Europe

It’s less than three weeks to the EU referendum here in Britain and the waves are lapping higher and higher. This issue is rousing one of the strongest emotions in the British: Their dislike of authority. No-one likes being told what to do, but especially not the Brits. It’s one of the things I love about them, one of the reasons I moved here 27 years ago.

 

In this particular case though, dear British friends, you will cut your nose to spite your face if you let your gut reaction rule your vote. You will still be told what to do, it’s not choice between freeedom and slavery. It’s a choice between one authority and another. The often mooted argument that the EU government in Brussels is unelected seemes spurious – there are plenty of unelected, civil servants in the British government too, like in any other government. It’s the way governments are run.

Please calm yourselves down and look at the facts, think what you’d like to be able to do in your life and how you wish the next generation to be able to live.

 

Our environment would have suffered much worse in the last 20 years if it hadn’t been for the influence from Europe. Plants and animals, water and air cannot speak for itself and needs protection. Britain has been told repeatedly to clean up it’s act, and still has to be dragged along like a recalcitrant child. On this matter, the British government (whether labour or conservative) cannot be trusted to work in our best interest. For example only recently, British representatives in the EU lobbied intensely against a new EU regulation on air pollution, trying their best to water down what will be for the health of us all, trying their best to avoid tighter regulations on large scale polluters in the industry. This is driven by greed of the few, not by a call to look after everyone’s well-being. Some countries in the EU are far ahead of us in terms of environmental laws and it’s a good thing that this rubs off on us, via EU regulations.

Brits don’t like being told what to do or how to live, and far from being restrictive, being in the EU opens some opportunities to you in this respect: If you don’t like your life here in th UK, currently you have an easy option of trying out life in another European country. On our travels, we have met many British migrants in all corners of Europe, ranging from people in their early twenties who find they can live a dream of self-sufficiency in Portugal in a way they would never have been able to realise in the UK, to those pensioners who seek the sun in Southern Spain. Currently you have a freedom of movement that will allow your children to go and study in Europe, to broaden their minds and save money on the way by living in cheaper economies and not having to pay the extortionate study fees that the British government imposes on students here, taxing the next generation.

Much more could be said….

One final thing. Moving away from the position of ‘what do I get from this’ to a stance of ‘what can I contribute’ – the EU was founded on the back of two wars, and one of its aims was to stabilise the political situation in Europe. It has achieved that and we’ve had the luxury of peace for a very long time. Right now, there are great challenges facing Europe and we need everyone IN, rolling up their sleeves and doing their bit to help with it. What a time for the UK to even deliberate dropping out! We are a rich nation and we are needed to help those who are desperate. If we close our doors and hearts in this moment, we will lose out on an opportunity to grow emotionally. It’s time to drop our fears and think beyond just our own interests, to think bigger, not smaller, and find more lasting solutions to social and environmental issues.


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