For those who follow me on twitter you will have seen I am rather pro EU… So the outcome of this post will come as no surprise. But as we move into the final hours of campaigning before this critical vote, I wanted to take 5mins of your time to outline why I truly feel we are Strong In the EU and why the UK must be a strong and leading figure in the EU moving forward.
We should not underestimate the significance of this vote, it is the most important vote of my life and the outcome will have a significant impact on the future of my sons young life. It will dictate the type of country we are and the way we are perceived as a nation for decades to come.
Let me start by saying that I am a very proud Brit and I am also a very proud European. A lot of my closest friends run hugely successful companies across the EU and their passion for the UK being a part of the EU knows no bounds. Just take a look at this short video from them.
I often get asked, ‘why be a member of the EU?’ ‘What has it done for us?’ Well the answer is simple but long… Being a member of the EU has enabled our businesses to benefit from a market of over 500 million people, the largest free trading zone in the world. It has opened up funding opportunities for our businesses to help them grow and become the wealth, job and skill creators our economy needs. It has enabled our businesses and startups to attract the vey best talent from across the EU. It has provided funding to our educational and scientific institutions, which have gone on to make world leading and life changing discoveries. It has provided us with security through the ability for our intelligence and police forces to work together seamless across EU member nations. It has ensured that workers don’t get exploited and has fought for all our rights.
Yes it has created regulations, and we have heard a lot about this from the Leave side, but a huge amount of these have been good, actually they have been really good. If you have enjoyed paid holiday leave you have the EU to thank for that. If you have had a child and have benefited from maternity and paternity leave again you have the EU to thank. They have created regulations on working hours to ensure you are not exploited. If you have been on a flight and it has been delayed and you have the received compensation (which is your right) again the EU did this for you. They have made it possible for you to use your mobile phone across the EU without the need to take out a second mortgage! The EU is currently taking major steps in tacking tax avoidance to ensure everyone pays their fair share. If you have ever taken the family on holiday to Europe you won’t have needed a visa… again this is thanks to the EU. If you have ever been a part time worker then you have rights, which were created for you by the EU. And this isn’t the half of it.
The EU has invested massive amounts into our regions, it has funded arts and culture, it has support research and development for UK startups, which are at the cutting edge of their field. In the EU Horizon 2020 programme alone UK companies stand to benefit from upwards of £8.6bn in funding.
The list goes on and on.
I will freely admit that it is not easy to be passionate about Brussels and I will be at the front of the line to say that the EU is far from perfect and it desperately needs reforming. However, as the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown so eloquently put it in a recent video (if you haven’t seen it do have a quick look here), we must ‘Lead and Not Leave the EU’. We simply can’t walk away. We are not a nation of quitters. As a leading global economy and one of the most powerful in Europe we must be the driving force for this reform and thereby enable the EU to be the powerful and inclusive force for good it can and should be.
I will finish by saying something, which is close to my heart and something I hope everyone reading this will be able to relate to and understand. We are one of the most diverse countries on the plant, this is something we should rightly feel extremely proud of and what makes us a country being constantly able to punch above our weight. We are seen as an open and inclusive nation, one where everyone is welcome regales of sex, colour, creed or sexual orientation. We can not allow ourselves to look inward. We are at our strongest when we are inclusive, we are at our best when we embrace diversity and enable the best and the brightest to come to our very special and unique island.
Lets not turn our back on the EU, lets be a driving force from within, remain in the EU and ensure the UKs future is one where we continue to be an internationalist nation and not an isolationist one.