I embrace the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s future in Europe. I welcome as well the Labour Party’s change of heart to support the referendum, a position I have wrote about and supported for two years. note: see my earlier post from June 2013.
What we must now do is take the argument to those who wish Britain to leave Europe and argue strongly why we are better off staying in rather than being exposed outsiders. Whether it is robust health and safety laws protecting workers, the right to freedom of travel and work for our citizens across the continent or commerce bringing jobs and economic benefit to our doorstep, the advantages are clear. Those that argue we can have all the rewards without the apparent burden of membership are being dishonest with the public. Where is the incentive for members of the club who pay in to give the benefits free of charge to those that do not?
We mustn’t be afraid to tackle these arguments head on and trust the good sense of the great British public to be positive and confident about our place in the world. We must also take head on the issue of free movement and not let fear of difference blind us all to the real benefits we enjoy both at home and abroad.
By giving people a real say about our future, we can also play a huge part in rebuilding trust in politics and politicians. I will play my part to help lead the debate. Let the argument begin!