The referendum debate is liable to be dominated by speculation about what might be best for Britain, but I’m hoping that voters will also think about what might be best for Europe and the rest of humanity. My judgment has been swayed by two considerations.
First, the EU stands midway between the failed model of centralised economic planning and what may be the unsustainable operation of untrammelled free markets. Through negotiation, the EU has created a single market in which producers of goods and services compete to achieve optimal efficiency, within a framework which protects our environment as well as the health, safety and employment rights of workers.
Secondly, the EU is the most important experiment ever attempted in international relations, a group of sovereign states learning to find compromises that resolve conflicts of interest between them. Yes, this can be a tiresome business, but how much better than the way in which European conflicts have been resolved previously. If Europeans can succeed in putting wider concerns ahead of narrow national interests they will provide a valuable example in a troubled and dangerous world.
I’m hoping that Britain’s voters will choose to stand firm with our neighbours and partners, rather than undermine them by thinking only of ourselves.