Ten reasons to vote to stay in the European Union:
- To help maintain peace in Europe. The treaty of Rome resolved that by pooling resources they would “preserve and strengthen peace and liberty, and calling upon the other peoples of Europe who share their ideal to join in their efforts”. This was signed after two world wars which had engulfed Europe.
- Protect the benefits the UK has gained from the free trade area. In addition to easing trade in goods and services this has encouraged investment in the UK by international companies wanting to serve the whole of Europe.
- The freedom to live and work in any part of the European Union and cross borders without delay or showing a passport.
- The freedom of people to come and live, work or study in the UK benefitting our economy and society in many ways from filling jobs which people here will not do (eg in horticulture) or boosting the standing of our universities.
- Law enforcement co-operation including the European Arrest Warrant which has made it much more difficult for British criminals to spend their ill-gotten gains on a Mediterranean beach or elsewhere in Europe.
- Structural funds which help more deprived areas including parts of of the UK. £6bn in the next five years for England, Scotland, Wales and Northen Ireland.
- Retain our influence the rules of trade and social policy by which we would still have to abide even if not a member of the EU.
- A stronger voice in the world that comes from part of a larger bloc which can meet and negotiate with China and the United States as an equal partner.
- To safeguard workers’ rights not to be exploited. This includes working hours and holidays.
- Maintain a level playing field when British firms bid for contracts in Europe
Those are solid reasons for remaining but above these is the question of identity. Do I feel European: Yes.
For a couple of years I lived in southern Spain. Outside public building three flags flew — those of Andalucia, Spain and the EU — signifying a broader concept of identity than that which seems to drive the Brexit campaigners.
I was born in England and lived most of my life in England, but my mother was Irish and my father identified himself as Scottish. Like many children I wrote my address on the flyleaf of an atlas: New Street, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, British Isles, Europe, the World.
My father told me not only about the Act of Union but the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France and its continuing influence.
I don’t want my multi-tiered identity torn away by a vote for Brexit by English voters.
I could do something about this. By virtue of my mother’s birth I have dual citizenship and can get an Irish issued European passport. But I would much rather that the vote is to remain in the EU because I believe in ideals of its founding fathers.