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We will not give in to the people

Posted by Helen Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Dear Leader, aka Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced that he has heard the message the electorate was giving him (well, it would be difficult to miss that resounding boo – hiss!) but he had no intention of giving in to it. Instead, he is "prepared to win these arguments".

Mr Blair has been "prepared to win" arguments ever since he became Prime Minister seven years ago. He has not yet won any of them but he is still preparing. Perhaps, having been trained as a lawyer he just goes on practising all his life.

What are those arguments that the misguided people of this country (and several other European ones) do not consider to be valid? "It is in Britain's interests to be at the heart of Europe whatever the problems and difficulties of Europe." We seem to have heard that one from numerous politicians, including and especially, the last Prime Minister, John Major (who?). But what does it mean?

Britain cannot be at the heart of Europe because she is an island on the edge of it and has, therefore, had a different history and outlook from other European countries. As have others on the edge, like Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.

In any case, it is not Europe many of us object to, which would be a nonsensical and idiotic attitude, but to the European Union. We also think that a large proportion of those problems Europe is facing stem from the political, social and economic construct, which is the European Union. That is why many people want to start disengaging themselves from it: in order to try to solve the existing problems in a sensible fashion.

What else? "I think it would be an act of extraordinary foolishness for us as a country in the early 21st century to withdraw from the biggest political alliance in the world, and the biggest economic market right on our doorstep." So said the Great Leader but did he know what he was talking about?

Is anybody talking about withdrawing from any alliance or any economic market? At the risk of boring all our readers, we must repeat the obvious fact: no country has to be part of the European Union, accept its legislation and regulatory structure or its Constitution in order to trade with the countries of the Single Market. Norway does it, Switzerland does it, Japan does it, the United States does it. And many others.

No country needs to be part of the European Union in order to have a political alliance with some or all of its members. The problem at the moment is that it will become more and more difficult to have agreements and alliances with other countries except where the EU says so.

And that Mr Blair, is what the electorate is saying. You are there because the electorate put you there. Unless you can produce better arguments, you had better start listening.