Scholar and cultural personality Geraint Talfan Davies has been travelling the UK talking about his book Unfinished Business: Journal of an Embattled European and why it’s important that the United Kingdom backs out of Brexit.
Thursday 25th October the turn came to Swansea University, where Geraint Talfan Davies was invited to a panel discussion by the Morgan Academy, a research-based political think tank, and the political organisation Wales for Europe | Cymru Dros Ewrop, of which Davies is chair.
Watch a video of the event here.
Davies started out by giving a moving talk on the book and why he wrote it. Unfinished Business charts his personal experience with Europe and EU-UK relations during his many years of collaborating internationally.
Personal is the keyword here, for during the Brexit-debates of 2016, Davies was appalled by the coldness and steely logic of the Remain side’s arguments. To him, Europe is first and foremost an emotional issue, and the failure of the Remain-side, Davies argues, is that it did not bring out the emotional side of Europe, but made the EU into something that could be argued only in cold and monetary terms.
According to Davies, the UK, and Wales in particular, are intimately interwoven with the EU. The EU was essential in bringing about — and sustaining — devolution, both with its funding and with its focus on regional self-determination. He questions the impact Brexit will have on this.
Unfinished Business also centers on what Davies calls ‘The Single Market of the Mind’ — the way the EU has allowed the free exchange of ideas, culture, and creative products, and free movement of people. Through the EU, UK citizens have been free to move and experience Europe, and free to bring back ideas. To Davies, the EU is not about funding for vanity projects, but about free intellectual collaboration and exchange of ideas.
In his moving address to the audience — and his readers — Davies implored people to act against the ‘happy band of Brexiteers’ who would force people to choose between identities — Welsh, British, European, global. The world today is a lot more complex than it was when the UK joined 50 years ago, and identities today are no longer ‘confidently unitary’.
After the talk, Geraint Talfan Davies was joined in a panel discussion with Dr. Aled Eirug from the Morgan Academy and Dr. Simon Brooks (political historian), Chloe Hutchinson from the Swansea University Students’ Union and Tonia Antoniazzi, MP for Gower.
They discussed the impact of Brexit and the various failures of the Remain-campaign, but the discussion very quickly turned more optimistic and the panel was joined by the audience in discussing ways to avoid Brexit. The evening thus ended on a distinctly positive note as people left with hope and concrete plans for action to agitate for a people’s vote.
Davies’ tour with Unfinished Business continues, and if you want to catch him speaking, now’s your chance:
- 31st October – Geraint Talfan Davies at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 5:30 PM.
- 13th November – Bangor University
- 16th November – Gwyn Hall, Neath. Introduced by Stephen Kinnock.
Check out our Events Page for more info.