To Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Prime Minister,
I am a European.
Today, 9th May, is Europe Day. We might have left the EU, but that doesn't stop us from being European.
I believe patriotism is about fighting for the best version of your country. It is about being confident enough in your own identity to be open to others.
I am European. That doesn’t mean I’m not Irish, Welsh, Scottish, English or anything else.
Best for Britain’s latest polling supports the idea that people can have multiple identities. The majority of voters, including a majority of people who voted for your Government in 2019, support the idea, while only 13% of Britons disagree.
But I believe celebrating Europe Day is about more than identity. EU member states have not engaged in war with each other since World War II. But peace should not be taken for granted.
If we allow nationalist rhetoric to become reckless policy, we risk breaking the delicate diplomatic accord which has taken decades to establish. Differences should be settled with open understanding and generosity - not gunboats.
This is the value of international organisations like the UN, the WHO and the EU, which mediate between the interests of nations and check tendencies towards isolationism.
Our polling shows this is not just what Europe needs, but what Britain wants. 79% of people want the UK to work with these bodies to tackle climate change; 78% to tackle the pandemic, and 76% to deal with threats from Russia and China. 81% support cooperating with international bodies on science and research, rising to 91% of 2019 Conservative voters.
That’s why I ask you, on this important day, to stand up for global cooperation, and support the international institutions which make it possible. We may only overcome the world’s greatest challenges by working together. And that starts with our closest neighbour.
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