Letter to Editor: UK has best of all worlds in EU

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I am looking forward to 24 June, when I will no longer have to respond to alarmist rubbish such as that put forward by Alex Kane (6/6)!

Alex can selectively quote whomever he wishes, but he should pay attention to his own advice that nothing is inevitable. Elections across Europe – from Denmark to France to (most recently) Austria – have demonstrated that people reject utterly any notion of a “superstate”. They have done so, however, by increasingly turning to populist nationalism of a kind scarcely compatible with democracy, which has left several countries almost incapable of being governed. This is not unique to Europe, of course, as a cursory glance across the Atlantic will show.

This is the reality of the world in 2016, in which we are once again going to have to rise to the challenge of hate-filled petty isolationism and argue the case for democracy, the rule of law and free trade.

Special Status

The UK has already negotiated a special status within the EU offering the best of all worlds – outside the euro and Schengen but with free trade and a place at the table. Now is the time to use that status as a force for good in an increasingly uncertain world.

Alex Kane may wish to run away from that challenge and pretend there is some brick wall he can hide behind so all this uncertainty won’t affect him. That is not an option in a globalised world, and indeed the history of the British Isles is of that isolationist attitude being proven wrong time after time.

British history is fundamentally shaped by interacting with Continental Europe (dare one mention at this stage a Continental King defeating a British one at a battle in Ireland 326 years ago?!) and the British are fundamentally at their best when they rise to the challenge and demand civil rights, peace and fair play not just for themselves but for everyone around them.

This is the time to enhance global influence, not to run away from it. It is the time to argue for a coherent, democratic Europe of nation states – neither a superstate nor a continent of competing factions. In other words, it the time to lead, not leave.

A vote for Remain on 23rd is a vote for influence and responsibility in a globalised world.

Ian James Parsley
Chair, European Movement NI

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