Comment: Right of Reply

The director of New Europe responds to Diane Coyle's attack on the anti-euro lobby
DIANE COYLE argued last Thursday that defenders of the pound "clothe their gut anti-Europeanism and Little Englandism in the language of rational economic argument" while in fact wanting to withdraw from the EU altogether.

New Europe was set up precisely to counter such prejudice. Nobody who knows Jim Prior, Dennis Healey or David Owen and their contributions to British political life can doubt their commitment to Europe.

How can a charge of Little Englandism be thrown at Ewen Fergusson, a former ambassador to Paris, or indeed at John Sainsbury who served as Joint Honorary Treasurer of the European Movement?

Too much of this debate is tainted by the passion on both sides and, on occasion, the facts suffer. Diane Coyle stated that New Europe is financed by Rupert Murdoch. I am sure that Mr Murdoch was as surprised to hear that he had been parted from his money as we were. It simply isn't the case.

We have been inundated by people of every political persuasion, delighted at last to find a group that is pro-European but shares their legitimate concerns about the euro. Opposition to the euro is not the preserve of the "nutty right".

If there is one thing that I would like to achieve as director, it is to convince people at home in the centre and centre left of politics to be open about their doubts. It is not politically incorrect. You can be New Labour to the core but still disagree with Tony Blair on the single currency.

Far from sniping at New Europe, its arrival should be welcomed as a bulwark against those shrill voices that want a No vote in the euro referendum to be a vote to leave the European Union.