Come back, Mother Britannia! 

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Seeing Brexit crumble towards a single market fudge with no UK say, daughter Europa pleads to reunite her mother with her father Franz-Emmanuel, not the ideal home-maker.

Christophe Leclercq, a Frenchman who founded EURACTIV, writes with his British wife Sharon Spooner, after attending the massive People Vote demonstration, and before Armistice Day. They have three bilingual children and will not divorce over Brexit.

(In April 2016, before the Brexit referendum, the same co-authors wrote a similar ‘fiction’, predicting 52% for Leave, senior roles for T. May and E. Macron, 2018 negotiations leading to regrets and a second referendum…with Angela Merkel as EU president.)

Dear mum,

It was great to see you at the massive family gathering in London on Saturday, October 20.  Nobody got drunk, and old quarrels were left behind, as the next generation led the way.

Hurt feelings can be healed

We miss you here. All of us. Not only dad Franz-Emmanuel. Also your peers.  Auntie Angela and Polish relative Donald said we all belong to the same family, whatever you decide

We understand what happened to you, Mum. Frustrations mounting. Problems making ends meet. Dad conflicted by his mixed origins, sometimes dithering, not always listening or working the way he should. And your own illnesses, worsening with age: cancer spreading from your right hand, splitting pain on your left side.

Plus your fading memory, troubled by negative rumours: you should read proper journalism, not just these tabloids and ‘social’ media.

All this culminated in a late mid-life crisis: a series of lurid affairs after your 40 years together.  This Nigel, with bar tabs paid by fat cats, was not worth more than one election night. As for your infatuation with Boris, what a cad acting as your ambassador!

Given the hangover, it was a good idea to get caretaker Theresa to clean up the mess. But it won’t solve your problems.

You remember bedtime stories about the mother of all parliaments? You taught me the value of fact-based debate rather than slamming doors.  The beauty of decency and respect.  Now it’s for me, your dear Europa, to remind Britannia about her own principles.

Then there is the money

I saw the proposed separation deal: it’s terrible. Basically, you forgo your say on the family estate but pay for maintenance – during two years, perhaps forever. Initially, you will get some of the produce.

But if you do divorce in the end, it will be a right mess, splitting the family estate and creating endless friction and red tape – especially around rights of way to green pastures. Good luck with cousin Nicola squirrelling away the thistle meadow, and Uncle Sam’s takeover bid.

You are on the family council in control of the biggest estate in the world. We love you. Think again! That flat in the run down freehouse in the outskirts is not up to your standards.

At a family council recently, you felt snubbed. Sorry. Next time, don’t try to set the menu if you won’t attend the meal. They miss the constructive pragmatism, which used to be your hallmark.

I know what you might say ‘my daughter Europa over-spent her student allowance, and had too many overseas friends camping on the grounds. Who is she to teach me lessons?’. But I’ve been a good girl lately. I am changing my priorities, managing my budget and choosing my friends more carefully.

I saw you the other day, on our street, out in the cold, freezing. Congratulations for not falling again for a warm trap. You were eyeing this large American gas-guzzler, so the driver invited you in for a vodka. You said no.  But why were you staying at the cross-road, all alone, instead of coming home?

Don’t worry about guilt and pride. You were misled, but are now ‘vaccinated’, so this will be forgiven. Dad is also not perfect. You will be admired for recognizing a mistake and acting upon this.  Some remote relatives are eschewing family values, you are different: come back to the fold, and help restore our joint standing.

Join the family celebration

Now, I have some news for you: I am pregnant!  Yeah! Plus Dad Franz-Emmanuel has a plan to fix the roof soon. Moreover, my cousins have ideas to prepare for the newborn [and a better life].  We will vote for which route to go with in May 2019.

Deep inside, I know you long for stability.  After all, you don’t love grand visions, but traditions. Both of you will have to take steps toward each other. It’s the first move that counts. Let’s have tea together at Grandma Elisabeth’s. I love her blue and yellow hat, she might wear it.

From Dad’s side, Auntie Angela could be there: she is retiring soon, so – in Christmas spirit – she could travel around and help patch family wounds.

Please come back, mum Britannia!




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