What a night! Parliament Square was a sea of union jacks on Friday night, as thousands of democrats and patriots gathered to celebrate our departure from the EU (or ‘a few hundred’, according the BBC’s alternative reality). And the red-white-and-blue scene was replicated on a smaller scale at Brexit parties up and down the country.
But this was not just a British celebration. On the contrary: Brexit night was a truly international celebration. We have received letters of congratulation from Greece and Ireland, while Brits were not the only ones gathered on Parliament Square to celebrate the return of national sovereignty to the UK.
Retired Greek Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos wrote to our chairman to congratulate CIB on British independence after a 51 year fight (we were founded in 1969 in a bid to prevent our political elites dragging the UK into the then EEC in the first place). The Ambassador ad honorem noted that Brexit gives renewed hope to the Greek people, who have suffered so terribly under EU-enforced hyper-austerity:
“Today, February 1, the UK is again an independent country thanks also to the important role played by the CIB.
“I was also happy to have marginally contributed to this endeavour, sharing with you information on the destruction of my country by the erroneous policies of the EU. The majority of the people of Greece were also celebrating with you last night, since your departure from the EU shows to the other member states that leaving the EU is a feasible option.”
A Brexit celebration party was thrown in Dublin by Irish anti-EU campaigners. One of their number was Prof Anthony Coughlan, Emeritus Professor at Trinity College Dublin – a long-time friend of CIB whose updates for this website on the Irish reaction to Brexit provide valuable insight. Like CIB, Prof Coughlan has been fighting European integration since the 1960s. He wrote to us as follows:
“Truly we were all utterly delighted here to see the British people celebrate their legal departure from the EU on Friday night last, as we watched the various television programmes.
“My Irish fellow EU-opponents and I look forward to keeping in touch with you and other UK democrats in the coming period, for we have no doubt that the UK’s successes in running its society and economy free from the shackles of the anti-democratic EU will inspire people in Ireland and across the continent to follow suit, and will strengthen their resolve to emulate the UK’s Brexiteers and likewise take back control of their laws, borders and money from the EU.
“As I am sure you and your colleagues will agree, we are all part of what is in effect the international European-wide movement in defence of the nation state and national democracy.”
Even on Parliament Square itself, Brits were not the only ones celebrating. A large French contingent had made their way across la Manche (the English Channel) to join in the celebrations, armed with a giant tricolour and banners demanding ‘Frexit’. They were warmly received by the assembled crowd, with a constant stream of people welcoming them and wishing them all the best in their own fight for independence.
Nor was it an English-centric event, as an amusing incident witnessed by our chairman, Edward Spalton, showed. A man who appeared to be a journalist or opinion pollster was going round the crowd asking them for their thoughts on Brexit. Next to Edward stood a group of proud Scots who were waving a giant Scottish saltire and the red and yellow Lion Rampant of Scotland. The interviewer, mindlessly equating Scottish national pride with Europhilia, assumed they must be there to protest against Brexit. They soon put him right!
Contrary to what the Remainer elites would like you to believe, Brexit night proved that we do not need the EU to foster European solidarity. On the contrary, European democrats still under the EU’s yoke shared in our celebrations with genuine joy. Rather than dividing us, the fight for democracy and the nation state brings us together.