Imagine a town, with different factories, all trying to maximise profit - South East Green Party Chair Jonathan Essex reflects on why he's voting remain.
There is value in setting common standards so one company cannot undercut the others by avoiding paying tax and decent pay, undermining workers’ rights or by polluting the environment. That is what the EU does, but at the scale of our continent, across which our ‘economy’ works. I think we’re better off having these standards, and negotiating them together.
I don’t think this EU is perfect but that we should reform it. We can make EU institutions more accountable, but only if we stay in. We can continue to work across the EU for better employment rights, fairer trade policies, stronger environmental ambition, tougher actions on tax dodging, and push for reforms for a more transparent, accountable and democratic EU.
Remaining in the EU is important for many different reasons.
Firstly, Brexit could lead to wider fragmentation of Europe, and affect our wider relations, such as with Russia. Peace is best served when we stand together, from the sacrifice of the Second World War to now. Together we can defeat xenophobia, racism and violence.
- Secondly, staying in the EU we will better protect our workers, countryside and fight tax avoidance. Brexit could increase inequality, with less protection from footloose global corporations.
- Thirdly, Brexit is being wrongly used as a scapegoat for many things. Our NHS requires doctors and nurses from overseas. Our Green Belt is threatened by London-centric economic and population growth, at the expense of the rest of the UK economy. Our lack of truly affordable homes is due to us providing fewer of them, and selling the ones we have – our government’s policy.
- Finally, while the economic case for Remain is clear, this once-in-a-lifetime vote is also about the values that define us and our nation. I believe we are stronger together: trusting each other, loving our neighbours, sharing hope. And that this is not just on our street, but across our world.
So, please join me in voting remain, and that we can stay in, reform and improve the EU.
Jonathan Essex - pictured left with other Green councillors, Keith Taylor MEP, Caroline Lucas MP and other activists on Brighton beach