Britain’s EU Referendum

The Positive Case for “Remain” Is made by the Greens

The latest opinion poll on the upcoming European Union Referendum (23 June) is predicting that the “Brexiters” are leading the “Remainers” by 3 percentage points.  This does not surprise me; the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are using fear tactics to scare people into voting remain, and it is not working. The latest is that the annual cost of an average mortgage will go up by £920. Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of the Scottish National Party, warned that “fear-based” campaigning could have a negative effect on voters.

There is a good positive case to be made for remaining in the EU, most eloquently advanced by the Green Party, but this is being drowned by a “scare-a-day” campaign led by David Cameron and George Osborne.

Frankly, theoretical economic forecasting is notoriously unreliable, so let us not pretend that the doom and gloom predicted by such forecasts are facts; they are not. Do not treat the electorate as naughty little children that need to be scared into doing the right thing. Don’t insult them.  The trouble with the “Remain” campaign within the Tory Party is that their vision of Europe is the exact opposite of what the Green Party would like Europe to be:

“In our Green vision for Europe we seek to replace the unsustainable economics of free trade and unrestricted growth with the ecological alternative of local self reliance and resource conservation… We want to foster co-operation on issues of common interest…We want social justice and economic democracy to bring fairer and more resilient societies to Europe. We recognise the value of the original goal of the founders of the European Communities, who sought to remove the threat of another war between European states. This has been distorted by vested political and economic interests into a union dominated by economic interests, which lacks democratic control, and promotes the goals of multinational corporations which are interested in profit not people, and which runs counter to the professed core values of the Union. We believe that the ecological challenges and stark inequalities the world faces present a potential new role for the EU as part of wider global co-operation.”

The Tories on each side of the debate want even stronger free-market economics than we currently have, regardless of the cost to our climate, environment, and well-being. They want more freedom for corporations to exploit workers; profit is king and to hell with the consequences.

I have stopped listening to the two wings of the Tory Party, with their narrow sterile debate, which boils down as to which side is the true free-market champion. We live in an interdependent world and if we want to bequeath our children and our grandchildren a liveable environment, we need to cooperate with one another within the nation and across nations. Our economic growth needs to be sustainable and respect our planet’s ecological limits.

We need to live in harmony with our environment; we need to treat people with respect, affording them dignity and security in work, not simply treating them as economic units to be exploited.  Let us celebrate the diversity of our world, seeing the commonality that connects us all as human beings. It is gratifying to see that more and more of our young are embracing these values. In the words of my grandson “I see myself as a citizen of the world”.
I am voting “Remain” not because of what the Prime Minister and the Chancellor say, but because I believe that another Europe is possible, that envisaged by the Green Party.

Adnan Al-Daini (PhD, Birmingham University, UK) is a retired University Engineering lecturer. He is a British citizen born in Iraq. He writes regularly on issues of social justice and the Middle East. Read other articles by Adnan.