Originally posted by Marion Thornly in her blog: Ceret Diaries: Musing’s on Brexit
On Facebook today I saw a post by a lady who wrote that she was going to vote to leave the EU for the sake of her grandchildren. I asked her what her vision of a future Britain outside of Europe was.
Her reply was this:
I want a country that governed by Westminster, not faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. I want a country that can decide for herself who enters and leaves its borders. I also want a country that makes her own economic decisions without reference to the eurozone...
I don’t have grandchildren, but if I did, I would want them to live in a country that had fair and just laws, whether these came from faceless bureaucrats in Brussels or faceless bureaucrats in Westminster. I would want them to live in a country with clean air and water, that protected wildlife, that had strong trading links with its European neighbours, that was part of a united Europe, however flawed that union might be.
People seem to have forgotten many things. The first of those is that during the 20th century Europe was ripped apart by two of the most terrible wars the world has ever seen. My grandfather was part of the first and my father just escaped being part of the second on account of his age. Surely we would not wish a repeat of this on our grandchildren?
Then there are the multitude of laws that the UK has had to adopt as a result of being part of the EU. These laws protect ordinary people against discrimination on the basis of gender or race in employment, pay and conditions in the workplace. Human rights laws have brought greater fairness for people who might otherwise have been victimised by the government.
An area close to my heart is the environment. EU legislation has brought improvements to the quality of the air and water in the UK as well as forced the UK government to abide by habitat and species protection measures. A recent letter from former heads of Natural England, English Nature, the RSPB and the National Trust has warned that pulling out of Europe could lead to “a very steep decline in pan-European protections in areas as diverse as water quality, energy efficiency and habitat and species protection.”
As a former Health and Safety director of a UK company, I am also aware of the huge impact of EU law on this area of life. H&S law might be much derided in the popular press but it has saved the lives of many employees.
All this is without reference to the huge importance of EU trade to the UK. It is no coincidence that the majority of business leaders wish the UK to remain within the Single Market, which has lowered costs and prices for consumers, and generated jobs and wealth within the UK. By leaving the EU Britain will be turning its back on a powerful economic force in the world, representing 23% of global GDP.
In conclusion I would wish my hypothetical grandchildren to grow up as cosmopolitan individuals, at home in the cultural and social milieu of Europe, rather than as insular people banging the nationalistic drum.