Many years ago I taught English in a foreign language school. We were told that anything could be discussed except for three topics; religion, politics and sex. Since starting my now very occasional blog I’ve followed the same rule, which I now propose to break. I have nothing to say about religion, except that I find myself increasingly irreligious as the years pass. Politics, though, are inescapable at the moment. I’m British and lucky to be so. Britain is a country – several countries – that I love, in spite of its many failings. I love its landscapes, its architecture, its literature, its art. However it’s not these things, important though they are, that make a society. It’s the people of Britain, whose kindness, generosity and tolerance of strangers have been, and remain, a byword among the dispossessed and desperate of the world. That so many wish to come here is the greatest compliment a nation could receive.
I hadn’t intended to talk about immigration. The refugee crisis is huge, and is only one of many crises facing us all. I do not believe that we can solve these matters in isolation. You’ll correctly deduce from this that I believe we should remain part of the EU. I can’t comment on the economic arguments for doing so, though they seem overwhelmingly in favour of our staying in. More important to me is the hope of continuing peace in Europe. My parents’ generation, and my grandparents’, both fought in appalling wars. My generation has never had to do so, largely because the nations of Europe chose to unite in spite of their differences. I want my children (and one day, their children) to live their lives in peace.
Looking around the political landscape we can all see the resurgence of right-wing parties, gross inequalities of income, unemployment and an aggressively nationalist leader in Russia. We’ve been here before, of course, and we know how that ended. This time there is something different, and it is called the European Union. It was created in the hope of a better world. That hope and ambition still remains at its heart. How can we reject it? I urge you, for my as yet hypothetical grandchildren and for yours, to vote Remain on Thursday.
Oh, and the third topic – sex, you ask? Any questions – see me afterwards