PORT contributors Will Self, Janine di Giovanni and Hanif Kureishi put forward their reasons to remain in the EU
The Brexiters have shown their true colours with their dog-summoning campaigning – it’s whistled-up our old racist friend, the British bulldog. Just look at the rump of their support: valetudinarians in support stockings who’ll be hobbling on their Zimmer frames to the polling booth in order ruin their grandchildren’s future. I’m not claiming that everything in the European garden is lovely – or even that it can be made to bloom, but we live in a febrile and fissiparous world, and institutions which have a proven record of maintaining stability should be cleaved to like never before. There’s all of that – and there’s also the unutterable beauty of French women, and the fabulousness of European culture. You’d swap that to be shafted by Ronald McDonald? Salopes! While your leaders are true rois des cons…
Janine di Giovanni
In terms of international security, alliances are important. We might scoff at NATO and find it a relic of the Cold War, but in times of military urgency – such as Russia’s creeping westward expansionism onto Ukraine and eyeing the Baltic states with glee – they are necessary mechanisms for peacekeeping. I am French, British and American by nationality, and each one of my passports is an integral part of my identity, so I do understand the argument of the Leavers, but I strongly disagree with it. I think that remaining in the EU is essential for Britain, for trade, diplomacy and the economy, but also for moral responsibility. Britain was an important part of the Allies in World War II, and frankly, with the rise of ISIS and global terrorism, as well as pressing issues like climate change and epidemics, we are in dark times. We need each other, and each part of the EU is an interlocking part of the puzzle of globalisation. Yes, the Brussels bureaucrats are often lazy, inefficient and ridiculous, but the concept of the EU –like the concept of UN or the League of Nations – is about strategic alliances and partnership. Standing alone, in days like these when terror attacks and wars are literally borderless, is desperately unwise. I vote to Remain, of course.
My neighbourhood in West London, which I rarely leave, but, which could be considered a microcosm of the city, buzzes with the hybrid energy of Italians, French people and Arabs, as well as Africans of all kinds. We live together fruitfully and creatively, and rarely want to kill one another because of religious or racial differences. We have created one of the richest, most tolerant and culturally mature societies on earth. The wealth and success of Britain has always been based on exploitation: on Empire, immigration and the other. Now, unfortunately, the very people who made London the wonder it is are despised. And the so-called ‘migrant’ is being used as a spectre, threat and excuse. We are facing a crisis in Europe, which concerns not only the possibility of more neo-liberal destructiveness and greed, but also a backlash, which has caused a new and dangerous Right to re-emerge. These opportunists, hucksters and snake oil salesmen – from Le Pen, to Hofer and Boris Johnson – with their simplistic, opportunistic solutions, are dangerous precisely because they utilise the energy of the many disillusioned and disappointed. This threat should remind us that we must reaffirm and fight for the humanity of the European Project, which, at its centre and despite its failings, concerns egalitarianism, feminism, sexual freedom, and particularly a tolerant and non-racist multi-cultural future.