'GOODBYE THEN, BRITAIN'...A farewell note from the EU
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'GOODBYE THEN, BRITAIN'...A farewell note from the EU

WELL goodbye then, England. And Wales. And Scotland. And Northern Ireland.

I hope life outside the EU is as wonderful as you seem to think it will be.

I have no idea what it is you’re doing and why you’re doing it. But, you know, good luck.

As far as we can tell from over here you kicked against austerity by voting to leave the EU and then became so obsessed with leaving you voted for those who’d dreamed up austerity in the first place.

In the meantime you gave an airing to a ragbag of English nationalists who strangely seemed to consist of a lot of people with a lot of Irishness.

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Tommy Robinson. Anne Marie Waters. Morrissey.

And if you find your views chime with that shower, you’re in a very dark place indeed.

As you sit now in the glorious sunshine that only exists outside of the EU it is worth pointing out to you that Northern Ireland and Scotland actually voted to remain.

I have no idea what the Welsh were thinking, but the English, the one World Cup and two World Wars brigade, seemed so defeated as a nationality that they could only win by doing whatever they could do to spite everyone else.

Which is quite fitting because, from here at least, your post EU England seems like a very spiteful place.

Boris Johnson, your Prime Minister, is a proven liar.

Nigel Farage, despite presiding over a succession of failed political parties, gets so much coverage I started to believe it was not the size of his vote that mattered but the size of his ego.

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The first member of your Royal Family not to be a white person has been driven away, which is nearly as embarrassing to watch as your insistence that her treatment has nothing to do with the colour of her skin.

Yeh? I know you’ve taken liars to your hearts, but don’t insult our intelligence.

If I write down Meghan Markle’s treatment in your country has been embarrassing I’ve never been as sure of the truth of anything I’ve ever written.

Again two people with a strong Irishness have made that clear.

Television presenters Eamonn Holmes and Piers Morgan.

When Eamonn Holmes declared of Markle, if I met you I don’t think I’d like you, I can’t have been the only one who repeated the sentence back to him.

As for Piers Morgan. Just why, England, are so many of your national figures in the year 2020 so alike and so easy to dislike?

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Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Piers Morgan, Jeremy Clarkson.

They’re the kind of men who take to Twitter to vent their privileged rage.

It’s as if, England, you’ve made the internet troll your national symbol.

And yet I remember visiting London in the summer of 2012, for a very Irish evening, and thinking, the Olympics going on around us, that England had truly become a great, culturally rich, gloriously mixed, forward looking country.

It just felt so positive. I would not have believed, that sun drenched day, that in a few short years England would enter a new decade such a bitter, such a spiteful, looking place.

That it would vote to leave the EU for reasons that, at least partly, seemed to consist of the lies it was told about the EU by a Daily Telegraph journalist who then went on to become the Prime Minister.

It’s grotesque.

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Like so many Irish people before me I was born outside of Ireland. It is one of the byproducts of immigration.

I was born in England. I grew up there. I studied and worked there. I lived and worked in the cities of England from the south through to the north, spent years in those cities.

I’m still proud to be from the city of Birmingham, right smack in the heart of the midlands.

I’m proud to have grown up in one of England’s great multi-cultural cities. I loved it and still do.

So while I’ve been back here in Ireland for over twenty one years, I’m not a disinterested observer.

Irish as I am, England is a part of me.

So it hurts, you see, to watch what England has become.

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It hurts to say goodbye. I wish you all the best, I really do. Birmingham, London, Sheffield, Manchester, Coventry, Preston, Liverpool, all the places I lived and studied and worked and laughed and drank and was Irish in.

I raise my glass to you. And I hope you’ll come back.