Proud to be European as UK has fared better in EU

A British Union Jack and European Union flag fly SUS-190124-085814001
A British Union Jack and European Union flag fly SUS-190124-085814001

From: Peter Webb, Glenleigh Park Road, Bexhill

Last week (30 August) Paul Minter seemed to question the possibility of being proud of being European. I have to say that I am very proud to be a citizen of Europe. One aspect of this pride is that being European shows I relate to the larger world beyond Bexhill beach – or at least beyond our English shores.

But there are deeper reasons for my pride in being European. During the last 45 years within Europe, the UK has fared incomparably better than during its isolation in the years leading up to 1974, when I started work and Britain started its first postwar recession. My introduction to the workplace was met with the thre- day working week, industrial strife, electricity cuts, awful manufacturing standards, eg car production, class stratification, “rivers of blood”, and civil war with the IRA. It is my unshakable belief that the vast improvement in our quality of life since 1974 has much to do with joining Europe in 1973. This juxtaposition has rarely, if ever, been highlighted during the Brexit debate of the last three years.

If our progress over the last half century does not rate as something to be proud of, then I don’t know what does. Unfortunately this progress is about to be plugholed by the Brexit movement.

From the tone of his letter, Mr Minter does not seem to believe that it is desirable, or even possible, to be proud of being European. Given the shenanigans in our English public life over the last three years I wonder with which identity he places greatest pride, and why.