What do Jarvis Cocker and a statue of Virginia Woolf have in common?

Answer: They have both just been hugged by a European citizen who is not British.

The Hug a Brit (aka Please, Don't Go UK!) campaign is asking European citizens in the UK and around the world to find a Brit, given him or her a hug, photograph the hug and post it on Facebook.


The idea is to love-bomb the Brits into staying in Europe by showing them how much Europe loves the Brits and wants to keep British people in the European family.

In an interview with the Independent, Katrin Lock, who started the campaign said:

“It’s a little bit hippy, but a little bit of hippiness is needed. People are always arguing about cucumbers and shower caps. We wanted to do something positive instead of just talking about rules and regulations."

The campaign has caught on - hundreds of EU citizens are hugging their British friends not just to express their affection and appreciation for Britain but also to say something very practical.

Speaking to the Financial Times about the potenitally damaging consequences for EU citizens if the UK left the EU, Roger Casale said:

“There should be no mass deportations, and EU citizens should not have to rely on begging letters from local MPs to win the right to stay in Britain"

Whether Britain stays or leaves, non-British EU citizens in the UK will want to be sure the love they feel for Britain is reciprocated.

One such figure from history who had a deep love not just for King and country but also for Europe was was George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628).

George was the lover of King James I and also Anne of Austria, the Queen of France (wife of King Louis XIII ). The story also features in The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

However, George's European gregariousness did not endear him to his peers, who eventually removed the King's protection from him by Act of Parliament. 

The story lives on in the nursery rhyme Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie, Puddin' and Pie, 

Kissed the girls and made them cry,

When the boys came out to play,

Georgie Porgie ran away

Lovers of Europe unite!  Hug a Brit!

Tell them that it's okay to be British and European all at the same time!

And try and give them a hug too! You never know, they might like it!

Join the HugaBrit campaign and post your hug here

#hugabrit @pleasedontgouk


From time to time we'll share exclusive interview clips (including never-seen-before footage), the most incisive blog posts and the most interesting dispatches from our event organisers as they take the europe debate to the furthest, biggest, smallest, weirdest, most unusual places around europe and beyond.

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