FURTHER to the justifiable demand for expats to be given the vote on continued UK membership of the EU, we have heard from politicians of all persuasions, how advantageous it is for Britain and the British people to be a part of this great institution called the European Union.
This has been drummed into us since those far off days of the Common Market, when we were told by that treacherous upstart Edward Heath – hand on heart – that free and open trade was its only objective, and each nation would retain its sovereignty, make its own laws, and keep its national identity.
Then via the EEC, we arrived at the present state of play and the all-powerful European Union with its unelected commission devising thousands of new laws and directives governing the way we eat, sleep, breathe, and soon I suspect, think.
We all have our opinions about Europe and whilst there are people who will make a judgement based on sound logic and reason, I believe that the majority will make their decision based on the following criteria:
1) What the newspapers tell them.
2) The degree of comfort and prosperity that they are promised by our politicians.
And in the case of expats: 3) The lie that they will be cut adrift should Britain leave.
Cynical perhaps, but we have been seduced by aggressive advertising and tutored by successive governments over the years to such an extent, that we now live in an insular, selfish and self-centred society and any promises of an even better, more affluent lifestyle by the politicians, are often too tempting a prospect to resist – even at the expense of hard-won freedoms.
But I believe we should be looking further than personal self-interest here and take a large step back to gaze long and hard at the overall picture.
Has democracy been enhanced since membership and, based on our experience of past performance, what is the reality for the future of our grandchildren and their children in a European ‘super state’?