Our British Values: a letter to Nigel Farage

Dear Mr Farage,

It looks like we may not get to debate with each other as candidates in the European elections here in the South East, so I just wanted to send you some thoughts I’ve had on our different views about being British and what our shared British values are.

I think British people are some of the most kind, welcoming and hospitable in the world. Britain became great through centuries of people coming here, making it their home and working hard to make it better. Your rhetoric really doesn’t reflect those values; at times you seem to be openly hostile to people coming here. That’s surely not the decent and fair approach most Britons would have. Most British people value getting on with their neighbours, yet you seem to want to promote argument and division more than over-the-fence friendship.

We are much the same age, and our grandfathers generations fought against fascism to protect our British values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. So many of today’s leaders around the world don’t share those values, yet you seem to be happy to associate with them – Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Victor Orban and Matteo Salvini to name a few. Why is that?

In that war Britain didn’t stand alone, we forged alliances with other nations, and fought alongside people from across what is now the Commonwealth, people from Poland and France and across occupied Europe. The EU, alongside NATO, has preserved peace for an unprecedented seventy years in Europe, don’t you think we owe future generations the same thing?

Mr Farage the British are sticklers for accuracy, clarity and fairness. We all like to know the details of what we are getting, and make sure we aren’t on the wrong end of a deal. You famously said that a 48-52 result would be “unfinished business by a long way”, yet now you oppose the British people having their fair say on the actual Brexit deal being proposed. Do you not trust the British people to make an informed decision?

I believe British people value a good days pay for a hard days work. You have been an MEP for twenty years now and have very little to show for it. In fact you have one of the worst records for attending your place of work and doing the tasks expected, like voting. Most British people would think it isn’t fair for you to keep that job if you consistently fail to do it. If elected I’d do the job I was paid for, and I believe most people whether Leavers or Remainers would think that’s the right thing to do. Don’t you?

We seem to agree on one thing, agreement is a very British thing in my view, and that is that our politics is broken. We and our respective political parties, Brexit in your case and Change UK in mine, have very different views on the solutions though. One is to make Britain closed off from the world, to run away from the global challenges we face and hide behind a nostalgia that is as appealing as it is false.

Mine is a more open, positive and realistic view of the world, where Britain leads and has its voice heard in the great international issues of our time, like climate change. Britain isn’t great if it has no influence abroad, wouldn’t you agree?

We are both patriots but I fear we have very different views of what that means. I’m proud to be from Sussex, proud to be English and British, and I’m a proud European too. My patriotism is inclusive of anyone who wants to make this country their home, accepting its rights and responsibilities as much as anyone born here does.

I look out of my window across the Channel to Europe, somewhere I can live and work and retire to if I want to and am able to, something my grandparents could never have imagined, and something future generations should have the right to do as well. I don’t understand why you want to take that right away from young people now and in the future.

Our young people are taught that British values are democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths or beliefs. Because of the things you have said, and those you associate with, I fear for those values if you and your party succeed.

It causes me pain and anguish to think what will happen to this great country if your vision for it becomes a reality. We will be poorer, more insular, more vulnerable to global crises, less secure, more fearful and xenophobic, less happy. You might dismiss that, but I’d rather be better safe than sorry by staying in the EU. How British is that?

My vision, and that of Change UK, is one of a positive future where opportunity is opened up not closed off, where decent journalists and independent courts keep us all in check and protect our rights, where alliances and partnerships, strength in our diversity as people but strength too in values we have stood and fought for over generations, mean we are safer and more secure than if we retreat into isolation. It’s a view Mr Churchill, that greatest of all Britons, seemed to have after he led us during the war, and I think we should respect that.

I know we Brits don’t like to make a fuss but I’m sorry, I’m not going to take this lying down. I’m tired of hearing people say “someone should do something”. Well we in Change UK are. We’re saying, “hang on, this isn’t right.” We won’t be bullied any more, we are standing up for real British values.

Yours in the most respectful British disagreement,

Warren Morgan

Change UK candidate for the European Elections, South East England.

Author: Warren Morgan

@warrenmorgan

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