I count among the people who have given me so much in my life’s journey so far French, Swiss, Belgians, Congolese, Iraqis, Austrians, Germans, Spanish, Hungarians, Greeks, Irish, Kenyans, Burundians, South Africans, Zimbabweans, Zambians, Finns, Armenians, Americans, Jamaicans, Trinidadians and Canadians. And that is just off the top of my head – I am sure there are more. I owe them all so much.
I have lived and worked in two other countries besides the UK. Every time I go away I am moved on return by the sight of Blighty, of the white cliffs, of this green and pleasant land. I feel grateful to be British. I know what it is to have lived in a place where there was no security, no justice, rampant corruption and no education or health service worth mentioning. What we have here is astonishing, and most of us don’t know how lucky we are.
But I want a world of peace and hope for my children and grandchildren, and I know it can only be achieved by co-operation. The EU is an amazing project that has given us more than we have ever had to give, and has changed our lives in the UK for the better in all kinds of ways that have not been spelt out in this referendum campaign. The economic case is overwhelming. Jobs, structural and cultural renewal, business; all have benefitted hugely from the co-operative project that has kept us out of a European war all my life. Its failings are obvious and many – but then so are those of our national political system. It can change and has changed a lot in the last forty years. The rise of right-wing nationalisms with their huge attendant dangers will only be encouraged by a vote to leave.
For peace, for co-operation, for the future, because being inside influencing is better than pretending we can go it alone, for people who don’t have much, for jobs and prosperity, against the tides of suspicion and hatred that divide, looking for common solutions to our problems, proud of human diversity and cultural richness, and grateful to be part of Europe throughout our history, I vote remain.