What is wrong with friends speaking frankly to each other?


uk-us-flagsLeave campaigners have been trying to tell us for months that if we leave the EU, everything will carry on as normal and there will be nothing but sunshine. When visiting the UK last week, US President Barack Obama told us it isn’t as simple as that. No surprise then that the same Leave campaigners went into overdrive about the US bullying us and that this was an unreasonable intervention.

Anybody who actually listens to what Obama was saying will know that he came to visit as a friend and spoke as such, doing so frankly and with honesty. No threats, no bullying, just frank advice. This is absolutely a question for the British people to decide on. But are we really saying that an international public figure can’t express honest opinions and share advice with a close friend and ally?

The core of the argument the President was making, though, is that we can make a lot more out of our relationship with the US and the rest of the world if we are part of the EU. That advice, through all the fuss and frustration, is thought-provoking. If we have confidence in ourselves as a country, as indeed we should have, why can’t we be the leaders in Europe rather than constantly trying to get out and losing influence as a result? We can’t continually engage halfheartedly while expecting the perfection and benefits of full engagement.

Listen to my short interview from 8.27 onwards on BBC WM Radio here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03qdz9f

Recent Posts

Richard Burden

Avatar photo

I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Get in touch

You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.