MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jun-16 13:23:14

EU referendum guest post: Helen Pankhurst – "The EU gives us the best of both worlds"

Britain and the EU are stronger together, says Helen Pankhurst. Read Priti Patel's opposing view here.

Helen Pankhurst

Campaign ambassador, CARE International UK

Posted on: Mon 20-Jun-16 13:23:14


Lead photo

"I worry that voting to leave would destabilise our whole political system."

Much to my surprise, my great-grandmother Emmeline Pankhurst was brought into the EU referendum debate a few months ago with the suggestion by those supporting the Leave campaign that she would have been in favour of Brexit. Of course nobody can know what she would have thought, but my family - and that of the Churchills, mentioned in the same way - were rather annoyed by this use of their name. We felt that, if anything, our ancestors would have wanted the UK to be part of Europe - our gut reaction was that these historical giants would have hated to be associated with the Leavers, but of course we have no real idea - the whole question is historically nonsensical.

But it has made me think about the issue of what we instinctively think and feel, and at the end of the day, people's emotions and gut reactions do seem to be the main fuel of the EU referendum debate. And yet, in the midst of all of this emotion, people seem to want facts. But the more we have been given so-called 'facts' the more I find these elusive. 'Facts' have proved to be meaningless, twisted this way and that, because they depend on the boundaries within which information is provided. As one example, there have been arguments about whether the EU costs Britain 350 million a week, 250 million a week or whether for every one pound we pay into the EU, we get ten pounds back. The ‘facts’ don’t seem to be getting us very far. Even the way I just framed the example above shows my bias, I ended with the figure that speaks to my point of view.

I just don't believe that leaving the EU is a magic bullet that will resolve the problems without creating new ones. Our economies and societies are interdependent and severing links will be painful for numerous companies and for many families here in the UK.

I can find reason enough to justify my position: in terms of economic trade; the social benefits, for women in particular, of what has been called the 'floor of rights'; a belief that terrorism and climate change cross boundaries, and that political unity as a European block gives us tremendous collective power. We have the best of both worlds, connected, but with significant levels of autonomy. However, I also know that those who think differently, will turn each of these aspects around, to put the opposite view.

The Leave campaign’s main argument relates to the problems of unfettered migration, the worry about scarce resources in schools and hospitals, and competition over jobs. I understand these fears, but I just don't believe that leaving the EU is a magic bullet that will resolve the problems without creating new ones. Our economies and societies are interdependent and severing links will be painful for numerous companies and for many families here in the UK. In the face of international humanitarian crises, we would still have to face the predicament about what we should be doing as a global leader, whilst our authority to address the root causes of the problems is lessened by our retreat.

Meanwhile, I cannot help worrying that voting to leave would destabilise our whole political system. This seems to be fracturing already to some extent, but if we leave, we would have to establish new sets of relationships. For example, we would have to form a new cabinet and possibly even a new government within the UK; the majority of parliament seems to be in favour of staying, so MPs would be tasked with putting into place changes they don't think are in the country's best interest; we would have to develop new agreements with all our neighbours, and with many others around the world; Scotland could demand another referendum; policing the only physical border between Northern Ireland and Ireland could create additional tensions. The whole thing - just from a pragmatic point of view - would cost money, time and effort. It just seems mad.

So it's back to my first point about gut feelings. My instinct tells me not to trust the Brexiters, that they would take us down the path towards shrinking political, social and economic prospects, away from the idea that we are stronger together. On June 23, 2016, I will be voting for us to stay in the EU, to keep a seat at the table with our closest allies - staying shoulder to shoulder. I hope Britain does too.

By Helen Pankhurst

Twitter: @HelenPankhurst

RortyCrankle Mon 20-Jun-16 15:05:46

My instinct tells me not to trust the Remainers who would lead us ever deeper into the flawed EU which I believe will ultimately crumble with or without us. Better we leave now and follow our own democratic destiny.

SpaceKablooie Mon 20-Jun-16 15:47:11

Good post smile - we do have to sit at the table in order to be able to contribute in a meaningful way, both now and in the future. We are absolutely stronger together.

bkgirl Mon 20-Jun-16 16:45:47

Emmeline Pankhurst supported democracy. By all accounts the EU has a "democratic deficit" which is spin for undemocratic. Only one of its institutions is democratically elected. All else - civil servants, we can't unelect them.
I always wondered how the german people who I like were sucked into Nazism and voting in a dictatorship. Now I understand.
Juncker last week visited Putin and told him he was our leader.
He is unelected but yep, he was revealing the truth.
Emeline would be telling her lovely grandaughter Helen to really look closer and never compromise on democracy. Emeline would never vote to sit at a table of a dictator, no matter the spin.

Lokisglowstickofdestiny Mon 20-Jun-16 16:50:28

Just for context, Care International gets a fair amount of financial support from the EU doesn't it?

"Key donors on the development front Comic Relief, the Big Lottery fund and of course the European Union" from this document...

AnnaForbes Mon 20-Jun-16 18:27:35

Oh, the irony of a descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst supporting such an anti-democratic body.

our ancestors would have wanted the UK to be part of Europe unless Brexiters are proposing to hire a few tug boats and drag the landmass of the UK away from the mainland, then don't worry, we will still be part of Europe. What we want is to be free of the EU, something different entirely. Please don't deliberately conflate the EU and Europe.

AnnaForbes Mon 20-Jun-16 19:10:06

A good place to post this poignant quote by DH Lawrence.

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchidren are once more slaves.

The people who came before us fought long and hard for our freedom, our right to vote, our democracy. Do you really want to give it away? I don't.


claig Mon 20-Jun-16 19:36:28

Great posts, AnnaForbes

Roonerspism Mon 20-Jun-16 19:49:50

anna absolutely

bkgirl Mon 20-Jun-16 20:46:59

How true Anna. Great quote.

bkgirl Mon 20-Jun-16 21:03:38

Refugees have to be cared for, it's our duty.
Immigration is good and it enriches our country but it's not unreasonable to ask for controls. It isn't racist to ask for controls. I find anyone calling others racist for asking for controls rather intimidating,unreasonable and economically irresponsible.
We want the country to grow in harmony, for cultures to integrate and the rule of law to be respected. This simply will not happen if there is a free for all in terms of immigration. The social state will collapse if the influx is too great and no-one can assure us it won't be. There is no bottomless pit of cash. Income from taxes is falling because of the 1% putting their money in places like Panama and online shops like Amazon. I then wonder what will happen? If we vote remain, there is nothing we can do to prevent this.
The system of letting people through on points seems beneficial and least racist.
We need tolerance, compassion and common sense. I can only see this being achieved by voting leave.

Viviennemary Mon 20-Jun-16 21:24:58

The EU is something nobody in the UK voted for. They voted for a trading organisation not a political union. I for one am hoping for a leave vote.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Mon 20-Jun-16 23:14:54

A very measured and well-reasoned post, the sort that is not welcome in the MN EU referendum board.

bkgirl did you copy and paste part of your post from the Priti Patel thread? Maybe you are tired?

Where is claig anyway? At least claig's posts can be a bit wacky and entertaining sometimes.

claig Mon 20-Jun-16 23:31:16

'A very measured and well-reasoned post'

Good to see so many posters in agreement about AnnaForbes's post.

'At least claig's posts can be a bit wacky and entertaining sometimes.'

I guess you are referring to the posts about Gordon Brown. They do get right to the truth.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Mon 20-Jun-16 23:37:55

Ooooh here you are candyman claig grin

Thought you might have been busy putting out the fire in AIBU.

claig Mon 20-Jun-16 23:40:56

I don't often go to AIBU. Will have to have a look. What is it about? Just more Project Fear and more scripted 'Lies, Damned Lies and the Remain Campaign''?

Off to have a look to spread some common sense.

claig Mon 20-Jun-16 23:48:49

Can't see anything unusual on AIBU.

The only thing that looked like anything to do with the Referendum seemed to be the thread called

"AIBU to think this is batshit?"

which I took as being a reference to the Remain campaign's figures and forecasts which they claim come from independent "experts" and to which I posted YADNBU.

bkgirl Tue 21-Jun-16 01:04:18

OhtoblazeswithElvira I am appalled you thought I plagerised! It was from the heart smile

IamSlavetotheEU Tue 21-Jun-16 10:00:16

a belief that terrorism and climate change cross boundaries, and that political unity as a European block gives us tremendous collective power.

Climate change crosses boundaries across the world, why stay focused on the EU we need the whole world to wake up to CC.

Terrorism does indeed cross borders as do the guns they use to kill and slaughter,

As early as 2013, though, Slovakian police had warned Europe how easy it was to reactivate such modified weapons so that they could once again exert deadly force. The EU knew about it, talked about it and recognized the danger. But did nothing. Until Jan. 9, 2015 when Coulibaly shot and killed four people with such a weapon.

Indeed, the EU has essentially fostered an easily accessible weapons bazaar for terrorists. The research reveals years of European Union failures

Not only has the EU fostered an easily accessibly weapons bazaar it has also made it easy for home grown terrorists to flit between EU and Syrian training camps.

Yes indeed, terrorism crosses borders confused

BeakyMinder Tue 21-Jun-16 18:04:35

Oh good grief. The UK has its own border controls, we are not part of the free travel area that includes Belgium. You may have noticed the extensive security checks we all have to go through when entering the UK!!

Leaving the EU will make it much harder for our government and police to cooperate & share intelligence with other governments.

Limer Tue 21-Jun-16 19:09:20

Extensive security checks? A few before boarding a plane, yes. But there are none for any car, coach, ferry or train passengers.

Turbinaria Tue 21-Jun-16 19:50:42

I predict if we vote to Remain by a narrow margin then the disaffected working class labour vote will flock en mass towards UKIP, as will a sizeable number of eurosceptic Tory votes, so they would have a voice ( just as they did to the SNP in Scotland's). UKIP Could then even win a general election and we would have a second referendum in the next 5 years.
he 2015 UK General Election results:
UK vote share after 650 of 650 seats
LAB 30.4
LD 7.9

BeakyMinder Tue 21-Jun-16 20:24:44

Oh FFS. Vote for a party that promises to increase border check security then. This is NOTHING to do with the EU!

ParadiseCity Wed 22-Jun-16 19:33:56

Ahem, Limer, my son went Abroad To France recently and they checked his coach at the ferry terminal.

He has asked me to vote Remain because France is better than England. Which is frankly a better argument than 'vote leave or the terrorists will get us'.

WhirlwindHugs Thu 23-Jun-16 06:17:05

Excited to vote remain today!

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