Why they wish Europe’s Union
July 9th, 1985
A letter to the Daily Telegraph which was published on 9th July 1985.
Your leaders on June 27th and July 1st once again implicitly accept the fundamental differences between Britain and the two key EEC countries, France and West Germany, yet refuse to draw the obvious conclusion that we should withdraw from that organisation.
However much you may wish to believe that the Continental countries are not really serious about a European union, the fact is for different reasons they are. For France, the EEC is seen as a vehicle to promote French concepts and projects – Ariane, Airbus and now Eureka; for Germany, the EEC is a stage on which to regain political pride.
Britain figures absolutely nowhere in their thinking except as a country to be alternately despised, exploited or envied.
France and Germany can, and will, advocate the abrogation of the veto, confident that no proposal will command majority support which will really damage their ambitions. Britain, however, would look forward to a sequence of decisions which will damage us individually as people and collectively as a nation. The GAP, the fishing and budget settlements and now the car vehicle emission standards agreement are all immensely damaging to our interests, and this is soon to be followed by pressure to remove immigration controls on arrivals from EEC locations.
The tragedy for Britain is that we endure all this for absolutely nothing. The ritual incantation by politicians like Mr David Steel (June 27th) who have no practical industrial experience, about the benefits of the EEC’s 320 million common market, doubly miss the point; first all European countries whether in the EEC or not are already linkined within an industrial free trade are; second the benefits of such a market are unquantifiable and, in any case, overshadowed by other factors which lie entirely within the competence of individual natios.
West Germany’s economic success owes absolutely nothing to the EEC’s exisence and everything to having a resolute, technically competent managerial class backed by a trained disciplined work force and a banking system which sees its first duty to support its own manufacturing industry. The extent to which the British economy has improved of late is the extent to which these three factors have become more widespread.
Again, the technological benefits of large units are vastly overstared by politicians eager for roles to play. With the possible exception of a moon-shot and certain nuclear missile projects, there are probably no technological goals outside the competence of an industrial nation of 60 million people.
As a recent visitor to centres in the USA engaged in the Eureka technologies, I can say that Americans certainly do not regard their size as conferring any particular advantage. On the contrary, in the vital computer field for instance, the world’s most powerful commercial computers and the best work stations are both supplied by relatively small firms staffed by gifted individuals.
Sooner or later the political establishment, which long ago lost faith in Britain, will have to allow the British people to confront a stark choice: cease being an independent nation, or let the EEC go its own way to union without Britain. When the present British passport, which for millions of people is the symbol of our nationhood, is suppressed in about 18 months’ time, just before the next General Election, the present Government will find that in the interests of yet another damaging Euro-compromise it has grievously offended another large section of its natural support.