When I joined hundreds of people from across Europe at the launch of DiEM just a few weeks ago I was in desperate need of some inspiration. The Referendum debate here in Britain was stale before it even began, with both sides trading blow after blow on the same issues: immigration and the economy.
Of course the mainstream debate matters – but DiEM reminded me that an alternative vision is emerging across the continent – and that this movement is hugely helpful in the referendum debate in Britain.
Like many people in Britain I have my concerns about the EU. Much like our own Government in Westminster it could be far more democratic, accountable and transparent. That’s why DiEM’s manifesto is so important – because it gives us a pan-European framework for change that we can all focus on. The proposals are both practical and inspiring. Take the suggestion of livestreaming the EU council meetings. It’s easy to do, and cheap too. But this simple measure would hand the power of bearing witness to each and every one of us across an entire continent. It would chip away at the power of the politicians who are so used to operating behind closed doors.
The energy that this international project could create was evident in the room at the launch in Berlin, even after 4 hours of discussion at the final event people clearly wanted more. And I’ve taken the spirit of DiEM with me into television studios, the House of Commons and lecture halls as I make the case for Britain to remain in the EU and for a cross-border movement to make it better.
After years of austerity – and with a political class so clearly disconnected with the realities of what’s happening in Europe – this movement is desperately needed to re-imagine what the EU could look like. Crucially it will democratise the EU and put people from across the continent at the heart of decision making. I look forward to working with friends from across the continent in building this campaign, and bringing about the bold changes we so desperately need.
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