Possibly the single best reason for Britain’s continued membership of the European Union (EU) is that the EU prevents wars.
Following war between France and Germany three times in 70 years (arguably four), the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded shortly after World War 2 by six nations, making them industrially and economically inter-dependent. It was intended to make war “not only unthinkable but materially impossible”. This principle paved the way for the formation of the EEC and then the EU, and it has worked.
It is not the case that, because the last war amongst Western European nations was a long time ago, the EU has moved on and that purpose has ceased to have meaning. It is precisely because such a war is so distant in time that the EU is clearly working and still fulfilling the function of making it impossible.
If we are tempted to think that war between major economic powers or “modern” nations today is very unlikely and not a possibility we need to take seriously, who thought eastern/middle Europe would fall apart so violently and completely in the last two decades? And think of Japan, who fought on the same side as Britain in World War 1, but just 21 years later was a principal enemy and fought against Britain in World War 2.
We may appear to have comfortable, stable, safe lives; but look a little further and you will see the world is far more unstable and dangerous than it has ever been. Things can change dramatically and very quickly, and the direction from which war might come is unpredictable.
War has almost always been a facet of British life, not one year has passed since 1914 that Britain has not been involved in armed conflict somewhere. Including today.
Concerns about migration or our current economic wellbeing seem pretty much irrelevant to a decision over our membership of the EU, compared to opening up the possibility of wars in Europe. We all know the EU has, over the last 20 years, turned into a body representing capital, thus promoting profiteering and privatisation, of which the secretive TTIP deal is just the latest manifestation. But these are things a socialist UK Government can fix, co-operating with others of like mind.
21 years from now puts my youngest Niece at about 40 years old, that’s plenty of time for war to return to Europe. It’s not such a distant possibility, if we pave the way by leaving the EU.
It is more important to me to avoid risking my Niece, her children and countless millions others facing the tragedy and horror of war than worrying about transitory issues that can be solved if there is a will.