Thursday, 24 January 2013

So there will be a referendum on England staying in the EU

If the Conservatives win the next election.

The noble purpose of the EU is not to encourage trade for its own sake but to keep the peace. As a historical fact it was the Cold War and NATO and American continued presence in Europe which prevented war not the EEC or EC or EU, but no one was to know in the 1950s that this was how it would be. 

As things turned out, whether or not the EEC or EU had existed, the only war that might have broken out was with the Communist Bloc or between NATO allies Greece and Turkey. Still, in principle, customs unions certainly powerfully help prevent war. I agree with Cobden, Bright and the 19th century liberals about trade leading to peace. Freedom, democracy, free trade and peace go together. I also think the EU does more good than harm for continental countries, which have little tradition of or desire for freedom in the sense Anglo-Saxons understand, but the EU does far, far too much and integration has gone far too far.  Regulations on corporal and capital punishment, smoking in bars, hate speech, fireworks and social exclusion and a million other things unrelated to trade are not necessary for peace. The case against the EU is not just that it takes away sovereignty and is inescapably undemocratic. It is also the case against the big state encroaching on all our lives including that of the Romanian hill farmer who wants to kill a pig.

England will almost certainly not leave, which is probably a shame. I remember William Waldegrave, the cleverest and perhaps the nicest man in John Major's cabinet in the 1990s and a wet, saying in the end  that it would probably be best if England left the EU but that we had to understand that this would mean relocation to the status of a second class power. England still is a great power, though the English do not realise it, but If our great power status requires us to spill blood and waste money in Iraq and Afghanistan perhaps we do not need it. Though, as Julie Burchill said, in the 1970s we tried being Belgium and didn't like it. 

Very wise words here from Simon Jenkins in the pro-EU Guardian. And how clever Mr Cameron is - he reminds me of Disraeli though Disraeli was a Tory, whereas Mr Cameron is a Whig. But a very clever Whig.

I hope we do resile from the ECHR. But I am not hopeful.

Matt Cartoon


  1. "England will almost certainly not leave." Yes you are right. This along with all the ways the world is upsets me almost to despair though I've promised I wouldn't. One can never again go home can one? I only heard a blurb,some official in the U.S. administration relayed the message to Mr.Cameron.England leaving the EU would seriously threaten the "special relationship". As for me I could just SPIT !!!

  2. I believe the end-game has always been a United States of Europe, with the individual states eventually subjugating themselves to a strong central (and in this case) unelected and non-responsive authority.
    John USA

  3. The Ameican Civil War. Some say something like "Abraham Lincoln killed 500,000 of his own people." Look at the United States. Powercentric Washington D.C.,having and becoming more dictatorial by elected representatives and increasing numbers of unelected bearuacrats and lobbyists.