As June 23rd approaches, we are faced with a blizzard of doubtful facts, questionable statistics and alarming predictions about what will happen if we leave or stay in the European Union. Not surprisingly, many people say they are confused and unsure about which way to vote. Minehead Labour Councillor Andy Lewis gives his personal view
Perhaps the answer is to take a deep breath, go back to basics and look at the principles and values which are at stake. Looked at like that, the referendum becomes a vote about whether we believe international co-operation is a good thing.
Co-operation secures many things, including employment rights. We all agree that people who work should have a decent amount of paid holiday. But if workers in one country were deprived of that right, their employers would gain a financial advantage and the whole system would be under threat. Rights for the individual depend on rights for all.
Co-operation has replaced competition
European co-operation can also be a force for good in the wider world. The EU has taken action to stop the trade in equipment which can be used for torture and has banned the export of drugs for use in executions.
And co-operation between countries has replaced the competition which in other centuries brought war to Europe. Now we settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield.
What I still think of as the “new” Clause Four says that by our common endeavour we achieve more than we can achieve alone, and that we should try to live together in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.