I have always been a Eurosceptic; I have always been on the side of the argument that says Britain is a great nation and doesn’t really need all this intervention from Brussels. I believed they didn’t really have our interests at heart; I put forward all the crazy bureaucratic examples of the EU administration, which helped to reinforce my arguments and my own beliefs. But up until now, it didn’t really matter, it was easy to criticise a seemingly distant body that we could blame for the things that were wrong with our society, and anyway; it didn’t really matter what we thought because it would always be there, so it was an easy thing to criticise.So when the opportunity for came for us all to have a choice as to whether we should remain in the European Union, initially, I thought it was going to be a fairly easy decision; yes, absolutely let’s get out. However, as the enormity of the implication of this decision began to emerge, I thought I would look at not only what was driving my own views and opinions, but look more closely at what the European Union really represented and what it had achieved over the last 40 years.Firstly, I have never believed that the EU project has been the product of some dark sinister plot conspired by a faceless group of left or right wing ‘Illuminati’, operating in a bunker in Bavaria to achieve European domination of the world. However, what is true is that Europe spent much of the first part of 20th century tearing itself apart, where we witnessed the most inhumane barbaric destruction of our society and culture on a scale never seen since the beginning of humankind. The countries of Europe, whether on winning or losing side, emerged from this period bankrupt and in social chaos. It is easy to forget that period, which historically is so close to us. I therefore believe that the European Project was born out of a collective realisation from countries, on all sides of the political divide, that there has to be a better way to live together.In the comfort of the modern world we now live in, it is easy to see all the things wrong with European Union, and those things certainly need correcting. However, if we look at where we have come from in those dark days, to where we are now, we are enjoying prosperity and security beyond the wildest dreams of our parents and grandparents, millions of whom, from all over Europe, died because of the nationalistic ambitions of a small minority.I believe that whenever we are faced with a huge decision, a decision will impact not only our own lives, but the lives of our children, grandchildren and generations to come, we should look to our underlying values and beliefs to help us make a decision. I believe that as human beings, at whatever stage of our development, and whatever groups or societies we operate in, that we can achieve more when we come together and work with common purpose, I now realise this is what European Unity is all about.This enactment of this principle has had a hugely positive impact on all aspects of life throughout Europe. The older established counties of Europe have been brought back from bankruptcy and social and political division to a position of prosperity and political stability unseen in their lifetime. We have seen countries who have chosen to become a part of this union emerge from almost peasant societies, that have not changed for centuries, to become countries that are now a part of our modern world and enjoying all the social, education, health and economic benefits that come from a modern society. From our own economic and social perspective, we have also benefited from this; yes, we have put money into the European Union, and continue to do so, but in doing so, we have created new markets for our goods and services that in turn have brought us increased wealth and prosperity that have benefited everyone, which has to be an achievement for us all to be proud of. Our own lives have also become richer in other ways, with the opportunities to experience the great diversity of culture of these societies and countries, which for most of our parents and grandparents were just distant names if geography books.We take travel, trade and social interaction with countries throughout Europe for granted now, it has always been a part of lives.However, we now find ourselves being asked to make the decision as to whether or not we should turn our backs on all that we take for granted. As I said at the start, my initial view was to say we should, a decision, driven by what I saw were some of the things that were wrong with many aspects of the European administration. However, when I looked inside at my own values and the journey we had travelled over the last 40 years, I saw the European project in a different way – a far more positive way.

The arguments for leaving are clear and in most cases well-articulated and valid, but if you look from a different perspective, you see a different picture. Whatever the arguments, if we do turn our backs on what has been achieved in Europe over past 40 years, the one thing that is certain is that we create a political vacuum, and we do not know what will fill that vacuum. The belief of those wishing to exit, is what will fill that vacuum will be better than what we currently have, but we have no idea of the sequence of events that could be triggered politically and socially within the UK and across Europe if we did exit. We have seen examples in recent history in the Middle East, where, removal of what was perceived as being the cause of the problems of that country, without a plan as to what was to replace it, created a huge vacuum into which many factions saw the opportunity to fill that void; the implications of which have impacted the whole world and will be felt for generations to come.

We don’t know what life would be like, politically, economically or socially in a post exit Europe Britain, because we can’t predict the future.

I am an Engineer and I like to understand the risks of any situation, but then have plans in place to mitigate those risks. We see the risks of exiting Europe, but we haven’t seen any plan as to how those risks are going to be managed. The ‘establishment’ are the ones largely trying to convince us to remain, and whether we like them or not, agree with them or not, the ‘establishment’ be that government, industry, institutions, financial or military will still be running the country if we exit Europe. There appears to be no exit strategy, and that for me is a very dangerous situation. If we choose to exit, we will have an ‘establishment’ that doesn’t believe in the strategy it has been forced to implement. I believe that this could create a political and social void that many on the extremes of our society could seek to fill, and this could bring political instability to our country with all the social and economic impact that could occur as a result of that situation.

However, notwithstanding these risks and negative concerns of Britain exiting Europe, I have also looked at past performance and what has been achieved in Europe and the huge positive benefits that have occurred over the past 40 years. I have looked at Europe from the perspective of what it looked like after decades of being torn apart by misguided nationalistic intent. I have then looked at the Europe that I now enjoy being a part of; being proud of my own culture and country, but having the ability and freedoms to enjoy the cultures of a much larger diverse group of countries and seeing opportunities for younger generations to live, work and move freely across these countries. However, above all, I looked to my own beliefs and values and realised as a society that we can achieve more, collectively and individually, by working together for the common good; that is what I understand and believe that Europe Unity is all about.

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