Our family

Having been on a platform with a history professor made me reflect on the question of culture and what it means in the current European Union referendum debate. I remember a long time ago when I was debating local government reform in Surrey. The subject of “natural communities” came into the discussion. This term has a lot to do with a shared culture, shared experience and shared interests.
Do people feel “European”? Some do and some don’t. For the sake of categorising the News, the BBC list the World as being Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and US & Canada. Unless people have a specific family connection, out of that list the vast majority of Brits would surely choose Europe as their place in the world. So, how come some people reject the idea of a European identity? It’s strange.
In England we have even imported our patron Saint. The story of Saint George and the dragon is a European story. DNA maps showing where our ancestors came from make it clear we Brits are European. Perhaps it’s the Cornish, Welsh and Scots who have the real claim to be the intrinsic culture of these islands. I can relate to that being a West Countryman.
The EU is a family of nation states. In my mind it’s a family that we clearly belong too. Now families can be complex, turbulent and troublesome but it’s not good to deny our heritage. Today, EU Member States have a host of collective achievements. We have distinctive experiences and a shared common culture. Remaining as a vibrant member of the EU we can all gain. It’s as the saying that; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

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