Oliver Baker, a volunteer coordinator for the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, makes his case ahead of this month’s EU referendum
We’ve all heard arguments for the UK to remain as a member of the European Union, such as the immense economic benefits of our membership, or the fact the UK gets a say in how the world’s largest single market is shaped, but sometimes these arguments feel removed from our daily lives and the things we value. It is a strength of our local campaign that we are able to speak to fellow Waltham Forest residents about how abandoning the EU might affect individuals.
Many of us have formed close friendships or relationships with people from other EU member states; or we simply work with, live alongside, or share a community with people whose livelihoods depend on our membership of the EU. It is a genuine concern that these people, who are so important to all of us, could have their lives in the UK made uncertain.
As Londoners and Waltham Forest residents, we are proud of the contributions that our EU membership has made to our city. Whether it’s through the promotion of the vibrant communities that thrive in places such as Walthamstow, or the local projects underpinned by EU funding, we believe that being part of the EU is good for the places we call home.
Some of us work with young people, either through education or the charitable sector, or have children of our own, and we are very concerned that they could bear the brunt of the negative consequences that leaving the EU could cause. The negative economic impact predicted by leading financial authorities, or the fact that working or studying in our neighbouring countries could be made much more difficult for our young people, encourages us to campaign to remain in the EU.
Even if it takes a relatively short 15 years for the UK economy to recover following a vote to leave, the young people we care about will already be in their thirties; we don’t want to be responsible for them missing out on prosperity in their formative years.
Finally, we all feel proud to belong to an organisation that has promoted peace and cooperation with our closest neighbours for the past decades. We are proud British Europeans and relish the opportunity to make a positive case for remaining in the EU as an outwards looking, confident, and cosmopolitan society.