CHRIS Davies is unrepentant, unapologetic and after Britain’s exit from the European Union also unemployed.
His eight-month stint representing the North West as member of the European Parliament ended at 11pm on Friday, January 31.
The Saddleworth-based Liberal Democrat and Renew Europe Group politician didn’t go quietly.
He was in self-admitted “floods of tears” and took to social media to vent his ire at those he held responsible. There was no ambiguity to its meaning.
The 65-year-old, whose adult life has been entwined in politics, tweeted: “That’s it. Done. UK has left the EU team, running away like cowards from shaping the future of our continent.
“Self-centred, narrow-minded, xenophobic liars have won. And we have gained nothing. I am ashamed to be British. #LibDems #StopBrexit.”
Back in his Greenfield home, with its spectacular moorland views, Davies is still seething.
“We are now British, we are not Great British,” he said. “A great country should be a leader in Europe not a leaver.
“We will do alright but we just won’t have the influence we had. We are side players. We have lost influence on the world stage.
“We used to shape the future of our continent, we don’t anymore.
“There are no easy answers so to think Brexit is going to deliver all the solutions is mad.
“All we have done is run away. We are now outside the room where decisions about our continent are going to be made that is not what a great country should be doing.”
Reaction to the inflammatory tweet was predictable. One critic replied: “That’s it, resort to tactics right out of the Communists’ playbook by labelling those as racist all those who have the RIGHT in a democracy to vote whichever way they decide. We’re the brave. We fought to keep the rights won for us by our forefathers. Autonomy is true freedom.”
Another said: “If you are ashamed to be British, do feel free to clear off and live in an EU country.”
Many responses were on a similar theme though there were supporters of the former Oldham councillor and one-time MP of the now defunct Saddleworth and Littleborough constituency.
“I never record my ethnicity as ‘British’ any longer. Proudly ‘European’, said one supporter.
“People voted for Brexit but they didn’t know what Brexit meant,” insisted Davies.
“When the government tried to negotiate Brexit the actual outcome wasn’t what people voted for and I think that should have been put to a second referendum.
“There is no question this country is weaker, less influential than it was.
“If you want to negotiate a trade deal you need strength.
“We were part of a bloc of 500 million people negotiating, let’s say with the Chinese. Now we can be eaten up and spat out by the Chinese. We are just not big enough.”
Despite his bitterness at the way it ended, Davies can also look back on the last eight months with fondness, including being appointed chair of the European Fisheries Committee last July.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “It led me to having the best seven months of my time in politics.
“And I go back 40 years to when I was chairman of housing committee in Liverpool.
“Someone said, ‘You are at the top of your game,’ and I felt like it.
“I spent 15 years watching other chairs and felt like if I got a chance I would do it this way.
“I think I built up a good reputation even among some of my Spanish colleagues who eyed me with great suspicion.
“You get to have a lot of influence on the agenda, I was able to hold the commission to account though you really want to hold governments to account.
“I was able to put on the agenda a lot of issues to challenge the commission to how effective they were being in trying to kerb overfishing and keep to scientific advice on sticking to fish quotas.”
So, will he or Britain ever be back in Europe? “You never say never.
“But I don’t see it in the foreseeable future – my lifetime – and I am 65. So, I think that is my lot.”