i Editor's Letter: What has happened to us?


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The Independent Online


We have been inundated with people wanting to come to our next i readers' party at Covent Garden's London Transport Museum on 13 June. I recognise a few names that have been to a previous event, which is nice, but we will give preference to those we've not met before. Just email us on i@independent.co.uk with "party" in the subject line, and two tickets may be yours.

What will we discuss? Maybe the extraordinary and depressing pair of tables printed on page 2. Conducted by the highly reputable YouGov, the "Best and Worst Things About Britain today" could lead one to despair for the xenophobic, isolationist, backward-looking GB they reveal.

To me, the indisputable best thing about Britain is the hard-fought and exhilarating degree of personal liberty and freedom of expression we enjoy ... with our fine culture of tolerance not far behind. How sad that "liberty" is just ahead of "being an island" and actually behind "the Monarchy".

Even more depressing are the so-called "worst things" about Britain. I need not be the son of an immigrant to lament that so many can believe the number of immigrants is the single worst thing about Britain today. And the second worst thing is "benefits culture/welfare scroungers". These and being part of the EU are much higher than inequality/ poverty or racism/intolerance.

Come on people, what has happened to us? It is our fair-minded compassion, tolerance, and community spirit that made this a society to be so cherished. Don't let the bigots, who thrive in times of hardship, persuade us to deny our true selves.