The Brexit bullies are out on the attack. Their latest target was the leading NGO that helps and supports EU citizens in the UK: the3million. We must not only stand up to these Brexit bullies, but we EU citizens also need you to stand with us now.
On Thursday morning, something happened that I had always assumed nobody would sink to. But they did. Guido Fawkes, Leave.EU and other pro-Brexit groups decided that now is the time to go after the3million (a not for profit organisation formed after the 2016 referendum to protect the lives of EU citizens who made the UK their home.)
I am furious beyond measure. And that is saying something.
So what happened?
The Hub’s sole purpose is to provide information about Settled Status for EU citizens — the application they all have to make if they want to stay post-Brexit. It is for providing that information that the3million have received funding from City Hall.
the3million have set out the context for the funding and everything is fully transparent — a simple fact-check would have brought all of this out.
But, of course, facts have never mattered much to Brexiters. So, Leave.EU was only too happy to use this to directly rile against the3million. They made a special graphic for it focused on Sadiq Khan and incorrectly call the3million organisation “second referendum campaigners” on it.
Leave.EU and Nigel Farage have long been stirring hate against EU citizens. But during the EU referendum campaign even they were not asking for anything to change for existing residents. Yet, here we have Leave.EU stirring hate against the organisation that has been working so hard to pick up the pieces of the mess Leave.EU created for millions of EU citizens.
The Hub is designed to help protect and support them, but to Leave.EU it is a means to stir up even more hate — just look at the comments underneath their tweet.
This, however, does not stop at Leave.EU. The Guido Fawkes piece was also shared by Change Britain who consider a Hub designed to inform EU citizens about their rights and obligations, and to help protect them “EU propaganda”. Truly shameful.
But what certainly makes this all the more shameful, coming from Change Britain, is that former Labour MP Gisela Stuart is their chair.
Gisela Stuart (Change Britain)
As a leading member of Vote Leave, it is no surprise that other Vote Leave leaders are happy to be involved with Change Britain too, including the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson (Change Britain)
On 1 June 2016, both Gisela Stuart and Boris Johnson, together with other Vote Leave leaders, signed a statement that included this promise for EU citizens already at home in the UK:
Vote Leave campaign.
So, to now see the organisation both are involved with and support cast the work of the3million as “EU propaganda” is simply disgusting. It is because of their broken promise that the3million even exist in the first place; that I do what I do.
In Gisela Stuart’s case the story is even worse. She chaired a citizen’s rights inquiry by British Future that recommended various measures for immediate protection. But Gisela Stuart then acted against enabling such protection. Any doubt, ask Professor Steve Peers.
The hypocrisy is incredible. And despicable. EU citizens at home in the UK, your neighbours, colleagues, friends and family, are now forced to apply to stay because of the actions and failures of leading Leave organisations and supporters.
Forced to apply so that we can remain your neighbours, colleagues, friends and family. And now, the organisations and people who created that situation in the first place have nothing better to do but rile against the one organisation working to make sure no one is left behind because of Brexit.
That does take some beating for how shameful and despicable it is — not least because it is an argument built on lies, and designed for point-scoring and hate-stirring, not just against the3million but also against the Mayor of London and against the EU.
The extent to which it is working is easy to see in the comments, but also who retweeted the Guido Fawkes piece and/or the Leave.EU tweet, and what they have to say. Ms Dickinson, for example, who yesterday stirred anti-German sentiments in the most despicable way, is all up for it...
A Lancashire County Councillor is...
A yellow vest account is...
I am not sure what one can still say to this, really. It speaks for itself. But having to deal with this is very difficult. At no point can those who got us EU citizens here, who caused us so much anxiety and distress, just let it be.
They go so far as to use Brexodus stories of EU citizens leaving to attack and taunt us, as, for example, Arron Banks and his followers did earlier last year...
They call EU citizens who are suicidal because of the uncertainty Brexit has caused them “wimps”, as Kerstin Rodgers did...
Or tell us our experiences of hate simply “didn’t happen”, as Daniel Hannan also did...
Chloe Westley has also happily been sharing the Guido Fawkes story. As a Brexiter, and a former Vote Leave staffer, she really couldn’t go lower than sharing an attack on support for EU citizens.
Or this UKIP London Assembly member who has turned the3million into quite something: “A political group which campaigns against a no-deal WTO Brexit and effective immigration control.”
And now they attack the one organisation that has been fighting our corner all this time, the one lifeline we have that has ensured we are not in an even worse situation. Shameful does not get any more shameful than this.
For me, personally, this emphasises again why I do what I do. Please help me to support the3million by becoming an #EUcitizensChampion today. Now that Brexiters have even crossed this line, it can only get worse. We need you to stand with us.🔷
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.)