Tele column 10th May 2019

While the Conservative and Unionist government continue to pursue their austerity policy, in

Inverclyde we have benefited from European Union funding to offset the damage. Projects including financial inclusion designed to increase the financial capacity and therefore improve the social inclusion of the most disadvantaged along with employability schemes that provide a five-stage pipeline to those with multiple barriers coupled with supporting 16 to 29 year olds into education, training and employment, are EU funded. They are not the most visible uses of money and therefore may not be fully appreciated by everyone. But in many ways that is how the EU works.  

Unlike the United Kingdom the European Union is a true union of equals. From Malta (the smallest landmass) to France (the biggest landmass), when it comes to voting every country has the same rights. In the E.U. the member states work together and through collaboration gain a better understanding of each other. They trade with each other and together form the third biggest trading block in the world. Foreign students study in other member states and can live, learn and love without fear of deportation. And it’s a two-way street, while we welcome E.U. nationals to live, study and work in the U.K. our citizens are doing the same in other E.U. countries. Maintaining this level of mutual understanding, collaboration and shared benefit is the best way to ensure peace and prosperity. It is almost inconceivable that while our nuclear at sea deterrent is creaking at the seams and the cost of replacing it continues to grow, we are being pulled out of the biggest peace keeping organisation Europe has ever had.  

Often in life we don’t appreciate what we have until its gone. I hope we don’t make that mistake with the European Union.