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The EU - Shall we stay or shall we go?

Popularity 8Viewed 9358 times 2016-6-20 17:33 |Personal category:Current News|System category:News| Brexit, Referendum, Unity

This week I will be looking with some concern at the results of the "Remain" or "Leave" choice for UK citizens in respect of the European Union (EU).  I will display my colours here - I really do hope the UK stays in the EU. In the late 1980s I had the privilege of leading groups of typically 30 American students on Travel-Study tours of the EU and teaching them about the benefits of creating "A United States of Europe". It was in the period of the run up to the Single European Act of 1992 which abolished over 300 regulations which hindered the development of the Single Market.

I enjoyed visiting Paris (who does not?) and Brussels and Bonn (then soon to be replaced by Berlin as the capital of Germany). I felt like a European and an insider when leading my groups at meetings of representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament (that was in Strasbourg) and in Paris the OECD and the European offices of the IMF and World Bank. OK, those latter venues were not purely European Institutions but Europe felt important in the world. It was also a time when American university students were coming in large numbers to study abroad - the top four destinations by far being UK, Italy, France and Spain - Europe was chick, perhaps a little sexy, pioneering and growing - being a Eurocrat was a career, though I was not exactly that - I just taught about it!

From that era, I have to ask How has it come to this? That the citizens of the UK are considering depriving me and others of our much loved European passports and freedom of movement in approaching thirty countries. We see the world coming together ever more in regional and global trade agreements - The 10 members of ASEAN are edging closer to China, Japan and South Korea - Nobody is talking of leaving the South-East Asian grouping. Back in Bill Clinton's time Al Gore helped negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.  The UK is a trading nation - the major powers in the EU have made it clear that we cannot leave and expect to have strong trade access without paying our dues to the EU. The USA has made it clear that the trade pact under discussion between America and the EU will not extend to a separated UK. China has also indicated that it sees investment in the UK as attractive because we are part of the EU.

So in an era of globalisation, my country is to become "Little Britain"?  Countries are stronger when they unite. Peace is more likely with economic inter-dependence. There are really only two major parties in the UK - the Conservatives in government and Labour in opposition - both party leaders favour staying in. So too do the past Prime Ministers - Sir John Major and Tony Blair who between them led Britain for 17 years. You would think that they would know the score. It is of course a "free vote" situation with individual Members of Parliament free to campaign for either side. There has also been the rise of "Independence Parties" that push the message of "putting Britain first". Yet, if all countries only think of self-interest, how do we unite nations?  EU means European Union but it could mean Earth Union - we all share the same planet.  I remain "Worried of London" (once of London!)


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)

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Reply Report Ted180 2016-6-20 20:41
1. The major mistakes of the EU (austerity, immigration) are hurting. 2. Nationalism is primitive and leads to wars. 3. The ignorant idea that a bureaucrat of one's OWN ethnicity is better is typical of uneducated people. 4. The British would be stupid to Brexit. Maybe they ARE!
Reply Report voice_cd 2016-6-21 15:52
Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted it.
Reply Report AndrewCraven 2016-6-21 16:33
If  joining the Union is a better choice, then join it, otherwise if they have another choice which is better than joining, why not leave?

Britain should follow his own will, shouldn't he?
Reply Report guml 2016-6-22 13:20
it is the choice of uk citizens,so others can't select for them.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2016-6-23 11:06
Ted180: 1. The major mistakes of the EU (austerity, immigration) are hurting. 2. Nationalism is primitive and leads to wars. 3. The ignorant idea that a burea ...
I agree that Brexit would make no sense if we look at trends elsewhere in the world - Uniting is the norm
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2016-6-23 11:06
voice_cd: Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted it.
Thanks - We reached the day now!
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2016-6-23 11:08
AndrewCraven: If  joining the Union is a better choice, then join it, otherwise if they have another choice which is better than joining, why not leave?

Britain sh ...
It is not clear if the consequences of leaving are understood. The leave campaign has created an unhealthy nationalism in a multi-cultural society
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2016-6-23 11:09
guml: it is the choice of uk citizens,so others can't select for them.
Well I am one of those citizens - I hope the majority really understand the issues involved  
Reply Report AndrewCraven 2016-6-23 14:20
ColinSpeakman: It is not clear if the consequences of leaving are understood. The leave campaign has created an unhealthy nationalism in a multi-cultural society
I listened to BBC  last night. They had a debate on the BBC world channel. Some debaters suggested leaving, and their opinions all made sense. But sure there must be some disadvantages to leaving the EU.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2016-6-23 16:42
AndrewCraven: I listened to BBC  last night. They had a debate on the BBC world channel. Some debaters suggested leaving, and their opinions all made sense. But sur ...
There sure are disadvantages in leaving -  
Reply Report seanboyce88 2016-6-23 18:41
Ted180: 1. The major mistakes of the EU (austerity, immigration) are hurting. 2. Nationalism is primitive and leads to wars. 3. The ignorant idea that a burea ...
I completely agree with this entire statement.

As for wether we are better off or not I honestly don't know. But I always seen europe as a step in the right direction, in the hope one day we will all be united and stopping fighting in the name of a country and start working in the name of humanity....

Until the aliens come. Then it's back to thinking if we as a species are more important haha
Reply Report seanboyce88 2016-6-23 18:42
I don't know if you seen, but ruth davidson, the conservative for scotland made a fantastic speech for remain. I am usualyl very against ruth but her performance was stellar!
Reply Report teamkrejados 2016-6-27 11:08
Indeed Brexit smacks of frightful nationalism. All of us who are global citizens, who resent being held hostage to their country of birth through the very accident of birth, shudder to think of the implications.
In my opinion, Brexit is a step backward in the process of globalization, not forward.
Reply Report 1626548377 2016-6-28 07:20
What I don't understand, why was there a referendum, if you read the British news papers how everyone are against the outcome of the referendum?
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2016-6-28 12:04
1626548377: What I don't understand, why was there a referendum, if you read the British news papers how everyone are against the outcome of the referendum?
The referendum was a political gambit by David Cameron to win the 2015 election and head off the UK Independence movement
Reply Report seanboyce88 2016-6-28 18:44
teamkrejados: Indeed Brexit smacks of frightful nationalism. All of us who are global citizens, who resent being held hostage to their country of birth through the  ...
I never thought of it like that but I completely agree, we are being held hostage to our counntry of birth.
Reply Report 1626548377 2016-6-29 09:30
ColinSpeakman: The referendum was a political gambit by David Cameron to win the 2015 election and head off the UK Independence movement
Thank you for the insight. I hope they can bring out some positives for the problem they got. I wish them the best of luck for the future.
Reply Report samthy 2016-10-15 07:17
AndrewCraven: If  joining the Union is a better choice, then join it, otherwise if they have another choice which is better than joining, why not leave?

Britain sh ...
good point!

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ColinSpeakman

International Educator, Economist, goal of helping to increase understanding of China by the West

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