Do not forget about the peace dividend
July 9, 2015 4 Comments
The history of nations can appear at times to be a procession of violence as war follows war, battle is succeeded by battle.
Centuries of bloody conflict has been Europe’s story, reaching its zenith in the bloodiest century of the lot, the twentieth. The two world wars saw great swathes of the continent trashed as millions of lives were destroyed.
The conclusion of the Second World war saw the beginning of negotiations that were primarily aimed at trying to end conflict – and these negotiations culminated in the creation of the Common Market. The European Union, as it has now become styled, was created to encourage peace, and it has been successful.
Western Europe has seen no war since 1945.
As we, the British people, begin to consider whether we want to remain part of the EU, let us not lose sight of this peace dividend. Of course there are good arguments about prosperity that in themselves justify our membership of the EU, but the carnage that has been a regular feature of` European history is becoming an ever more distant memory, and I hope it remains that way.
The seventy years that have elapsed since the defeat of the Nazis has softened memories of what war is really like. Peace is too precious to be lost to concerns over the UK’s place in Europe. As we head towards the referendum I hope all voters will recall this peace dividend, and remind themselves just how valued it is.