An open letter to the British people
I expect you will vote to leave the European Union, for one simple reason; the British psyche.
Never do you pull together and feel so close to each other as when things go wrong; train stops in a field, child goes AWOL during a country picnic, lift stops between two floors, and suddenly you shed your almost Norse reserve.
Suddenly, you look people in the eye, you chat like Latinos, your sense of purpose arises like a powerful force.
Let's do this, and let's do it together, you say to each other. It’s the Blitz spirit.
You Brits, you deliver when it matters, you really do. ___________
When it matters, you decide with your adrenaline glands, and damn the consequences.
So too with the EU.
It's unity against an imaginary enemy, an undefined threat, the supposed hardship and suffering at home.
You’re presented with insight by experts based on lengthy analysis and thought, with pleading by foreign friends who wish you well.
You dismiss it with bravado and single words; nonsense, codswallop, flannel. ___________
It's all going to the dogs, you say, to the tune of an economy that sings.
Our voices aren't heard, you insist, as Westminster marches on to its own drumbeat.
The NHS is on the brink, you sing, to the sound of shuffling slippers as your pensioners prepare to return from from the costas.
Immigrants are threatening our way of life, you declare, as they serve you meals with French finesse, pour you beer with Italian flamboyance, build your houses with Polish precision, clean your offices with Lithuanian pride, mow your lawns with Portuguese brawn, pick your sprouts with Hungarian grit, play with your children with Swedish love, nurse your ageing parents with Spanish passion. ____________
You only have as much fun as you make it, so get together, have your day in the sun when you stick two fingers up at everyone else.
It will be your Saturday night, and it will be followed by a Sunday, a day of reflection, and perhaps also a day of repentance and regrets.
You’ll wake up. No more Dutch courage now. You’ll have tea before church and you’ll ask yourself; what has been achieved? ___________
You fear for your future, so you’ve focused on the past, on chocolate box villages where people speak with rural accents, on commonwealth and global might, on Rule Britannia.
You fear the Turks and the Syrians, so you have turned your back on the Danes and the Czechs.
You worry about the future of a national health service that is the envy of the world, so you have placed it in the hands of who?
Your desire for unity has alienated your countrymen in Scotland.
Your desire for peace has reignited the combustive forces in Northern Ireland.
Your desire for internationalism has resulted in a new isolation. _________
Former friends have become adversaries, incensed by your rhetoric.
Former allies have become competitors, ready to take what was yours.
Former enemies rejoice at what you have achieved.
You have dealt a bodyblow to peoples, governments and institutions that stand for the same as you.
But most of all, you have hurt yourselves. _________
The train has stopped in a field, and it’s on fire.
The child’s gone AWOL on a country picnic, and can’t be found.
The lift has stopped between two floors, and it’s creaking worryingly.
But you’re British. You're courageous.
You won’t panic. You’ll pull together.
You’ve lost so much. You’ve got everything to fight for.
ShareShare An open letter to the British people