Why project Europe matters

I am reading about Boris telling us that leaving is a win-win. I am not only interested in trade, Boris, important as that is. I am doubtful that leaving will do anything but harm our economy for a good many years.

But what I care about is creating and sustaining the conditions that overcome suspicion and competition. We seem to have forgotten the first half of the 20C altogether. Europe nearly destroyed itself. That we haven’t had a war in my lifetime in Western Europe is no accident. We deliberately and very bravely decided to connect ourselves to each other in the EU.

We decided, as countries on this continent, each with a proud and long history and culture, to make that something that contributes to a greater whole. We haven’t lost our Britishness, nor our Englishness nor our Scottish or Welshness. Being part of Europe means that has its own place. But we bring our special gifts as the UK to the Union as a whole. I don’t want to lose that Union – to be European is a great glory, to which intellectual, cultural, social and moral enterprise (as well as political and economic) we have been committed for these last 40 or so years. We have very positive things to contribute to this exercise in a dangerous world where sectarian violence between and within cultures and countries is on the rise. Its destructive power is evident all across the Middle East. In dangerous times separating ourselves off is the wrong thing to do. I think we should stay.

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