Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Guest Blog - Stronger in Europe; how Barnet benefits and how you can show your support - By Alasdair Hill

By Alasdair Hill,
This year we face a difficult choice that will determine the future of the United Kingdom on the world stage. Our economy, climate and industries will change whether the UK votes to remain a member of the EU or not. It is my belief, and one I hope you share, that Britain’s prosperity rests with cooperation and unity with our oldest allies.

The European Union brings many benefits to us in Barnet; both financial and cultural. As well as ensuring UK industries and services can trade with our nearest neighbours freely and without tariff the EU brings in investment which we can feel right here in Mill Hill. Indeed the UK is home to some of the best research institutions in the world; the MRC Laboratories on The Ridgeway included. By being a member of the EU we gain access to millions of pounds of research funding in medicine, environment and space technology. The UK is home to the brightest and best and thus we receive the lion’s share of the funding; boosting our world-leading research sector. By closing the door we risk hollowing out one of the key industries we excel at.

Culturally, Barnet, like the rest of London, is a mirror to the make-up of Europe. This is something we should be proud of. Living together we learn more about ourselves and make long lasting connections across the continent which in the process breaks down misconceptions and builds peace between nations. We benefit as much as other nations in the EU from the free movement of people allowing us to work, export and holiday across the continent with ease.

But over and above the arbitrary statistics both sides of the debate will use to convince you to vote, is the ethos in which the United Kingdom espouses the virtues of tolerance, internationalism and brotherhood. 

At a time where increased uncertainty threatens liberal democracies across the world we should not be turning our back in the name of fear and self-interest. The only way you can fight the borderless enemies of climate change, organised crime and terrorism is through cooperation. It is this philosophy that underpins the very need for the UK to remain in the European Union.
There is much both sides of the political spectrum can benefit from EU membership; it is a misconception that EU regulation is a plight on our society.  For some, we can  appreciate EU regulation that supports maternity and holiday rights in work. For others, we can be encouraged by the EU support of an individual’s basic human rights. All benefit from the prosperity that EU membership ensures UK, allowing businesses to trade in European markets competitively. Finally we can all benefit from the action to tackle carbon-emissions for the good of our and the planet’s health.

It is in this light that I hope residents and activists across Barnet and across the political divide can come together and fight for our continued membership of the EU. Through the non-party “Britain Stronger In Europe” group we are hosting an informal meet and greet at The Bohemia, North Finchley on Tuesday 9th February from 7pm.

If you want to share your thoughts or learn more about how the UK is stronger in the EU please come down and start a conversation!
I hope to see you there.
RSVP on Facebook or Eventbrite
Guest blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye. Alasdair Hill is a Barnet resident. 

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