Living the European Values

Brexit has happened.

It’s delightful to see this leaves most of us undeterred, and bursting with a determination to rejoin some day. For me ‘some day’ means 2030, for others it means tomorrow, and yet others believe it’s beyond the reach of their lifetime.

In the mean time, what do we do? More campaigns, slogans and marches? No. Not for me. Not this time.

It’s not enough, though, to simply demand we rejoin the European Union. We must prove that we are worthy of it, as a country, as a people. We must show a serious effort, once again, to live the European values which we have, as a country, rejected. We must be the change that we wish to see in others. Do something. Help somebody. Contribute. Collaborate. Show that our values can work for good.

We must be the change that we wish to see in others.

I chose the path of helping the homeless, because people at the bottom rung of life are there after the state has let them down, and Brexit will only compound the problem of homelessness. I can’t change the world, but I can give a hungry man a snack. Small things, big differences. That’s how it’s going to work for me now. I’m done marching and shouting and being ignored. I want to do things that are positive and physically meaningful. I want to be the change, not just demand the change in others.

A lot of small differences can be made. Don’t waste energy trying to change the world. But maybe change the world of one person, a friend, a stranger. If we all do that, the world will change itself.
Look at what you have and use that to make a change. Limited time, limited money, limited headspace. That’s OK. Use what you have and don’t try to use more than that. You cannot change the world but you can change how it affects you. Bite off a chunk of the world and deal with that little piece.

So what are the values which the UK has rejected? Let’s take a look.

European Values, yesterday and today

For me this is no longer about Brexit. It’s about how we see the world, how we think, how we treat others. I’ll go round the values clockwise, starting with Human Dignity.

Human Dignity is something you can give somebody by helping them with basics of life. A place to sleep, a meal, a toilet. It doesn’t take much searching to find a charity for that. Do it.

Democracy is something we have, but which needs to grow into something more representative. Proportional Representation is the preferred flavour for many. Don’t moan about it. Join an organisation that campaigns for it, if that’s your thing.

Collaboration can be achieved in all aspects of life, from work to family.

Progress is all about doing, not thinking. So, do.

Investment is a luxury for many, but you should lobby your MP to get investment where it’s needed most, rather than vanity projects or jobs for the boys.

Respect is essential and it costs nothing. Be polite. Learn when to walk away. Respect yourself too.

Rule of Law is the line which seperates us from anarchy, and gives us structure. We may not agree with all of the laws, but Law is the one thing we all share equally. Or at least, that’s the intent.

Equality means not just treating others as equals but also calling out behaviour that goes against this idea.

Sustainability means sensible decisions around economy and infrastructure. Lobby your MP and hold them to account for nonsensical or destructive policies such as, well, every single part of Brexit.

Renewal is for me something that means keeping life moving forward and finding new ways of living and new reasons for things. It means renewing yourself and becoming something better. It means living these values where you don’t feel you live them enough.

Compromise is a value that produces peace and unity. One must accept that compromise is essential. And the road to rejoining the EU will be paved with compromise, make no mistake about that.

Freedom and Peace are everything. Protect them and defend them in whatever ways you can. Be free and be peaceful in doing so. Both of these have been horribly threatened by Brexit, but it’s down to us, the people to keep all of these values alive.

Some people, yesterday

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