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The argument about Britain in Europe is just the same as the argument about Scotland in Britain

5 August 2014

10:28 AM

5 August 2014

10:28 AM

I know some readers have tired of Scotland’s independence debate. That is understandable, even forgivable. It has, after all, been rumbling along for 40 years. There may only be six weeks of campaigning left but these arguments won’t go away. You’ll be hearing them again and again for the next few years at least. This is true even if Scotland does vote Yes next month.

Because the argument about Scotland’s place within the Union is really not very different from the argument about Britain’s place within the European Union. Of course the similarities are not absolute but they are significant enough to be striking. And just as Scottish nationalists have no intention of folding their tents until they prevail, so the Better Off Out brigade will never rest until they heave Britain out of the EU.

Yes voters in Scotland dislike being compared to eurosceptics, chiefly because most supporters of Scottish independence favour remaining within the EU (though a third or more of Scottish voters do not). Nevertheless, the similarities between the SNP and Eurosceptic arguments remain striking.

So, in one sense and south of the Tweed, the Scottish argument is a warm-up for the arguments to be made about an EU referendum. There is no need to take my word for it. Look at what prominent EU sceptics say themselves.

Take Dan Hannan, for instance. Plausibly Britain’s best-known MEP (non-Farage division)  and a man of, I think, unimpeachable integrity. Here are some of his recent tweets. I have annotated them to clarify the relationship between the EU argument and the Scotland debate.

I do wish EU-backers would stop repeating their specious, deceitful claims about companies pulling out of Britain [in the event of a Brexit]. Cf: companies fleeing Scotland after independence.

Serious question to all the ‘I’d like a reformed EU’ people. What needs to happen to persuade you that it’s not on the agenda? Cf: You really think Unionist parties will deliver more powers after a No vote? Really?


Time for an amicable divorce from the EU. My column in today’s Mail on Sunday… Cf: Time for an amicable divorce from Westminster. Good neighbours not surly lodgers!

Germany’s Christian Democrats declare that it would be ‘unacceptable’ for Britain to leave the EU. We’ll decide that for ourselves, thanks. Cf: We’ll no be lectured by any English Tory, thank you very much.

Memo to commentators: most Eurosceptics don’t ‘hate the EU’. We’ve simply understood that Britain will be wealthier and freer outside it. Cf: It’s not about hating Britain; it’s about forging a better, fairer, freer future after Britain.

The only time we were net recipients [in EU budgetary terms] was in the referendum year, 1975. Reckon they’ll try the same trick again? Cf: We always put in more than we get out. Which is no fair. Also: don’t forget London’s fondness for bribery.

Iceland to grow 3.1% this year, 3.4% in 2015. Eurozone 1.2% and 1.7%. Still crowing, Eurocrats? Cf: Arc of Prosperity, motherfuckers.

The [European] parliamentary session begins with a beautiful live rendition of Beethoven’s 9th. As Alex says, ‘It’s a crime using Ludwig Van that way’. And When the UK leaves the EU, I’ll happily stand for Ode to Joy as a mark of respect to the anthem of a friendly neighbouring state. Cf: One day I will love the Butchers’ Apron.

And finally:

I’m worried that UKIP’ cyber-nats, like their SNP equivalents, are alienating moderate voters in advance of the referendum. Cf: Well, duh.

Let me stress that I’ve nothing against Dan Hannan (he is always interesting) and I offer no judgement on the validity or persuasiveness of the arguments he makes. Indeed I have some sympathy with many of them just as I can appreciate some of the arguments made by Scottish nationalists.

The point is simply that in terms of rhetoric, tone and positioning the arguments made about the EU are really very similar to many of the arguments made about Scotland and the UK.

Of course the nature of the EU project is rather different from the argument about Great Britain but, even so, the ‘read across’ is worth noting. It also helps explain why English eurosceptics are, many of them, sympathetic to Scottish independence. (Douglas Carswell is a leading example here.) Their instincts and worldview and the things they consider most important are comparable to some of the instincts, worldview and preferences of Scottish nationalists.

Which, again, is fine. I neither praise nor condemn these notions; I merely note them. But if you have tired of the Scottish debate then you are most definitely all out of luck because when (if!) it recedes from prominence it will be replaced (even if Labour win the next election) by an argument about Britain and Europe that is, in many respects, just the same as the argument it replaces. Different, sure, but also very similar. So there’s at least another two years of this.


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Show comments
  • black11hawk

    There is definitely some merit to your argument, but on the flip side the UK is a 300 year-old union of countries that speak a common language with a shared culture, law and ethos maintained by an abundance of family ties between the various home nations. The EU is a much more recent union of countries with cultures which vary widely, different legal systems (yes, I know Scotland is a civil law country, but it is also subject to the British Executive) and in some cases moral codes which are extremely different from country to country and with more limited family ties too boot. In order to have a democracy, you have to have a demos, if the people of Scotland decide they are part of a common demos with the rest of the UK, then it will be up to that common demos to vote on whether it wants to be part of an even wider European one. At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and say this is the limit of our democracy, otherwise why not have a world government on the basis that we’re all human?

  • The Blue Baron

    I’d suggest that England’s partnership with Scotland has proven itself to be slightly more successful than the all-centralising, anti-democratic economic catastrophe that is the EU.

    Whilst there will invariably be similarities between the arguments for and against different unions this does not mean that all unions are of equal merit. The case for a union between Scotland and England for example, might be stronger than the case of a union between Turkey and Iran or Egypt and the Sudan. Any glib similarities that such countries are “stronger with a bigger economy” or “better together” are largely rhetorical rather than actual.

    One thing that has made our union with Scotland more successful than our relationship with the EU is the fact that, in cultural, historical, political, economic, linguistic, religious, social, educational, geographical and institutional terms, England has much more in common with Scotland than it does with a country like Estonia.

  • solly gratia

    But whereas Richard North has produced a detailed plan for a Flexit/Brexit Salmond has what? Oh I know, ‘this is what I want, and I’ll get it regardless of who says no’. Well, that pipe-dream came to an abrupt halt last night. No, Snats and Eurosceptics are not the same thing.

  • goneunderground

    My feeling is that the Scottish nats are more concerned with a dislike of ‘English rule’ from Westminster than they are with the idea of being a self-determining nation.
    British ‘nats’ have more confidence in the ability of their ‘country’ to stand and trade with the world as a whole.

  • james allen

    Don’t you mean Snp?

  • global city

    The absurdity of the reality of our membership of the EU has just, inadvertently, been exposed by Boris Johnson.

    Despite 40 years of membership, in spite of a mammoth focus on business and the single market, despite integration across the board which is now clearly compromising the democratic legitimacy of Westminster and our own courts…after all of the fluff and deals, making ‘Europe’ our number 1 political and diplomatic priority…… we can’t even sell a bloody bus stop to the French!

    We can sell them to the Americans and Chinese, but not to any European Capital.

    Just how much must we cede before we can even get to have a market that functions to such stellar levels that bus stops cn be sold on the continent?

  • TrulyDisqusted

    This whole Independence debate is a nonsense. Alex Salmond isn’t offering the people of Scotland “Independence”.

    All he’s doing is trying to break up the United Kingdom so that they can swap Rule from Westminster to Rule from Brussels so that he himself can grandstand and go in person and be as ignored and as irrelevant as the leaders of Greece and Ireland.

  • beenzrgud

    The success of any union depends largely on the level of homogeneity between its members. The UK is highly homogenous, the EU not so much, and it shows !

    • Wessex Man

      If you call this homogenous you should see a Doctor.

  • andagain

    Serious question to all the ‘I’d like a reformed EU’ people. What needs to happen to persuade you that it’s not on the agenda? Cf: You really think Unionist parties will deliver more powers after a No vote? Really?

    I think it is only fair to point out that the EU has tended to further centralise power in recent years, but the UK has tended to devolve more power to Holyrood. So on this matter, I think that UKIP has a better argument than the SNP.

  • Smithersjones2013

    How tedious. It takes Massie 820 words no less to explain the bleedin’ obvious which is that the intrinsic qualities and considerations of nationalism are common to all nationalist causes. Well go figure……

    What differs is the size of the nation in question and its relative position in the world and its ability to sustain itself (e.g. the UK has its own currency, military and so forth; Scotland doesn’t).

  • fubarroso

    (Great) Britain is an island of which Scotland is part. Apart from some extreme geological event it would, therefore, be impossible for Scotland to leave Britain. I assume Alex Massie is aware of this and that the headline is therefore the brainchild of whoever dreams up the headlines for the speccie.

  • Mr Starter

    If it was possible to promise that never again would there be a UK Conservative government Scottish separatists would all calm down and would love to stay and enjoy a socialist heaven.

  • DDownie

    Yes Mr Massie – I had noticed the same thing.
    You have more time for Mr Hannan than I do. He appears to me to be lunatic. But some of his arguments have eerie echoes with the Nats. He says that we will be able to be a much more competitive free market embracing country when we shed Big Brother; and Jon McDermott in the FT runs the same argument for Scotland. Both are simply versions of “the grass is always greener” – although neither Eurosceptics nor the Nats have any idea what awaits on the other side, and of course the argument is laced with varying degrees of tribalist venom

    • fubarroso

      If you were stuck in a loveless marriage and your spouse was intent on bleeding you dry financially and emotionally would you insist on getting a divorce, even though life would be somewhat uncertain, or would you stick around to ensure that you remain unhappy for the rest of your born days?

    • cambridgeelephant

      “although neither Eurosceptics nor the Nats have any idea what awaits on the other side,”

      Errr…….No ! Some of us are fully aware of how the country functioned prior to 1973 and could function just as well again, if not better.

      We’ve run a thumping trade defect with the EU for every year bar one since joining. The ‘they won’t have anything to do with us any more’ argument is risible. Merkel is Chancellor of Germany not Fuhrer, she can’t ‘forbid’ VW- for example – to deal with us any more and she wouldn’t even contemplate the idea.

      We need to re-engage with the wider world beyond Brussels and not a moment too soon.

      Apparently young Boris thinks as much, judging by his latest speech.

      • DDownie

        Mr Cambridge Elephant (Just a question – why do you not use your real name?)
        Sadly I am old enough to have been around in 1973. As I remember the country was going to the dogs at the time, not that I noticed as I marched down Swansea High Street and followed our Trotskyist leaders into the occupied University Administration. I am surprised that you should hark back to those times as any kind of model for a way forward. It was a shambles.
        As for the trade deficit with the EU, I fear that would have arisen whether we had been within or without the EU. Supine management, idiotic government, a financial sector supposedly leading us whose management worked until lunchtime and then retired home drunk as skunks (I can think of only one person who carries on that ignoble tradition), and kamikaze trade unions all combined to destroy our manufacturing sector. That has led to our persistent trade deficit, not membership of the EU.
        I think our best companies do look both within the EU and beyond, and indeed recruit from within the EU and beyond. I do not understand why you think that the EU is a barrier to that engagement. It doesn’t appear to be a barrier to the Germans – and trade isn’t even conducted in their native language.
        But always easier to blame someone else (in this case the EU) for our failings, than to look clearly in the mirror and see and address our own faults

        • cambridgeelephant

          You are right the Heath government was a shambles but that was not the only form of Government we had for 2000 years prior to 1973 – as I think we both know.

          The EU might have seemed a clever idea at the time. I voted Yes in 1975. But it is now quite clear that it is an anti democratic scam, designed for the benefit of the political class and their media stablemates, that is doing and has done this country, far more harm than good.

          At the time of the referendum in 1975 the late Malcolm Muggeridge nailed it. He said the whole business ‘reminded him of a collection of drunks outside a pub after closing time. each desperately clinging on to the other, in a vain and doomed hope, not to fall over’.

          He wasn’t wrong; although it’s take 40 years for that to be apparent. The British people should vote in and vote out their own political leaders. Not have them dancing on a string at the whims and behest of foreign agencies who are totally unaccountable and who at heart bitterly resent the fact that this country avoided an occupation in either WWI or WWII.

          They see this as the occupation we missed. Well it’s time for liberation. Vote UKIP.

          • DDownie

            While the late Mr Muggeridge was an entertainer with a fine turn of phrase, he wouldn’t be the first person I would turn to as a political commentator. His description of Europe as a collection of drunks was wrong at the time and is certainly wrong now. The original members of the EU are all far more wealthy and prosperous than they were back in the 1970s. But possibly more importantly the EU has provided a framework to enable the western democratic tradition to become embedded in countries for whom democratic freedom was a dream. I think this will be seen as Mrs Thatcher’s greatest contribution to history, even greater than the necessary battle to recast the UK as a forward looking, prosperous and successful country.

            It is worth noting that Mrs Thatcher’s recasting of the UK took place within the EU – not outside.

            Far from being a problem, the EU is a huge opportunity. With a population of 500m it represents a market just about equal in size to the US. The language of choice in that market is English.

            All the key decisions can be and are made in the UK by UK elected politicians. Yes the EU needs reform, just as the UK parliament needs reform and local government needs reform

            I repeat – it is easier to blame someone else for our problems than to look in the mirror and see and address our own faults.

            Your comment that foreign agencies – meaning I presume the EU – ” at heart bitterly resent the fact that this country avoided an occupation in either WWI or WWII” is shameful.

            • cambridgeelephant

              MM’s description of the EU has proved to be right on the bullseye. It’s just a pity enough of us didn’t spot it at the time.

              “It is worth noting that Mrs Thatcher’s recasting of the UK took place within the EU – not outside.”

              Are you serious ? It’s also worth noting it took place when the Provisional IRA were trying to kill her but I wouldn’t attribute her successes and failures to Adams and MacGuniness any more than I would to Delors.

              Now we move on to the standard Brussels cliches :-

              “the EU is a huge opportunity. With a population of 500m it represents a market just about equal in size to the US. The language of choice in that market is English.”

              LOL !!! if we had £1 for every time we’d heard that dross we could all retire. Here’s another market that’s about the size of the US and speaks English. It’s called the US. Although the rate their going it’ll soon be Spanish only.

              You don’t need to hand over political control to an alien body to effect trade. The suggestion is moronic and a flat out lie.

              Another flat out lie is this :-

              “All the key decisions can be and are made in the UK by UK elected politicians.”

              From VAT rates to criminal justice. From transportation to the retail of goods, that just isn’t so.

              Another cliche from the Brussels apologist of the world is :-

              “Yes the EU needs reform” but the ‘reform(s) are never specified because there’s never any intention to anything than keep building the Napoleonic Empire – not going too well in the Ukraine at the moment is it ? – and damn the consequences.

              “I repeat – it is easier to blame someone else for our problems than to look in the mirror and see and address our own faults.”

              Well it is – but when someone is trying to garrotte you, it is perhaps understandable that a lot of your time is spent trying to prevent that, rather than worrying about your hairstyle.

              Glad to know my final point struck a raw nerve as the truth so often does.

  • Kitty MLB

    Oh rubbish! The United Kingdom is not geographically attached
    to Europe, most of Europe have a completely different culture and
    don’t even speak English as the mother tongue.
    Its a completely different situation and people wish to create differences that are not there because it suits their agenda.

    • Wessex Man

      We are part of Europe but not of it, We are linked but not compromised. We are associated but not absorbed. If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea she must always choose the open sea. Sir Winston Churchill.

      • Andy

        And that is what we should do now.

  • James Morrison

    It’s not really the same though.
    The argument about UK membership of the EU is whether the UK should retain all of its sovereignty, or that it should share some of it with most of its European neighbours. Even the most convinced Europhile in the UK does not argue that Europe should be a unitary state with its capital in Brussels.
    The argument about Scotland is whether Scotland should be sovereign, but then share some of it with its neighbours (both in the continuing UK and in the EU), or if it should have no sovereignty but be permitted some authority over purely internal matters. Even the most convinced nationalist in Scotland does not argue that Scotland should not share some of its (proposed) sovereignty either with the rest of the UK or with the EU.

  • Torybushhug

    The live debate will play badly for Darling tonight because if he answers the questions about what todays new tax and legal offerings mean, he will underline a deal made in Westminster without the say so of the Scottish people. If he fails to answer the questions that will also go down badly.
    Salmonds Churchillian moment may well come tonight.
    Scotland will vote yes in order to follow it’s core compass.

    • Denis_Cooper

      People in Scotland are being freely offered more power over taxation in Scotland, a proposal which is being supported by the leaders of the great majority of the MPs in Westminster including those elected in Scotland,
      most of whom are not SNP but Labour, and all you do is look for a way to whine about it. I can well understand why many people in England are getting fed up to the back teeth with this constant whining from Yes campaigners, but hopefully they will understand that you are not representative of the people in Scotland who have more sense.

      • ChuckieStane

        Denis, Labour are offering the power to increase income tax above rUK but not to reduce it – the promise is a pig in a poke. It does not give Scotland the chance to grow or improve competitiveness.

        Making a promise on the day of the TV debate – pretty desperate stuff indeed.

        No wonder the English are fed up – the target of their ire should be the Westminster parties, not those who favour independence.

        • Denis_Cooper

          This is a cross-party offer.

          I’m fed up with it all, the stupidity and ignorance of some of the English who comment as well as the stupidity and ignorance of some of the Scottish advocates of independence.

          • ChuckieStane

            Denis, the “cross party offer” is on broad principle of more powers.
            Labour have specifically stated they will not allow Scotland to have lower income tax than the rUK whereas the Tories propose to allow tax varying to a greater degree.

  • Torybushhug

    Localism rocks. YES will win as Salmond delivers a Churchillian moment.

  • Brian K

    Yea there is some read across ast a top level but as you dig down the differences become greater.

    History-wise it’s very different. The union of crowns was 400 years ago, Robert the Bruce was born in Middlesborough, of all places. The border itself was more of a cartographer’s artifact than a strict division.

    In political leadership Scot’s have had a great deal to say on the Government of the union, far more than the UK has or will have over the leadership of the EU.

    In the economic sense the entwining of all the countries of the Union is much greater than the UK with the EU.

    The more you dig into it the greater the differences are.

    oh and, long live the Union.

    • Wessex Man

      Cry freedom for England!

  • FF42

    I think any combination of in and out are logical positions to take. It’s the language of disdain that is similar. Substitute Brussels and Westminster and you get the same sort of statements from both sets of out-ists.

  • Tony_E

    It’s massively different – if that’s not clear to you, you’ve not been watching.

    • saffrin

      Correct. For a start we all speak the same language and apart from the haggis thing, the same culture.

      • Wessex Man

        How dare you! I’ve never had a deep fried Mars bar in my life!

        • Andy

          Aye, and just look at you. A weedy specimen.

          • Wessex Man

            Yes I must admit the cider has taken it’s toll.

            • Wessex Man

              What’s your excuse?

  • Denis_Cooper

    “Because the argument about Scotland’s place within the Union is really not very different from the argument about Britain’s place within the European Union.”

    Yes, it is very different; it is different by three hundred years, or four hundred
    years if you want to go back to the Union of the Crowns rather than that of the Parliaments, and that passage of time with multiple successive generations intermingling does make a big difference to whether people consider themselves
    to be a sufficiently unified “demos” to tolerate being outvoted by each other in a common democratic system of government.

    Come back in a few centuries, and maybe there will then be a unified pan-European “demos” underpinning a pan-European democracy. Or maybe there won’t, maybe the eurofederalists will have been defeated and instead of their projected federal United States of Europe we will still have a Europe of independent sovereign nation states with some measure of democracy, national democracy.

    • Torybushhug

      300 years is a blink of the eye in terms of Scotland’s history and future yet to be. A brief footnote.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Maybe, but the UK’s entanglement with the federal EEC/EC/EU project is even briefer by an order of magnitude.

  • Alexsandr

    so cameron is chucking more goodies at the scots today to bribe them to vote No
    when will he address the west lothian question. It would be a good time now to set out how this will be tackled in its a no.

    • ChuckieStane

      Alexandr, the WLQ cannot be addressed if it’s a “no” other than by a fully federal UK for which there is little demand and zero likelihood.
      Those of us that have come across to supporting independence from a previous unionist position realise there is no democratic mechanism to satisfactorily address the WLQ.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Of course there is, the obvious lack is a devolved Parliament and government for England comparable to that for Scotland. Just because at present we keep electing politicians who don’t think the English deserve their own Parliament doesn’t mean that it will never happen, the English just have to buck up and stop electing MPs who regard them with contempt and loathing.

        • ChuckieStane

          I agree that all it takes is will from the English. Unfortunately the 3 parties are conspiring to keep this off the agenda, hence there is no prospect of a change.

          If there is a No vote, the next parliament will likely be dominated by the Brexit issue so the WLQ will be kicked further down the road.

          • evad666

            Support One North Vote UKIP.

  • Marmalade Sandwich

    There is very little debate about Scottish independence in England, just as Salmond wants it. It will be a shame if Scotland don’t vote for it after creating such a fuss. But it would be a done deal if the English could vote. I just hope Wales and Northern Ireland follow suit. England will be much stronger domestically/internationally without our horrid neighbours. And media/politicians will have to accept an English identity, which they refuse to do now.

    • Denis_Cooper

      You do realise that those “horrid neighbours” would still be there even if those parts of the present UK became independent sovereign states and so were no longer under any kind of control by a Parliament in London dominated by MPs elected in England? It’s not as though the Scots will be voting on whether to detach Scotland and tow it off to some other part of the world. Exactly how could it make England stronger to have land borders with two foreign countries with “horrid” populations?

      • Wessex Man

        and the problem with that is?

        • Denis_Cooper


          • Wessex Man

            No sorry it’s not, we’ve had ‘facts’ from the Cybernat nutjobs thrown at us for years, we’ve been abused as Little Englanders even whilst not engaged in conversation with them, we’ve been accused of bleeding them blind and when asked where they get their data from, if they list anything at all it’s the works of McCrone, who believes that Scotland should revert back to the Merk, some strange currency they used before the Union. They list as real ‘facts’ the meanderings of ‘Wing Over Scotland’ which in reality is one man and his four pet rats currently living for some time in Bath in the West Country of England.

            What we need is to be divorced from this bunch of whiners, I wonder, if they win who they will pick to fight with then!

    • FrankieThompson

      Be very careful what you wish for Marmalade.

      We’ve had a cultural debate lasting a number of decades about what it means to be Scottish. We’ve pretty much worked it out. It’s just a case of us deciding about the politics. England has never had to consider the matter because the Westminster Parliament is in England, and is predominantly English. It was interesting that anti-Scottish feeling rose in England when you felt that Gordon Brown hadn’t been elected by you, as indeed he hadn’t! You’ve never felt that before , have you?

      • Wessex Man

        Study your political history.

      • Denis_Cooper

        “We’ve pretty much worked it out”

        Which “we” has done that, what is their answer, and is it one that actually corresponds to the view of the majority of the Scots?

      • Andy

        Yes you seem to have concluded that ‘what it means to be Scottish’ is we hate the English.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Out of interest: I am an Englishman of predominantly old English stock which I can trace back over nearly three centuries, born in England and resident in England for all of my life so far. If I chose to move to Scotland, how long would it be before I was widely accepted as now being Scottish? Would it be 24 hours – “You now live in Scotland and living in Scotland makes you Scottish, so would you
        like to vote in all our elections, and also vote in our referendum on whether Scotland should be independent?” – or would it be 24 years, or would it be never, I would always still be considered English?

        • CraigStrachan

          If you moved to Scotland, you would be able to vote in the referendum, yes.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Yes, but would moving to Scotland make me Scottish,
            and if so how long would that process take?

            • CraigStrachan

              Well, you would be one of “the people of Scotland” as the SNP would have it. But you probably wouldn’t be perceived as a Scot, by yourself or by others. You would, however, remain a UK citizen living in the UK.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        I think the problem with Gordon Brown is that he is an incompetent, amoral, bullying coward who bequeathed a structural deficit of £168 billion through his incontinent spending. It matters not that he came from Scotland or Timbuctu.

  • LadyDingDong

    An interesting point. As for me, I want Scotland to leave the UK and for the UK to leave the EU. If Scotland thinks they will be bitter (deliberate) off in an increasingly failing and unreformable EU, well the best of luck to them. I know the UK will be better off without the Scots and the burgers of the EU dragging us down with them.

    • goatmince

      Yes, there we have it. Now invert that again and you will be right in the money.
      The little englander logic is no longer helpful in today’s world. Today, the UK is firmly tied into Europe – politically, by demos and trade, with regards to values and of course location. There is little point denying that whilst the lower end of respective societies always return by default to nationalist values, the cosmopolitan highly mobile working, middle and upper classes have long broadened their perspective. It’s a fact – national borders are no longer a hurdle for those able to jump (that would include you and me), but those struggling must not be ignored. They must be lifted to a level where the fear of leaving their ‘estate’ is no longer a valid one or suffer the consequences.
      Plebs will not stop the world from moving on, they never did. Feel free to invert the last line.

      • fubarroso

        Political union has not come about, despite 50 years of EU pushing, and neither will there ever be a European demos. It is pure fantasy land!

        • goatmince

          it’s not moving fast enough for you? Hear hear!
          When you were born, this club was called ECSC. Do you even remember what that once stood for? Look at Europe now.

          • fubarroso

            I was born at the tail end of WW2 and the ECSC had not yet come about. Do you really think that it has made all that great a progress since then? I don’t, the colleagues have been salami slicing for over half a century only to find that it is now coming apart the seams.

            To be honest I don’t give a stuff about the monarchy. I used to be quite fond of HM Queen until she broke her coronation oath by giving Royal assent to the European Communities Act 1972. From then on the Royal Family have become an irrelevance, but as they probably earn the country more than they cost I don’t consider them too much of a liability.

          • fubarroso

            I was born at the tail end of WW2 and the ECSC had not yet come about. Do you really think that it has made all that great a progress since then? I don’t, the colleagues have been salami slicing for over half a century only to find that it is now coming apart the seams.

            To be honest I don’t give a stuff about the monarchy. I used to be quite fond of HM Queen until she broke her coronation oath by giving Royal assent to the European Communities Act 1972. From then on the Royal Family have become an irrelevance, but as they probably earn the country more than they cost I don’t consider them too much of a liability.

          • Wessex Man

            are you tele in disguise?

      • DWWolds

        Why is that the Europhiles always revert to name-calling? I have just returned from the European meeting, attended by people from 19 different countries, of a highly regarded international association, which I’ve had the pleasure of serving as European President. I have an MA, am widely travelled and am privileged to have friends around the world. Yet I am a profound Eurosceptic.

        • goatmince

          Who’s name-calling? I fail to spot any other content of relevance to my post.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Or those of any of your gibberish spouting sockpuppets laddie.

          • DWWolds

            If you can’t see the way in which your post disparages anyone who has a different opinion from your own you really do have a closed mind.

            • goatmince

              Anyone is perfectly entitled to have a different opinion based on facts.
              The rest is propaganda designed to obfuscate my message.

              • DWWolds

                Yes, everyone is entitled to an opinion based on facts. However, your assertion that everyone who dares to question the EU is an ill-educated, ill-informed pleb is not a fact. It is your personal opinion – and a nasty one at that.

                • goatmince

                  Top the facts, lad. your opinion matters not, give us facts. Just one.
                  I have one for you:
                  Eurozone trade *surplus* tops 15bn a month.

                  Go on, top trump that.

                • DWWolds

                  I am not a “lad”.

                  And we run a trade deficit with the Eurozone even if that area’s trade surplus does top £15bn a month. Anyway, Germany accounts for most of any surplus. As a leader of one of that country’s key industrial sectors remarked in a meeting I attended, “We are not like the English. We do not believe in free trade. We believe in protecting our industries.” The Southern European countries have learned that to their cost.

                  And, by the way, you should try growing up. Always have to have the last word don’t you? Mardy kids are like that.

                • goatmince

                  I see what you just did there … dad.

                • DWWolds

                  You are simply being sexist. And proving that you are indeed a mardy kid. You should try growing up

      • Smithersjones2013

        There is little point denying that whilst the lower end of respective societies always return by default to nationalist values, the cosmopolitan highly mobile working, middle and upper classes
        have long broadened their perspective.

        Here’s your problem. Your ‘cosmopolitan highly mobile working, middle and upper classes’ probably make up somewhere between 10-30% of the electorate. Whereas ‘the lower end of respective societies always return by default to nationalist makes up 50% of our society’ or more.

        Basically you can arrogantly scoff at the lower classes as much as you want but come the revolution they outnumber you by at least 2-1 so you should be far more cautious in peddling your corrupt ‘little European’ imperialist attitudes. One day the rest of us might find them more than mildly irritating.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Perhaps some other Brussels based EU sponsored gibberish spouting nutter can translate this nutter’s gibberish. The goat is sponsored by the EU to disrupt these threads together with his army of sock puppets. That’s about it isn’t it laddie.

      • The Blue Baron

        If your perspective were really as broad as you suggest you wouldn’t be favour of Britain tying itself to an economic bloc in terminal decline at the expense of our ability to act as a global trading power and pursue free trade relationships with rising powers like India and China.

        • goatmince

          We have no trading relationships with India or China? Get up now, leave your home, go and experience the fastest growing retail experience in Britain, commonly known as the pound shop.

          • Wessex Man

            You are tele in disguise!

          • The Blue Baron

            We have no FREE TRADE relationship with either.

            Learn to read.

            • goatmince

              Who cares? Our pound shops are full of their stuff, your xmas crackers are full of Chinese plastic fantastic, Chinese money is flowing into London and Manchester as never before – right here, right now. British Steel no longer exists. Learn to live in today’s world.

              • terence patrick hewett

                Steel exists as a continuously shrinking market: being taken over by new materials. Still used in construction and shipbuilding and special steels. But the fact is that is steel replacement is on-going.

                • goatmince

                  Steel *was* the default construction material in the UK for anything other than the domestic market.

                  Inferior performance with regards to acoustics, sound insulation and thermal properties have long made us look at places like Switzerland where commercial, education and mixed use developments are put together in an entirely different way. This is a simple supply chain issue, nothing more, nothing less. The Steel Construction Institute and similar organisations have attempted for decades to address this development

              • The Blue Baron

                Doubtless we would enjoy an even more prosperous relationship with both if we had a more advantageous trade relationship, something that our EU membership makes impossible.

                In “today’s world” China and India are booming and the Eurozone is in terminal decline. I suggest that you too learn to live in the present rather than striving to hitch our cart to an ageing nag.

                • goatmince

                  The current Eurozone trade surpluses are massive. All you do is lean out of the window and expose how outright uninformed you are. Who feeds you all the bad intel you come up with here? did you believe it would impress me?

                  You know nothing.

                • The Blue Baron

                  Ugh, is it something about The Spectator that makes people insist on calling someone “lad” when they’re losing an argument.

                  Are you really going to make the case that the Eurozone, awash with massive unemployment, crippling debts and flatlining growth, is some kind of economic success?

                  As for whether or not it would “impress you”, you must be labouring under the strange delusion that people on internet forums care about receiving approval from “goatmince”.

    • Wessex Man

      I agree with every word my Lady!

      You only have to look at the next post to see why we agee!

      • Andy

        Ah yes but he is too stupid to see that Europe does not equal the EU.

        • Wessex Man

          It seems to be so.