Dear Family, Friends, Colleagues and Former Colleagues
outside the UK,
We are this weekend trying to come to terms with the decision
of the country we live in to leave the EU. I feel deeply ashamed of what
my compatriots have done, and there are many things I want you to know about
The well-educated and informed people of this country voted
overwhelmingly to stay.
So did the young people, who will have to live with the consequences for
the rest of their lives.
So did the people of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire (where I live)
So did the people of London.
So did the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland and Gibraltar (as you
So did everyone I know – right across the political spectrum from Left
I know I speak for all these people who voted Remain, when I
say that we see this as a victory for ignorance, prejudice and
xenophobia. We have at a single stroke hurt everyone, and in doing so we
have alienated most of our friends in the world.
So who did vote to leave? The answer is
overwhelmingly the less well-off and less educated, who it must be admitted
have been largely disenfranchised by a political system that has increased
inequality significantly over the past decade. It is largely retirees,
who will not have to live with the consequences for too long. The Leavers
sense that there are things that are deeply wrong, and they have voted for
change – any change, whatever the consequences.
You may not have heard that the victorious Leave politicians
have already reneged on their key pledges, saying that they never actually
That the country will be £350m/week better off outside the EU
That immigration will be reduced
That we can take our time over negotiating to leave
That any financial instability will only be temporary
It seems likely that Scotland will secede from the UK, in
order to stay in the EU. (There is a precedent for this – Greenland which
was technically part of Denmark – left the EU, without putting Denmark’s
membership at risk.) It is not clear what will happen to the fragile
stability in Northern Ireland, but it is not likely to be good. We don’t
know who the political leaders will be who will manage the exit for us (but it
will probably be those of the broken promises above). It is not even clear
what we will call the country if Scotland leaves – the United Kingdom of
England and Wales hardly seems appropriate.
There are undoubtedly many things that do need to change
quite fundamentally, and the people of the UK have expressed this. We
must somehow in this turmoil find a way to channel our energy into making those
changes happen – even though the challenges are so great – migration, financial
stability – that we need to combine our forces to solve them. It is, to
say the least, unfortunate that the people of the UK have taken their anger out
on the EU, which will make working together on mapping out a future for us all
much more difficult.
It has been said that out of great challenge comes great
opportunity. Today I think we are all holding onto this thought like a
life raft in a storm.
I would be pleased to communicate with you about this, as
without a common umbrella of the EU, it will be more important than ever for us
to keep talking.
Chris Moller, Cambridge, 26June2016.