It would be good to think that when our nation votes on the EU next month there might be some who are not just selfishly thinking about themselves and their pockets but what kind of country, and its rulers we will be leaving to our children and grandchildren.
Sadly a lot seems to be about short term economic vested interests, with some deep thinkers in our own industry scaremongering that cutting the increasing number of strings that bind us to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who now make most of the important decisions for us would be “economic suicide”. Given the predictions from the financial experts that our pound could plummet against the euro with a Brexit some will find this a good thing, in that it will make hotel accommodation in the UK cheaper for overseas visitors, encourage more Brits to take a “staycation” here rather than drop their money in the Eurozone and make all exports more competitive. Is that “economic suicide”?
A similar concern for their pockets is taken by our universities, which currently do rather well out of the EU funding for research and the profits from well-heeled European students, a couple of gravy trains that could be derailed by a UK exit. Others with subsidy payments to protect, such as farmers will also want to keep their own gravy trains running.
Meanwhile others worry about the increasing migration that will accelerate the change of culture of some destinations, and the scary thought that outside the EU we might find ourselves without any support from the rest of the countries, if attacked. Presumably if we left the EU we would refuse to come to the aid of France, if attacked by, say, Germany again? Or are we now all a bit more grown-up than that?
On the American front that nice Barack Obama chap clearly wants us to stay in, perhaps so that the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between his country and the EU can start to bite in Britain. This dangerous anti-consumer agreement gives considerable power to large corporations, is supported by the majority of the EU’s unelected-by-us MEPs and ill-advisedly commits our government to being sued by big corporations in the US, should our leaders pass any laws that protect our health or welfare but adversely affect corporate profits. And this then gives Obamas corporate chums (and pension meal ticket?) a chance to claw billions back through special, secretive corporate courts, with the British taxpayer footing the bill. “Economic suicide”, then?
It may be hopelessly idealistic but perhaps we should especially note the views of the EU amongst 16-21 year olds in the UK who vote in the referendum and act on what they tell us about the country, and world they want to live in. Theirs, not ours is the future we are in danger of screwing up, after all.