Letter: The three views on Brexit we encountered on holiday in Europe

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 May 2018

Placards and flags are held by pro-EU protesters. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Images.

Placards and flags are held by pro-EU protesters. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Images.

PA Wire/PA Images

I’ve just had ten days in France and North Italy. As I was wearing my EU/UK badge, I got Brexit chat – three types.

My summaries may be useful to readers who discuss more vigorously than this octogenarian.

(1) Leavers in the group I travelled with were polite but firm:

“Bureaucratic gravy train”; “Under the EU we only produce 10% of our food. Alone, we’ll produce 60-80%”; “We signed up for economic stuff, not this supranational guff”;“We decided, so you should support us.”

(2) Anglophones from the developed world thought the UK was mad:

“You’re turning selfish and racist”; “We trade with you in the EU and we’ll continue if you leave – but new agreements will take time and, having less clout, you’ll lose”; “You weaken those resisting authoritarian nationalists like Putin, Erdogan, Orban and Trump.”

(3) Citizens from other EU states were saddened and puzzled:

“We’ll miss you. For all your faults, for two centuries you have helped lead us through so much – through agricultural, industrial and even data revolutions; through wars and reconstructions; through continuing struggles for the values of peace, democracy, the rule of law, freedom of expression and a fair deal for ordinary people. Now, just as all this is threatened and we stumble, you leave us. Worse, you seem to be losing those values yourselves.”

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