In her blog post “A vote for Brexit is a vote for uncertainty in higher education” (17 March), Angela Eagle concentrates on the figures in broad terms of student numbers and hard cash, which I guess is to be expected from a shadow secretary for business, innovation and skills.
But this is the politics of half‑truths. I don’t disagree with her figures on European Union students studying in the UK or the £2.3 billion generated for the economy, but the question is what sort of Europe do we want, and do we want to be part of the current Europe project? Another Europe is possible.
Her arguments echo the sentiments of letting go by Hilaire Belloc, who wrote of the boy Jim who let go of his nurse’s hand only to be eaten by a lion. The Erasmus project for visiting students is not dependent on being part of the EU, hence the inclusion of non-EU states such as Iceland, Norway and Turkey. Again, her claim that we punch above our weight as a country echoes past glories, not future roles.
I have no desire to join the campaigns of British nationalism surfacing in the leave and go campaigns, but neither do I have any interest in David Cameron’s stronger together. The experience of Greece and the treatment of refugees has exposed the hard monetarist aims of a neoliberal EU and the lack of any notion of a “caring” European nature.
There is an alternative to the current framework of monetary parameters; it involves acknowledging the role of education as central to transforming lives and in challenging the idea that what we have is the best that is possible.
Lecturer, School of Health Sciences
University of Liverpool