I have never tried to hide the fact that I’m a staunch Remainer.
Is it my Greek genes that crave to feel a part of the continent of my forebears?
Or is it because, in these uncertain times, I feel that, little bitty old Britannia would be better off with the might of the European Union by its side?
During my adolescence, I was surrounded by the French. My step-father was involved in an Anglo-French project, and the Entente Cordiale was never stronger.
The first time I ever got to vote was in 1975… to enter the Common Market. I was so excited, not only because I had reached voting age but I was voting to be a part of Europe and it was the most liberating thing I had ever done.
In adulthood, popping across to France to be welcomed with open arms and showered with bon-accord, you know… it doesn’t get better than that.
Living in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, we are just a short ferry ride from St. Malo and I feel ashamed to admit I’m British. I feel the bon accord has gone pear-shaped and I hang my head in shame.
I have recently returned from an action-packed weekend in Liverpool and was so impressed with the development of this iconic city.
For the benefit of those who are champing at the bit to abdicate from the EU, it might surprise you to know that there are 17 areas of Liverpool that have benefitted from funding from Brussels. The funding started in 1994 when £700m was allocated under the Objective One Programme.
In 2000, another £928m followed and between 2007 and 2013 the North West shared another £700m. Europe agreed to £450m to be spent in Merseyside between 2014 and 2020.
In 2012, a new landing stage for the ferries at Pier Head was opened to replace the original which sank in 2006. The total cost was £8 Million and, it is interesting to note, that a contribution of £3.8 Million came from the European Regional Development Fund.
Some other projects in Liverpool that have benefited from European Union Funding are:
- Queens Square
- John Lennon Airport
- Public transport
- Birkenhead town centre
- New Brighton redevelopment
- Knowsley jobs and investment
- Liverpool’s Cruise Liner Terminal
- Public places
- UNESCO World Heritage Site St. George’s Hall, the city center’s oldest building
- The Bluecoat
- Anglican Cathedral
- Metropolitan Cathedral
- office space
- The Theatre Royal
- Olive Mount
- European Social Fund
- M and S Bank Arena
This is just ONE example of ONE city in the United Kingdom that has benefitted from EU funding.
So, please remind me again… why are we leaving?
We are living in strange times. Times when men with funny hair are trying to win the hearts and minds of the electorate. Well, they haven’t won mine. Driving a wedge between people and continents doesn’t make for peace in our time. Together we are stronger.