Saturday, May 21, 2016

Justine Greening on the EU vote

Justine Greening has a piece at Conservative Home today about which side she is supporting in the EU referendum and why.

I will say that it makes a nice change to read an almost entirely positive piece from either side, which in my opinion does not contain a single scaremonger, personal attack, or dodgy statistic.

(I see from the comments that someone on the other side from Justine, who appears to have been on the lookout for something to be offended by, managed to find three words that they could take as an insult but I don't agree with them.)

You can read Justine's article in full here but here is a sample:

"I have never been a default ‘Remainer’: in fact, I have always had what I consider to be a pretty sceptical streak when it comes to Europe. When I went to work as a chartered accountant in mainland Europe for a couple of years during the 1990s, working with European clients, I did wonder if I’d come back a converted Europhile, but I didn’t. I grew to love the diversity of Europe and its different cultures, rather than its Union. However, when the time came to actually think where I would put my cross on the Remain/Leave ballot paper, it involved a much more forensic approach to assessing what the right thing to do would be for our country, combined with an element of gut instinct.

For me, any debate on our economy and jobs is a very personal one. When I was growing up in Rotherham during the 1980s, my own father lost his job in the steel industry and was unemployed for a year. I’ll never forget what that was like for my family and how hard it was. Successful companies create jobs, but they need a level playing field to compete.

That’s why Margaret Thatcher set about getting the Single Market in place – so that British companies could get on with competing – and they have done that very successfully, which is why we export so much to the rest of Europe. Our car manufacturers – now a net exporter for the first time since the 1970s – need that level playing field, not to be at a disadvantage with tariffs trading from outside it. I can’t see the point of leaving the Single Market and the level playing field to then try instantly to rejoin it. If you’re not in a club, you’re not going to be given the same benefits as others who are – otherwise what would be the point?

And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last few years, it’s that the intractable problems that our world faces – like the Syria conflict, ebola in West Africa, or the impact of climate change – will be there whether or not Britain is in the EU. They are best dealt with, however, by working together with our neighbouring countries, in partnership. That can be exceptionally difficult, since we often have very different views about the best course of action, but that’s all the more reason to be a voice round the EU table having our say.

Why put ourselves at a disadvantage?  How Europe responds collectively affects us. Europe is our continent: that’s a geographical fact, not an option. It’s why Europe is such a huge part of our history – it’s a continent we’ve shaped as much as it’s shaped us. This will be the same for our country’s future too. Britain’s voice matters and should stay at the table. We will keep winning the debates by being in them."

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