“It is no longer enough to stay at home lamenting what is happening to our country, we must act.” This is the message conveyed by the organizing committee of the “National March For Rejoin” which is being held this Saturday, September 23 in London.
In October 2022, thousands of Britons took to the streets of the capital, brandishing banners reading “We want our star back”, to make their desire to return heard. within the European Union. “It will take time but we will keep fighting until we get results,” says Richard Wilson, vice-president of the European Movement in the United Kingdom and member of the organizing committee of the National Rejoin March. » (NRM).
On Saturday, early in the afternoon, participants in the National Rejoin March will gather at Park Lane, in the heart of London, and walk along the iconic Hyde Park. Many speakers will punctuate the event, notably European deputies such as the Belgian Guy Verhofstadt or the German Terry Reintke.
Seven years after the referendum which led to Brexit, pro-European activists have not lost hope. “It has become obvious to the majority of people that Brexit is a failure,” said the organizer of the event. He also points out that if a new referendum on membership were held today, “86% of people aged 18 to 25 would vote in favor of returning to the European Union”. This is what shows a survey carried out last May by the English television channel ITV called “ITV Youth Tracker” with a sample of 1,023 people.
A trend confirmed by Philippe Chassaigne, professor of contemporary history at the University of Bordeaux and specialist in British civilization, who points to the “real disenchantment” experienced by the British who voted for Brexit. “Indeed, Brexit was very bad for the country’s economy,” he adds.
While he is waiting to see how many Britons will take to the streets, Philippe Chassaigne assures that in the short term “the political impact of this march is zero”, recalling that “only the ballot is decisive”. The current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, was himself a supporter of Brexit, even if he is one of those who wishes to “maintain friendly ties” with Europe, unlike Boris Johnson at the time. As it stands, pro-Europeans therefore have no illusions. “With this government, it’s a lost cause!” deplores Richard Wilson, who with this demonstration says “target all parties and in particular Labor”, with a view to the next general elections which will be held by January 2025.
Pro-Europeans are betting on a victory for the Labor Party in the next election, in the hope that it will organize a new referendum. An outcome however “not very credible”, believes Philippe Chassaigne. The path towards such a vote would in fact be made “very complicated” by the strong roots of Eurosceptic currents in the United Kingdom and the reluctance of the European Union to backtrack.