No, she’s can’t accept it. She won’t surrender to the idea of her country isolating itself from the rest of the EU. Thus, despite Brexit coming into full effect on 1 February, she is continuing her battle: “Europe is where we belong.” Anne Parry was born in Liverpool, she was raised in Retford, near Sherwood Forest. She has been living in Italy since 1982 – with dual citizenship – in Negrar di Valpolicella (Verona), with her husband Mario. English language teacher, Anne is an activist for British in Italy: with Mario she protested against London’s divorce from the continent – in Rome, Florence and six times in the United Kingdom – London, Leeds and Winchester. “We marched to the British Parliament starting from Buckingham Palace, then twice from Hyde Park and again in Trafalgar Square.” Millions took to the streets multiple times after the 2016 referendum to halt withdrawal from the European Union.
She too feels like “a member of the Sardines Movement who protest against populism.” Recently Anne and Mario took part in three demonstrations organized by the Sardines Movement in Verona, Rome and last Sunday in Desenzano. She sees many common points between the values of the ‘Sardines’ and the anti-Brexit movement, such as the rejection of nationalism/sovereignism which tends to divide rather than reunite people of different nationalities; solidarity, inclusion, EU-guaranteed citizens’ rights which might cease to exist in the UK after Brexit. And, again, the importance of a serious, competent, non-shouted, soft-spoken politics, non-violence and focus on the climate emergency.
Brexit is a manifestation of populism.
She points out that “UK citizens have voted in the referendum without fully realizing its grave consequences. On our lives, on our economy…”. On the eve of the fateful 31st January the Federalist Movement organized a meeting in Valpolicella to spread information on the advantages of the European Union, to discuss about possible reforms aimed at bringing the EU closer to its citizens and improving its effectiveness. Not everything is perfect among the Twenty-seven member Countries, “but isolation – says Anne Parry – is certainly worse”. She adds resolutely, “Brexit was a bad choice. It divides the country, it divides families. In many families Brexit cannot be mentioned or an argument will break out!”
How do you imagine the future of your country? “Its future is certainly in Europe, alongside the other peoples of Europe. We share the same history, culture…”. “Our language has become a kind of lingua franca shared by people in many other parts of Europe and worldwide. In the UK, we import goods and services of all kinds from the European Union, many British people love Italian fashion, we obviously appreciate European food and wine…”. Anne is very active on social media to spread knowledge about the EU and warn against the dreaded consequences of Brexit. “For sure – she says – my fellow citizens living in Italy are against Brexit.”
But how was it possible to convince 52% of voters to choose “leave” instead of “remain”? ” Before the referendum, there was a string of pro-Brexit adverts on Facebook and Twitter”.Anne points out: “Newspapers, especially popular tabloids, depicted the EU as a maker of legislation and policies detrimental to British interests. Politicians did the rest.” Theresa May and especially Boris Johnson rode the wave of media-fuelled malaise to drive the country outside the Union. “Johnson is an ambiguous figure who says one thing one day and the opposite the next depending on his interlocutors and the prevailing interest of the moment. He fomented British hatred of the EU with fake news .
In your opinion, could there be a second referendum in the future? “I don’t think so, unfortunately. However, I believe that the decision to leave the EU is no longer shared by the majority of British people; even in 2016 there was a very narrow majority, unfortunately we are now forced into this new isolationism.” She concludes: “I’m quite sure that after having experienced the difficulties that lie ahead, many British citizens will be better informed and will regret their decision.”