My Final Trip of 2021

View of the ferry terminal at Dover Eastern Docks, from above, where cross-Channel ferries bring travellers from Spain to Kent.
Dover Eastern Docks – photo by DeFacto; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

From Spain to Kent

This year of uncertainty is ending. I need to take stock of all I’ve learned in the last three months and look forward to 2022. Maybe it will be a year of hope and resurgence of fresh engagement between the UK and EU. It is also time for me to take my final trip of 2021, from Spain to Kent, to see my family there for the first time in two years. 

Putting the Reality of Brexit into Perspective

What are the real impacts of Brexit on the UK economy and society? How has it affected the lives of my three children and seven grandchildren in Kent and Surrey? I must take the personal risks and surmount the ever-changing Covid rules for a return to the UK to find out. 

Is there sufficient incentive to recognise that ongoing changes in European politics offer the chance to agree practical solutions to prevent neighbours drifting further apart?  

The Wisdom of Youth

Some months ago I posed a question to EU Super Girl, Madelena Kay. It was “Where do you see your future – illustrator, teacher, musician, politician or something else?” Her answer, that I paraphrase below, showed remarkable foresight and wisdom for somebody of her age. 

EU Super Girl, Madelena Kay standing in front of the Bollocks to Brexit bus, holding her guitar and waving the European flag.
Madelena Kay in front of the B2B bus

“My activism is much bigger than Brexit. I want to address the fundamental issue of euroscepticism and populism that resulted in Brexit and threatens member states across the EU.

I am very keen to work with pan-European campaigns to improve participation in European democracy to promote European values, history and culture, to improve education and understanding of the European Parliament. My work as an activist will not cease with Brexit.

I hope to continue to utilise my skills as an artist, musician, and writer. For me, creativity is a means of exploring, engaging, and communicating ideas and, if we have an imperfect world, there will be battles to fight.”

Madelena Kay

The Year of Uncertainty and Changing European Politics

Uncertainty results from lack of true facts and constant changing of government tactics. In the UK, frequent changes of ministers, erosion of public trust and credible suspicions of corruption and wrong doings are all potential triggers of an implosion. 

In the EU, how many of us predicted the massing of migrants on the Polish border? The need to understand better the reasons for migration will be the topic of a new research project: Migzen migration research project.

Did we expect the rise in populism and nationalism? There is now resistance to infringements of personal human rights to protect national rights, but how many of us switch off the news? Uncertainty and distrust cause apathy. Apathy breeds governments that are not a true representative of a nation’s population. 

Changes in the EU that Give Hope for 2022

The Presidency of the Council of the EU (not to be confused with the Council of Europe) passes from Slovenia to France on 1 January 2022 until 30 June 2022.

For the past four years, President Macron and the Government have been working to build a genuine European sovereignty, meaning Europe’s ability to exist in the world to defend our values and interests. The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union will continue this work for a more inclusive, sovereign and democratic Europe.

Macron shows prospects of taking on the mantle of de facto leader of the EU from Merkel. He acknowledges that he has well known political disagreements with Hungary’s Orbán. But France is willing to work with Hungary to avoid hurting European cohesion.

Austria has a new People Freedom Fundamental Rights (MFG) party that could have a voice in a new coalition. The Netherlands has also finally agreed a new coalition government for 2022. Following the results of elections, Germany has also just agreed to a coalition government (see forthcoming article by Chris Hammond).

Maybe there is hope that these political changes could result in a stronger cohesive Europe that counters populism and upholds the rights of all inhabitants. Sadly this no longer includes the UK which now has its own fights about human rights as Magdalena has explained in her article on Human Rights Day. 

The following links may also be of interest to readers: