UK – EU? : The Civilised Answer

LEAVE are offering a very selfish view. REMAIN are trying to scare the daylights out of everyone. Where is the CIVILISED DEBATE?

It seems as though the two sides of the Referendum argument are of the opinion that the British people are entirely selfish and will only respond on the basis of What’s in it for me? Are we really such an inward-looking nation despite the history of the last 100 years?

LEAVE the EU and we get to keep out the people we don’t like (well actually we can already do that if they are criminals). Xenophobia has no place in the modern world – just look at where it got us in 1914 and 1939 – never mind Kosovo and latterly the Middle East. And, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the much-vaunted Aussie immigration points system has marginal effect – even in Australia

Their argument also focuses strongly on being selfish with our resources. Really? Don’t we accept the principle of taxation to spread the costs of welfare to the poorest amongst us. Should that stop at the village boundary like it did with the Parish Poor Laws? Of course not. And since we are about the 5th richest economy on the planet it is ridiculous to suggest we cannot spread a little wealth at least to our European neighbours to enable them to come up in the world.

REMAIN would have us believe that we cannot afford to leave. Whilst that may contain some element of truth in the short term it completely ignores the long-term impact of UK involvement at the EU table. Don’t the Hungarians the Romanians and the Poles deserve some moderating civilised inputs to stop their own countries swinging to the far right. The rise of reactionary forces across swathes of the Continent is dangerous for us all and we should be arguing for a positive contribution from the UK to help prevent the darker side coming to the fore. We could and should be working with the likes of Germany, Denmark and Sweden as civilising influencers not running away and yet where is this argument being made from the REMAIN campaign?

Also where are the positive suggestions about working with the increasing numbers of people across the EU who are dissatisfied with the status quo? Surely that is Democracy in action? Are we arguing about fear or should we be considering positive democratic change for the benefit of all EU citizens?

CIVILISED is what the UK prides itself on being. We speak often of how we brought modern civilisation to great tracts of the planet (admittedly with varying degrees of success) and have left behind a string of modern democracies from Wellington and Singapore to New Delhi and Ottawa. Do we want to build on that? Look at the modern Germany and reflect on just how much that is a result of our influence in rebuilding their society after 1945. The UK has a lot to be proud of and a massive amount to offer. What we get in return is soft power and friendship. You simply can’t buy those commodities and yet their worth is huge to both the giver and the receiver.

Surely the focus of the present debate should be on what sort of world we want to contribute towards. What will make Europe more civilised and democratic and lead to a better world?

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