Dear British,

I am a german, but have been living in the Netherlands for nearly 40 years, only 300 metres from the Belgian border. If you live in the middle of an Euregio of 3 countries for a long time, you automatically become an enthusiastic supporter of the EU. Neighbours became friends – and all these friends kept their national identity, which today rather improves cross-border relations. And this without losing sight of the fact that the EU is not perfect and will always remain work-in-progress.

British development within the EU was different. Although economic benefits were seen, Churchill’s visions were ignored, which describe very well the idea behind today’s EU. After British accession to the EU, the hate tirades began in Murdoch’s tabloids. I read them sometimes when I‘m feeling too well. And they always help quickly. I suppose this kind of press is not read by well educated and informed people. Rather by people who were not at all interested in politics, and therefore stayed away from elections for many decades (Vicky Pollard comes to my mind). It sounds strange, but probably this absence was good for democracy. Today, on Facebook, they end up in their opinion bubble, fueled by the most terrible phenomenon of the last 10 years. Populism. Populists in East and West have managed to abuse social media to generate voting cattle. Successful. In Germany of 1933, it was precisely this populism that led to the largest criminal regime in human history. Apart from Italy, the country that invented fascism, modern populism has so far only had greater success in anglophone countries. UK/Brexit and US/Trump – Putin, the Chinese and Steve Bannon are loving it.

No, the EU means more than trade only. We not only share the economy, we also share values. We love our children and we want the best for them. In peace, in a healthy environment and with far-reaching social security. This part of the EU is not as visible as the one with the bananas or light bulbs.

We foreigners from the continent see you go with melancholy. Some of you think that the British influence on the EU was only small. This is not true, the opposite is true. Also some British thwarting of EU decisions was not always wrong. Nobody likes to see you go, but we accept what has to happen.

I can well imagine how a Remainer must feel today. Or British people who were not old enough, or who lived abroad and were not allowed to take part in the referendum. You Remainers are at least half of the population, and no (relevant) party cares about your interests? Strange, isn’t it?

Consider the battle lost. It is too late. The outcome of another referendum would be doubtful, and it would only further divide the country. Your politicians, especially Mr. Corbyn, Boris and the guys from the ERG know that. And they know that educated people are less prone to chaotic insurrection and civil-wars. Brexiteers will learn their lesson. That’s for sure. People on the continent will suffer a little, people on the British Isles probably a little more. Special victims will be the Irish, who I feel particularly sorry for.

EU bashing will continue, but there might be a time in distant future were even Brexiteers will see the light of truth. At least 90% of today’s British problems are home grown.

I read here regularly, and in 2.5 years I have not yet read one proven argument of a Brexiteer against the EU. But I know one: Without the EU, tax avoiders (like Jacob Reese-Mogg) or financial optimizers in the City do not have to change their business models. The troops that have achieved this for them were formed from the lesser-educated working class – without any payment. This is kafkaesque and ingenious at the same time.

The good thing about the EU is: You can leave it, and you can re-join whenever you like. I would love to see you back in my lifetime (I‘m 62, a motorbike-riding smoker – so better hurry up). And the Euro is better than you might think. I never leave home without one 🙂

Hope to see you back soon,

Thomas

  • It’s pretty clear that the british government and to some extent the opposition are the most incompetent in living memory. With huge divisions, poverty, austerity, inequality and Brexit, I’ll never understand why there’s no national strikes, defiance and mass demonstrations. This pretty much sends a signal to government that we’re a pushover and they can do what they want.

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