EUROPEAN MOVEMENT SCOTLAND
14.00hrs ST GILES CATHEDRAL
Saturday 24thMarch 2018
I have a fundamental belief in our shared European heritage. From the time of the Celts, who in 750 BC were the most powerful tribe in Europe and from whom many of us are descended, from the Romans, the Saxons, the Vikings, the Normans, we share our culture and our heritage with our European neighbours. How arrogant to say that we have no wish to be part of Europe …that we are unique and can stand alone and aloof. I am proud to be a European.
A thousand different options are being bandied around. Some people say we should stay in the customs union. But surely that is a halfway house? A situation where we would be rule-takers rather than rule-makers? Britain would have to abide by trade agreements negotiated by the EU, without any say in those negotiations. Well I have a better idea…why not tear up Article 50, revoke Brexit and remain a full member of the EU? That way we will be deal-makers. That way we will resolve the Irish border question at a stroke. That way we will remain where we should be…part of the European family.
Brexit has created a democratic blackhole into which all parliamentary time has been sucked. It has to stop. Enough is enough. No-one in the referendum voted for Britain to become poorer. No-one voted for higher prices and poorer public services. No-one voted for a £40 billion divorce bill. No-one voted for the UK to go from being the leading G7 economy, to bottom of the league table. But that is what happened. That is where we are. The time has come to stand up for our future, for the future of students and young people, for the future of jobs, for the future of our economy. I want to remain a EU citizen. I want to retain freedom of movement. I want a happy marriage, not an ugly and costly divorce. The time has come to tell UKIK, Farage and all the other BREXTREMISTS to go to hell. The time has come to STOP BREXIT.
People may say ‘But we had a referendum. 52% of the British public voted for Brexit.’ Well they did so based on lies painted on the side of a red bus. They did so without grasping the complexities and true cost of Brexit.
Now that we know the truth; now that we know the impact Brexit will have on our economy, on jobs, on our health service, I believe it is the duty of our government to scrap this disastrous decision, end the divorce and tell the EU we want to stay.
I’ve been called a remoaner. I’ve been told that I am denying democracy; that I’m ignoring the will of the people. But when I see that the people who will suffer most from Brexit are, for the large part, the very people who voted for it, then I am certain that the time has come to call a halt on the whole squalid process. With all of the problems confronting our country, austerity, a struggling NHS, an education system beginning to slide down the international league tables, a housing crisis, we need to restore common sense and tell our elected politicians to start running the country, instead of running away from Europe.
Struan Stevenson was a Conservative MEP for Scotland from 1999 to 2014. He is now an international lecturer and author.