What sort of people do they think we are?

The majority of the objections which Eurorealists have to UK membership of the EU are based upon economic or democratic grounds and these are clearly very important. However there is also the question of whether we as a nation wish to be part of a union which may become dominated by the sort of people with whom we have little moral connection. This concern is not a result of any xenophobic or nationalistic consideration but comes from a sober assessment of just what kind of philosophy is likely to guide the decisions of any future United States of Europe. I make no claim that we in the UK have always been innocent of deplorable behaviour, as the conduct of English troops during the hundred years war was comparable with the Nazis in the twentieth century and in mediaeval times the prejudice in England against minorities such as Jews was as bad as that found elsewhere in Europe. However I contend that centuries of democratic development and social evolution has resulted in the average British person being as decent and as free of antediluvian hatreds as can be found anywhere on the planet.

When we look at the other members of the EU we can see that the Scandinavians are very much like us, perhaps a reason that they are among the most unenthusiastic for central control by Brussels. The French, despite the centuries we fought each other, also share with us a depth of civilisation and culture, unlike the Germans, of whom more later. The Latin nations are unfortunately deficient in an appreciation of what democracy truly represents, as is evidenced by the fascist and institutionally corrupt regimes which have so often disfigured their nations, the Spanish in particular having a reputation for cruelty from the days of the Napoleonic Wars, the Spanish Civil War and their attitude to animals even today, while the Italians, although usually good hearted, cannot be described even now as supportive of a society based upon the rule of law.

However it is as one goes East of the Rhine that one encounters nations which are still regrettably imbued with a peasant mentality which is undemocratic, anti semitic and racist. Many, with the honourable exception of Czechoslovakia, took the German side last century, and the Poles, despite the great suffering they endured, trapped as they are between Russia and Germany, possess an ingrained anti semitism which I know from speaking to Polish individuals even now, still exists. One only has to look at the Balkans to see that hatreds based on race are still prevalent and the abuse which our black footballers have suffered at the hands of Eastern Europeans is a disgrace to so called civilised countries.

I would not suggest that modern Germany is comparable with the Germany of the Nazi era but, after the unforgivable crimes of the 20th Century, we might be entitled to expect what Attlee asked of a troublesome colleague, a period of silence, in this case lasting perhaps a century. Instead we see them seeking to bully the weaker states of Europe into accepting German diktats as to how they should organise their economy. The Germans are efficient, hard working and disciplined but they also lack any deeply held belief in democracy or the imperative to put individuals before the state.

Although many describe the UK as a post Christian civilisation it is still based on a respect for the individual, for democracy and for the rule of law. We are the standard bearers for decency in the way in which societies should be organised and we share this with the best of our friends in the Commonwealth and the English speaking world. As the European economy sinks further and further in the mire we will no doubt see the desire for scapegoats leading to the rise of those politicians who would blame Jews, immigrants and outsiders generally for the mess created by their own stupidities and the EU will increasingly become an organisation dominated by those to whom democracy is a dirty word. Far from being what many fear, a kind of socialist dictatorship, it will move further and further to the fascist right. Do we really want to be associated with these people, let alone allow our policies to be dictated by their prejudices?