Today is my birthday. It is also the results day from the UK’s EU referendum in which 52% of the country’s voters opted to Leave, and 48% to Remain. I’ve made no secret of my voting preference – I work year in year out with young people whose lives are focused on the EU, travelling there freely (and with the support of a modest but significant grant from the Erasmus+ scheme funded by Brussels) as an integral part of their studies to become highly accomplished linguists, with all the deep political, cultural, social, and economic know-how that this brings them. I am saddened by today’s result not because it feels like bad news on my birthday but because I feel we haven’t done enough to look after our young people. But I want to remain optimistic and to keep a positive outlook on how we can continue to work with our EU partners for the future benefit of all. Wish us all luck – we’ll need it – but we won’t simply break off all ties with countries, people, and cultures whose ways of doing things have become so inextricably intertwined over the several decades of EU membership. Collaboration, cooperation, and much lateral thinking is needed, and I hope that the voice of our young people will be heard loud and clear as we work towards the best solution for us all.
Poetry and Music
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