I am British, I was born here and live here, my family is British. I work here and pay taxes here. I love my country, I’m proud of its history, it’s impact on the world, of our Queen and I feel patriotic when I see Britain doing great things within the global community and I also believe in Europe and the European Union. I don’t consider myself European other than in the geo-political sense as I am British but I don’t feel afraid to be part of the something that brings together the countries on this continent that has prevented any further war like our citizens, our parents and our grandparents saw in the two World Wars at the beginning of the 20th Century.
I consider the European Union to be an organisation that is a membership and an investment in 28 countries working together to maintain political harmony, lay out guidelines for conducting business and trade, allowing free trading and free movement as well as making consideration for the worlds environment, it’s resources and it’s sustainability. Equally I can separate this membership as something positive without seeing or feeling that we lose our sovereignty, our ability to make decisions outside of it and lose our identity as a nation.
I can acknowledge that the EU has it’s chunkiness’s and there will always be suggestion for unnecessary rules and laws which in the main never make it to a signed off stage, this happens in Westminster every day. I acknowledge that there are some controls required to ensure that both free movement and free trade are not abused but equally acknowledge that in real terms the EU is a young organisation and needs time still to develop it’s role.
The European Union to me represents a community of vital importance to the UK’s future economically and politically. Whilst I agree that some reform is required in certain areas- an exit is unnecessary and would only have a detrimental impact on the UK. In my opinion the UK needs to stand up and be counted within the EU and rather than be a “side-line” player we need to take a seat firmly next to Germany as one of the world’s largest economies and well respected countries and lead the way. Yes being part of this community does require give and take but there is no reason why we can’t have more influence and get more of what we want out of membership.
The ability to freely trade and move within the union is an opportunity both economically and socially. I am not concerned by EU migration I don’t feel uncomfortable walking down the street and hearing other languages that I don’t understand and I do respect those that come to the UK and take up jobs using skills that we simply don’t have or want to have anymore and have been crucial in the recent early stages of the rebuilding of UK manufacturing and other industries and developing and supporting the growth of businesses that we didn’t have in the UK before.
Equally migration is a two way street, as a British citizen you and your children have the choice to move to where you want to move to, travel and see places within Europe without hindrance or Visa. In a growing international community this only brings more opportunity and ultimately choices. No one should move to a another state and become a purposeful burden but we can’t remove that ability to be able to have the opportunity to try and join a system and pay into it.
The UK itself through the commonwealth and other countries has seen communities arrive for decades and become an established and highly valuable part of society, be it Asian, West Indian, Irish, Italian and African. Many of these people have come to the UK, worked and built businesses and generations on provide valuable professions, services and tax revenues and whilst acute aware of where they came from their children and children’s children consider themselves British.
Many will complain about legislation regarding environment, product quality and health and safety, whilst these things came about because of the EU are they not actually things we should have adopted as a responsible nation anyway? Providing sustainable fishing and agriculture without wastage? Ensuring that products and goods meet certain quality standards? Ensuring that employees are looked after properly? Is it not better to have the option to work longer hours as opposed to being told you have too?
I know these rules were put in place by an organisation outside of the UK but are they really that bad? Are they actually not quite sensible? The way that political game play works would they have not taken years to be implemented anyway for fear of losing the vote from proportion of society. Sometimes having an external body is a good way of managing some of what are elected government decides to do or not do! These regulations don’t stop you being British, don’t stop you from making a living, don’t stop you from making choices for you and your family.
Leaving the EU is an unnecessary course of action there is no value in it at all but standing in the background moaning and groaning and feeling like the Great British pride is hurt because someone else told us to do something.
If we don’t like something we need to take a greater hand in creating something that is of value. As a nation we’ve done it before many times. Let’s become a leader and influencer within Europe – other countries will listen to us because of who we are and what we have done in the past. Let’s stop electing people to the European Parliament that don’t want us to be there and put in people that will voice the nations opinion as a member of the community and actually turn up.
By leaving we only bring uncertainty and complication with no guarantee of how we move forward. By staying we retain opportunity and in real terms the ability to continue to grow as an economy as we have done in the last few years by people a part of the EU. We retain the options we have to travel, live and work where we want. We can be a part of the EU and develop business and relationships throughout the world in the emerging nations, through the commonwealth and so on. Nothing stops us from doing this. Let’s not pass on to the next generation a potentially poisonous chalice when we can just change our approach and have the best of all worlds.
Chris, Cambridgeshire, UK