The argument isn’t about if we are European; it’s about what it means to be British

European Union flags - Some rights reserved by tristam sparksWithout knowing where the finish line will be, the race to the EU referendum has already begun. Despite the fracturing of the Leave campaign and the lack-lustre beginning from the Stay In groups, the pop-up Facebook pages have begun to appear and Twitter users are attempting to condense a range of complex social, political and economic arguments into 140 character barrages. Along with the social-media frenzy both sides have produced posters to be included as arguments to back their cause and throw scorn on the other, readily prepared for users to post online and help spread the message. Between the lists of economic data, Schengen Agreement maps, pictures of refugee camps and European Union flags (either proudly displayed or on fire) a common theme crops up again and again: Is being European compatible with being British?

Unsurprisingly those who wish to stay in the EU predominately answer yes to that question, while those who wish to leave it answer no. While many who wish to leave the EU have often accused the Stay In campaigners of bias by using the EU and Europe interchangeably, Leave.EU have regularly quoted newspaper articles on how most people in the UK only see themselves as British in order to try and highlight a difference between being a British subject and a European citizen.

While there have always been discussions and debates regarding Nationalism and Internationalism, one aspect that liberal internationalists have failed to engage in correctly, to their peril, is the difference between patriotism and nationalism. While patriotism is to have pride in one’s country amongst other nations, nationalism assumes the superiority of one’s country compared to other nations. While the difference to some may sound subtle, in practice it is the difference between cheering on Team GB and marching with the BNP against ‘those who have taken over my country’. Outside of the Olympics, the question now is: How do we make Britishness (and the British flag) purely about patriotism and not about nationalism?

Before I attempt to answer that question it must also be highlighted that liberals are partially to blame for the British flag falling into the hands of nationalists in the first place. The evolving nature of what is considered to be Britishness, both domestically and abroad, has not been seized on by liberal-minded internationalists and shaped to promote Britain as the birthplace and home of modern liberal democracy, at the heart of international politics and at the head of maintaining peace around the world. Instead of raising the Union flag up those flag poles it has been left limp to be snatched up by those who see Britain’s role as isolated and alone.

So how do we make the British flag, and Britishness itself, about patriotism instead of nationalism? We reclaim it as our own. We remind everyone that to wave a Union flag is not about supporting British Nationalism but about supporting Britishness itself; being able live in a fair, safe, tolerant society that strives to reward people on their merit and not their background, that diversity is a binding and not a dividing factor in our society and that we are an outward-looking, forward-thinking nation.

On that note then, Britishness is much more European than we think.

* Ian Thomas is the pseudonym for a party member. His identity is known to the Lib Dem Voice editorial team.

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40 Comments

  • The Lib Dems must make the moral argument to defend free movement of labour, the Liberals in the Commission, and TTIP and TISA.

    We must fight back both the hard left and the hard right, who will use lies about immigration and free trade deals to attempt to defeat the centre ground views.

  • Little Jackie Paper 3rd Nov '15 - 9:27pm

    ‘ While patriotism is to have pride in one’s country amongst other nations, nationalism assumes the superiority of one’s country compared to other nations.’

    Really? That sounds more like chauvinism than nationalism. Nationalism is the belief in a nation – not I would say the superiority of it per se. It is, of course, a matter of value judgment whether that nation in fact IS superior to the EU offering. I see no contradiction whatsoever between, ‘nationalism,’ and a healthy and meaningful respect for other nations.

    ‘We remind everyone that to wave a Union flag is not about supporting British Nationalism but about supporting Britishness itself’

    You are splitting hairs here. I’d be more confident in this line of argument if, for example, the accession of Romania and Bulgaria had been accompanied by people waving the EU flag and belting out Ode to Joy.

    More generally however this referendum is not going to be a flag-waving contest. It might feel like one. The nature of the EU means that there is a qualitative difference. Whilst I’m not a great fan of arguments about the EU as an exercise in so-called, ‘post democracy,’ there is at least an argument to be had. Some people will most certainly wave the flag, essentially those that have done well out of the processes of integration. This is well and good. But to simply dismiss those who have concerns about the outlook for them in an integrated Europe should not simply be dismissed as narrow-minded flag-wavers. The gaping asymmetries in the present EU can’t be glossed over and if people wish to have their say at the ballot box then so be it. People are going to believe the evidence of their own eyes and rightly so.

    All too often I feel as if both sides of this referendum are treating me as if I’m dumb. This referendum will be about a compelling vision. Not who claims a flag and writes the snarkiest Twitter comment. Now, I think, I can set out a positive and compelling pro-EU vision, but I’d just be a bit more comfortable if the pro-EU side had a go too.

  • Hi Jackie thanks for your comment.

    I have used the terms patriotism and nationalism in order to distinguish between positive and negative aspects of having pride in one’s country. However one defines it, there can be no argument that there are dark sides to nationalism and there fore my article was putting forward a case that we remind people such sides do not represent nationalism/patriotism as a whole.

    In terms of the EU referendum, while we as liberals may agree that it is not a ‘flag-waving’ contest there are many out there that do, mainly because it has been framed as such by Leave.EU and more specifically UKIP., and that is something we need to challenge.

  • Little Jackie Paper 3rd Nov '15 - 9:52pm

    ‘and that is something we need to challenge.’

    I think that this is where you and I part ways then. This can not simply be reactive. I say this incidentally as a euro-agnostic. I simply fail to see what I’m supposed to be getting behind on either side. This is NOT about responding (however much it may feel that way). Put another way, I think I could just about come up with a positive vision that doesn’t just rely on responding to someone else. What’s your thinking, independent of responding to some internet anti?

  • Actually Jackie the way I would challenge it is to promote the merits of EU membership and Britian’s positive role within it in order to show that Britishness doesn’t have to the ‘UKIP vision’ but is a open, liberal, and internationalist

  • Indeed Mark, and in both cases words like ‘Quisling’ and ‘Traitor’ get thrown around which makes debates so much more charged, personal and damaging

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Nov '15 - 11:13pm

    Nationalism too often leads to war. In its early phase it might mean Italians uniting to be rid of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and bringing all the city states into one country, whether they want to or not.
    The EU was formed to prevent wars, particularly between France and Germany (1870, 1914, 1939) by integrating Coal and Steel across national borders and has succeeded brilliantly.
    Patriotism means being proud of all sorts of things, Rolls-Royce aero engines, not having identity cards, better TV than Italy, etc.

  • Hi jedibeeftrix, thanks for your comment.

    As I put in a response to LJP my definitions were just a way of labeling two aspects of the same thing (please see above) – the main point of the article was to do with promoting a liberal case for nationalism in order to help take the ‘wind out of the sails’ of anti-EU groups who are trying to argue that to be British is to not be pro-EU.

  • nigel hunter 3rd Nov '15 - 11:23pm

    Hitler was a nationalist, look what happened. The EU has kept the peace for decades in its various forms . Blaming others devides. If we leave the EU what CONCRETE plans have the out campaign got to keep the country secure and prosperous in an ever shrinking world? Patriotism , proud of the country you belong to and aware that to stay relevant in the modern world you need allies to assist in your prosperity. British and proud , with friends.

  • Looking at the news the actions of the EU and/or Merkel who believes she IS the EU we are well on the way to massive civil unrest and war across Europe. So much for keeping the peace. Is this a deliberate ruse to break the failing monster up? The scapegoats are in place and easily identified.

  • Conor McGovern 4th Nov '15 - 12:41am

    Of course we’re European and of course that’s compatible with being British, you only have to look at a map. The question is do you want to be part of the EU. Let’s face it, Europe existed long before the EU – either way let’s look at the future! I used to be pro-EU and I no longer see the EU as liberal or democratic. The important thing is that liberals can respect different opinions without imposing conformity.

  • Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, I think comes close to the truth. Ultimately the in/out vote comes down to the electorate not degrees of Britishness. What we supporters of the EU have to do is illustrate the benefits of membership to thee and me and counteract the claims of special insight into the “national psyche ” coming from some quarters of the out campaign. Really this is an argument about wallets and rights. My view is that the out campaign is dominated by the kind of people who want to cut legal aid even further, restrict personal freedoms to governmental whims and in some cases increase trade to tyrants. A lot of the time what these guys do is present misleading arguments about sovereignty and national interests to disguise dictatorial urges and self interest. I think the EU is considerably more democratic as an organisation than FPTP and an English hegemony which can command as little as 24% of the potential vote. What we have to do is attack the idea that the British are an amorphous blob.

  • The author asks the wrong question. The British are European and always have been. The question is whether we wish to be ruled by the political construct known as the EU or whether our nation should be a sovereign state and rule ourselves.

    While making this correction, may I also point out that Great Britain is the name of the largest island in the British Isles, hence the British are natives of this island. If you wish to include Northern Ireland then you should refer to the UK. The flag is not British either, it is by definition the flag of the Union.

  • Hi Petrr, thank you for going through a number of technicalities regarding the article. The main point of the article was that we should promote the United Kingdom as a liberal, open-minded nation rather than leaving the cultural identity of ‘Britishness’ to more right-leaning parties who present British identity as something exclusive, and according to them as ‘non-European’. While I agree the EU referendum is exactly that – a referendum on our relationship with the European Union, it is also much more than just debates over dry lists of economic statistics. Europhiles are often accused of being overly technocratic while Eurosceptics tend to be accused of being too emotive – to win this referendum we need to be both.

  • Glenn 4th Nov ’15 – 3:29am

    There is a huge chunk of the UK who see no “benefits of membership” – they have been overwhelmed by market forces, which the EU epitomises. That tier of UK society carries a large bundle of anti-EU sentiment, and I’m looking forward to the surprise on our political elite’s faces when they come to realise this.

    With the “wallet” argument out of the equation, we can turn to the “rights”.
    Whatever workers’ rights the EU claims the credit for, they are easily offset by the numbers of migrant workers outside the factory gate; Short Term Contracts, Freedom of Movement, and Freedom of Establishment have all conspired to nullify trade unions’ effectiveness in fighting for their members’ working conditions.
    I’ve also become very concerned that the ECHR has now become politicised – it is becoming increasingly difficult to establish who are the victims and who are the bullies. The ECHR is now seen as a weapon of the state.

    I also see no reason to justify the EU’s shortcomings by highlighting the weaknesses in the UK’s democracy. FPTP is indeed a flawed system – we can add the House of Lords and the Monarchy to that – but a European Union that ploughs on regardless without democratic mandate is equally wrong. the Lisbon Treaty was an anti-democratic abomination, creating costly departments, and nobody other than a few Irish people were allowed an opinion.

    It has not quite penetrated the minds of the political class, that ‘the people’ are on the other side of the street. If the last General Election didn’t make this clear, a referendum that goes the ‘wrong’ way is going to do so.

  • I think the desire to portray one side or the other in ways that are designed to be judgemental is to create a strawman argument. The question for the referendum is the one I posed above. It is fundamental to our nationhood and future as well as universally ignored in this debate.

  • @ Glenn
    ” What we supporters of the EU have to do is illustrate the benefits of membership to thee and m”

    And when do you exactly intend to do that, because you have failed miserably to do so for 40 years, in preference to the standard ‘In’ tactic of scaremongering.

    Presumably you have forgotten that Nick Clegg called out Nigel Farage on the EU on this very issue, and then spent every second of the debates vacillating, obfuscatiing and scaremongering, despite calling for the debate. He had absolutely nothing tangible to promote as a positive reason for our membership, and let’s not forget that every spokesman, commentator and ‘Inner’ when asked the question, also completely fails to present the positive case in preference to scaremongering.

    A cynic or a realist might think there is no positive case for our membership apart from the usual cobblers of Erasmus scholarships and the ability to go to Spain on holiday, something I remember doing with ease pre 1973.

  • Nigel Hunter makes an excellent point.

    The whole original purpose of the EU, going back to it’s first incarnation as the European Coal and Steel community, was to prevent another major war in Europe by binding the economies of the member states so closely together it would not be in their interests to fight one another.

    The EU isn’t perfect, but…
    1. It has delivered 60 odd years of peace and prosperity
    2. It has delivered 60 odd years of peace and prosperity

    I know that’s technically one point, but it’s such a big one it’s worth making twice.

  • Peter, as usual you pose a meaningless question. If there were the choice between being ‘ruled by Europe’ or being ‘absolutely sovereign’, then you might have a point.

    But that’s not the reality.

    The choice is, do we want to be part of a political project aimed at giving everyone a voice in managing the market, society and community that we all share, or do we want to stand to one side while those decisions are made anyway?

    That shared market, that common society, that community won’t simply vanish if you vote us out of the European Union. We will remain Europeans regardless. But what will vanish is our political input over what that actually means. We will be isolating ourselves, while the market we trade with evolves and while the community we could be part of is shut off from us.

    Even if you take away the EU completely, you still have Europe forming de-facto standards around what the strongest economy wants, de-facto foreign policy around what the strongest country is doing, and so on. Europe ends up looking similar to itself anyway as de-facto accommodations are established. The EU is merely the political, democratic and inter-governmental mechanism through which we make that process inclusive of those who aren’t fortunate enough to live in the strongest economy, country, army or whatever, a mechanism that gives those others a voice in the decisions they’d otherwise just have to put up with.

    And Raddiy, while I agree with approximately none of his political views, raises the important point for us. We cannot and must not run this referendum by answering the question ‘why should we remain in the EU’ with ‘yeah, but Nigel Farage is rubbish’, or ciphers of that argument.

  • @wg

    I’m guessing you’ve never had to go through the nonsense of applying for a work permit? You should try setting up a project in a non – EU country, and then try the same in an EU member state. Guess what – the latter case is much easier!

    Freedom of movement should be seen as a blessing and an opportunity, not something to be feared.

    I’m guess by the ‘chunk of the UK who see no “benefits of membership”’ you refer to primarily the unskilled or semi skilled who are finding it hard to get jobs in the digital economy.

    These people are at a disadvantage because they lack the skills required by modern businesses. This will be true inside or outside the EU. The solution to their problem lies in education not Brexit.

    One of the things that makes me really angry about the crocodile tears cried by UKIP over these people is the idea that somehow leaving the EU will turn the clock back to the 1930s when we had a mass manufacturing industry that employed large numbers of such people. This will not happen. Any renaissance in British manufacturing will be in high – tech industries, such as biotech or renewables. But most Eurosceptics wouldn’t like that since the environment is another aspect of the modern world they are in denial about.

    Cameron absolutely nailed UKIP when he described it as a “stop the world, I want to get off party”, full of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” (even a stopped clock is right twice a day).

  • JUF 4th Nov ’15 – 1:49pm

    All very well – but it doesn’t address the point of “what to vote for”.
    If the C2/Ds are as equally inadequate without the EU, is there any point in them voting for it anyway?

    And, if these people are not educated or trained, why haven’t they been – could it possibly be because industries and government bodies have ignored them in favour of this excess of cheap labour.

    I am not a member of UKIP, but it always seems inevitable that when somebody disagrees with the EU, the pro-EU defenders will rush to insult them; going on the last General Election there were 4.8million “fruitcakes, loonies, and closet racists”

    No, what we smell here is that overwhelming stench of superiority – that the plebs at the bottom are not worth worrying about; their life chances don’t matter.

    As I’ve said before – the political class are in for a surprise.

  • SIMON BANKS 4th Nov '15 - 4:53pm

    The point about the flag is interesting. Not so long ago the union jack was a fairly mild and unspecific statement of British patriotism, though not always popular in Scotland and Wales, depending on the context. The cross of St George, on the other hand, had been scooped by racists. But then it was taken up on a big scale by England football supporters, including some who not only weren’t racist, they weren’t white, and now, while the racists still use it, they can’t claim it as their own.

    To me it seems nonsensical to argue that you can be Scottish and British, but you can’t be British and European.

    One point that has hardly been mentioned this side of the Irish Sea is that not only would a UK exit from the EU almost certainly precipitate a Scottish exit from the UK (so the EU’s frontier would be at Carter Bar), but it would certainly mean that the famously complicated border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland would be an EU frontier.

    English or Welsh Companies that saw advantage in being in the EU would be able to consider relocating to Scotland or the Republic.

    One point that had hardly been made at all

  • Pro-EU campaigners (such as myself) need to take a balanced approach to promoting the merits of the EU, because the EU itself is not perfect. If we fall into the trap of polarising the campaign between ‘Out at all costs’ and ‘In at all costs’ then the Stay In campaign will struggle as a) the Out-campaign have more money, resources, campaigners and messages then the Stay In groups and b) the Stay In will begin unintentionally (or at least may become accused of) using scaremongering tactics – even if what they are saying it ultimately correct. The pr-EU camp needs to be a voice of reason by saying ‘Yes, the EU needs reform, but we need to be sat around the table and not stood outside shouting through the window’ rather than insisting the EU is the land of milk and honey as it will ultimately help expose Leave campaign arguments that Britain is the Promised Land that needs but to shake off the shackles of Europe to become the new Jerusalem

  • T-J, trade regulations are now created at the global level by the WTO and many other agencies. Sovereign nations such as Norway and Iceland are able to look after their own interests directly at these meetings. The UK and other EU member states are not invited. A bureaucrat from Brussels represents all 28 members.

    It is ridiculous that the UK as the fifth largest economy on the planet has got itself into this situation by giving away its sovereign powers. The chances of the EU bureaucrat negotiating anything that ideally suits the UK’s interests are slim.

    The UK is not permitted to negotiate its own trading deals with any of the fast growing economies of the world. This puts us at a huge disadvantage and we are denied from exploiting our relationship with Commonwealth countries.

    The EU is not just about trade. I wish it were. The EU governance creep now extends into health, education, foreign policy and all aspects of the lives of our citizens. The loss of control of our borders, much beloved of people here, is an example of rights handed over by our politicians without ever thinking of consulting the electorate. Competences in many other matters from fishing to transport place the unelected Commission in charge. The democratic deficit of the EU is astounding.

    After forty years of our position in the world being degraded so that now we are of equal status to Malta, we now have an opportunity to vote on these matters.

  • Alec H – As an EU campaigner who believes that the EU needs reform, please could you share with us details of the reforms that you seek, your estimate of the chance of success and please mention previous reforms of the EU that you or your colleagues have achieved by “being sat around the table”.

    Thank you.

  • This sort of discussion underlines why we need a fully distinct and entirely independent IN campaign in Scotland.

    Take a look at the title picture in this article and decide which of these three wants to “live in a fair, safe, tolerant society…” : http://wingsoverscotland.com/waiting-for-nicola/

  • I take it you are a member of Lib Dems for Leave, Peter?

    Caroline Lucas wrote a very good (and brief) article on EU reform back in October, so maybe you would like to start off with that?
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/oct/11/the-european-union-needs-reforming-not-abandoning

  • Simon Banks, a Brexit would not precipitate Scotland leaving the Union. Many Scots voted SNP because it is the obvious, practical thing to do. The other parties are currently in disarray and the SNP have delivered many benefits to Scotland. This is not the same as voting for the SNP in order to become detached from the UK.

    Secondly, aware SNP supporters do not want to leave the UK at this time because the oil price has collapsed, the currency issue is still on the table and the EU and its Euro look increasingly like the poisoned chalice.

    Thirdly, not all Scots are enthusiastic about the EU. Again, that is an SNP trait, not necessarily a Scottish one. The EU was always seen as a possible safety net providing funding and a protective shield for a fledgling tiny country flying the nest. That is the optimistic SNP hope. It is quite a different matter to fly the nest when you are not ready in order to try to influence UK membership of the EU.

    I think you can ignore the SNP threat.

  • Alex H – You didn’t answer my question. Don’t bother trying to, you will not succeed. The EU will not contemplate any change of any substance to their core principles and policies. You can fiddle about at the fringes, but the electorate is not concerned with details.

    Alex, I am not a member of anything. I have my own views.

  • While I disagree with your opinion Peter I can understand where you are coming from. However I will say that, as in everything, the devil is very much in the detail.

  • Peter, the most basic, barebones elements of global trade rules are set at the WTO. As that body can only operate through consensus – meaning that the UK gives up sovereignty and accepts the same status as say Barbados, Fiji or yes, even Malta – it can only agree on the most rudimentary aspects of policy.

    The member states of the EU are dually represented at the WTO, in that they are members individually, but almost always coordinate their position into a single EU opinion, which is only natural as the EU is a collection of economies that, while diverse, have more in common with eachother and share more common interests among themselves than they do with most other countries outside of the EU.

    The UK of course benefits from being part of the negotiating bloc that is the EU when trying to get a deal out of the rest of the world. The economy of Britain, at 80% services and the remainder mostly high value-added manufacturing, has similar interests to the economy of Germany, at 70% services and the remainder mostly high value-added manufacturing. I have to truncate my list because there’s apparently a post length limit, but even looking east to the new accession countries (whose membership bids were enthusiastically backed by the UK), the economies there are still more similar to Britain’s with more interests in common than those of most of the rest of the world.

    The EU has secured a deal with Canada and is looking to open similar negotiations with Australia and New Zealand in the near future, to cover your ‘barred from the Commonwealth’ line. And the US of course recently let us in on the obvious fact of their current foreign and trade policy – they aren’t interested in single country deals, they want to set up broad platforms that countries join.

    And the final point, ‘unelected eurocrats’. First a question – if the democratic deficit in Europe is bad, why are you fine with the WTO, which still pools sovereignty but with no democratic oversight, no electoral mandate at all and a frankly distressing lack of transparency at every level? And going past that, you’re out of date on the democratic deficit anyway. The Commission serves at the patience of the Parliament and the Council. Every MEP is elected, and everyone on the Council is elected to their position according to the practices of their respective member state. The Commission is no more an unelected conspiracy than the British cabinet is.

  • Little Jackie Paper 4th Nov '15 - 8:22pm

    Alex H – This is an open website and whether someone is or is not a member of the LDP doesn’t seem relevant. There is a members-only forum.

    Peter – Mind if I have a go? Firstly, I should say that I’m euro-agnostic. I don’t believe that the sky will fall in or out. Secondly, I think that in terms of an EU vision way too much reliance is placed by the IN side on so-called reform. To a great extent the boat has sailed. Realistically maintaining opt-outs is as good as it will get; what one makes of that is another matter. The point to my mind is that what will save the EU (and, ‘save,’ I think is the way to put it) is neither treaty nor reform but technological advance.

    The basic problem with the EU is that it is not accessible to a great many people – it is simply something on paper. But that’s not pickled in aspic. Most obviously there will be improvements in technology. We are well on the way for example to real-time translation technology. Google translate is well on the way, and that’s free of charge. The vision for the EU has to be that our children will use improved transport technology to move across Europe and will be able to work at will using their translation ear-pieces and similar tech.

    25 years hence our sick will be able to use improved transport facilities and medical technology to, ‘port,’ their healthcare entitlements to other countries and avoid wait lists. Our environment will feel the full benefits of EU green and renewable technology from EU R&D facilitated by Universities that use translation technology to spread benefits via EU systems.

    It’s not all hopey-changey. Maybe our technology will allow for more effective policing of those who have no right at law to be here and maybe the common deportation policy will be helped by the advances in technology and facilitated by treaty.

    Yes, the present EU leaves too many behind, but it might not always be that way. Yes, the rest of the world will (presumably) benefit from tech advances. The vision has to be of an EU that is brought together really and meaningfully for all, not just those with wealth or fortunate circumstance. We don’t have that EU now – but we might have. It’s all about, ‘jam tomorrow.’

    Now, of course, this is rather the optimistic view – and you might think it nonsense. But it’s the EU vision I’d like to hear.

  • Little Jackie Paper 4th Nov '15 - 8:24pm

    T-J – ‘if the democratic deficit in Europe is bad, why are you fine with the WTO, which still pools sovereignty but with no democratic oversight, no electoral mandate at all and a frankly distressing lack of transparency at every level?’

    I’m frankly astounded that the WTO, UN, NATO and any number of others in the alphabet soup aren’t getting the sort of attention the EU does. Mode 4 alone is staggering in its potential.

  • LJP – Lib Dem for Leave (@LibDemsForLeave of Twitter) are a group within the Liberal Democrat Party that advocate for the UK to leave the EU. My query to Peter was exactly that – a query, and was not any form of judgement of any kind.

  • Helen Dudden 4th Nov '15 - 9:37pm

    I have fought for years for a better situation on the subject of child access and abduction, under both the Hague Convention and Brussels 11a.

    Costly court actions, when a child is unlawfully retained in some EU countries.

    When a pro bono for ECAS was completed, I foolishly thought at last. If law does not work to help those with issues, what hope is there?

    None! A firm no!

  • It is true that the UN has overtaken the EU in the race towards undemocratic domination, but that is a whole new ball game.

    I think that LJP is right, reform is off the agenda. Cameron has proved that.

    Finally, some people are committed to the EU and will never be convinced by my arguments. I comprehend their reasoning and respect their right to hold their own opinions. I believe that the EU will eventually fail dismally when the people of Europe decide that the political experiment has progressed too far without any attempt at securing democratic approval. All politically contrived empires that seek to destroy human identities and loyalties eventually fail and the EU will not be an exception.

  • The United Kingdom is the model for a united Europe, so to be anti-European is to be anti-British.

    Previous generations sacrificed millions of lives for the prospect of living peacefully, and the development of an integrated continental economy after reconstruction did this by creating conditions of mutual interdependence – whereas ‘independence’ creates the physical and trade barriers of the future over which the next wars will be fought.

    Because the old truth remains – either you trade with your competitor, or the fight becomes the competition.

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