More than anything, Britain needs Remoaners

By Juuso Järviniemi

“Get over it, don’t you realise that you lost!?” “Remoaners trying to stop us from exercising the will of the British people!” It’s not easy to be a Remainer with an opinion in Brexit Britain. As Theresa May’s government is pulling Britain out of not only the European Union but, it seems, also the Single Market, alternatives to proposed policies can hardly be presented without outcry from the Brexiteer camp.

On June 23, Britain made the biggest decision it had faced in a generation. That was just the beginning of a process, however. Brexit is what Britain and, crucially, its fellow EU members make of it, which implies that different paths can be chosen. What the implications of the June referendum will be is going to be determined in the upcoming months, and that may prove to be nearly as significant as the outcome of the vote.

In this process, the voice of 48% of the people (and more, if non-voters aren’t excluded) must not be extinguished. As we make decisions that shape the lives of our young – mainly pro-EU – generation, we cannot exclude those with no Brexit credentials. Input from every Brit is valuable when it comes to defining the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The fact that Britain will be outside the EU stands unless monumental changes occur, but it would be foolish to claim that there are no unanswered questions. In a pluralist democracy that Britain aspires to be, everyone with a stake in the decision, in this case undoubtedly the entire population, needs to be invited to share their solutions.

Back in 1973, not everyone wanted Britain to join the EEC. Nevertheless, those opposing British membership of the community were allowed to present their views as to what ought to be done now that Britain is a member. Similarly, Remainers’ right to participate in decision-making related to this particular question shall not be revoked. The Remainer who demands Britain to allow freedom of movement is the Remain equivalent of the anti-EU politician who demanded the EU to refrain from building an EU army in the Parliament.

Albeit grudgingly, we took decades of bent banana stories that, by the way, proved to be false. It’s now time for Brexiteers to accept that the 48% can have an input, which, mind you, may even be of higher quality than Nigel’s contribution to the decision-making of the European Parliament.

Great transitions and unstable conditions have historically been ideal for those who wish to suppress dissenting views. But in post-referendum Britain, more than anything we need different visions to chart our options. Remainers can provide alternatives to the isolationist stance of the government. That is why, in our British democracy, we need Remoaners.