Conversations (6)

Hi Prof,

That does make sense regarding access for Western European states with which we have had ties with many centuries. But the same does not ring true regarding newer members. Has expansion to include Eastern European states really been about anything other than trying to build a cushion between us and Russia? It seems that expansion happened far too quickly, and that many of those countries have brought with cultures and ideologies -- I am particularly thinking of the rise of the far-right in Hungary -- that are anathema to (most) people in this country and to the goals of the EU.

On one of your other points, I agree that the level of debate amongst people has been far more nuanced and engaged than at any other time during my lifetime. I was not born when the last referendum on Europe took place, but from what I understand it sparked similarly concerned and thoughtful discussions amongst the general public.

It does worry me, however, that so many people remain undecided even now at this late hour. Last night my facebook feed was littered with discussions between undecideds and decideds. I even took a call at 10pm from a friend in the medical profession who simply could not make up her mind and needed to thrash out the issues. Why do you think that is? My hunch is that a binary 'in-or-out' referendum simply glosses over the multi-faceted nature of the debate around the EU. On the one hand, I think that we all agree that it requires reform. On the other hand, leaving will not force that reform and nor will it enable us to turn our backs fully on the EU. Should there have been a referendum? What other alternatives were there?

My biggest concern has been the conduct of politicians and campaigners on both sides. The horrific murder of a wonderful MP, humanitarian worker, and woman in many ways demonstrates the toxicity of the two campaigns. There was far too much latent, and at times over, racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance. And I am not sure whether the smugness of Farage, Boris, Gove, or 'call-me-Dave' Cameron, will be more unbearable depending on who wins. 

Regardless, it seems that immigration remains the crucial sticking point for very many people. To ignore those concerns would be intellectually and morally dishonest. What are your thoughts on some of the ideas bandied around over recent weeks?

All the best from a rather drowned-rat (I misguidedly stepped outside for a smoke and managed two puffs before nearly drowning).


The conversation has been a pleasure Rosa.  We'll surely be continuing it -- whether we like it or not!