Discussion on Britain’s EU referendum is playing an increasingly dominant role in social discourse. For example, the top story on this morning’s BBC News website is announcing that Jeremy Corbyn is going to present his arguments for staying in later today. I suppose that is news, or at least the promise of news!
I will be interested to hear what he has to say and I expect I will agree with a fair amount of it. For myself, I am unequivocally in the ‘stay’ camp. The European Union has plenty of faults; we pay more than we get back directly and decisions that seek to include such a wide range of countries are always going to be ponderous and good in different parts, depending on your point of view. However, I think it is good to foster good relations with our continental neighbours and contribute to the EU’s stabilising influence. The so-called ‘war to end all wars’ was only a hundred years ago and the next world war followed not too long after. That isn’t a long time on a historical scale but I think we have a more secure set of relationships now.
Also, I’m not at all sure that I want the UK to take back “… control of our economy, our democracy and the £350m we hand to Brussels each week …” (MP Gisela Stuart, cited at the end of the story linked above). Firstly, I don’t think we have lost control of the first two; we just recognise that don’t play alone. Secondly, I think we are culturally, socially and, on the bigger scale, economically richer for contributing rather than playing on our own in the corner. Thirdly, looking at the history of political control in the UK, I don’t think there is a compelling argument for trusting ‘our own’ with less fettered control of such important matters.
I’m with The Clash. If we stay, there will be trouble. If we go, there will be double.