Why the UK and EU work better together

AG’s Sean Heath outlines why community is more important than sovereignty and why the UK should remain in the European Union… 

Being in my late forties now, the first time I remember being aware of the European Community and that it was a contentious matter as to whether in fact we should be a member was in 1988. This was only 13 years after we had joined and Margaret Thatcher gave the famous “Bruges speech” giving her vision for the future of Europe. Being 21 at the time, it caught my eye being a prominent news story and it seemed to begin a period where Europe was the battleground for Conservative Party infighting spilling over into the mainstream news. After that we had the ‘No. No. No.’ speech in the Commons, Thatcher’s fall, the ERM, Maastricht, the Single European Act and John Major’s cabinet bastards to name just a few seemingly Tory melodramas that they got excited about but didn’t really have a lot to do with the rest of us as we went around our daily lives.

Europe, and our role in it always appeared to be something that perturbed the retired Major’s and WI members in Middle England for whom Jerusalem was, and is the surrogate National Anthem, and Johnny Foreigner is an anathema. In other words, your stereotypical Conservative voter/backbencher.

Somehow, after all these years of it being a Tory Party issue, we have arrived at the point where suddenly we are being asked whether we still want to be European. For most people, I get the impression this is a bit of a shock and many family, friends and colleagues that I speak to say they are unprepared and don’t have enough information. I for one had been feeling as though I was European as well as British / English for some time now, and to think that part of my wider identity might now be taken away is disturbing.

I like being part of a larger community. What’s the phrase? ‘Strength in Numbers’? France, Germany, Holland, Spain etc are not strange overseas lands filled with undesirables, I like the ease of the Euro, I like the tunnel and passport control. To me, being part of Europe feels natural. Who knew we’d like tapas so much. More importantly it feels good to have a wide range of nationalities that essentially want to work together to build a safer, stronger, more prosperous and harmonious region.

We know where we stand with our current position being part of the wider European community. We know there are problems to resolve with the migration crisis. We know there is resentment brewing through the Schengen Agreement on open borders. There are irritations with our NET contribution to the EU budget and there is rising ill feeling because of the perceived lack of accountability of EU law makers and the imposition of unnecessary bureaucracy.

However, these points are seized upon by the ‘out’ campaign associated media like the Express and Mail and fed to us on a daily basis to distort our view and give us the impression we are somehow different from the rest of Europe and therefore should be separate. They make us feel we are under daily threat of being pillaged by a modern day equivalent of the Viking hordes except this time they are economic migrants and refugees who want to come to Britain because our benefits system is so great. Unfortunately there is a large and growing proportion of the population being influenced by this propaganda and sadly believe it.

Immigration is undoubtedly a troubling topic for many people up and down the country, but it should be our aim to solve it, not allow it to become something that turns us into a nationalistic, Nigel Farage-inspired UK version of Nazi Germany. When we see children dying on Greek beaches on the news and our own colleagues come back from the camps in Calais with stories and photographs of unimaginable living conditions for mainly innocent people, we have to be part of a European union that sets about sorting this out rather than leaving it to other nations.

The fact is we know what our problems are being part of the EU. We don’t know what our problems will be being out on our own — it is guesswork at best and blind faith at worst.

Hindsight is a valuable tool, and with it comes the knowledge that the Scots made a great decision to vote ‘NO’ in their referendum. Despite the fact that they are according to the Kevin Bridges joke, “the only country in history to vote against their own independence”, the whole ‘YES’ campaign was built around being self sustainable underpinned by the price of a barrel of oil which is now worth less than half of what it was at that time. The newly formed Scottish economy would have been decimated. I don’t remember anyone predicting that in advance.

The world is smaller; technology is eroding old traditional boundaries of trade and communication. Better transport links are making it easier and quicker to get to pretty much wherever we want. Turning insular and away from our continental neighbours somehow seems to be at odds with this concept.

Without being overly dramatic, future conflict in Europe must be avoided at all costs and for that reason alone we must make sure that all the people of Europe feel part of a collective that can celebrate their differences but rejoice in being part of something bigger, stronger and diverse that can show the rest of the world the way forward. We cannot fight the threat of international terrorism on our own either — together we are smarter and stronger.

Conflict drains prosperity, resources, energy and takes attention away from other problems and issues many of which Europe faces today. It is our responsibility for the sake of future generations that we grasp the nettle and focus on the task of resolving problems. We might live on an island, but we also all live on the same planet and just because we are surrounded by water, it doesn’t mean we should pull up the drawbridge, ramp up our border security and disengage.

Sean Heath

Adjacent Government



  1. Will someone please inform Mr Heath that Britain is not leaving Europe,an area we have been trading with for over 1000yrs! We wish to leave an inward looking, unaccountable and undemocratic political dictatorship run by a group of self serving parasites in Brussels! We simply do not need to be a member of a political union in order trade with Europe. China, USA, USSR,India,Asia, Japan, Australia all trade successfully with Europe, yet are not members!! Neither do they pay billions of taxpayers money for the privilege!! The EU is a big con,a giant ponzi scheme created to enrich the few, failed politicians, conmen and thieves! The EU has still not signed off its accounts for 19yrs-that says it all.Corruption, waste and bureaucracy are all the EU stands for!

  2. Mr Cairns, thank you for taking the time to visit the site, read the article and respond. Over the last 1000 years that we have been trading with Europe, there has never been such a long period without conflict between the major European nations as this. During this time we have been locked into a partnership with our European neighbours and forced to negotiate over contentious issues rather than fight over them. Just because you say the EU is a big con or a giant Ponzi scheme does not make it so.
    Your final point unfortunately is entirely typical of this debate. Please do your research on the EU accounts. It is untrue that they have not been signed off. Please follow this link to an easy to read and simple FACT sheet which for most people would be enough to clear up the issue.
    If you don’t want to follow the link then a simple google search should be enough.
    If you are bold enough to put your point of view across then be bold enough to do a little bit of further reading. Surely you are not so closed minded that you either can’t or won’t do the research for fear of realising your views are in fact urban myth.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here