Tuesday, 14 June 2016

An open letter about the EU referendum


I have watched with growing alarm and disbelief as the EU referendum campaign has unfolded these past months.  As a parent, citizen and professional economist I am filled with dread at the prospect the UK will vote to leave the EU.

It seems to me that the general population’s distrust of ‘the Establishment’ is now so complete that there are no institutions or individuals whose arguments to remain will be believed.  How else to explain the latest polls?  It seems that a hundred or so MPs, fronted by a handful of high-rhetoric, low-fact politicians, are proving more persuasive than the IMF, the IFS, the Bank of England, the President of the United States, the UK government, the leaders of all major UK parties…

I am determined that, should the worst occur, I shall not look back and say: I did nothing.  I am therefore writing to ask every reader to remember that the EU referendum is not about Boris or immigration or short-term economic discomfort.  It is a profound geo-political choice between being alone or being with friends.  Once, perhaps, this was a sufficiently mighty nation to countenance such isolation; now, confronting the challenges of climate change, globalisation, terrorism and ceaselessly disruptive technological change, it is only by working closely with others that we can realistically hope to prosper in the long run.

So, I ask: please do not allow your distrust of ‘them’ to justify a vote to leave the EU.  Instead, reflect on how much better it always is, when trying to get difficult things done, to work with friends and colleagues; and vote Remain.