Favourite tactics are to brand those who wish to retain control of our country’s affairs as 'extreme' nationalists, motivated by xenophobia, a hatred of foreigners and their cultural traditions. They insinuate that nationalism is only a short step away from aggression against neighbouring or weaker countries. This malign nonsense is, of course, a travesty of the views of those who believe in national self-government and who, in reality, deplore aggression and respect the nationhood and heritage of other countries. This supposedly extremist association is repeated ad nauseum in an attempt to undermine the credibility of those heretical enough to question the European integrationist agenda. In fact it is those who want to destroy the nation state that can more properly be termed extremist. Euro-fanatics, with their limited vocabulary and outlook, inevitably resort to labelling their opponents with meaningless derogatory phrases such as 'Little Englander', in a pathetic attempt to disguise the bankruptcy of their dogma. Alternatively, if all else fails, the spectre is raised of Britain being 'isolated', a supposedly dire eventuality leading to our certain ruin.
In recent years the apologists for the European Union have complained that the debate on this subject has been 'hi-jacked' by the euro-sceptics and that the case for greater European integration is not being heard. This is far from the truth but nevertheless it is worth examining both the motivation and the arguments of those seeking, either deliberately or unwittingly, the destruction of the British nation. Strangely, there are those who regard the nation state as inherently wicked. Others, sadly, are motivated by an urge to disparage their country, believing that foreign institutions must self evidently be better than their own. Most unfortunately, Britain appears to lead the world in this national self-denigration. Although there may well be occasions when it makes sense to seek out new ideas and best practice from abroad, unwarranted criticism of our institutions and way of life can only lead to a crisis of confidence in ourselves.
Most advocates of change, however, are inspired by ideological reasons. In the case of the European Union, its supporters argue that it will provide a firmer basis for peace, more assured economic growth and a greater international role for Britain. There is no evidence that any of these assertions are true. Peace and stability in Western Europe since the war have been preserved because of the strong commitment by West European nations to NATO, a military alliance. As for the economic arguments, there is little hard evidence to back up the hyperbole of Euro-enthusiasts. For the past decade and longer many EU countries have suffered economic stagnation with consequent high levels of unemployment. The so called 'stability pact' requirement for Euro membership has prevented participating countries from taking necessary remedial action against economic stagnation.
The Common Agricultural Policy, in addition to being a bureaucratic nightmare, has been financially profligate and damaging for nature conservation. The Common Fisheries Policy has nearly destroyed our own fishing industry, yet appears to allow Spanish fishing vessels free access to our territorial waters. Substantial reductions in tariffs, as a result of agreements under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation, have weakened considerably the benefits of membership of large trading blocs. The EU reputation for probity has been discredited by several fraud scandals and the lack of proper auditing. However, the strongest argument against economic integration is the requirement that our national good must be subordinated to wider European concerns, however divergent the two might be. With the elimination of the British veto on many issues, we can be outvoted and forced to accept decisions that may be harmful to our national interests. This democratic deficit could have far reaching consequences for stability and good order.