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Embrace the modern world and vote to remain in the EU

3 min read

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron makes a final appeal for a Remain vote in today's EU referendum, saying Britain can prove it is an "outward looking, tolerant and better nation".

Today is about the future of Britain - are we an outward looking, tolerant and better nation, leading in Europe? Or are we smaller, insular, wanting to pull up the drawbridge?

This is the biggest decision of a generation, and I believe the British will demonstrate they are generous and optimistic.

They know that our children and grandchildren will have to live with the consequences - for their jobs, hopes and prospects; for their sake we are stronger in together. That is why the Liberal Democrat campaign has focused on the future, and our responsibility to do the right thing for the next generation. And also emphasised that young people need to get out there and vote to secure their own futures.

Look at the challenges. The world faces the largest movement of people in history, the resurgence of Russia, multi-national companies bullying governments, and the terrifying challenge of climate change.

But also possibilities: those born today have opportunities in a globalised world that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Within Europe, Britain has the power to thrive. Together we will be more prosperous, creating opportunity for future generations and respected around the world.

Already together we have created the world’s most lucrative free trade area, delivered peace, and given the British an opportunity to live, work and travel freely. History shows that Britain is better when united with Europe.

Together we are stronger in the fight against the global problems that don’t stop at borders. We can stop international crime, fight climate change, protect worker rights and provide hope and opportunity.

Brexiteers try to argue that the Single Market, in ways they don’t explain, stops us trading with the rest of the world. Which is absurd: Germany’s biggest export markets are actually outside the EU. If Brexiteers are concerned about our lack of exports, they should join me in campaigning for a proper industrial strategy that will help us make more things other countries want to buy.

Before we joined, we were over-taken economically by Germany and France and branded “the sick man of Europe". Since joining the EU, our economy has actually grown faster than other European countries. My bet is, if we we're out of Europe, we would soon long to be back in.

Being in Europe enhances our status, as a centre for finance, culture, and influence. Whatever the fears of some, we live in a global world. My sense if that the British are confident enough to meet that modern world head on and embrace it.

Now is not the time to haul up that drawbridge, leaving us isolated and poorer. By voting to remain, we can show the world we are an open, outward-facing Britain we can all be proud of.

Tim Farron is the leader of the Liberal Democrats & is the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale

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