LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott: Making the case for Britain as a strong force in Europe

Former Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has written for the Yorkshire Post, unsurprisingly on the subject of the forthcoming  EU Referendum.

He compares and contrasts this referendum with the last one in 1975:

Today’s media will play a decisive role in shaping the debate but is far more diverse both in attitudes and structure than in 1975. Then there were a handful of radio and TV channels whereas now there are hundreds; then only the Morning Star and the Spectator opposed Britain remaining in, but now the print media are much more evenly split. The role of social media has exploded in recent years and knows no constraint, political or personal.

Today, largely thanks to the EU, low cost airlines carry Britons routinely to airports which have sprung up in every corner of the continent and its islands. There we have learned new cuisines and cultures.

However, the most fundamental difference in Europe between 1975 and today is the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the subsequent enlargement of the EU to embrace its emerging democracies. Our generation has had the happy task of creating the world’s largest Single Market within a democratic framework.

The roles of Nato and the EU in the fall of the Berlin Wall are often discussed, but their close relationship was foreseen in their earliest years. Today, they are stronger not just because they are both located in Brussels, but also because there is a plethora of working arrangements between them, such as a shared 24-hour situation room.


He also says that as well as a positive, hopeful message, Remain campaigners should not shy from pointing out the negatives of leaving:

There is no doubt that the fear factor contributed to Cameron’s winning the general election through the portrayal of Ed Miliband, untrusted on the economy, in the pockets of Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond. Fear on the economy and use of the pound were also major factors in the Scottish referendum.

While fear is a legitimate political strategy, there is much “hope” to be positive about. A young Labour activist who was campaigning for Remain over the weekend told me that many older voters, while mentioning immigration levels as an issue, said that their children or grandchildren’s future weighed more with them.

You can read the whole article here.

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4 Comments

  • “Today, largely thanks to the EU, low cost airlines carry Britons routinely to airports which have sprung up in every corner of the continent and its islands. There we have learned new cuisines and cultures.”

    How can you so patently distort the facts.

    The low cost no frills airline template came into being principally by the efforts of Freddie Laker who was channel hopping people and their cars to the continent in his airline fleet in the 1950’s. HIs Skytrain operation started flying people across the Atlantic for £32.50 in 1971 before we joined the EEC at a third of the price of the main carriers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Laker

    As for trying to bask in the reflected glory of NATO, one word KOSOVO. The impotence of the EU probably resulted in many deaths, until NATO had to go ion and and sort the problem out.

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=warJCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132&dq=kosovo,+eu+impotence&source=bl&ots=Nyeh_5BRl1&sig=ggMFxcq6NmJ9pwp3YvAjYYkuDF8

  • Raddiy
    Thought you might enjoy this video of Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary speaking at the EU innovation convention

  • “The roles of Nato and the EU in the fall of the Berlin Wall are often discussed, but their close relationship was foreseen in their earliest years. Today, they are stronger not just because they are both located in Brussels, but also because there is a plethora of working arrangements between them, such as a shared 24-hour situation room.”

    With the EU’s aggressive expansionist policy – which includes NATO member Turkey – can anyone doubt that NATO is fast becoming the military wing of the EU? Brussels knows that most voters are not keen on a single EU army so they are co-opting NATO instead.

    I would encourage those of you who see the EU as a bastion of values, debater of issues, and vessel of soft power to entertain the idea that perhaps the EU expansionist policy is doing harm to EU states and our neighbours. If we were not so keen about pulling Turkey into our orbit, then perhaps the EU could exert some power over Erdoğan and his horrific behaviour re the Kurds and his lax approach to the problem that is ISIS and therefore the wider problem of Syria and the migrant crisis.

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