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Love Not Leave: The New European Romantics

22/06/2016 11:17 | Updated 22 June 2016

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Two lovers kissing in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, a watchtower looms over, waiting to shot anyone willing to risk their lives for freedom. It was this view from the studio that would inspire David Bowie's 'Heroes'. Small acts of humanity could be large acts of heroism.

My grandfather's first trip to the continent was being parachuted into occupied France to begin a journey through Northern Europe accompanied by a gun. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the name of freedom.

A generation of Europeans put millennia of warfare, tribalism and suffering behind them and started to build something better. It would never be perfect, democracy never is, but it still stands to this day as the best alternative to the blood bath that birthed it.

Right now Ukraine fights for its right to look to Europe for its future, right now people risk their lives to feel the sand of our beaches between their toes. We fail to see the inclusion of the former Eastern Bloc countries as a testament to what we have helped build. We fail to see those desperate souls clinging to shabby rafts as a tribute to the better world we've created for this land. Most sadly we see them as a threat.

The Leave campaign lives in a cloud of doublethink and misinformation. UKIP's dream of an independent United Kingdom would soon turn to dust. Leaving the EU would see the dissolution of the Union, with Scotland likely to have a second referendum and Northern Irish peace put in jeopardy.

Leave want all the economic advantages of the single market without the freedom of movement that underpins it. It's like hiring a stall on the other side of a brick wall and being disappointed when you can't serve your customers.

The Leave argument turns from the illogical to lies when it claims we, one of the EU's largest populations and economies, is some how voiceless. We didn't give away sovereignty; we pooled it, extending the British tradition that built our very own union.

Is the Remain campaign scaremongering when there is so much to scared of if we leave? When big business and trade unions are united against leaving, when 9 out 10 economists are warning us, when the economy is already wobbling, it's hard not to focus on the negative.

But there is a positive case for Europe, a positive case not to just stay course but lead the way. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." We are building a vehicle for that justice, one where the future of a child isn't determined by the cartographer's line, where barbed wire and watchtowers don't define your rights as a human. The project is complicated and messy at times, of course it is, but the prize is worth it because the goals are universal humans rights and prosperity.

We should be struck that the generation that voted us in are now threatening to vote us out. They made a promise to the people of Europe that love would have no borders. To leave is break that promise, it is to divide young couples, to split a new generation of pan-European families.

A younger generation, those who will live with the consequences the longest, now face being outvoted by their elders. Currently young lovers can kiss by the shattered remains of the Berlin Wall, they can travel from London to the Netherlands by train armed with little more than a smart phone and a rail pass; a new European generation.

To win this referendum, this fight for our future, we're going to need millions of little acts of humanity. On the 23rd June, we can be heroes, just for one day.

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