EU referendum is too important to be left to politicians

I strongly welcome the honesty, clarity and courage of Airbus’s letter about the overwhelming case for staying in the European Union.

As a former election candidate I have visited Airbus a number of times and have always been impressed by its contribution to the city region and its openness to engage with local stakeholders. The fact that the company has put pen to paper and set out the facts – that it is better for Bristolians to remain in the EU – is to be commended.

The debate is too important to be left to politicians so it is good to see that Airbus is willing to have a sensible discussion with its workforce.

Letter in The Bristol Post
Letter in The Bristol Post

Despite guarantees that the company will remain ‘fully committed to its operations in the UK and to its employees [in Bristol]’, it is obvious that a successful local company with European reach would find it difficult to make the case for further investment in an isolated Britain going through a messy exit.

Many ‘Outers’ argue that if the UK left the EU, we could be like Norway, or Switzerland or Canada and get a new deal. Not only is this completely hypothetical, it is extremely unlikely we would get a better deal than the one we have now (I am paraphrasing the Prime Minister here).

We could just be like Britain, leading the way for reform.

They will also argue that the company ‘doesn’t have a vote’ and is therefore not allowed a say (much like President Obama from the US and President Hollande from France who both want to see the UK remain).

On the contrary, as a local business and major Bristol trademark, we should give a lot of weight to its view. This is a very important intervention to our local debate.

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