HARRY BOWDEN: We can be British AND European

I was born in 1941 during the second of two catastophic wars which engulfed Europe in the 20th century.

Sunday, 22nd May 2016, 3:15 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd May 2016, 4:50 pm

The first words spoken over me came from a morose grandfather who said: “Huh more gun fodder!”

His prophecy did not come to pass. I was not fed to the guns in yet another war, I’ve never even held a gun.

I believe that mine and your peaceful existence today is in a large part due to the way in which the European leaders came together after that devastating period saying, never again.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

They built political and ecomomic structures to ensure that peace, stability and the shared values of our democracies; equality and justice under the law prevailed.

As a result those of us in the EU have prospered enormously. Circumstances from within and without the union are putting strains upon its structure so how can it be that, just when we need to show solidarity with our neighbours, helping to reshape and strenghen our partnership, some of us are suggesting that we walk away.

The divisiveness,the mistrust, the them and us, the fear are all creeping into the debate, as they did in the Scottish referendum and as we can see the wounds from that campaign are still there.

To me it seems obvious that we should remain a member.

Even the most fanatical UKIP supporter has to accept that the referendum is causing uncertainty.

Uncertainty is bad for business, commerce, banks and politics and there would be more uncertainty out than in.

All the “Brexit” arguement seems to say is; the experts are wrong; everything can be renegotiated after we leave; we don’t know where we will end up but it will be brighter and better than now.

Boris Johnson talks about that great sovereign nation the USA. Does he not know that the S stands for states, all of which have their own laws yet they come together in a federal system for mutual support?

We are free to set our own taxes, build our own nuclear subs, and even declare war on another state if we want to.

For the EU to change any treaty clauses it needs unanimous agreement. If we dont like it we can just say no. What’s wrong with coming together to conserve our fish stocks or prevent pollution. That’s all very well says small and medium business, but what about all the red tape, directives and restrictions. We want freedom they say. Perhaps freedom to renege on compulsary pension contributions, freedom to insist that employees work longer hours,freedom to relax health and safety legislation. Ah, but we can trade with them tarrif free and stop all these foreigners coming over.
No; the EU will, understandably, say if you want unrestricted access then free movement comes with it Anyway, what will happen to the NHS, agriculture and the hotel industry if they can’t come.
Johnson, Gove, Farage and Gallaway seem strange bedfellows and I certainly don’t want them or any majority they could command running the country so I shall vote to stay. I shall vote to stay for my children and especially my grandchilden.
They must have a future here I don’t want them to be part of a brain drain.
I’m proud to be British, the finest nation on Earth, and I’m proud to be European. Our culture, art, music and democratic structures are the envy of the world. I shall vote to stay. I want nothing to do with the simplistic solution which suggests that unfettered nationalism together with the isolation and intolerance with which it can be accompanied is the answer to our problems. That was being tried by someone back in 1941 remember.