It’s time to get patriotic. It’s time to get nationalistic. It’s time to be proud of our heritage.
I’m European, and I’m proud of it.
In the first half of the last century, our forebears fought over Europe. Then they realised that was a dumb idea, so they started fighting FOR it. They got together and said, “We are all European, and Europe can be a great place again. Shall we stop shooting each other and sort this out?” (I may be paraphrasing.)
At the time, Europe was not a great place. Large parts of it were completely destroyed, a substantial proportion of its population was dead or emigrated, it was in serious hock to the USA, and Russia had pinched several countries. But all the European countries pulled together and they sorted it out, and now Europe is a great place to live and work.
We have four of the largest economies in the world. We have peace and economic stability, even in countries that were behind the Iron Curtain only thirty years ago. Within Europe we have the right to sell our goods anywhere and live where we like. We enshrine the rights of workers into our law, and invest in the poorest areas. We cut red tape so that it’s easier to do business. We invest in longterm research and address climate change. As one of the largest markets in the world, we strike good trade deals with other countries. We share intelligence and have a centralised arrest warrant to make it easier to fight terrorism and organised crime.
Sure we make mistakes. Who doesn’t? We need to sort out how we deal with refugees for one thing. But I’m not abandoning my heritage just because not everything is perfect.
For forty years we have allowed the message from our media and from our politicians to be mistrust of the EU. We won the war, how can we allow them to dictate our laws? But that’s not the message we should be hearing, because we are a full member of the EU. We helped to build a new Europe. We helped to write those laws. And we should be bloody proud of what we have made.
I’m a Sheffielder. I’m English. I’m British. And I’m European.
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