Vaughan Gething AM lays out his reasons for voting in the European Union referendum.
Today the UK will go to the polls to decide on a question of generational importance. Over the next few hours voters will decide whether or not we remain a member of the European Union.
I’ve been disappointed by the nature and tone of the debate, with a number of extreme statements from both sides. There has been too much focus on the internal divisions with the Conservative party and not enough focus on the practical impact upon the future of our country. There was an opportunity to have a reasoned debate about our place in the world, sadly I think that has been missed.
It may not seem like it but this referendum is about much more than immigration. Apart from anything else if we leave but still want to trade with the EU then free movement would still apply – just as it does in Norway. The impact of leaving would go much further than making a protest about immigration. I will not line up alongside the mean spirited campaign of intolerance that has disfigured the leave campaign. The economic impact of leaving has become ever clearer and ever more damaging. Countless business leaders and trade union leaders have made clear their opposition to leaving. There is an unprecedented amount of agreement from economists that the British economy – that’s jobs and people’s wallets – would suffer if we left.
You know there’s a powerful argument when a Conservative Prime Minister and socialist leaders of trade unions line up together to agree that the UK is better off in the European Union. This is the positive case for us to go to the polls today and vote remain. Quite simply, we are better off in.
Despite the broad consensus that we are all financially better off in the European Union, it is important not to lose sight of why this organisation was created in the first place. It was not, as is often portrayed, an idea conducted on foreign shores to exert control over the UK. It was an idea spearheaded by British political leaders - including Sir Winston Churchill - after the Second World War, to ensure a continent that had been at constant conflict never experienced these horrors again. In this regard, it has been a remarkable success. After hundreds of years of bitter wars, European Union member states now conduct their debates in a diplomatic, democratic fashion – not on a battlefield.
The European Union isn’t perfect. It can often feel too remote, too disconnected from our communities. This has to change. However it has much to commend it. It helps to bring prosperity and protection for workers to the UK. It has been described as the most successful peace project in human history.
Where it is flawed, I would rather stay in and fight our corner than quit. I will be voting to remain today, and I hope you’ll join me.
Vaughan Gething AM lays out his reasons for voting in the European Union referendum. Today the UK will go to the polls to decide on a question of generational...