Note: The Remain campaign during the 2016 referendum was tepid and wavering. The arguments were almost all negative and grudging – the UK should stay in the European Union because leaving would cause economic pain. Few campaigners seemed to believe that there was anything actually good about the EU itself. The Many leading politicians may indeed be lukewarm about Europe, but that approach does not correspond to the experiences and hopes of most British voters. Nor is such a stumbling narrative of Britain in Europe in any way compelling. There is a better way. Here is a little effort at a manifesto.
The United Kingdom is in Europe.
The United Kingdom belongs in the European Union.
As members of the European Union, British citizens are free to travel in 27 other countries without fees, paperwork, paying more for mobile phone service or worrying about healthcare if they fall ill.
As members, British workers benefit from the freedom to work in 27 countries and the security which comes from strong legal protection of labour rights.
As members, British students are free to study in 27 countries, to share knowledge and experiences.
As members, British pensioners are free to live in 27 countries, many of them with much better weather than the UK.
As members, British people are free to fall in love with people from 27 countries, with no worries about bureaucratic hurdles to romance and family life anywhere in the Union.
As members, British voters are free to influence the future of the entire Union through the European Parliament.
The British are Europeans, and Europeans belong in the European Union.
As members of the European Union, British people can live out their historic role as a truly European country. The EU, a union of national democracies, is like the British nation writ large, and not only because English is the common language. There is a British-style (and British-influenced) commitment to social justice, shared prosperity, learning, culture, and political freedom.
To be great in the world today requires strength in many dimensions – in the economy and the culture, in the strength of national character and in military strength. Europe has this multi-faceted greatness.
The European economy is world scale,
European culture is world-class,
European values – tolerance, honesty, fairness, a healthy mix of cooperation competition, concern for the poor and weak – are the world-standard.
And, when force is needed, Europe as a whole can be a world leader.
The British have this global greatness today, entirely through their leading role in Europe.
By any standard, the average European enjoys some of the best lifestyles in the world today – their incomes, jobs opportunities, holidays, welfare benefits and housing are the envy of billions. That’s one of the main reasons so many people want to come from so many countries to work and live in Europe.
This prosperity is a European project, created by a single market in goods, services, labour and capital.
The United Kingdom shares the wealth of Europe because it has a single economy with Europe. The more united the European economy is, the greater British prosperity will be.
The European Union was founded primarily to promote peace, and it has done so successfully.
The peace of Europe is far more than the fearful peace of military stand-offs and balances of terror. Europe has become a community with ever deepening mutual trust and ever greater regional solidarity. There are European companies, European networks of research and training, and European political and regulatory institutions.
The UK is a natural member of this peaceful community, which is embodied in the European Union.
Britain belongs in Europe because of the past – its history, culture and values are all thoroughly European.
Britain belongs in Europe because of the future – only in Europe can the country be a world leader and only through Europe can British people have the freedom and opportunities they crave and deserve.
Britain belongs in Europe in the present. The incompetence of the politicians leading the campaign for Brexit shows that the idea of leaving was never sensible.
Stay where we are to create more prosperity, more peace and a truly Greater Britain.
17 Dec. 2018