I’d like to tell you my EU related tale regarding my home town Liverpool which was saved by the EU. Back in the Nineties, the city was in a tailspin following decades of national and local neglect and the situation was so bad that it qualified for what was known as Objective One status, basically identifying it as one of the poorest places in the EU. While the Conservative government of the time had contemplated allowing such places to slip into what they described as “managed decline” the EU targeted projects into which they donated a considerable amount of money. This was not a handout as such nor was it a magic wand that would cure the city’s ills. It was however a solid supporting mechanism the idea of which was to help the area recover and thus be able to support itself in the future and help create a platform upon which private business could then invest in. This in turn led last decade to the double win of the redevelopment of a large swathe of the city centre known as Liverpool One and the city’s winning the European Capital of Culture status for 2008. Ever since then Liverpool has thrived and grown and now that is spreading beyond the city centre outwards. Yet the seeds of this recovery lie in that EU money. When few UK politicians cared, the EU did,whatever other motives might have gone into the mix. There are no doubt several other places which have had similar about turns.
Now the counter argument of course is that if the UK didn’t have to give so much in financial contributions to the EU our government could fund these things and more besides. History shows us though that this is unlikely to be the case whether the incumbent administration was either Conservative or Labour. The government rarely makes such large investments and certainly not in a relatively narrow seven year window. Collectively the EU can muster much more to target deprived areas. However much Conservative governments nowadays cheerlead private innovation and enterprise there are times when actual government money and investment is needed. Such operations are always a leap of faith but vital if they are to kick start something larger. This current government would certainly never invest in that way as their meaningless waffle about the so called Northern powerhouse demonstrates. Indeed their answer to helping the North appears to be building a very expensive railway line to- surprise, surprise - London.I can certainly see ways in which the EU needs to be reformed. I’d say that the major change needs to be the way European laws are created with much more power taken from the European Commission who currently draft laws and whom we don’t directly elect to the MEPs whom we do. Then again nothing is perfect and the best way to change it is from inside. Finally let's not forget the central reasoning behind the EU in its early days was to prevent conflict breaking out in Europe again.
So all this explans why I will be voting Remain on Thursday.