I was rather offended by our MP’s statement in last week’s Telegraph that it was our “patriotic duty” to vote to leave the EU, suggesting that anyone voting to Remain was unpatriotic.
To me, patriotic means being proud of our country and wanting what is best for us.
I am proud of our British values – tolerance and respect for others, our democratic freedoms, our sense of fair play and community spirit.
I am proud of our successes and our flexible, entrepreneurial spirit that gives us a thriving economy.
I believe the other European countries want us to remain inside because they recognise that our values, experience and expertise can help keep it together and moving forward in the right direction. I also believe it is crucial for Europe to stay together.
Patriotism is not the same as nationalism, where each nation puts its own interests first and wants to dominate others.
We need to stay together to keep the peace and find joint solutions to the problems that are facing the whole of Europe.
We can’t opt out and leave the rest of Europe to cope without us, and even if we did, what happens there will still affect us.
It is true that there are challenges to face inside Europe – rapidly increasing population in the richer countries like ours, and security fears.
But I believe we are strong enough to make it work.
We can influence Europe to change for the better and make sure it stays safe and productive for all of us, provided we Remain on the inside.