Eurosceptics do not own patriotism – staying in the EU is best for Britain

EU & Uk flags merged transparent largeAfter the theatrics of Cameron’s renegotiation, and the spectacle of Tory MPs booing their own Prime Minister, we have a referendum date – 23rd June – and the campaign has officially begun. One of the most frustrating arguments from Eurosceptics, and one that I would like to tackle head on, has been the idea that Eurosceptics are the patriotic side of the debate.

Let’s be clear, Eurosceptics do not have the monopoly on patriotism. The Labour party is proud of Britain, and proud of all we have and will achieve, but we will not settle for a Britain that is less secure, less prosperous and with fewer protections for us at work – we will not settle for going it alone.

We live in an era of countries with populations of a billion people, but Britain’s EU membership makes us a major player in world trade. The EU has 500 million consumers, and we can negotiate much better terms with our EU partners than we would be able to alone. If we leave the EU, we decrease our negotiating power – what would be patriotic about that?

It’s not just about trade or business though. Thousands of Europeans died during centuries of war between our nations. We might take peace for granted, but our parents, grand-parents and great grand-parents died so that we could enjoy it today. We are currently living in the longest period of peace our continent has ever known, with so many trade, economic and personal ties that war is unthinkable. That is something we should be immensely proud of.

I am proud to be British, and proud to be European. We live on a beautiful, prosperous continent, and co-operation between 28 nations that used to be almost constantly at war is an incredible thing. Don’t let the Eurosceptics tell you that the patriotic vote is to leave the EU, because it is simply not true. Our future is working with our partners in Europe, and Labour MEPs will be campaigning to stay in because we want the best for future generations of Britons.

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