EU Revoir

Brexit is going to happen, and we’re heading into a tough few years for people living in or near the UK.

I don’t regret campaigning for remain, and I don’t think the fight for decency is over. We are heading into a difficult time, but I don’t intend to despair or to feel helpless. Citizen of Nowhere has had — at times — over 40,000 readers, and I think it has contributed to the debate. That debate goes on, in a new form now as we look to preserve as much as we can of the world we love, and try to regroup and rebuild.

So as we stand here on the cusp of leaving the EU, I have a few things to say to various people.


Okay, this is going to be a tough time, but do not give up. Do not regret what you’ve done or said, or agonise over what you should have done or said. Above all, do not acquiesce. Look after yourselves, your friends and your family, and rebuild.

EU citizens living in the UK

I’m sorry we fucked all this up. This mess wasn’t your fault, but you are going to have the hardest time of all living with it. Know that you do have friends. I hope that you can stay, and want to stay. The UK is richer for your presence.

People who voted to leave in 2016

I wish you the best of fortunes. I hope I am wrong about what is going to happen after Brexit, but all the evidence is that I’m not — it’s going to be very tough, and you’re not going to escape it any more than I am. Whatever happens, we’re going to share in it.

I don’t bear you any ill-will, and I don’t think you’re stupid. I think you were lied to, repeatedly, and your concerns exploited to serve the ends of the people who sold you this, but it’s not stupid to feel entitled to believe what politicians or the media tell you. It’s them who let us down, not you.

I think a lot of you have realised by now that what you were promised is not what you’re going to get. All I’ll ask is that you remember who told you those lies. And remember that you can disown those people who lied to you. You can decide to be on the side of protecting the people around you, not hurting them. Just look now at what is being done in your name, and ask if that’s really what you want.

There are only four genuine reasons now to support Brexit, and the changes the Government are pushing through behind it. Those are: fear, ignorance, selfishness, hate. If you don’t recognise any of those motives in you, perhaps ask yourself if that’s still where you want to be. There is another way.

Brexiters — the people who promoted and sold us this project

You want us to accept what you are going to do. How can we? How can I, when you are about to steal my children’s rights and freedoms? Understand that last sentence and understand why I can never accept what you have done.

Even if you hadn’t won by lies — and you did — there would still be a moral duty to oppose you. Even if you had a fairly-won majority, it would still be my duty to oppose you. Why? Because your project is based on causing deliberate and unnecessary harm to millions, just to feed your own prejudice, greed and vanity.

When you prevent refugee children being reunited with their parents, it makes no difference to Brexit. It doesn’t stop you taking back control, or whatever. No, you do this thing simply because you choose to do it. Intentionally keeping children from their parents is at best utterly callous. More likely, it is deliberately vindictive, one drop of the ocean of bile that Brexit floats upon.

Don’t pretend that opposing you is opposing the will of the people, or demonstrates a lack of faith in Britain. You aren’t Britain. The vast majority of people are nothing like you chiselling, money-grubbing, cheating, lying racists. The majority of people don’t want Brexit. You know this, and you’re doing it in spite of the people of Britain, not for them.

There are more people like me than there are people like you, and our numbers are growing. There will come a day when you won’t be able to hide behind a quiescent media, when you won’t be able to lie and lie and lie, with no consequence. History will find you and lay your lies bare.

Brexit’s going to happen. Legally, we will be out of the EU by tomorrow. That doesn’t make it either a good idea, or morally right. Expecting me or anybody like me to support it is like expecting you to start telling the truth. It’s not going to happen. So set about dismantling our rights and freedoms while you can. Enjoy your pathetic, plasticised dreams of empire. But know that this ain’t over. We are going to make lying wrong again.

The people of the EU

I’m sorry. I’m sorry on behalf of the people who share my nationality, who have been utterly crass in their dealings with you. In the face of disgraceful behaviour from the UK’s press, pundits and politicians, I have seen only kind words and a dignified, gracious response from you. We haven’t deserved your friendship. You’ve gone beyond the call of duty and had your patience endlessly tested, and you have often had to act to save the UK from itself, even as the UK has angrily batted away your outstretched hand.

I hope and believe we will recover from this madness. You know that there are far more open, friendly and caring people in the UK than the other sort, and the next generation will be even better. We will find our way back to you, I promise, and I hope when we do we will be better neighbours. I hope that you will still want to welcome us with the same friendship, fraternity (and forbearance) you have always shown.

I am European. While the government in my country may rip that identity from me in a legal sense, they cannot tear it from my heart. I will be back.

The UK left the EU at 23:00 GMT onFriday 31 January 2020
As of 23:00 GMT on 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a third country with respect to the European Union.