So here is something you rarely see. A defence of what the EU brings for us.
And what has it brought?
- over 50% of UK trade;
- structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline;
- laws to protect and improve air quality and reduce pollution
- rules to ensure beaches, rivers and water are cleaner and safer
- Ensuring the introduction of lead free petrol;
- restrictions on landfill dumping;
- targets to increase recycling;
- cheaper mobile phone charges - including the scrapping of overseas data roaming charges;
- a 'Robin Hood Tax' on financial transactions (despite the UK Government's best efforts to oppose it)
- a cap on bankers' bonuses
- cheaper air travel and more rights for compensation for travellers;
- improved consumer protection and food labelling to help people make healthy choice;
- a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives;
- better product safety;
- break up of monopolies;
- Europe-wide patent and copyright protection;
- no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market;
- greater price transparency, including for energy companies;
- freedom to travel, live and work across Europe;
- funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad;
- access to European health services;
- labour/employment protection and enhanced social welfare;
- smoke-free workplaces;
- equal pay legislation;
- holiday entitlement;
- the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime;
- the strongest wildlife and biodiversity protection in the world;
- regulations to restrict and prevent international trade in wildlife;
- improved animal welfare in food production;
- EU-funded research and industrial collaboration;
- EU representation in international forums;
- bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO;
- EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty;
- European arrest warrant, enabling organised crime to be tackled more effectively;
- cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling;
- counter terrorism intelligence;
- European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa;
- support for human rights across Europe and beyond;
- investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital;
- Increased privacy rights for people from internet companies
..oh, and years of peace between European neighbours after centuries of bloodshed and the extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships, now EU members, since 1980
So, let's have an honest debate.
The Tory-backing press, run by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, don't really care about UK sovereignty. They just know the EU is one of the sole entities large enough to regulate global corporations.
Despite its flaws, that is the value of the EU for millions of people that value social, economic and environmental rights that EU membership protects.
And that is the real debate: between those that want to see a race toward ultra low taxes, the break up of social and welfare systems and a race to the bottom on workers' rights and laws to protect the environment.... and those on the other had who want to live in a world which values more than the narrow pursuit of profit for the few at the very top.
The EU has its faults. But it is worth fighting for.