Forget I <3 NY, for me, it's all about I <3 EU.
Posturing over a referendum on Britain's EU membership is the political order of the day, and accusations of Euro-human-rights-madness-keeping-murderers-and-rapists-on-our-streets abound: euro-scepticism is having a moment. MEP bashing up, Europhilia down.
But on trend or not, I just can't get on board. I love the EU. Always have.
Maybe it's because as a small child with a funny sounding surname - once roundly dismissed by a primary school supply teacher as "unpronounceable" despite the fact she hadn't, actually, even tried - I made sense of myself in terms of continent as well as country. I am proudly British born and raised, if only partially bred, but I still like feeling that the countries I can't see just over the sea are sort of mine too, where I come from too, that they shape my world too. One big happy family.
And the EU is the tie which binds. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, the Great War, the war to end all wars, except a mere 21 years later troops were again facing off on Europe's beaches, landing grounds, fields and streets. Founded to make 'never again' stick, the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for successfully intertwining the interests of its members so closely that fighting between them is a thing of the past. But this isn't ancient history; the last British person to remember both wars, 110-year-old Reg Dean, only died yesterday.
And it's not just a fuzzy, hug-in-a-mug ideal. The EU meant I could move to Ireland to work last year - setting up shop writing from a friend's kitchen in Dublin mere weeks after really, properly, deciding I was going. An American friend spent four years at Uni there, only to be told despite his real, proper, tech job he couldn't stay.
It meant that visiting Paris in 2010, as an under 26-year-old from another EU state, I could see the Mona Lisa, Quasimodo's bell and Monet's waterlillies for free.
And the much lampooned EU law, that last level of checks removed from the temptations of domestic political expediency, makes me feel we have some semblance of a shot at doing something about climate change. It makes me feel I couldn't be totally screwed by my employer if/when I decide to have kids.
I wish we would approach our relationship with the EU as a marriage that needed work but that we were nevertheless committed to. The love of our life. Instead of having a midlife crisis and threatening to jack it all in to go off by ourselves, our coked up, bloated ego pulling shapes in a personalised number plated Porche. Let's renew our vows. UK <3 EU 4eva.
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