[Originally a Facebook post] Yesterday I critiqued yet again the IN campaign’s strategy and tactics. [the previous post]
Last Wednesday, 1 June I finally heard the good principled, factual and positive case for EU membership that I’ve wanted the whole time.
Irish perspectives on the EU Referendum, Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool Wednesday 1 June.
“The EU has been a tremendous force for good in Northern Ireland” Grainne Mellon, Irish4Europe.
Straight facts showing the overwhelmingly positive contribution of immigrants to Northern Ireland from Peter Shirlow, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies. Shirlow could reel off fact after fact after fact – statistics, but plain ones.
Irish Foreign Minister, Charles Flanagan, gave a fluent upbeat report on the many reasons majority Irish opinion wants Britain to stay in the EU. “We have a consensus in Ireland on this issue” (in Irish politics). I thought the idea of consensus in Irish politics or among people in Ireland was over optimistic but the Minister gave many reasons why the EU has been good for the whole island of Ireland and its neighbour, Great Britain. Also this amazing statistic, his flight over to Liverpool today one of ‘Between Dublin, Cork and Belfast: “at least 21 direct flights to Liverpool today, operated by four different airlines.”‘. (Quote courtesy of Irish4Europe).
Hilary Benn – there is a struggle for the soul of Europe. Talked about the vision of the founders of the European Union, and celebrating it. Benn made the positive principled case for EU membership. He also gave many practical examples of the improvements in Britain while we have been in the EU. “when I think the state the British car industry was in 20, 30 years ago”. On peaceful coexistence, workers rights, the environment, the economy, free trade, free travel, especially for young people, helping the Northern Ireland peace process, investment in northern cities, Benn covered the whole range of positive arguments. Labour MP Hilary Benn put exactly the Liberal case for the EU that I want to hear and that Liberals put, clearly, articulately, persuasively.
Conor McGinn, St. Helens MP celebrated “Britain in the EU confident of its place in the World”. A place comfortable with internationalism and with its influence on the World stage, magnified by EU membership. He highlighted for the Liverpool city region the positive legacy of the Liverpool Capital of Culture across the whole county, and that both the World of Glass in St Helens and the Tate Liverpool were partly funded through the EU. Very large EU investments in culture as regeneration.
Grainne Mellon echoed the Irish Minister and former UK Minister, as well, like McGinn, reflecting on the importance of cross border trade and peaceful links in Ulster.
“It gives us a chance to see how far we have come.
We are passionate that this is best for Britain, and Ireland North and South.”
(First quote via Brian O’Connell rt Irish4Europe).