I worry enormously that the UK will leave Europe. Here are my reasons, from a left and right perspective, why I passionately believe in Europe. I accept it isn’t perfect, but isolationism would be catastrophic
1) How do you stand up to global multinationals and their excesses as a single nation. It is just too easy for them to bypass you.
2) How, in a global economy, do you tackle tax evasion/avoidance? The EU has a far better chance of blocking loopholes.
3) The environment is the biggest single issue of our time, but going alone on any environmental issue will kill a local economy( you cannot tax aeroplane travel alone for example). The world needs collective responsibility, starting with Europe.
4) Free trade and freedom of movement are the central reason why war becomes less likely. The single biggest reason to be in Europe is to stop war and conflict.
5) Putin is a silent partner to nationalists of the left and right in Europe. He would love to see Europe fall apart and recreate a new kind of iron curtain. The momentous events of 1989 were the most positive in recent European history. Why do we want to go back to a Europe of walls?
6) International companies see Europe as one place now. They really don’t want to see the UK as separate. It is a huge disincentive for them to do business here or see the Uk as a base for a European Headquarters. You don’t want 25 or more complex business laws to get round. You want one.
7) A richer and stronger Southern and Eastern Europe( net benefactors of eu funding) means a bigger trading area and a richer Northern Europe.
8) Cyber crime, large scale drugs crime, trafficking and most of the big problems of our time are international. How on earth do you tackle these things as a single sovereign country?
9) The UK is now the 6/7th biggest economy in the world. By the year 2025 it will be about 12th at best. We need a big economy to take on Asia and the Americas. Why are America rich? Mainly because they have a huge single market. We need the same.
10) “Switzerland and Norway stay out and are OK” is an argument always given. Yes, but although they are very rich they have much smaller economies. They also have to live under much EU law, without having a say in it. We are one of the three biggest European states.
11) “We should do more trade outside EU”…. we increasingly are, but as always is the way we will always do more trading with our partners. And also large companies are increasingly centralised and are structured by geographical region. Continents now deal with continents.
12) “too much bureaucracy”…..standardisation is complex and fiddly and without question all large bodies have inefficiency and red tape. The red tape of doing business abroad by not being in Europe would be ten times worse. It is better to be in the EU, influencing than outside
13) “We are culturally different”………yes, but we are also culturally the same. I haver far more in common with a liberal/social democrat pro European from Poland than i do with a UKIP voting next door neighbour. The digital world and social networks are surefire proof that your community is everywhere.
14) “There is a democratic deficit”….. globalisation, for good or bad, is inevitable. Devolution of power, where possible, should be encouraged but you cannot tackle the biggest issues of our time locally( defence, environment, economy, tax evasion)
15) Immigration. Immigration and multiculturalism is one of the reasons why the Uk is great. It takes huge courage to move country. Thos who do are naturally pioneering and hard working. They are not dolites. You should meet some of the people I meet on Wizzair flights from Budapest to London. They desperately want to work with English people, but the English just will not do these jobs. The Eastern Europeans don’t squeeze wages, governments do.
Anyway if you have got this far. Thanks for reading. It is time for pro European moderates to counter the extremist noise.
With thanks to Rupert Slade a member of on of the groups in the “say Yes 2 Europe – Remain in the EU” alliance.