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My contribution to the EU Referendum debate in Thanet. My letter to the Isle of Thanet Gazette, May 27, 2016

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[Published in the Isle of Thanet Gazette, May 27, 2016] I take issue with Richard Brennan of Margate who believes a comparison between the European Union and the United States of America is entirely relevant to the big debate on whether we stay in or get out of the EU. He uses the word culture without really understanding its meaning. Different languages and laws do not create problems within Europe as the proliferation of English language schools in this country demonstrate, bringing in a lot of revenue to coastal towns. Mr Brennan thinks cultural differences within Europe are a bad thing but it is these different cultures that maintain our unique identities. The EU's motto is United in Diversity. Not a cultural melting pot but an enrichment of identities within member states.Within the United Kingdom, Welshmen are no less Welsh for being part of the United Kingdom and many speak their own, entirely different, language. The Scots are equally no less Scottish and drive deeper into their roots while remaining British. The same principle runs throughout Europe where I feel no less British of Welsh parentage and strongly identify as European. Mr Brennan refers to a century of a "forcibly applied" European super state but it was the absence of European co-operation in the first half of the twentieth century that enabled the Europeans to fight each other and nearly destroy this continent. The idealism of post-war Europeanism is a genuine attempt to prevent future wars in Europe. That has got to be a good thing. The biggest threat of war comes from the American-led NATO organisation from which all Europeans should withdraw. European interests not American interests. The many diverse cultures within Europe are based on 3,000 years of European civilisation. All the great achievements of Europe stem from this long tradition from Classic Greece up to the present day. The United States that Mr Brennan thinks is a far better option has, in his own words, "not yet evolved a culture". That they speak one language, a dumbed down version of English, is no guarantee of cohesiveness as the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrates. The famous quote, America Is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without an intervening period of civilisation, is the most accurate description of the world's biggest super power. I would prefer a European super power with centuries of wisdom, science, art and literature behind us. The greatest threat today is the Americanisation of the globe ... this one size fits all mono-culture that is, in reality, the destroyer of cultures.Mr Brennan writes of being "under the boot of the unelected in Brussels". He omitted the prefix jack. An unelected European Commission does not make our laws but simply proposes them. It is the elected European Parliament and the Council of the EU, composed of Government ministers, that debate them and can pass European laws. In Britain, only about 13 per cent of our laws bear any relation to the Brussels legislation. The rest is determined entirely by the House of Commons. Our border controls are a thoroughly British matter while EU migrants contributed more than £20bn to our economy between 2001 and 2011, according to economists at University College London.So, all Europeans share a common civilisation although blessed with a diversity of culture and language. For me, this is the best argument for preserving this unity and staying in. [Robert Edwards]

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