A positive case for the EU

Negative, fear mongering and petulant are the words I have been told as I asked members of the public in Cambridge the other day what they thought about the two campaigns in the EU referendum. I must say that I agree with them, to some extent.

It is clear that the so called ‘Brexit’ camp decided a while back to use negative spin to suggest we would be ‘invaded’ by everyone in Europe any day now! Meanwhile, the Remain campaign has predicted economic Armageddon for our generation if we decide to leave. Both campaigns know that opinions thrown at the public generate emotions and that this is a potent factor in forcing the electorate to make a decision. However I consider that the campaign strategy fear only works for the Out camp. I worry that for many, and by no means all, the reason for leaving the EU is based on fear. There are many who want to leave because of very reasonable arguments and even though I don’t always agree with them I can appreciate their opinions. However I worry that there are others who are fearful of immigration and this is the fertile soil that the Out campaign is planting its message.

Joe Twyman of YouGov makes this point very clear when he said “There are millions of people who would walk barefoot across broken glass to vote to leave. The ‘Remain’ campaign doesn’t have people who feel the same way.” (Washington Post 7/6/16)

So as I said before (DG 16/5/16)  I want to see a positive argument used to not only say what would happen if we left the EU but also what we are working towards as a united union with common goals and values. Gordon Brown came to the rescue. His lecture to the LSE on (YouTube 11/5/16)

made such a case when he said “…the market is not simply about trade, it is about the rights: economic and social as well as civil and political rights of every individual who are part of that 500m people.” We are united as a community by our common values. As the terms of joining the EU state, each country wishing to join must have the following – “stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.” (European Commission)

No other group of countries is bound together in such a noble bond of fraternity. It has been the guarantee of peace between the EU members and has enabled Europe to stand as a strong liberal bloc in the world.

The EU is by no means perfect; reform is needed. I want the EU to become more democratic with an ever growing focus on the rights of every citizen over the interests of capital.  However I want us, the British to lead this reform and not to walk away.

I support the EU because I am a patriot, proud of this country’s contribution to defend human rights. I support the EU because I am an internationalist who wants to share these values with the world. I support the EU because I believe in cooperation and know that we can achieve so much more when we stand together.