Wednesday, 22 June 2016

This Golden Age

We're living in a golden age, but a lot of people don't seem to realise it. Seventy years of peace in western Europe, unheard of since the days of the Roman Empire and peace then was a relative term. Holidays abroad, fantastic choice of fresh produce in our supermarkets, there was still rationing when I was born.

We've got high employment despite immigration, high gdp, in part because of immigration. Most families have one car if not two, most people have a roof over their heads, there is a national health service, here and in many European countries, look on in envy America. There's even a safety net for the less fortunate, worker's rights and human rights for heavens sake.

I despise the politics of fear, but why are we risking all that we have with this stupid referendum? Largely because Cameron can't keep his own party in line and was sufficiently power hungry to promise a referendum in order to get the Eurosceptic vote and wipe out the moderates at the last election. And now he's doing an appalling job of trying to convince people to remain.

There's no point living in a golden age if you don't recognise the fact. There's always something to whinge about but lets try and recognise that the glass is actually three quarters full right now.

The day after 'New Labour' was elected the world didn't end and people who voted for the Blair Brown conspiracy were duly elated. After three terms, they may have felt differently, even if they blamed other people rather than admit the error.

During the Blair Brown years we had war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gordon Brown wiped billions off other people's pensions and sold the nation's gold for a pittance, borrowing went through the roof, presumably making the hole that wasn't fixed while the sun shone and Blair introduced the tuition fees he said he would legislate against, leading to the demise of the largely innocent and largely pacifist Liberal party. It all ended in near bankruptcy and relative austerity.

If vote leave were to win on Thursday the world would not end on Friday, but just like the Blair Brown years, the price will come. Still, who needs holidays on the Cote D'Azur or the Amalfi coast, who needs sunshine, astonishing scenery and amazing cuisine? We're British, we can huddle together for warmth and eat fish and chips. Who needs imported goods, just eat vegetables when they're in season eh.

Who needs to retire to the sun after a lifetime of hard work, if someone else loses their job, well its worth the sacrifice for the sake of the tribe, if pensions suffer we'll get by, we're British, if everyone hates us we can all support Millwall.

However I'm not suggesting we vote remain out of fear, but because it's positive. We were once the sick man of Europe, lets not become the cynical man of Europe. The leave campaign stresses our lack of influence in Europe, but would you listen to someone who's always blackmailing you, do it our way or we'll storm off in a huff. That's how British politicians have behaved.

Voting to remain is a vote for our current golden age, it's a vote for cooperation and friendship, its a vote for a joined up world. Most right thinking people are not against foreign aid. If we help other nations prosper we can be friends and partners and trade with them for the good of all, why would we not want to help those closest to us?

What's good for Europe is good for the world, what's good for the world is good for us.

Of course there are problems with the great European experiment, but don't believe them when they say its undemocratic, don't believe all the scare stories from Johnson and Gove. Vote leave means a vote for chaos and likely devaluation of the pound, recession here and in Europe which in turn means recession in the world, not on Friday, but soon.

A vote to remain need not be based on fear it can be based on recognition of the fact that the glass really is three quarters full. If you're young, read some history and do it today. This is a golden age, enjoy it, revel in it, don't throw it away.

Malcolm Snook is published on Nook, Kobo and Amazon