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Shirley on peace and economic prosperity that EU offers

June 13, 2016 11:36 AM
By The Voice in Liberal Democrat Voice

Shirley williamsShirley Williams has been out and about campaigning for us to stay in the EU in the same way as she campaigned for Scotland to see in the UK. She took part in a question and answer session in Wales based around the question "What has the EU done for us?"

Shirley's answer was clear. She talked about how the EU had secured the peace in Europe:

The main motivation behind the EU was to end wars in Europe after the horror of two world wars and for 71 years we have not had any wars in the territory covered by the EU governments,

She said that the campaign had become too personal and vicious, deviating from what actually matters:

One aspect of it I deeply regret is that it has been much too personal," she said. "Much too bitchy and in many ways much too involved in one issue - that is, who is going to be the next Prime Minister of this country.

I think that's a great pity as this is a very crucial issue - they have been few more crucial since the WW2. Whatever side of the argument we are on it is a travesty and a shame to allow it to become a slanging match between two sides of one party, which is essentially what it has become. The debate has been less impressive than it should have been and we have heard too few voices saying pretty much the same things.

Then she talked of the importance of being in on the discussions, working out with our neighbours how to deal with the huge challenges of the day - and cited the Paris climate change talks as an example of what can be achieved.

We can't promise people a golden age but we can say if we stay in we will be involved in some of the most difficult global problems there are - we won't be excluded….One of the great recent achievements of the EU was the astonishing outcome of the climate change conference in France last year where the French government fought for us to sign the first legal and binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change has to be addressed and it is best addressed by a group of countries together, not just one.

Only by a group of countries coming together with a common culture you might be able to grapple with these issues in a democratic structure in which people are persuaded that they have to suffer a bit in order to gain a lot and, for me, that is the central issue. It is about who we as the human race addresses the huge issues confronting us, whether we can use the mechanism we have created for ourselves, the comradeship, the companionship and whether we are capable of living up to the concept of being a good neighbour

On the economy, she was clear that being in the EU had been good for us:

The debate is relentlessly about the economy - arguments on both sides are so exaggerated one can't possibly take them terribly seriously. Nevertheless the economy has been the dominant factor The GNP rate in the UK has gone up by 103% since 1973 when we first entered the European community. Economically the EU has been good news for us - we have done quite well in seeing a steady improvement in most people's economic standards.