European Brummie

I am a Brummie and a European. Although I was born and raised in Britain, I have family and friends all over Europe and I am passionate about the importance of Europe and our EU identity - both for myself and for my children. Leaving the EU is such a bad idea.

On a professional level, I have a business that my wife and I have run - with some success - for the past eight years. We have a small EFL/English school, attracting postgraduates, healthcare professionals and young people from across the EU. Since June 2016, we have seen a dramatic decrease in these numbers and, although this has been offset a little by occasional enquiries from China and Brazil, we cannot envisage continuing our business if the UK ends free movement to work and study.

More personally, I live in Birmingham and I come from a family of European refugees who escaped fascism to freedom and safety in the UK. Although I worked in Europe after graduating, I returned to work with disaffected young people with behavioural and mental health difficulties from Handsworth in Birmingham, where I had grown-up. I learned to be immensely grateful for the privileges that living in this country brought us and always to give back to the community in which we were raised. Our family never forgot we were European, but that didn't stop us being committed and caring professionals - three generations contributing to the education, health and well-being of our fellow Brummies.

I have tried to share this idea with my children: that, although they are Brits, they are also European - with a freedom to live, work, study and have fun across a whole continent. My children - now young professionals - have family and contacts in Italy, France, Poland, Denmark and Sweden. This should be an asset for them and for the country. Cutting that off is, surely, in no-one's interest?

For me, as a 'city boy' nearing retirement, membership of the EU meant that I could finally plan to live my dream of a quiet country life, writing and gardening, in South West France, whilst still staying in touch with my children in England, brother in Denmark and cousins in Sweden. The referendum was sickening and changed so much I felt about Britain. I believe one can simultaneously be a good Brummie, a good Brit and a good European. Why should we have to choose?

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