Author: Magid Magid
I am honoured to have been elected as a Green party MEP. I can’t wait to get to work on behalf of all those who put their faith in me and in our movement’s vision of hope. We are truly building a common world, rooted in the aspirations of the young and set to deliver lasting change for all.
On a personal level, I feel humbled by and grateful for the immense support I have received. Ten years after Yorkshire and the Humber sent a member of the BNP to the European parliament , we’ve elected a black, Muslim refugee standing for the Green party. Now isn’t that something?
The election results from across Europe are bittersweet. Yes, they show that dark shadows of hatred continue to enshroud us – reminding us that xenophobia and hate are by no means a uniquely British problem. Yet we have also witnessed the mighty Green wave cascading through Europe and landing on our shores. We have seen the light of hope beaming not only on the distant horizon, but right here and now in front of us – where we comfortably beat the Tories in all parts of the country, with seven elected Green MEPs. Through this spirit of resistance, we are able to see clearly the path that will carry us to a kinder, fairer, more tolerant Britain and to a greener, more welcoming and more democratic Europe.
Television analysts and the political elite have been left perplexed. They have scrambled and toiled, attempting to downplay our movement’s success as due to little more than good fortune built on “protest votes” against Westminster’s lack of progressive leadership. Some have even scornfully claimed that the support and enthusiasm we have seen is temporary, and that it’s just a matter of time before it is undone.
They could not be more wrong. Millions of citizens from Sheffield to Stuttgart have grown weary of the same old politics of party colours and tribal allegiances. Europeans are craving an alternative vision that boldly quashes the far right, seeks to address the fragile economic and social conditions that are fertile grounds for the spread of fear and division, and is fit to deal with the most urgent issues of our time.
And to answer that plea for something different to the failing status quo, we will build a collective movement which wholeheartedly rejects rampant wealth inequality, xenophobic intolerance and climate-change denial. A collective movement that embraces internationalism, delivers immediate and radical climate action – and most importantly, isn’t afraid to proudly state – “Immigration makes us great”.
The European Union is a medium through which this movement can make real change. That is why we must not leave it or abandon it to those who would happily destroy it – but we should transform it into an entity that truly works for everyone, and that includes building consensus around a visionary pan-European Green New Deal.
So to Matteo Salvini, Viktor Orbán, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage and the like. I’ve got a message for you: you are the enemies of every European who ever swore “never again”, because your rhetoric and your deeds are a daily declaration of war on the hard-fought peace of Europe. Right now, you may be celebrating and looking forward to your champagne and truffles in Brussels, but I promise you that whether I’m in Europefor five weeks, five months or five years – you are going to fail in your attempts to drive us apart. You are going to lose.
This may be the end of one campaign, but it is the start of a much bigger one that will be waged on the European stage. It is a campaign for compassion, mutual understanding and human rights, and against hate in all its forms. It won’t be easy, and we will need your help.
Together, we can turn the tides of history.
• Magid Magid is a Green party MEP and former lord mayor of Sheffield
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