Fighting for Our Place in the EU
I will admit that I expected Remain to win the EU Referendum in 2016. I was convinced that the economic arguments for greater trade, investment and jobs within the EU would prevail over the emotional calls for sovereignty and control that the Leave side put forward.
I got it very wrong.
Waking on 24th June and hearing the result, I felt the pain in my heart not my head.
My immediate thoughts were for the damage that might be done to Irish peace and the anxiety that the result might be causing my Polish neighbours. This made me realise instantly how Remain had simply failed to adequately express the emotional reasons why we believe in EU membership. It is not really the economics that makes the EU such an important part of my identity – it is the feeling of solidarity I have with people from other EU nations, it is the ability to enrich our communities those people and it is the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that the EU brings to problem-solving across our continent.
From then on I have always believed that – important though the economic arguments are – it is crucial that those of us campaigning for a chance to look at the EU membership issue again make their case on emotional grounds.
I have been and will continue to be committed to arguing passionately for Remain, no matter what the tortuous path of Brexit.
The lesson I have learnt however is that we must make that case from the heart, from our values and from our experience and beliefs, and leave the economic forecasts for the spreadsheet junkies.