I love the European Union when it protects human rights. There is a good reason why human rights have a “supranational” dimension. That word meaning a power or influence that goes beyond national boundaries or governments. That’s because throughout history governments have taken, and continue to take truly appalling actions. This is not just on random occasions since abuse crops-up time and time again. Often these actions are driven by the type of right-wing political extremism that we see on the rise again in Europe. That’s a Europe which includes us.
Now, I know the British argument is often that it could never happen in this Country. However, I’m reminded of the words of the German Pastor Martin Niemöller – “First they came for the…”. It’s a list which finishes with the line: “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”.
It’s striking how polarising the public debate surrounding the EU referendum has become. It’s striking how quickly our world becomes separated into camps of “them” and “us”. It’s also striking how quickly rational argument can fall away and be replaced by simple name calling.
In its membership, Britain’s role in the EU has been one of promoting human rights. Today, there seems to be a danger that we are rolling back from the leadership we once exercised as an advanced nation. I believe it remains vitally important that Britain remains inside the EU to uphold human rights. It’s what we have traditionally done well. A vote to REMAIN is a vote to lead for the good of us all.