EURef: An example local newspaper article for IN

Letters to your local newspaper are a great way to get the IN message across.  You may even be able to persuade the editor to print a full article making the case.

Effective writing in a typical local paper needs to be punchy, direct and local. Short words in short sentences and a local angle on the bigger picture. It also helps to tell a story. Start with where we were, then where we are now, followed by where we could go if the reader joins this great adventure.

My view is the key points to make are Peace, Prosperity, People and rebut Cost and Sovereignty objections. If you do that you make a good case to motivate IN supporters, sway Undecided voters and give some OUT supporters pause for thought.

Above all, stay positive. #INtogether is fundamentally about the hope of a better tomorrow.

England’s geographically closest local newspaper to continental Europe, the Dover Express, asked me to write an IN article, printed opposite a pro-Leave argument.

Dover Express IN article

I hope this article is of use to others. Please feel free to borrow or adapt any part for your own article, letter or other use for IN. Obviously, the local references need to be adjusted.  The 50p point is now 36p in light of the latest evidence.

Closer union began after World War Two. Millions of people lay dead and cities ruined. An inspired generation of leaders, chiefly Winston Churchill, saw that to build a brighter tomorrow, we needed to work more closely. That meant a single market to trade freely with a political structure to understand each other and answer shared problems. Better “jaw, jaw than war, war” as Churchill said.

In 2016 we look back on 71 years of peace Europe. We built NATO, an alliance against an external threat (Russia) and the EU to prevent internal conflict. It’s not ‘peace in our time’ but peace for all time. We must not put that at risk.   

The post-war leaders also addressed the evil wrecked on people’s lives by fascism. The basic human rights which fascism suppressed were put into a Convention on Human Rights that every EU country must uphold. The right to life, to a fair trial, to own property, to marry, to free speech, and so on.

Peace enables prosperity we enjoy today. Being in means British companies can sell goods anywhere in Europe without tariffs, import taxes or other barriers that used to exist. Also, as customers we can buy things from elsewhere in Europe, giving us wider choice and cheaper household bills.

In Dover, many jobs depend on exports and imports.  3 million British jobs are linked to trade with Europe.  Even if we lost only 5% or 10% that would be a very deep recession.  HSBC predict the pound losing 20% of its value if we leave.

A free trade agreement for Britain outside the EU would take years to negotiate, could be vetoed by any of the other 27 member states and could only give us less than we have now. If we leave we will still be subject to many decisions made in Europe but not have any part in making them.

Holidays have become affordable to more Dovorians. The EU deregulated airlines, making flying cheaper. It is easy to see why Easyjet and Ryanair support IN unless you only ever fly with posher airlines you should too.

When I was growing up Deal beach was filthy.  It was littered with rubbish washed up from the sea coming from other countries. Now, the beach is free of litter and the water passes Europe’s clean water standards. This is because together, as EU countries, we have made tough environmental laws for all of Europe.

Working in the law courts I see EU co-operation. Criminals who run are brought back to face justice. Information on previous convictions (vital to get the sentence right) is shared.

As EU citizens we have the right to live, study, work or retire anywhere in Europe. 2 million Brits do so right now. More will in future. If we leave Europe many will have to come back. Where will they live and work?

A lot is said about people from other parts of Europe working here. It’s important for us all. They pay 33% more in tax than they draw on services. Without them there would be a bigger gap in school and hospital budgets.

For young Dovorians looking for work, leaving the EU would only cause deeper problems. We need more investment in education to help young people get on.

We do not pay a lot to the EU. The websites fullfact and infact put it at £8bn or £6bn. Even £8bn works out as only 36p per person per day.

If being in Europe gives one of my neighbours a job, brings one more business to Dover or shortens a conflict anywhere in the world by one day, that is 36p well spent.

Keep us up-to-date with the campaign in your area.

* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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4 Comments

  • I doubt our local paper would print a letter as long as that, but there’s some good points here. Thanks

  • It’s an article not a letter hence 600 words pre-agreed with the editor. It’s worth calling and asking if they will take it.

    Letters usually work best about 250 words.

  • Eddie Sammon 21st Mar '16 - 2:30am

    I’m surprised how few people seem to be engaged in this referendum. I’ve just shared something on my Facebook from Stronger In and only about 1% of my friends like the page. About 5 out of around 500. Only around 3 like the vote leave pages though.

    Doesn’t seem to be generating the excitement the Scottish referendum generated, but hopefully that will change.

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