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Meet the Englishman battling Brexit with just a flag

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Meet the Englishman battling Brexit with just a flag

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By day he repairs computers, but given a spare second, he’s fighting a much bigger battle: keeping Britain in the EU.

Englishman Phil Jones says he was so upset by last year’s referendum he decided to launch a one-man campaign to stand up for Brussels.

It involves standing at roundabouts in Britain, holding aloft an EU flag and gauging people’s reactions.

Jones says he’s taken the flag out nearly 50 times so far this year, in the hope it would help turn the tide against Brexit.

“I wanted to show that this was not over, that I believe in the European ideal and I’m prepared to show it,” the 44-year-old told Euronews.

He says motorists’ responses have been more positive than negative.

“I have had some extraordinary reactions,” said Jones, reflecting on his campaign, which has been focussed near his High Wycombe home, around 52 kilometres north-east of London. “People have gone by and said ‘good for you’ and cheered and waved and clapped and given me a thumbs up.

“Other times people have been abusive. Some have said ‘what are you doing’ or ‘it’s over isn’t it?’

He says the most unsavoury incident saw two teenagers steal the flag, break its pole and throw it on the roof of a shop.

Jones, though, insists he wants to continue with his campaign and says he is motivated by supporting UK-based European citizens, who, at the time of writing, face uncertainty around whether they will be able to stay in Britain, post-Brexit.

He tells them about each of his roundabout protests in posts to the Facebook group Forum for EU Citizens.

“I think reactions to my posts have been really wonderful,” he said. “I call it my one-man protest standing in solidarity (with them) and I really mean it.

“I have to say when the result came in I was really, really upset because it’s a terrible thing to say to the rest of the world.

“Even now I feel ashamed, I feel embarrassed.”

Jones believes one of the reasons why Britain voted to leave was because of a general lack of understanding about the EU.

He says he has now moved from the roundabout to the pavement in a bid to engage with people and answer their questions about Brussels.

“Yes I do think there is a lack of education and it’s been going on for 40 years. In this country certain sections of the press have only ever produced negative material about the EU. They have only ever focussed on the problems.

“It is hard to feel a sense of belonging to something if you know very little about it. And also if you know very little about it, then you are open to being manipulated.

“The trouble with standing in the middle of a roundabout is it’s a quick way to gauge opinion but it doesn’t allow you to engage with people or understand what people’s feelings are and I think there are lot of general concerns.”

Your view What do you think? Do you have an unusual story to tell about Brexit? Email me chris.harris@euronews.com