re-assessing and redefining our vision of Great Britain. We have a chance to be forward thinking, progressive, to pursue ‘new and independent course for the UK’ as Mark Livingstone of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) put it.
The current mood, as I understand it, is one of introspective glumness. So much so that to be anything but negative just isn’t fashionable. Particularly where Brexit is concerned. As Daniel Hannan admits in his article ‘Why You Should Be Optimistic about Brexit’ there have been mistakes made, and the process has not been a perfect one, yet he reminds us that when we have had forecasts of things going disastrously wrong in the past they have tended to turn out better than expected. Might Brexit follow the same pattern?
There will inevitably be hiccups along the way, and we all knew that it would be a bumpy ride, both Brexit and Remain voters alike. It’s just that those who voted to leave the EU felt it was a risk worth taking, because they believed it would ultimately lead to greater gain. We have to think of the benefits of Brexit not in terms of immediate gain but in terms of long term gain, which is admittedly difficult to do in an age that prizes instant gratification so highly.
Interestingly, a Lord Ashcroft poll that was conducted on the day of the referendum showed that 49% of Leave voters stated that their primary reason for voting such was “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK”. So, the main concern of the majority of voters related to sovereignty, not immigration, like is so often misquoted.
We are leaving the EU. The decision has been made. Democracy rules. That same democracy that so many gave their lives to defend. Lots of people who voted to remain in the EU have accepted that and yet there continues to be a number of fear mongering Eyeores in the media and other institutions who are trying to weigh us down with their negativity. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt, in an age when there is so much to be depressed about, to cheer up and start planning for the opportunities presented to us instead of bemoaning the doors that will inevitably close behind us.
Think of the millions who gave their lives for our tomorrow. Let’s use that freedom wisely and honour our fallen by creating a brighter future for Britain and not sticking our collective heads in the sand. As Sam said to Frodo, ‘There is some good in this world…and it’s worth fighting for.’ I am thankful for all who continue to serve in our armed forces; let’s create for them a Britain worth fighting for.