The United Kingdom is my country and I will fight for it

Dear House of Commons,

This evening, I have heard that you voted in a majority to be a place where the unrepresented are being devalued and brushed aside like piece of dirt on your suit. You, the country of one of the first parliamentary democracies who gave a voice to the people you represent. You, who decided that the absolute monarchy and aristocracy were unfair and a voice should be given to everyone. You just tarnished the name of democracy and multiculturalism.

EU expatriates might be your friends, your neighbours, the ones who serve your coffee in the morning before your session, the ones who treat you when you are sick, the ones who teach your children to believe in the fairness of society. They are the ones who pay more taxes than they receive, the ones who fought next to you throughout history against the same values you are cherishing right now: division, populism, nationalism, xenophobia. Values that some of you might have now engraved profoundly in your party.

Despite the protestation of the British Nation about the politics of Mr Trump, you are following the same populist-right path that he is imposing to the US. And the vote of today is just one other proof of your acceptance of it.

This weekend at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference, Nick Clegg MP, Alistair Carmichael MP, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Willie Rennie MSP and many more have made the case that this will not be in the Liberal Democrats’ name. They assure me as well as the 85 000 fellows party member that they will fight by my side as an EU expatriate to give a voice to the voiceless and to continue to fight for the diversity and the multiculturalism in a fairer society.

I know you haven’t all voted against this amendment. I would like to thank the Members of Parliament who voted in favour of the House of Lords amendment, whatever parties they are coming from. Thank you for voting and saying No to the politics of fear and division and Yes to look forward through mutual collaboration, internationalism and a fairer democratic system.

Mrs May, Mrs Sturgeon, the United Kingdom is my country and I will fight for it. I won’t let you build walls between people, friends, colleagues and families. I won’t let you rest until my rights and the ones of my fellow EU expatriates are valued and you stop your politic of division.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Parliament, I might never be able to join you to express my feelings and the voice of those most concerned by your decision. However, be assured that it won’t be the last time you will hear from me as I will continue my fight beside the Liberal Democrats not only for the EU expatriates but also for a Liberal Society, fairer for everyone.

Yours faithfully

Aude Boubaker-Calder #RightToStay

* Aude Boubaker-Calder is the Liberal Democrat Scottish Parliamentary Candidate for Dunfermline

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10 Comments

  • Very well said!
    Anyone who asks what the LibDems are for should read this.

  • Jane Ann Liston 14th Mar '17 - 10:40am

    Well said, Aude.

  • Sue Sutherland 14th Mar '17 - 1:23pm

    Thank you Aude this is great to read.

  • Julia Seiber Boyd 14th Mar '17 - 1:32pm

    never before have I been ashamed to be British. The abject acceptance of what they mostly know to be bad for the nation’s culture, economy, and overall future is a sorry spectacle. Even the small concession not to use EU nationals as bargaining chips was too much.
    This has been a disastrous episode and may lead to the end of the United Kingdom – once a proud, tolerant and generous society – but where zonophobia and narrow-minded “populism” are now legitimate.
    Not in my book, not in my name!

  • Betty Chatterjee 14th Mar '17 - 3:20pm

    SOLIDARITY
    As a British citizen, resident in Denmark, friend to at least four Danish families with sons or daughters living in Britain and a member of the Liberal Democratic Party I appreciate your excellent article.

    I am disgusted by the government’s policy that guarantees to EU citizens should be guaranteed as part of the negotiations for British citizens’ rights. We have one thing in common. Your future and my future are insecure through no fault of our own. We are in the same miserable boat! As British government has taken the initiative to quit the EU, it would be an act of common decency to be the first to reassure EU residents that they are welcome to stay and that they will guarantee their acquired rights. They must not use you as bargaining bricks.

  • Martin Clarke 14th Mar '17 - 4:14pm

    What would British nationals living in Denmark say if the British government unilaterally guaranteed the rights of EU nationals in the UK but then the Danes refused to guarantee the rights of British citizens living in Denmark and told them to leave?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Mar '17 - 5:58pm

    Aude

    Superb, and do say more about you, your background and foreground, very well done !

  • @Betty,

    Have the Danes made a unilateral guarantee of your rights after the UK leaves, regardless of whether the UK reciprocates for Danes in the Britain?

    If not, do you also think that’s equally disgusting?

  • Rebecca Taylor 15th Mar '17 - 1:51pm

    All those adopting the Tory argument of “we must protect British citizens living across the EU”, please note:

    – No EU country has made any threat to the British migrants living there. Quite the contrary in fact, I’ve heard from Brits in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Spain that applying for citizenship is rather easy and the relevant authorities are helpful.

    – No EU country has called it’s British migrants “bargaining chips”.

    – No EU country has had a referendum campaign in which the winning side promised repeatedly that the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK would be respected.

    – It is the UK which has caused this problem; all other EU countries were simply correctly implementing free movement rules (the UK never bothered) and according British (and other intra-EU) migrants their rights according to EU law.

    – No EU country has denied permanent residence status to British migrants living there unlike the UK. Almost all Brits living in other EU countries where they implement free movement rules and controls properly (unlike the UK) will already have permanent residence status.

    In addition, getting permanent residence status in the UK requires you to fill in an 85 page form and pay £65. In other EU countries, the form is a few pages (5 in Germany, 2 in Ireland) and costs less than €20.

    So bearing in mind these points, I’d say most Brits abroad feel far less under threat than EU citizens living in the UK, although they do have concerns in relation to how their rights may change.

    In addition, ALL the organisations representing British migrants across the EU SUPPORT the idea of the UK government guaranteeting the right to stay to EU citizens living in the UK. Ten of these organisations even wrote a joint letter to parliament asking Peers and MPs to support relevant amendments. They believe a unilateral decision will HELP THEIR CASE.

    So by all means, agree with the Tory government that it’s right to continue to keep three million people and their families (many of whom are British citizens) living with uncertainty, but don’t pretend you’re doing it because you care about British migrants living in other EU countries, because you’re doing the opposite of what they want.

    And one final question to those who are motivated by the plight of fellow Brits across the EU: did you complain when they were denied a vote in the referendum?

  • I thought it was Mrs May who had been going out of her way to get an agreement with the EU. In the UK even Nigel Farage says everyone already here should be allowed to stay. However, from Mrs Merkel we hear little or nothing, she wants it to be part of the brexit negotiations. How is she the good guy on this issue?

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