The ongoing discussion on #Brexit is troubling for a nation not completely at ease with itself. Always a nation ‘of Europe’ at most, but not ‘in Europe’, because British-European links were mostly made in economic terms alone.

Here is the course of UK-EU relations since Thatcher’s neoliberal push, then through Major’s Maastricht negotiations, followed by Blair and Brown’s battle with the adoption of the Euro. Then there's Cameron and Osbourne’s non-pragmatic pragmatism and a Remain campaign centred on a powerpoint of economics that most Brits decided to click ‘next’ on.

How European are we?

Though only 15 percent of Brits in one 2014 poll could call themselves ‘European’, at least 51 percent said that the UK should remain in the EU, for economic reasons alone.

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So when the ex-leader of UKIP told an American conservative conference that “our real friends in the world speak English”, Farage forgot that the UK had really never bothered to make friends with our nearest neighbours. Not forgetting that the man himself had routinely failed to turn up to his job at the European Parliament, for which he earns 100,000 euros each year.

#Britain’s biggest gift had arguably been neoliberal capitalism, as well as advocating EU expansion to the Eastern states. Now, migration and money are Europe’s illness-of-sorts, but igniting revolutions in Greece, inspiring social policies in Scandinavia, and fuelling the rebirth of Britain’s Labour party.

This is the contradiction of Farage and his friends, because Britain’s arguments against the EU on the issues of migration and economics, are Britain’s very-own additions to the European project.

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The missing nuance to all Brussels-bashing across the continent is that the EU is a project and thus a product of its member states. If national governments were composed of socialist, people-first policies then the EU would slowly cease to be the ‘neoliberal capitalist’ giant imposing itself on poor Portugal and other indebted member states.

A long-term anti-European discourse

Perhaps this is something that Britain, as a reluctant member, has come to misunderstand. No doubt, in part, to the Europhobic headlines of tabloid media either financed by right-leaning politics or dominated by the editorial desires of foreign owners.

For ‘the establishment’ find it far easier to blame ‘the other’, when it comes to socio-economic troubles. Not the metropolitan M&S-sandwich elite, but the fake ‘everyday men’ of Farage, Fox, Davis, and Johnson; a club of middle-aged white men who were born into wealth, gifted elite education, swim in privilege and sip pints at taxpayer’s expense whilst pointing their fingers at your middle-class neighbours.

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Yes, in the height of the referendum campaign, Boris Johnson sang the EU’s official anthem (Ode to Joy) in German, the BBC reported Yet, thanks to fall of students taking German studies under this Tory government, many Brits will never be able to do the same.

The decline of foreign language teaching in British classrooms, and the absence of European news and entertainment on our TV screens, stand-out as social and cultural indicators of an unnecessarily ‘island nation.'

The future for the UK and EU

So when Boris shouts that by leaving the EU, “we are not leaving Europe.” Brexit’s biggest supporters forget that Britain has hardly bothered with “Europe” in the first place. This position only ignores what it doesn't want to hear - that after four decades of integration, the fate of ‘Europe’ lies in the EU and the ‘EU’ in its member states. Brexit-Britain most come to terms with the fact that you cannot pick-apart one from the other

Not that this is the UK’s fault alone, but an unintended consequence of a European balancing-act between economic and social integration. The latter being far easier for societies sharing a land border, even in the digital age.

On the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, social understanding and integration have been practiced by English speaking communities. This must be a shock for Nigel.

People are beginning to speak up

The referendum result-map picked-out Scotland, as well as Northern Ireland, as societies that exist geographically and socially separately from England and Wales. Scots certainly enthuse that their movement for independence was not solely about nationalist identity, but was born from the desire for a more participatory, community-based, politics.

In Scotland as well as Catalonia, the EU appeals because it is understood that governments in London and Madrid, not the politics of Brussels, are stopping these societies from the self-determination they desire.

Similar thoughts at the ballot box for Britain’s 2017 snap-election, saw that Labour’s politics ‘for the many, not the few’ would stop Britain’s big-red-Brexit-bus from journeying to the cliff-edge of Dover for the sake of Tory-UKIP glory, and a 'car crash Brexit' that would leave only the Boris Johnsons of our nation intact. #European Union