- As an academic member of staff at the University of Nottingham I came across many students who benefited greatly from special European grants that were available to enhance their education.
- The research that I performed at the University benefitted greatly from partnership working with scientists throughout Europe.
- Now, as a director of a small business that is built on research performed over many years, a substantial proportion of our sales are within Europe, and, in my view, these could be influenced negatively by a vote to leave.
- Partnership working led to close friendships with several people in Germany and also in Spain, and the last thing I want to do is is to be seen to be turning my back on them in any way.
- As a long-time councillor on Broxtowe Borough Council, and especially during my time as mayor, I met and befriended people in Germany and Poland through twinning arrangements between Gütersloh and Myskow; arrangements created through a desire to partner and befriend rather than remain separate and isolated.
I do not intend to rehearse here the many other reasons that persuade me to remain in Europe, but I do want to say that the percieved consequences of leaving fill me with horror. Do we really want Boris or Gove as our prime minister? Do we really want Scotland to declare independence following a vote to leave? With the remnant really be able to operate effectively in Europe and the world once we remove ourselves from a position of influence?
And there are other reasons to stay where we are, and some of these are mentioned in a letter that an ex-Broxtowe Borough Council colleague Steve Barber and I penned following a chance meeting at the Hemlock Happening last Saturday. We sent the letter to the Nottingham Post yesterday. I include the text of the letter below.
Text of letter to Nottingham Evening Post sent on 13 June 2016
As seasoned politicians in sometimes opposing parties we are writing to you jointly to express our great concern that politics in the UK has entered a very sad decline. Misinformation and down-right lying to gain votes seem to have become the norm as shown in the current referendum debate. We have always believed that no-one can be an expert in everything, so the best thing to do is to get expert opinion. Before making a claim we like to establish the facts, unfortunately many of the Brexit leaders have no respect for these principles, the examples are too numerous to list.
We belong to a very fortunate generation. We didn't have to face almost certain death in the trenches, or wade ashore to machine gun fire. We've never gone hungry and have lived with and relied on the National Health Service to take care of us. We did however live through fear of nuclear annihilation and were delighted when the dividing wall through Europe was finally ripped down. Was this achieved through hatred, fear and isolationism; of course not. It was achieved through trade, co-operation and mutual respect.
That surely is what the EU is all about. To walk away now and go it alone is simply not going to work . More than that, it is dangerous. We risk becoming a remnant of Europe living in isolation. We prefer the prospect of continuing to work with our European friends rather than against them.
Steve Barber and Stan Heptinstall
(retired Broxtowe Borough councillors)