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Why I am applying for Polish citizenship

by Richard Lucas | 21.08.2016

We read a lot about Poles coming to live in Britain. Well, I am an example of the reverse phenomenon, Brits living in Poland. I am now applying for Polish citizenship. Having lived here for over 25 years, I didn’t even get a vote in the referendum.

I want to be citizen of an EU country. I now have rights and freedoms to live, work, trade, study and travel as a result of Britain’s EU membership. I want to keep them after Britain surrenders them.

I want to be fully part of a country that shares my European values, to make a statement that I am fundamentally against Britain disconnecting from Europe and to show how disgusted I am that loyal British subjects living abroad have been disenfranchised.

I am internationalist in outlook. My Britishness is important to me, but not my defining characteristic. I was happy being in a Europe where barriers were coming down and nationality was becoming less important over time. My decision to apply to become Polish is an emotional reaction against the architects and leaders of Brexit. I feel saddened, ashamed, infuriated and/or repelled, by them. Whether they are holidaying in Switzerland or playing cricket the day after the vote, I just can’t identify and feel close to a country led by such irresponsible people.  

I want Britain to be a decent country, treating other countries’ citizens and British people with respect. Repeating “Brexit means Brexit” without saying what it means is anything but. Real people and lives are affected. Millions of foreigners in Britain and British people abroad live with unnecessary uncertainty about their residency rights. I did not always agree with Tony Blair, David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher, and other British leaders – but I never felt they clowned around, playing word games with topics that impact people’s lives.

Taking away our children’s future

International contacts and diversity benefit British culture. Rejecting intolerant faiths and ideology requires knowledge and understanding. Reducing the number of British people who know the rest of the world and foreigners who know the British will do lasting harm.

We will never be able to fully quantify the loss of experience that the Brexiteers are imposing on foreigners and British people alike. It is heart breaking. My six year old daughter once told me: “it’s not what you have – it’s your experiences that matter”. Brexiteers are stealing future experiences from our children.

Wealthy, well educated and successful people will find ways to get second passports, visas and escape the stagnation, isolation and poverty that awaits. The Brexit leadership will be mostly OK, and better able to afford a cut in their living standards. For the poor and less well connected, being stuck in Britain will be much worse. There will be much less tax revenue to alleviate the many problems that Brexit will cause.

Alexander Bett and Anand Giridharadas gave excellent talks at the TED Summit in the last week of June 2016, and they spoke for me.  I join them in recognizing that the reasons people voted for Brexit were real.  Those leaders in politics and the media who misled the British people are responsible. If they see the error of their ways in years to come and work together with those who want to lead Britain out of isolation and poverty back to Europe I will be happy they changed their minds. But Brexiteers, it is you who leading this doomed project. You are responsible. It is going to be hard to forgive, and impossible to forget.

Richard Lucas is a businessman with companies in Poland, Britain, Hong Kong, and the US

Edited by Hugo Dixon

6 Responses to “Why I am applying for Polish citizenship”

  • Very well said I am looking to move to an future eu country. We have really screwed up on this one . What exactly does ” we want our country back” mean ???.

  • Good. I hope all you whinging remainers leave. The majority of you are either rich toffy-nosed twats, or students who live off mummy and daddy. None of you feel the crappy effects of the eu. We’re not giving up our sovereignty and our country to be an eu citizen just because you feel ‘european’. You can have your eu superstate, with your eu flag and sing your eu anthem…not in Britain. I’ll continue to be English and British. That’s it.

  • “rights and freedoms to live, work, trade, study and travel” are regulated by the Schengen Agreement (which UK opt out from the beginning) to create Schengen Area. There is no need to be in UE to participate in the Schengen Area – see Norway and Switzerland.

  • Hey you are not alone. I gave up a good job in the UK to move the family to Poland. I find Poland to be a far superior country to live in. (Wages are the only down side) Now, well over a decade and I love it even more. I hope more make the journey like yourself.

  • I fully support the sentiments expressed above,we need to be offered a European passport and citizenship for those of us who will never support the idiots distruction of our European ideal however flawed it may have been.