The Wembley debate

Watching the final big event in the campaign led me to try and identify the arguments made for leaving the EU. They were all about control. They wanted to control UK borders in order to reduce the number of migrants. They wanted to control regulations, though without saying what they would or would not regulate. Especially they wanted to be in control themselves. They were also optimistic about what the future would bring. They failed to accept that some predictions of economic problems had come from their own side.

Why exactly should anyone believe they can control the world? Getting others to agree to whatever you want implies you think you do control the world. No one has succeeded yet. So why should anyone believe the Brexiteers can do so? Equally, stop the world, I want to get off, is not a vote of confidence in what the UK can achieve, whatever their apparent optimism.

On the remain side, they thought positively about the rights and economic success we have, and attributed them to working with others rather than claiming we had achieved them all by ourselves. In particular Europe has a role in safeguarding workers’ rights and in making us a good place to do business, with a level playing field helping us compete. This seems a much more realistic view of the world as most people know it.

Is that world perfect? No. Can the British Government make things better for its own citizens, not least in helping British people as well as new arrivals into work and providing the infrastructure we all need? Yes, it can and should. Much of the resentment at immigration comes from successive British Governments not having done enough. The present government, and its successors, should all do more.

Can the EU reform itself? Yes it can, as every treaty change shows. Specifically it should help its member states deal with the problems their people are having now, and reduce the risk of national resentments building up and hatred destroying lives. It can do this by using the money it gets from member states to help economic development, as it already does in training and cross border infrastructure. It must be realistic about helping the Greeks become solvent again. This includes discouraging the Germans from lending money to allow those who cannot afford them to buy German goods. None of this is rocket science, and can be worked on after June 24th to get agreement on changes within the EU in the next year or so. Meantime, it is up to us to Vote Remain on 23rd June, to start building a better future.

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