European peace visualised

6 06 2016

“If watching the news doesn’t make us feel hopeful about where we are heading watching the numbers might.”

My grandad was a product of his time. In the late 1980s as I was trying to find my adult political feet he was turning 70 and we would argue regularly about the issues of the day.  

We passionately disagreed about Margaret Thatcher and privatisations; Nelson Mandela and apartheid; and Alf Garnet and what one could acceptably say in public. 

So one Sunday after lunch when I asked what he thought about Europe (at the height of the ERM crisis) I was shocked at his reply:

The European Union is the best thing that’s happened to this country. 

I was a teenager looking for a good argument – I didn’t expect him to say that. 

His reasoning was simple:

My father fought in a world war. I fought in a world war. Because of the EU my children and my grandchildren haven’t had to. 

On 23rd June we will get to vote in the EU Referendum and I will be voting to keep the UK in. Whatever your opinion and voting intention I’d recommend watching this video. 

It is a powerful visualisation of the numbers of people who died in Europe and across the world in WW2. It belongs on this blog as a brilliantly simple piece of data visualisation. If it contributes some interesting information that might help you make up your mind about which way to vote all the better. 

[If you don’t have time for it all watch from 3:15 to 7:00 to see the staggering numbers of German and Russian military deaths or from 7:30 to 12:00 European civilian deaths.]

As we are shown and told in the video:

More people died in WW2 than in all the wars since despite the world’s population having increased threefold. 

The largest 44 economies of the world have not battled since WW2. And

Sometimes we need to reminded of the horrors of war to notice the peace that we now enjoy. 

I can’t guess how my grandad would have voted if he was still with us but I suspect, despite all the things we’d be still disagreeing about, we’d both agree to vote “In”. Whatever the faults of the EU it’s helped give us peace since WW2 and that’s a very good thing. 

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