First of all I want to say how sorry I am. I think I can speak on behalf of the 48 when I want to say how sorry we are. The British have plunged a dagger into the heart of Europe. They have chosen to play wrecker with a project which, however flawed its construction may have been, has its roots in idealism. From the nation of the cynic, I am heartbroken. We are not all like that.
As you contemplate the future, I also accept that you have every right to be angry. It is even understandable that you may feel the need to extract some form of retribution against the country that did this. The behaviour of the neo-Thatcherite cabal now moving to take over as its new elite can only have compounded that. It is a bitter irony that it is the actions of their forefathers, not those of the EU, that are the root cause of much of the discontent in the North of this country, and in Wales – the discontent that led to their shallow victory.
The fact that people in those regions will now bear the financial brunt of their decision, and probably a second one from the people to whom they have handed power, comes as no comfort.
However, as well as an apology this letter is a plea to you not to join Britain on the dark road we have taken, to prove that you are better than us. I make that plea on behalf of the 48 per cent, the 16.1 million Europeans who voted for you. If they were to form a country on their own, those of us in the 48 per cent would together make up the ninth biggest nation in the EU, with a population bigger than that of Belgium. Add in our children and we’d be above the Netherlands in eighth and within sight of Romania in seventh. We are Europeans too. I plead with you not to abandon us, because in the long run, the demographics are on our side.
Within a few short years the 48 per cent will be the 50 per cent, and then the 55. The young voted Remain by a substantial majority. It is a shame more of them didn’t vote, but it is too late to lament that fact. I am proud that my own generation did too, albeit (sadly) by a smaller majority.
We were betrayed as much as you were. Now we need you to stand with us, to stand with the other Britain: open, optimistic, tolerant and outward-looking. The Britain you would be pleased to invite round to dinner. That Britain is poised to inherit. When it does, the ugly gash opened on our continent by the selfish and the credulous, the chancers and the opportunists and the cynics can be healed. It must be healed.
I urge you, Europe, to look to Angela Merkel, as you have so often in the past. She has said a divorce that makes those of us in the 48 per cent desperately sad need not be a nasty one, if that's how this ultimately ends. Her attitude stands in stark contrast to the snarling triumphalism of the Leave camp. If you follow her lead, it will make our job immeasurably easier. It will act as a soothing balm, and it will also help to prevent some of the 48 per cent from being tempted to retreat into the bitterness that so characterises their countrymen. We have to remain united.
I also want to make clear that in the meantime your people are welcome here. The people of goodwill in this country want them here. We need them here. We will fight for their rights to be protected. We repudiate, utterly, the ugly incidents seen here in the past couple of days. They do not represent the 48 per cent. They do not represent all of those who voted Out, either, hard though it is to say that, given the statements some of their leaders have made in recent weeks.
We will stand with them. I beseech you to stand with us.
Yours in sorrow,
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