All entries for Monday 13 June 2016
June 13, 2016
Writing about web page http://www.strongerin.co.uk/
I will vote Remain for lots of reasons. As a parent I want my children and their children to grow up in a world that is open and free. Brexit will shrink their world and reduce their opportunities.
As a citizen I see that Brexit will leave our country isolated and less secure. Our friends inside the EU and outside urge us to stay. Our adversaries would prefer us to leave.
Among other things I am an economist and a historian. As a historian I know that in 1956 the European countries that had been strategic rivals for centuries chose integration instead. That’s why France and Germany no longer fight each other, and the poorer countries around them can also live in peace. In 1973 Britain joined them. That was the right choice.
As an economist I know the evidence shows that membership of the European community has brought significant net benefits to Britain. I am with the overwhelming majority of my profession in expecting both short-term damage and persistent losses from Brexit. In the short term there would be turbulence. In the long term we would be less deeply integrated with Europe, and somewhat poorer as a result.
But it’s more than just economics. Brexit would be an inward turn, a turn away from strangers.
We, human beings, systematically underestimate what we have gained from interaction with strangers. We forget that strangers gave us chocolate and silk. They gave us Christianity, democracy, and Roman law. They gave us impressionism and jazz. Now it's our music, our democracy, and our chocolate.
It’s true, strangers are also risky: we feared and fought them, enslaved them, and caught Spanish flu from them. But strangers are the key to our future. Turn away and you turn your back on life.