POLITICS: EU imperfect but best hope for future

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Like your recent correspondent (RM Britton, January 15) I agree that people need to think twice about voting for “nationalist candidates”.

Alarmingly, right now, there is disturbing evidence in the UK, France, Germany and Russia of growing nationalistic sentiment and that worries me... as I’m sure it does many others.

History tells us that the 20th century was the most bloodthirsty ever as the result of two European wars. The imperial rivalries leading to World War One were mainly prefigured by the rise of nationalism in the 19th Century.

The subsequent failure of the Treaty of Versailles to create a united Europe not only led to theories of “racial superiority” and “Leibenstraum” being exploited by German leader, Adolf Hitler, as a rationale for massive pan-European aggression on a terrifying scale, but also, the post-war land grab by the evil Stalinist regime (USSR) that enslaved half a continent east of a line fromTrieste to Stettin for nigh on 45 years.

The staggering total of deaths inflicted on each other by the people of Europe between 1914 and 1945 is circa 58m. ( losses in the Spanish and Russian civil wars plus two world wars during a period of 31 years). Lest we forget.

Sometimes, when we talk about these numbers, it easily escapes our total comprehension,but each represents an individual, not unlike ourselves, who suffered apalling pain and death.

Out of this chaos and madness grew the idea of European Union, a ray of hope for a devastated continent.

The EU is imperfect at present, but it is our best hope for the future. If nothing else, it should ensure that such bloodshed will never be repeated.

To separate from the European Union and cheer-lead for its disintegration, on an anti-immigration policy, as UKIP tends to do, in my view, is complete folly.

True leadership is needed to make the EU more democratically accountable, harmonious and equal for all its citizens.

All three UK main parties (and, not forgetting SNP) are committed to strengthening and remaining in the EU. If it really is the case that the British people, forgetting the lessons of the past, really want “Out of Europe” then it is reasonable to expect that great numbers of them will vote for UKIP at the next general election... I don’t think this is going to happen... and if I’m right, what then for Nigel Farage et al?

In the meantime, what I find truly appalling is the current Tory attitude to Europe... as espoused by David Cameron. Here is a leader acting like a BOGOF (buy one get one free) salesman in response to the UKIP threat.

It works like this. He seems to be saying... “Not keen on Europe? Don’t worry, I’m happy to provide you with a referendum on the subject completely free of charge, and, by the way, if you are keen on Europe. Don’t worry; so am I; if elected, I’ll kick the referendum issue up for two years while I spend millions of your tax money (like I did, ensuring Scotland voted the right way) persuading the doubters”.

Tories Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath worked tirelessy to ensure our post-war membership application suceeded in the first place. Since then, Tory leaders like Thatcher and Major have endorsed and continued this work by adopting more treaty commitments that are not for re-negotiation.

In my view, Cameron’s current position on Europe is a sham designed to catch UKIP votes and is a weak one that is of no credit to himself or his party. They haven’t won a general election for 22 years and if they cannot be trusted to act responsibly on the really big issues... then it’s no wonder.

David Turp

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