This week, after 32 years of political passiveness and one month after becoming a British citizen, I joined the Liberal Democrats.
I arrived in the UK on a cold, rainy Thursday afternoon in March 2013 with two suitcases and a job offer from a London-based media agency. I was born in Germany and had lived, studied and worked there most of my life up until that point. My decision to come was a professional one at the time, and I had no clear concept of how long I might stay.
I was in tears that morning as newscasters called the result of the referendum
I have since fallen in love with this island and its people. Most importantly, I met my wonderful wife Caroline – but I’ve also met some of the most remarkable people from every corner of the world, I am privileged to call them my friends.
Then came the referendum. I was in tears that morning as newscasters called the result.
Suddenly, my future and that of millions of others were in question.
My decision to become a British citizen was one both of the head and the heart. It was more than a move to safeguard my immigration status.
For me, it was a firm commitment to the place I now call my home.
None of us can afford to sit on the sidelines
It is easy to forget how privileged I have been throughout it all: growing up in a peaceful
and prosperous union of European nations. Enjoying the freedom to work and live wherever I want, to fall in love with whoever. I have enjoyed it all thanks to the work of generations before me who created the European Union.
The time to be a bystander is over.
None of us can afford to sit on the sidelines as the rights of future generations are under assault by forces that want our island to be a smaller, more divided, less welcoming place.
That is why I have joined the Liberal Democrats: to fight for Britain’s place in Europe. To demand better for my home. To play a part in solving the many challenges facing our society, from homelessness to climate change.
My time as a bystander is over. From here on, expect to hear my voice in this fight.