Independent: It’s Offensive To Call Brexit An ‘Independence Day’

In an article that is apparently not a parody, Yasmin Ahmed writes for the Independent:

After the EU referendum results, Nigel Farage proudly proclaimed that the 23rd of June should go down as Britain’s “Independence Day”. Many who supported Leave repeated this statement in an act of patriotism. However, using the the rhetoric of “Independence Day” is deeply insensitive. Traditionally, an “Independence Day” marks the end of colonialism and ownership. It’s completely inaccurate to equate Brexit with the liberation of ex-colonies from imperial powers.

A sizeable section of the British electorate – and particularly the English – voted for a return to the days when the British Empire was a global power when they put a cross in the “Leave” box. Boris Johnson and other leave advocates even echoed some of Trump’s rhetoric by stating, “Let’s make Britain great again.” It was an explicit harking back to “greater” days with less immigration and more colonial control.

Straight after his claim that Independence Day had come for Britain, Farage now-infamously stated: “We’ll have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired.” Not only was this ridiculous since a British MP had been gunned down only days before, but it was ridiculous in its implication that Britain had fought a war against a power they’d liberated themselves from.

Calling for a British Independence Day is wounding to all the nations that revolted and fought hard against British colonial rule. Before we associate our EU membership with colonisation, we should think long and hard about what a country celebrating their independence really means. The EU didn’t invade Britain, enslave the British people, take away the country’s resources and destroy established societies, traditions and culture. Britain voluntarily joined the EEC in 1973.

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