In the light of the first EU referendum given to the British public, I wrote this letter to the nation's youth:

Dear under 30s

This is written for you, for those who are bewildered at the betrayal and consumed with confusion. I want to tell you you matter dearly, dearly and there is hope, that the world and creation has not abandoned you to the vicious decisions of elders entrusted to protect and provide for you. That life is still yours and many, many more blessings.

I want to show you how to access these.

But first I do need to apologize. Not because I voted Leave (I didn't, for your information; I voted enthusiastically to Remain) nor because I am in and out of many countries. No, I want to apologize because I wasn't fierce enough in fighting for the truth or declaring it loudly enough. I thought if I whispered it it would be sufficient. It's not.

I remember when the unravelling started in earnest in 1996. This was followed by the eradication of truth as an objective reality replacing it  by mendacious narratives through the internet. Then there was the substitution of our God-given internal hard drives for a mechanical external one. Bit by bit, the connections were no longer made. People were conversating less, attention limited to entertainment and brains atrophied as thumb muscles increased. As a teacher, year on year, I have been appalled by the decrease in work ethic and literacy skills, the limitation of the curriculum (thanks, Michael Gove) to only literature published by British authors. Gone were the essentials like 'Ann Frank's Diary', 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'I know Why the Caged Bird sings'. It was subtle this invasion; some teachers whined but most just 'got on with it' for the sake of the paycheck and pension.  Every year, the agenda was changed. Every year, less was achieved and more bureacracy was demanded. Ignorance became fashionable, nationalism the new keyword, both in Scotland and in England.

I moved to Scotland in 2007 as I could already taste the vile xenophobia in England, the same racism which had driven me into the arms of South Central Los Angeles in the early 1990s, the same ignorance and hatred which had called me a 'nigger' when I was five. I wasn't Scottish so I couldn't vote and the broad curriculum was rapidly reduced through Curriculum for (irony) Excellence to (you guessed it) Scottish-only texts. Gone was the broad range of texts representing the diaspora of English language, a language created by so many countries and cultures which reached and was modified by all cultures and peoples, in and out of translation, introducing the vibrancy of life, experience and language to the next generation, whatever nationality they were. English to me is an organic, vtial song, defined and extended by the semantic and rhetorical gymnastics of rappers, science and the arts, mathematics, suffering and oppression.

I felt I had no home in the UK; England was regressing, fuelled by nostalgia and bitterness and a disconnect. Island mentality had entrenched far too many who remembered a time when they were handed everything on a plate, (a plate provided by the last resources of the British Commonwealth and Empire), opportunities, services, prestige. A time when a British passport and education and culture developed hard-working, innovative, creative, inspiring and service-orientated infividuals and groups. Now that was gone, apparently. So someone must be to blame. The ignorance and stagnation bred a fear of the dynamic and a terror of change in status. 'We are the Kings! We are Lions!' We cannot be anything else. Island narcissism.

I do blame education and the press - more than politicians. The real history of the UK - how a mouldy island became a powerhouse of connections, culture and business thanks to its ability to integrate different cultures, languages and ideas - was not taught as a compulsory subject or embedded in the curriculum. We got 'Sex Education', 'Drugs and Alcohol' and frigging 'Citizenship'.  The teaching of English was done by people without a grasp of either its mechanics or history. They neither knew nor cared how it was rooted in European and Eastern languages, business, war and travel. The teaching of science and economics ignored sources and history.  The impact of the Scottish Enlightenment  and the European Renaissance was n't even mentioned let alone explored. The foundations of the American Constitution and why so many Scots helped found these principles of democracy and why.....does any A star British student know about this? Nothing essential was given. No one knew about Hamilton - or, for that matter, cared. There is nothing in British history to suggest humiliation or defeat or that we got things wrong. Your parents were taught they were British and that was enough. The morality of appropriating wealth and treasures from India and Africa, the Caribbean, the imposition over the Middle East, the responsibility and the consequences of this small island's decisions and actions was never up for discussion.

But I want to say SORRY. People who earn money as either a teacher of a member of the press (and I am both) have a duty to be thorough and rigorous. We live in the age of populism, where reality is gauged by likes and followers not by authenticity or truth. Truth for my generation died in 1996 - the first casualty of war - and it's been on since then but no one's announced it. A politician is just a person - anyone, be it an artist. an MP, a senator, a mayor or businessperson - a person we the public choose to give power to. Democracy is no more than our God-given right to give power to somebody or thing; democracy does not make that election RIGHT, it just makes it real. Hitler was appointed by democracy, Jesus Christ was crucified by democracy. Democracy just is, like eating. Some countries still don't even have democracy just like some countries don't have food. Both are essentials to human life.

But democracy can still result in disaster, in war, in poverty. The indicators of poverty are NOT  a lack of money or new shoes. They are: ignorance, squalor, disease, neglect and idleness. You can be a millionaire and still end up living in poverty and those five indicators will tell you how it happened.

So, in England, ignorance, neglect and idleness come first. I apologize on behalf of the educators of your parents and the previous generations. I apologize for the members of the press. I apologize for not being fiercer, more fearless, more present and more thorough. I apologize for following the instructions of a political bureaucracy too often - not always but still too much - and for not actively opposing what I knew to be an equivocation or outright lie.  I didn't used to be like that. But I got shut down and it hurt and scared me. Now I know I would rather go through all that again rather than  sacrifice our youth for their selfish ideals and nostalgic nonsense.

The equivocations and blatant lies touted in the press and in parliament, the exploitation of the fears of the weak, the poor and the disenfranchised, manipulated and deceived yet again is all down to vocabulary and semantics. There's only 2000 words you can use if you want to reach a certain demographic; do not go outside them. If the 'Remain' campaign had named itself 'Stay' instead of flipping 'Remain', more would have. So we burnt our bridges to history, to peace and hope, to battles lost and won, to compromises and new faith, to intelligence, new ideas, new connections, new solutions. We burnt our bridges and your futures in the name of 'democracy' and 'nationalism'.

On behalf of all the idiots, sorry.

My first words of encouragement to you are that your God-given brains are sharp. Switch off your social media for a bit. Tool up with tighter thinking, question everything. Ask questions, too many questions. Ask til they call you 'Nosey' like they did me, til they tremble when you come near. Think. I have no idea of what over-thinking is unless you are thinking about the same thing in the same way all the time which isn't thinking at all.  Innovate. You have more capacity for change and growth than any forty year old. Remember that. Your youth already gives you more potential than a millionaire. Capitalise on it.

Education matters. If you are getting a lousy deal, educate yourselves. That's what the tenacious pre-Welfare State working class did. Find out, ask questions, demand answers. Don't let them shut you up or buy you off. My dad would sneak in and sit in on lectures, stay in libraries. I used to root through second hand bookshops. Interview people. I was denied a real education so I gave one to myself - I went out armed only with a camera, a notepad and pen and I got the best one ever. I travelled the world on my questions alone. And the answers I found blessed me and others, so many others.

So: DO NOT BELIEVE THE PRESS. DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. It is a PART, just a PART of the world. They both have their place but they are neither of them definitive of who you are, your potential or your future. You can change that.

Expand the definition of you, seek out sound and wise teachers, erudite and thorough investigative journalists, scientists, researchers, artists. Any genuinely passionate expert loves it when a young person asks them about their passion.

YOU and you alone, our youth, will make the future. Do not let them sacrifice it for theirs. Don't be idle, don't be ignorant, don't give up and moan and trawl through your Instagram likes.

Get out and change the world.

love Nina x