It’s hard to believe it’s over a year since I and a number of friends founded St Andrews Students for Britain. Together, believing that the success of our nation was being curtailed in being chained to Brussels. We were united in our belief that Britain should not be tied to a dying trade block, should have borders which did not discriminate against non-Europeans, and deserved the legislating power we had surrendered to Brussels to be returned to the mother of all parliaments at Westminster.
Campaigning in St Andrews was often demoralising. Retired academics and affluent students largely had never experienced an inability to enrol their children at the local primary school because of uncontrolled mass immigration, didn’t have to watch Dutch and Spanish trawlers fish six miles off our coast while they were forced from the industry and coastal economies collapsed, and while often virtue signalling on poverty in Africa, failed to acknowledge the damage being done there by subsidising European agriculture.
Our message of a fair and open Britain, free to engage with the world, did not seem to resonate well in St Andrews, however in many areas across the UK it was flourishing – and we all know how things played out from there. The people of our nation said no, no more would they be trampled upon by the Eurocrats, no more would Britain suffer the bondage of Brussels.
The four fully consenting members of our United Kingdom partook in an exercise of democracy, Lords and labourers, parliamentarians and postmen, levelled at the ballotbox, chose to take the UK in a new direction.
This Wednesday a Prime Minister, who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, will put her faith in our people, in democracy and in Britain as we begin the formal process of leaving the EU.
It really is that simple. Failing to commit to a Britain outside Europe is failure to believe in democracy, if you do not wish to leave you are an antidemocrat.
The time for division is no more, it is time to unite behind the will of the people and reaffirm dedication to democracy. I understand that some in the sectors of higher education, agriculture, and finance can be wary of our leaving. But you do not trump the will of the people, and I sincerely hope no tyranny ever befalls us where you do. It’s time to grin and get over it, to engage with the process and contribute to a Brexit settlement which works for you. But what does that mean in practice?
Many things, but, first and foremost it means I must ask the University of St Andrews and similar institutions everywhere therefore, to do more than respect democracy, but to take pride in it, for it is a simple and beautiful thing. A great start in this would be the flying of our national flag from St Salvator’s Chapel this Wednesday in recognition of the beginning of a new start for our nation and rejuvenation of democracy. So enough sneering, enough pessimism, enough disdain for the will of the people from inside the Bubble, and let’s instead signal our pride and patriotism at a new start for our nation.