IT’S finally here . . . the most momentous day in Britain’s modern history.
Today, Theresa May will officially tell the EU: We’re off.
Once the PM’s letter triggering Article 50 is delivered to EU Council president Donald Tusk at 12.30pm there is no going back.
Brexit will be underway, and with it our tricky two-year extrication from Brussels’ grip and the plotting of a new course towards a better, more prosperous future.
As a paper that has railed against EU excesses for so long, helped keep Britain out of the disastrous euro and campaigned fiercely for Leave last year, The Sun is of course delighted.
We have enormous optimism about our country, controlling our own laws and borders and trading independently with the vast and fast-growing nations of the wider world for the first time since the 1970s.
But we have no illusions that negotiating our exit will be easy.
Nor do we expect the sneering, divisive rage of hardcore Remainers to subside once Article 50 is irreversibly served. But we say this to them:
Mrs May voted Remain too.
Yet she is assailed round the clock by opposition parties and lobby groups making absurd demands as they clamour for attention or relevance.
The Scottish Parliament has backed a new independence referendum. The Northern Ireland assembly has collapsed.
Labour has six conditions they insist Mrs May must meet.
Brussels has already dismissed the biggest as impossible.
Ukip, self-styled “guard dogs of Brexit”, have their own demands (but no MPs).
Ferry passengers cheered and waved as The Sun made the White Cliffs of Dover shine with British pride last night. Lorry driver Luke Blackburn, 28, of Basildon, Essex, said: “It’s a massive message for a massive moment in British history. Trust The Sun to come up with such a cheeky stunt.”
Ex-pharmaceuticals worker Geoffrey Woodward, 75, of Milton Keynes, said: “It just goes to show some people still have something Britain nearly lost — national pride.”James Dowrish, 22, saw our 30m by
James Dowrish, 22, saw our 30m by 20m light display from the beach and said: “It’s a smart way to say goodbye.”
The diehard Remainers of the Open Britain group have theirs too — bizarrely pretending Mrs May runs Vote Leave instead of a Government seeing through the referendum in the only meaningful way, by leaving the single market and customs union.
Some Remainers, their apocalyptic rhetoric at a comical crescendo, still believe Brexit can be stopped.
After 12.30 they are howling at the moon.
Is any of this conducive to the PM getting the best deal for Britain?
We have enormous optimism about our country, controlling our own laws and borders
Isn’t that what we all should want?
Politicians must not spend two years talking our chances down, leaping on every snippet of bad news and screaming abuse and threats at our PM and negotiators.
It will only embolden the EU’s and damage our prospects.
It is vital we get behind Mrs May as she holds constructive negotiations leading to a mutually prosperous friendship with our former EU partners.
We are not leaving Europe, merely Brussels’ trading club.
We will still be friends, neighbours, workmates, tourists to each other’s lands.
Increasing numbers abroad admire Britain for backing Brexit.
So far we have mainly heard threats from Brussels.
They will need far more maturity for talks to work.
That may only happen when national leaders take over.
And in 2019, politicians WE elect will control our future.
If the Government says immigration needs to fall it will be more able to cut it.
If we need more migrants with certain skills, it can make that happen.
That was the point, to “take back control”.
Today it begins for real — and we can’t wait.