Let’s be quite clear. There are compelling reasons to criticise the European Union.
Whatever we voted for in the 1975 referendum, it wasn’t this monster of waste, inefficiency, bureaucracy and interference. To that extent, the critics – led by Ukip – are right.
The North East’s three European MPs – Labour’s Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen on the one side and Ukip’s Jonathan Arnott on the other – today offer five reasons why voters should decide to stay in or leave the EU.
Between them they have come up with five good reasons to stay and five good reasons to go.
But the two best reasons are both in the “stay” camp.
Nothing is more important to the North East than jobs, growth and investment. Leaving the European Union would put them at risk.
The European single market enables the North East to make the most of its excellent exports record. And our position as a net recipient of funds means that we are getting the kind of help our own government is just not able to provide, now or in the future.
The uncertainty over Nissan’s future in the event of a British exit should be enough on its own for anyone to pause before they vote to leave.
Yes, Nissan may be bluffing when they talk (rather vaguely) of the threat to future projects at Sunderland. But can we really take that chance? Tens of thousands of jobs are at stake.
David Cameron is currently touring European capitals in search of EU reforms.
If he wins significant reforms, then well played, sir. But even if he doesn’t we say we have to vote to stay.