There are so many arguments, so much misinformation on both sides of this debate that I feel for a lot of people it comes down – at heart – to an emotional decision. Do you want to be part of Europe or not?
Now, I value sovereignty, and I love this country, and I can understand the view in favour of leaving Europe for that reason.
But at heart, I look at the UK and I see a nation which has never been closed. I see people from all walks of life; from all backgrounds. We havebeen a cultural melting pot since the Ice Age ended and the waters rose, and the “native” Celts were joined by Saxons, Angles, Jutes, Romans, Vikings, Normans. Waves of migrants since before the start of written history. It’s in our blood. It’s in our myths and legends. It’s in our NAME.
United. We’re stronger as group of four than we were alone. We’re better when we set aside our differences and work for a common cause. And I look at this debate and I see no difference between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
I see elected representatives from across Europe working together to unite disparate people and give us common safety and security. I see solidarity. I see hope for a peaceful future. I see cultural enrichment, as our traditions are passed on an explained to new generations, and have the freedom to grow and evolve with us.
I look at all of this and I think: What is patriorism? Is it a love of who I am and where I hail from? Is it a blind devotion to a set of laws and morals which would be anathema to generations past? What makes a person British? Is it Europhobia and distrust?
Or is it tea and crumpets, umbrellas on standby. Is it cream teas and castles. Green fields and rolling hills. Maypoles and country fairs. Cider, and beer, and ale, and wine. Freedom, and hope, and stubbornness and sarcasm, and a dry, endless pessimism which belies inner strength.
I don’t think any of those things will be lost to Europe. Rather, I believe they are the greatest treasure we hold; one which can only grow with the sharing. I am English. I am British. And I am European and I want to stay that way.
I’m voting Remain, because in my heart, I think that is the most patriotic thing I will ever do.