A member of our local party shares their reasons for voting to REMAIN in the European Union.
To begin, I should perhaps explain why I have submitted this piece anonymously. In my day job, I am employed by a government department, and as such I am a servant of the government of the day and the public. An important requirement of my work is that I should be seen to be impartial (publicly, at least) on any matters of a political nature. Quite right too.
However, I am also a human being, and like everyone I have my own personal feelings, and need to express them like anyone else. I'm also proudly British, with very strong feelings about the forthcoming EU referendum. I'm also very steadfast in my view on this: since the prospect of a referendum was first mooted, I have never doubted that I would vote to remain in the European Union.
The arguments from both sides of the campaign spectrum have done nothing to change any of my feelings on this, and if I'm honest I don't feel either campaign has acquitted itself with any great degree of dignity. I also feel there's been a fair bit of downright dishonesty on both sides. Still, my feelings on this vote run very deep, and if you'll allow me, I'd like to explain why.
During World War II, my grandfather served with the British Royal Navy. The ship on which he served carried Canadian troops to the Normandy landings. As you may know, the Canadians drew the short straw, landing on what was considered (rightly, as it turned out) the most treacherous stretch of coast.
There were several times when Grandad would try to tell me about his experiences. He never got very far though. It evidently remained unbearable for him to relive what he had experienced and witnessed that day, but the look in his eyes told me all I needed to know.
What the events of that day achieved was, naturally an enormous part of bringing that war to an end. But, ending the war was just the beginning. The mistakes made in the aftermath of World War I had led to recession which enabled the rise of fascism. A massive effort was made to ensure that our former enemies were not left floundering, and that economic stability was restored.
To cut a long story very short, what eventually evolved into the European Union was formed. This very institution has ensured that the nations of Europe have enjoyed over 70 years of peace. Think about it, or look at the history of the continent if you need to. We're talking about nations which had pretty much spent hundreds of years fighting with or invading each other (yes, this is an over simplification, but you get my point). Now, they don't go to war with each other. They sit down around a table and talk. Problems don't escalate out of hand. We deal with each other, we compromise, and compromise is what brings about real change.
Is the EU perfect? Of course not, but then we shouldn't expect it to be. It's not a finished product, it's an ongoing project. It takes work, and all of us working together. If we don't like something, we should be in there fighting alongside like-minded parties in other nations to change it, mucking in and getting our hands dirty. Not getting in a strop, saying “I don't want to play anymore”, and heading home, never to return.
No, the European project's greatest achievement has been to ensure that the sacrifices made by so many in conflict have not been in vain. They fought for peace, and the EU has ensured that it has continued.
The Leave campaign likes to talk a lot about Britishness and patriotism, and yet I frankly can't think of anything more unpatriotic than voting to leave the EU. I think it's cowardly. I think it's irresponsible. I think it insults the memory of my Grandad and all those other people who gave so much (including, in many cases their lives) to secure peace in Europe.
And that, dear reader, is a very big part of why I'm voting to remain. I hope you do too.