On Thursday June 23rd, people across Southwark will make one of the momentous decisions of our lives.
Should we remain part of Europe’s co-operative democratic structures or should we put ourselves outside them?
Most people do not realise that many environmental and health protections that we enjoy in Southwark were created by the EU’s democratic institutions.
The drive to increase Southwark’s recycling rate to 50% comes from the EU, which set a UK recycling target of 50% by 2020. Before this, Southwark’s recycling rate was a miserable 3%.
One of the biggest sources of fatal diseases in Southwark is transport pollution, which also damages children’s lungs. The EU ensured lead was removed from petrol and has set legal clean air standards for Southwark that the government is obliged to reach by 2020.
The UK had one of the lowest levels of clean renewable energy and again the EU has set a 15% UK target which we also have to reach by 2020.
The fact that the Thames has fish again and our beaches are sewage-free is due to clean- water legislation agreed democratically by EU countries.
With all these positives, one has to ask why the five UK billionaire tabloid-owners hate the social, environmental and worker protections that the EU gives us? The Evening Standard asked Rupert Murdoch why he hated the EU so much? He said “That is easy. Because when I go into Downing Street they do what I say, when I go to Brussels they take no notice”.
So rather than do Murdoch’s bidding and destroy our environmental and human rights, listen to what Churchill said about Europe after World War II, that caused so much devastation in Southwark.
He said: “We must proclaim the mission of a united Europe. A Europe where people of every country will think of being European. Wherever they go in Europe, they will truly feel “here I am at home”. “
I will be voting Yes to European peace and democracy on June 23rd. I hope you will also.
You can register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Deadline is 7th June.
Donnachadh McCarthy has been an environmental campaigner in Southwark since 1992 and is author of “The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought” www.theprostitutestate.co.uk . He is also an independent environmental consultant www.3acorns.co.uk @DonnachadhMc