Britain's choice, solidarity or isolation

The strongest objection to Brexit is not that it will make everyone poorer, which is certainly true, but that it is a rejection of the principles of solidarity, common purpose and fairness which have bound the people of Europe together in peace and prosperity for over six decades.

The European Union is founded on a set of agreed principles by which Europeans co-operate, trade, study, work and invest. Every member state and every citizen can aspire to be more prosperous and safer because of our shared effort. Britain has rejected this spirit of solidarity, of shared rules, effort and prosperity. Obviously this is a matter of regret for the rest of Europe, and for the 16million UK residents who voted “Remain” but we cannot allow ourselves to surrender to nationalist isolationism or lies. We who believe in solidarity, progress and shared prosperity must redouble our commitment and carry on.

The lies on which the “Vote Leave” campaign was founded are being brutally exposed. The Brexit contradictions of global trade and nationalist exclusivity cannot be reconciled. The Tory government must either review its position or lead Britain through a painful process of withdrawal and adjustment. The rest of Europe must carry on with the task mapped-out in the aftermath of the second world war; to create “a European group which could give a sense of enlarged patriotism and common citizenship to the distracted peoples of this turbulent and mighty continent and why should it not take its rightful place with other great groupings in shaping the destinies of men?”

These words were spoken by Winston Churchill in 1946. Latter day Brexit zealots prefer the image of Churchill as a lone warrior rallying an isolated nation rather than a European statesman looking outwards towards a better, shared future. I believe many British people, including “Leave” voters will respond positively to a shared European future rather than retreating into an angry, isolationist vision of the past.

Arguments based on statistics are hollow compared with the noble ideals of solidarity and mutual endeavour. It is hard to see why anyone would want a deep and special partnership with Europe if one takes the view that the European Union is an oppressive superstate, which it is not. Britain will continue to be an equal partner among European sovereign states, or it will be isolated, by its own choice. No economic expertise is required to analyse this argument. If there is any hope of reversing the disastrous Brexit vote it will be found in appealing to the spirit of solidarity in a shared, fair and prosperous European future, of benefit to everyone.


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