June QOTM: Victory of the Yes Vote in the EU Referendum

By Chris Powers – YEM UK International Officer

What will happen following the victory of the Yes vote in the EU referendum?

It is without doubt that the UK will vote to remain in the EU, and this is obviously good news for us in so far as we are not slicing off our nose to spite our face. But though we may be with nose, things will smell far from rosy, and we have a concerted struggle to push through here.

Firstly, a victory for YES will not ‘end’ the question. Euroscepticism is rooted in nationalism and instinctive emotional responses. It’s rooted in conspiracy and maybes, with no facts to support a future separated from our closest friends and neighbours. This country has descended into potential Brexit because pro-Europeans weren’t vigilant, instead taking our membership for granted. This must not happen again and a victory in the referendum will only be the end of the first of many battles.

The UK voting YES does not mean it is a pro-European country. If anything, it will most likely be as gloomy as the Scotland that voted ‘better together’. They didn’t vote no because they believed there were better ways of creating peace and prosperity for all than breaking from an oppressive Westminster, they did so because they’d been made afraid of losing the pound, and other such scaremongering. I hope the YES for Europe campaign will play on hopes and dreams rather than fears and nightmares, but the former requires thinking while the latter is obvious. Either way, to get a UK committed to the European project (for the benefit of all), we will need at some point to broach these positive arguments, educating people so that they are aware that it is through pushing for a full democratic union of Europe that we will secure the best possible future.

In short, there could be alternative visions for Britain’s future post referendum but I hope it will be one where us pro-Europeans (from now) are proactive as standard bearers for European integration. There is a long way to go.

By Chris Powers (International Officer of YEM UK)