#EUfightback: staying hopeful and determined for a continent united in diversity

In the wake of the triggering of Article 50, Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling and Benjamin Hennig, co-authors of The human atlas of Europe, find hope in the diversity that unites the European Union. 

Dimitris Ballas

Danny Dorling

Benjamin Hennig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The result of last year’s referendum on the EU membership of the United Kingdom was massively and decisively influenced by false promises and lies, including the pledge of £350m per week for the NHS, the promise that Britain would remain in the single market and the misleading claims that immigration was to blame for the pressure on social services rather than the underfunding of public services.

In fact, migrants contribute disproportionately more to the provision of health, social and educational services than they use those services.

Furthermore, the additional and significant tax contributed by immigrants could have been used to strengthen public services in the UK rather than instead being used to help fund tax cuts for the very well off.

Public services, and outcomes such as mortality rates have worsened in the UK because of austerity measures designed and imposed by domestic political parties since 2010, with a devastating impact upon the most disadvantaged people.

Such evidence provides a very strong case for arguing that those who campaigned for Brexit used illegitimate arguments and mislead the public.

In addition, the ratio of campaigning spending was £16.4 million for Leave to £15.1million for remain. This is a ratio of 52 to 48 Leave to Remain, identical to the final vote, each vote costing just under one pound in terms of adverting spend and so on. The official campaign spending does not include the effect of widespread support for leave amongst most UK newspaper owners and hence editors.

The Remain campaign, with a few exceptions failed to effectively challenge these false claims and lies and instead mostly adopted a defensive stance, focusing on national interest and sentiment (it is in ‘our interest’ to be in: ‘stronger in’) rather than seizing the opportunity to celebrate the ideals that formed the foundation for the European Union and which to a great extent can be attributed to the leading role of Britain in Europe in the past.

These great ideals which include freedom of movement, equality, democracy and peace, solidarity and social cohesion and which underpin the founding treaties and documents that created the European Union, provide a basis for European governments and politicians to be held to account for their actions.

They are also consistent with the inspiring humanity of many ordinary European citizens in the face of the worst global refugee crisis in recent history and can still be relied upon to argue that it is against European law not to offer refugees safe passage to Europe.

“The Human Atlas of Europe enhances the image of Europe as a continent united in diversity.”

The Human Atlas of Europe represents an effort to strengthen European identity and to enhance the image of Europe as a continent united in diversity signifying the efforts of its people to work united for peace and prosperity, while at the same time remembering that Europe’s many different cultures, traditions and languages are a key asset, benefit and legacy.

poverty-map

We’re not that different: this map from the book shows that, in all European countries, poverty is not spread evenly but concentrated in particular regions

Drawn and written by three European geographers whose first languages are Greek, English and German respectively, The Human Atlas of Europe is underpinned by the idea of a ‘European People’ instead of a collection of ‘nation-states’ and by the thought of Europe and its economy, culture, history and geography as it actually physically exists, as a single large area, stretching from Iceland to Turkey.

These ideas and thoughts may already be prominent to some extent, especially among the rapidly increasing numbers of Europeans who have lived, studied and/or worked in a country other than their country of birth (including two of the authors of this atlas who have lived in seven European countries).

The maps presented in the Human Atlas of Europe show just how different the separate countries, regions and great cities of this continent are, but also the ways in which they are often so similar.

It highlights the notion of Europe as a single entity by looking at its physical and population geography simultaneously in new ways, using up-to-date statistics, state-of-the-art Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and novel human cartography techniques.

Looking at the maps in this atlas you can begin to believe that you are indeed looking at the geography of a single large group of people: a human atlas of Europe.

“It is a book with a positive message for all British and other Europeans who are now taking a stand for Europe.”

Overall, the Human Atlas of Europe is a book with a positive message to boldly make an argument for an ever-closer union of a continent where many people live in a place where it is illegal for any government to execute any citizen, where people have so many rights, hopes, responsibilities and prospects.

It is also a book for the 48% as well as a book for the over 3 million non-UK EU nationals who have lived in the UK for a long time but had no right to vote (including two of the authors of this book), but also for those who did not vote at all, the ‘bregretters’ and potential ‘bregretters’ and those who voted leave but are curious to see more factual evidence from the ‘other’

It is a book with a positive message for all British and other Europeans who are now taking a stand for Europe, joining the #UniteForEurope and #PulseOfEurope campaigns across all member states, but also a book to encourage our fellow European friends who live in member states as well as candidate member states where extremism, authoritarianism and populism are on the rise.

There are already signs that xenophobia and extremism can be defeated and now is the time to #EUFightBack.

The human atlas of Europe by Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling and Benjamin Hennig can be ordered here for £16.00.

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