As a young person on the cusp of setting up a professional life, the threat of a British exit from the EU is very worrying indeed.
I am in my twenties and have grown up with the notion that as British citizens, Europe is our birthright. We British are free to pursue opportunities both in Britain and the continent, as other European nationals can do so in their home countries and throughout the rest of the EU, too.
In an increasingly globalised and integrated world, the benefits of this privileged exchange cannot be quantified or stressed enough. Just as European citizens have moved to the UK to seek opportunities, many British citizens live and work in Ireland and on the Continent. Millions of people, in fact. This is the nature of reciprocal exchange.
I worry about a Brexit, because it would threaten the future of all of those people who simply exercised their birthright as citizens of the European Union, and tried their luck in a fellow member state. I am one of those people.
I am as British as I am European, there is no conflict of identity there, and it seems untenable that this duality might be denied to future generations of otherwise cosmopolitan and worldly Britons, simply because of the myopic and narrow self-interest of a largely misguided group of people.
EU membership is in our national, regional and global interests. The top scholars from our best universities, the brightest analysts from independent think-tanks, and the all important voices of business leaders who provide jobs and wealth to our country are saying the same thing: Britain will be best served by remaining in the EU and striving to reform itself and the institution from within. Strong together, and still British.
It is not our way to shirk from our commitments or responsibilities simply because we find the going complex or tough. Isolation is not the answer. Let us not retreat to an irretrievable past, but instead look to the future. A future with our place at the centre and helm of our region, Europe. We can only do that within the EU.
Shama – PhD Curtin University – Oldham. UK