Lincoln Drill Hall

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Get the EU vision

The origins of the EU were in the passionate wish of leaders and the people they led not to fight another war in Europe. The carnage had been too dreadful. It has worked; we have had peace for seventy years. We must do nothing to endanger that.

That is the biggest picture; what about the smallest: me. I am first and foremost British, but then I rejoice in being part of something bigger with my closest neighbours. We share the same history, the same culture; we are all products of a renaissance which spread throughout the continent of Europe and gave us so much in common to treasure.

I have lived and worked in continental Europe: Brussels. I loved it. I used a different language for work: French. I worked side by side native Belgians, but also Dutch and French. More recently volunteering with refugees on Lesvos, I was again working alongside Belgians, Dutch, French, Spanish and Germans in Greece. It was natural; we were fulfilling a common destiny.

The European Economic Community was about free trade and that has worked. It has grown into allowing free movement, so in Lincoln, for example, our biggest manufacturing employer offering most apprenticeships and supporting both University and UTC is German. There are also big investments from Spanish and Dutch. It works.

An EU budget allows what we used to call regional aid to operate across Europe to support the poorest areas and to enable them to grow vibrant economies. It is working, the gap between rich and poor countries is narrowing. This benefit everyone; the wider wealth is spread the stronger the economy. Poor areas of the UK benefit alongside everyone else, and that includes Lincolnshire.

BUT the EU has a bureaucracy that is adrift from the member states it should be serving and is not properly controlled by the leaders of those states. This is no reason to leave; it is reason to get stuck in and produce the Europe we want; it is our servant not our master.

This is something I feel passionately; come on politicians man up. Unless you want to be beaten by tabloid newspapers pandering to mean minded readers. Get the vision.

Post script

Friends remind me of other reasons for staying in: workers rights, employment protection, but then the benefits of scientific collaboration. We stand to lose so much if we fail to win the argument.




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