Speech at March for Europe

SPEECH BY CATHERINE STIHLER MEP
Saturday, March 24, 2018
March For Europe: Democracy on Brexit

Thank you all for making the effort for coming out today to show your support for Europe.
Thank you for being here; thank you for standing up for Europe.
Thank you for your courage, your determination to say no to Brexit.
We are not timid, we are not fearful, we are strong, and we are united in this cause – a European cause.
This cause is bigger than any one party, bigger than any one of us.
It is a cause with vision: of peace between nations, of mutual respect and tolerance, of democracy, dignity and respect. It is about the rule of law, cooperation and consensus. It is being ‘united in diversity’. It is being internationalist.
It has brought 28 countries together of their own free will, covering 500million people – the largest single market in the world.
It has brought hope to those who suffered under dictatorship that they too could be part of a vision so different from what has gone before.
It is about the possible; respecting the past but fighting for a better future.
So why is my country leaving the EU and choosing to leave in a way which will damage the economy, cost jobs and threaten the very fabric and unity of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?
Yes, there was a referendum – an indicative referendum which narrowly supported a Leave vote which had forces at play which are only now being exposed and uncovered. But when you know something will damage people, is it your responsibility to hold truth to power and, as John Major said, hold truth to people?
Brexit is a disaster for our country because we will no longer have influence over the decisions which will impact on our day-to-day lives from the cars we drive to the quality of food we eat.
I am afraid that far from creating ‘Global Britain’ we are creating ‘Little Britain’ – a Britain which is becoming more insular, antagonistic and divided than previous generations.
I want all EU citizens living in Scotland to know you are welcome and your contribution to the fabric of our society is valued.
There is no good Brexit. Brexit will cause unnecessary damage.
So each and every one of us today is united in exposing the damage Brexit will cause, in holding truth to power, and to try and stop this from becoming a reality.
I want to see people have the choice of whether to accept the deal or to keep what we have at the moment: full membership of the EU.
A second referendum on the deal is the only fair course of action to ensure the government is held to account. As things currently stand, the government looks as though they will park the difficult decisions to the transition period, in particular the reality of what the future UK-EU relationship will look like.
It is like going on a dating website, narrowing the parameters to those which are not in your interest but you think they are, and then asking the algorithm which is full of bias to decide to make a match, when if you just looked up at the reality of what you have may be actually quite a happy existence.
We all have work on our hands to ensure the UK Government is held to account for the damage it is about to inflict on the people of Scotland.
A second referendum on the deal struck has to be part of our campaign.