I’m English, British and European; in equal measures and no order of merit. They all count, and are all perfectly compatible. England is part of the United Kingdom. Britain is part of the European Union – and it should “REMAIN” so. The UK has been good for the EU, and equally the EU has been good for the UK. Of course, the UK pays into the EU coffers – but it also benefits from them too, especially in the regions beyond London and the South East. But it’s not all about the finances…
As a teenager in the 1970’s, I can remember Britain being looked upon by other countries as the “dirty man of Europe”. Standards here were very poor in some aspects of life; the environment being a prime example. So having to raise our standards to meet European levels has been a good thing.
I enjoy my “freedom of movement”. I’ve always had it, and I don’t want to lose it. To be able to jump on a train, or plane, and go to twenty seven other countries without restriction is great. But freedom of movement is a two way thing – and it works both ways. EU nationals who come to the UK contribute to the prosperity of the country. They may, or may not, stay a long time. It should be their choice.
Freedom of movement has also helped make Britain a far more cosmopolitan country… A retired railwayman now; the second half of my railway career was with Eurostar. Apart from being quite a departure from my BR days, one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a Eurostar employee was working alongside colleagues from France and various other EU states. But we were all in it together; a collaboration of nationalities working with each other.
I just do not understand the narrow-minded, insular view of those who think that leaving the EU will somehow make the UK a stronger and more prosperous country. Thankfully the days of Empire are long gone, but those who seem to think that they can be resurrected, or believe in the notion that Britain will become some sort of Singapore-style “coastal super state”, are simply deluded.
Brexit is the most stupid project the UK has embarked upon in my adult life. It’s just madness – and I want it to end. Article 50 should be revoked and the UK should just stay “IN”. It’s the most sensible thing to do and has been all along. And if it comes to a People’s Vote, then EU nationals resident in the UK should also be allowed a say.