SNP MP Stephen Griffiths has a long and, it has to be said, somewhat tedious paean to the EU in today’s paper in contemplation of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The EU, he claims, is responsible for peace, wealth, fairness, greenness, smartness etc. etc.
You only get one go at history, but would things have really been very different if we’d not been in the EU?
It’s likely that most, if not all, of the social benefits that Stephen ascribes to the EU would have happened anyway, because they’re things that have happened in all western democracies, not just EU nations.
International trade, means international standards, not just European ones.
And anybody would think that nobody left their own country before the EU came into existence.
Students and academics have always functioned internationally and still do. The world’s leading universities and research institutes are in places like the US, Japan and Switzerland, not the EU and people come to the UK’s top universities from all over the world, not just the EU.
Peace has been guaranteed by NATO (and bankrolled by the US), not the EU (only the UK and Poland currently pay their way) and plenty of countries seemed to have coped without being in the EU.
Controlled migration was happening long before the free movement of people. If you go to a hospital, you will find at least as many South Asians and Phllipinos as EU nationals – probably more – and we will continue to have both once we leave.
Contrary to what many EU enthusiasts claim, it is the EU that is often insular and inward looking. It isn’t 1945 any more. Or 1957. It’s 2017. Things have changed and we need to be international, not Eurocentric. There’s a whole world out there- – North America, India, China, South America, Russia, Africa, the Pacific Ring and, yes, Europe.