In the EU referendum next week I don’t think many people will surprised that I am voting in. I have been compelled by many of the positive reasons for staying in the EU; economic, environmental and social. From social media I have seen that many (not all) people who are voting out are doing so on an emotional basis rather than a rational basis. They have a feeling of dissatisfaction with the EU compelling them to vote out rather than a list of positive benefits that will come from leaving the EU. I think this is where the In campaign have been weak, they have provided lists of reasons why people should vote in trying to convince people on a rational rather than an emotional basis.
For me, the EU originally existed to stop European wars. In this it has been successful. People forget that war across Europe were the norm before 1945. However, given the social progression of humanity in Europe, this purpose seems less vital today, as the chance of a pan-European war seems significantly less likely. For me, the EU‘s purpose has evolved so we as a group of countries can face the challenges the world faces together. By working together on issues (such as economics, trade, the environment, energy, technology and science and all of the other things I have not listed) we can find a common solution from a position of strength as a larger group, rather than a disparate group of countries trying to face these problems alone.
I want to be clear, I am not saying all of these things will definitely be lost if we leave the EU. I am saying we will lose a huge chunk our influence in Europe to help ensure these changes happen in a way that benefits us. Decisions will be made, many that we will still have to abide by, that we will have no say in; unlike now where our MEP’s represent us (admittedly some better than others). However, this is not the thing that worries me. For me, our exiting a forum in which we can work with our neighbours on the big problems facing the world would be a much bigger loss.
I was in Europe with work the other week in a meeting with people from a number of different countries. Amongst this group of people was a person from Norway with a sense of humour so dry it would not have been out of place in a desert, a Czech person proud of their countries beer and a Swiss person not eating cakes as they were on a diet. As a group we had many conversations about the countries where we lived, our families and our jobs. Language differences aside, all of these people were no different to British people I have met.
Whenever I have a problem I talk to my friends and family about how to resolve it. Sometimes I need help and it is rare that I have to ask as help is usually offered. From what I have seen, people in other European countries have the same hopes for themselves and their families and the same problems that we do. The challenges currently facing the world as a whole are not going to get any less. For me, staying in the EU and working with our European neighbours gives us the opportunity to face these problems and change how the world works for the better. What could possibly be better than facing these problems with friends? The alternative is sitting moaning on the sidelines as the world passes us by, and let’s face it, no one likes listening to a moaner.
One last thing, a letter reportedly from a Dutch newspaper someone shared on Twitter: