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Don't just rely on the facts!

May 23, 2015 4:39 PM
By John Marriott - Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

I have just read Neil Hopkinson's excellent article on the UK's relationship with the EU via the East Midlands Lib Dems' website. One sentence stood out in what was a very scholarly and sensible piece, namely: "Winning the argument extends beyond facts; above all there must also be an appeal to the heart."

Facts alone will not win over the waverers. We nearly lost Scotland by assuming that bombarding its citizens during the recent referendum campaign with 'facts' supporting the dire consequences of their leaving the union would win many of them over. In many cases they just did not believe us. I thought Tim Farron's response on 'Question Time' this week was very apposite. On a question on the EU he alluded to the fact that, not that many years ago, most of the Eastern European members of the EU had Soviet controlled nuclear weapons on their soil pointing towards us in the West. For someone who was born in WW2 and grew up during the Cold War this is an extremely powerful and persuasive argument for our staying part of the EU. We need to keep reminding our younger citizens and those who choose to forget just what things were really like only twenty or so years ago.

UKIP and other Eurosceptic groups assume that there is a world out there just waiting for us to leave the EU so that we can resume the relationship we had with them before 1973. They would be sadly mistaken. The rest of the world has moved on since Ted Heath signed us up to the 'Common Market' and we had better get used to it!

Neil Hopkinson's article should be compulsory reading for us all.

Cllr John Marriott

Lincolnshire County Council