Lovely piece by Deborah Orr in the Guardian, about how much the EU project has done to provide a free and open Europe for all it’s citizens:
Given the limited nature of the project, it’s a wonder that the EU has achieved as much as it has. And yet, it has offered millions of people a clear route out of dictatorship, to live in freedom and democracy instead. We cheered these people on, as they overthrew oppressive regimes, as they threw flowers, jingled keys or sang.
Now we’re upset because they’re fixing our boilers at prices we can’t refuse. We wanted those people to be free, but not quite so free that they could actually tip up on our doorstep.
Bureaucratically, Europe is a poor excuse for democracy. But I simply cannot begin to imagine anything more powerfully democratic, more perfectly accountable, than being able to stroll off out of your country if that’s what you want to do. Each of us in Britain has the power to up sticks and bugger off if we don’t like the way our country is going, or simply if we fancy an adventure. We are so fantastically lucky, and we shouldn’t throw it away. I don’t want to escape from Britain. But I don’t want Britain to become a place that people can’t escape from either. The thought of such bleak isolationism chills me to the bone.