But that doesn’t mean that some aspects of the changes unfolding around us aren’t deeply troubling. What worries me most is how it will affect people. There are around three million EU nationals who have made the UK their home. What of them, in our every changing social and political world? This is an important question to me, as closer to home I’m CEO of an international finance and professional services company, and two thirds of my brilliant staff are EU nationals.
For many, the feelings of ostracization that have been brewing for the last few years have reached a fever pitch since the election, and many people now feel unwelcome in the UK. Over the last few months many of my European friends and colleagues have put voice to a growing feeling that the UK no longer wants the association with Europe, and that we see ourselves as British first and foremost. Last week’s decision has compounded that perception for many. For those who have made their homes in the UK, it raises questions about their future. Added to this feeling of uncertainty is the continued failure of the Home Office to give EU citizens clarity, and the arbitrary rejection of settled status of more than half of those who apply in favour of the more precarious ‘semi settled status’.