This is not about ‘us’ and ‘them’!

In the EU debate are you an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’?

I will own up to my own position at the outset, I am an ‘innie’.

I don’t think that we Brits are that good at inclusion. We will tell ourselves what good chaps we are and can list or recite all the good things that we have done in the world and for the world. Yet, as an island community we do tend to see ourselves as separate from the rest of the world and also, as we wrestle with the idea that we are no longer an empire and that Brittania no longer rules the waves, we see ourselves as being able to punch above our weight. Perhaps now is a time for a little readjustment.

The countries that form mainland Europe do not have a sea between them to protect them from one and other, subsequently they have had to learn to co-operate in ways that we on the Island have not needed to. That cooperation has, at times, broken down and led to major conflicts such as the First and Second World Wars. That is why the idea of a European community was formed.

The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament. (Wikipedia)

This first attempt to create peace in Europe failed and the world fell into the Second World War which began when Germany made an unprovoked attack on Poland. Britain and France declared war on Germany after Hitler had refused to abort his invasion of Poland. The Second World War was, it seems, to do with the clashing ideologies of fascism and dictatorship versus democracy. The fascist countries of Germany, Italy and Japan banded together in an attempt to dominate and rule the world.

The big idea behind the EU (and ultimately the Euro) is a simple one. If you get nations to trade and share their institutions, then they are less likely to go to war. Co-operation rather than confrontation was the order of the day. It seems to be a valid principle, as Western Europe has been at peace for nearly seventy years and counting. (

The principle of collective self interest makes sense to me. It feeds into my basic life philosophy that if we all look after each other then we will all be okay. The problem with all groups is that either you are in or out of the group which creates ‘us’ and ‘them’. We see this with all groups, black vs white, gay vs straight, men vs women. This sense of separation is the human problem. Religion has, and continues to, create move division in the world. I wonder how many people have been killed over time for religious reasons and how many wars have been waged because “God is on our side”.

The myth of us and them

For the last few months I have been listening to people around me talking about the EU as “them” when “they” are actually “us”. The way the systems works is that there is an agreed democratic forum that we belong to, it is a parliament. We, like all other member countries appoint european MPs through our voting system. These MPs represent us and vote on all the laws that effect us and every other member of the European community.

We pay our taxes into the system, as does every other country, and we get money back, as does every other country. The xenophobic element in each member country wants the autonomy of not being subject to the group and wants out, they want to leave. That seems to leave us with two fundamental choices.

1: we return to the pre war situation of individual countries vying for their own self interest and potentially recreate the same issues that caused the world wars.

2: we work together within the European Community and beyond to bring people together and avoid the conflict of ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Staying in the EU will involve communication, argument and debate. It might not be easy but as members within the group we retain the ability to change it. Leaving the group leaves us isolated and we become on of ‘them’ being outside of the group with little or no influence to effect or change the evolution or Europe.

Nightmare Brexit Scenario

How about this, we leave Europe, Scotland decides to leave us and rejoin Europe. Wales could easily follow as the Welsh assembly is now recognised as the Welsh parliament. Northern Ireland could also choose to join Europe. Even Cornwall, that has its own flag and its own status with Europe could rejoin Europe. The Channel Islands would also, probably, join Europe. The USA have made it clear that they would seek other areas of influence if we are not in the EU. That would leave England as a small country off the coast of Europe with the 14 protectorate communities around the world.

I keep hearing that we are the fifth largest economy, though some statistic say that we are the ninth, but that includes all of the United Kingdom. If what is left is simply England it becomes quite small.

Of course I could be completely wrong and leaving maybe the best option. We will only know after today’s vote.

In or out be happy and take care

Sean x

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