Tweets act as poignant reminder of Brexit’s betrayal of the old
PUBLISHED: 16:31 19 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:00 19 February 2019
A series of tweets has been praised for serving as a poignant reminder of how Brexit will betray both old and young generations alike.
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The Twitter thread, written by Max Ringham, focuses on his German-born mother, who has lived in the UK for 50 years.
Max sets out Fee’s story on her 81st birthday, and serves as a reminder of the impact that anti-immigrant rhetoric and values have on those living in the UK.
He documents how his mother was raised in the town of Munster in Germany back in 1938, and lived through World War II, before being evacuated from the family home when the bombing intensified.
He tweeted: “Like everyone, she was fully aware of the world’s anger at Germany and recalls hearing talk on the radio about how it should be raised and left a desert in retaliation for its crimes. She was seven and could not understand how they could be hated when they were suffering so much.”
But as Ringham explains - his mother Fee witnessed how unity and cooperation both brought peace to Germany and helped to rebuild it.
After the war she was given opportunities to work in Switzerland, in France, and eventually Britain where she met Max’s father.
But back in the 60s nationalism began to take hold of Britain, and his mother and father feared for their lives in the era of Enoch Powell delivering his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.
He writes: “In 67 Enoch Powell delivered his ‘rivers of blood’ speech and my father fearing what could happen if a rising swell of nationalism took hold, suggested my mother apply for a British passport.
“They told her she needed to renounce German citizenship and pledge allegiance to the Queen. My parents filled out the forms but as she stood in line with the papers in her hand her stomach sank and she realised she could not go through with it.”
Max explained how Fee felt it was was a “betrayal of her family and her identity” and British politics at the time was an “appeasement of new fascism”.
But having lived through World War II, Fee was undeterred by the threats, and the Twitter thread explains how Fee remained in the UK and carried on building her life. She became a professor of linguistics and 18th century French literature, getting to work in the very things that she was most passionate about.
But, as a vivid reminder of how little we have learned from the past, Max fast forwards to 2019. This is the year that Fee has to make an application for settled status “or risk being deported” - despite having lived in Britain for five decades.
He explains: “Much has been said about how Brexit is the betrayal of the young by the old. I cannot help feeling that it is also a betrayal of her and so many others of her generation. They inherited a Europe that was ravaged and deeply divided. And they built something beautiful in its place.”
The thread has been praised for raising “feelings of fondness and anger at the same time.”
Gregory Evans said: “This is a moving and chilling thread, an insight of what we have become and what Brexit is doing to us. Read it and weep. Then get angry and act.”
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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter