I’m a member of a Facebook group consisting of UK nationals living – or in my case part-living – on the Continent. It’s presently trying to make out a legal case for our retaining European citizenship, on an individual basis, after the separation. So far it has made progress through one (Dutch) court: see http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/1-2m-britons-could-get-eu-citizenship-after-brexit-1659636. But it’s also putting together a collection of articles by ‘Brexpats’ describing their situations and feelings. This one is in the form of an open letter addressed to Boris Johnson, prior to a speech he’s due to give later today in favour of Brexit. I think it’s worth circulating more widely. (Sorry I don’t know the name of the original author.)
Dear Mr Johnson
You are planning to address why Remainers’ hearts are scarred by leaving the EU. Allow me to give you some insights from a Remoaner snowflake that might help.
Our hearts are scarred because the official Leave campaign led by you offered a confection of unfulfillable promises that any realistic appraisal would show to be unachievable. But you and your colleagues worked hard to denigrate anyone who offered such a realistic appraisal by dismissing it as Project Fear and sneering at ‘experts’. You even admitted that you were offering voters the prospect of having our cake and eating it: which has always been a byword for the impossible. It is still impossible, and yet as the fog of bombastic rhetoric clears and the unsquareable circle becomes ever more discernible you and your fellow Brexiteers continue to promise the unachievable.
Our hearts are scarred because even with all the pie in the sky promises, Leave would not have achieved a majority if it hadn’t been aided by a xenophobic parallel campaign fronted by Nigel Farage. You may not have endorsed his demonisation of those who come to the UK from other countries, but you certainly reaped the benefit. Unlike the EU citizens who are living and working here legally yet who have been abused, assaulted and made to feel unwelcome on the back of the referendum result. The campaign which helped you to your victory has brought needless division and unhappiness to many people.
Our hearts are scarred because you and your free marketeer cohorts managed to translate the result of an advisory referendum into a purported demand from the People for far more than they ever voted for: not just to leave the EU, but to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, to turn our back on our closest, largest market and transform the UK into a low regulation low tax offshore paradise for capitalists, combining Indian levels of environmental regulation with the tax rules of the British Virgin Islands. We do not want to see our country asset-stripped for the enrichment of a small cabal of businessmen and politicians for their own personal gain.
Our hearts are scarred because we care about our fellow citizens. The EU citizens who have come here to work and make a life in the UK, who have helped sustain our health service and our social care, who have contributed to our communities and our economic wellbeing. And our fellow British citizens who will suffer job losses, inflation and a diminished standard of living as a result of your desire to sacrifice our country on the altar of your ambition.
Our hearts are scarred because those who support Brexit have made every attempt to destroy the mechanisms that make our system of government great. You have repeatedly attempted to circumvent and neuter the sovereignty of Parliament (which is ironic, in view of Leave’s constant championing of Parliamentary sovereignty). You have cast doubt on the impartiality of the civil service. And you have sought to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
Our hearts are scarred because we are patriots, and because we believe that the referendum is being used by a small group to bring about an outcome which is utterly damaging to our country, the people who live in it, and the systems of law and government that have served as a model to the rest of the world for centuries.
And no bombast or empty promises from you will stop our hearts from being scarred. Time is running out, and all too soon you will have to stop your dance of the seven veils and stand naked before the People and before history. And they will judge you as we have already judged you: an empty, vain, ignorant man who was used by shadowy forces to destroy the country he falsely purported to love. So don’t worry about us: look in the mirror and worry about him.