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No Middle way on Europe

April 12th, 1994

A letter to the Daily Telegraph which was published on 12th April 1994.

The dawning realisation of the inescapably federative tendency of the European Union, to which Niall Ferguson refers (article, April 8th), is very welcome.  There is indeed no middle way between Britain’s independence and our extinction as a self-governing nation.

Escape from the European Union nightmare is not only possible but also the only way to secure our future as a happy and prosperous nation.

The fourth quarter of last year saw Britain’s visible exports to the EU fall below 50 per cent of total visibles.  When invisibles are added the EU probably took less than 45 per cent, refuting once again the constant Europhile refrain about the ever-increasing importance of the EU market to Britain.

In any case, free trade in industrial products has long existed between all European countries, whether inside or outside the EU, and will continue when we eventually leave.  Britain’s trade with non-EU Switzerland – per capita the richest country in the world – is as free as it is with Germany.

The North American Free Trade Area is visible proof that free trade arrangements do not need large, EU-type bureaucracies. As important, the failure of the United States to grapple with its huge crime and public education problems, and the EU’s impotence in the face of massive structural unemployment, should discourage anyone from believing that large, multi-ethnic federated states do anything but provide employment for functionaries.

With national self-determination regained, Britain would be free to reallocate the massive resources of taxpayers’ money and civil service effort presently expended on mitigating the worst effects of EU membership.  This effort would be in part transferred to determined support of our trade and culture in the Americas and other parts of the world which have been neglected because of the European fixation.

Accompanying this would be a re-evaluation of the Commonwealth as an asset, not a burden; as a vehicle for practical idealism; and perhaps, by virtue of its containing about a quarter of humanity, as informal guarantee of our UN Security Council seat.